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During a yoga practice yesterday, while floating in savasana, I heard the teacher say that imposing conditions on your current experience will not help you. A wave of emotion swept over me, because I felt the truth of this message. It’s not the novelty of the concept that affected me so deeply, but more that it came when I was most receptive to its impact. Lying on the floor, totally vulnerable and open, drifting between levels of awareness. Nothing to stand in the way of really hearing his words.

I began to have flashes of my recent efforts to be more successful at work, to get more clients so that I can make more money. Money is after all synonymous with security. If you have security, you have freedom to devote your time however you choose. I work to live; I don’t live to work. So if I can create that financial security, I can make time for and afford the things that really matter – visiting my parents overseas, spending time with friends and family, deepening my yoga practice through teacher training, devoting time to writing, trying to decipher my guitar…..fill in the blanks with anything that feels meaningful or joyful.

And yet, it’s not working. I still don’t care about getting more clients, increasing my income, or doing more of any of it! I still can’t motivate myself to do much more than I’m already doing. And even the strategies I’ve implemented feel somehow incongruent with what I really want. Because even though I’ve given myself a damned good reason to work harder, it still feels stifling. It still feels like I’m swimming upstream toward a goal that isn’t really my own.

Underlying my attempt at newfound motivation is that sickly little word until. I can’t do what I love, until……I earn it, I deserve it, I am allowed to do it. Conditions. I have imposed conditions on my current experience to create a reality that would somehow be more comfortable, happier, more aligned with my spiritual/emotional needs. I clearly missed the mark.

Except when I do practice yoga, guitar, or writing. Despite how much money I do or don’t have – I’m quite content with my current experience. I’m present, in the moment, and enjoying my Self. It’s too bad that I still need to maintain a roof over my head, eat, pay off student loans, save for the future, etc….

There’s a dialectic in this life that requires us to have real world responsibilities and still be able to devote resources to what’s truly important. They are both valid but tend to pull attention from each other. I am still unclear how to balance these opposing forces or if a balance can even exist! Perhaps the lesson is to accept the seesawing. I focus on the external world and then focus on my internal world and then switch again based on the circumstances that arise. As long as I’m actually devoting time and energy to both – whether evenly or not, or in a way that I like or not – perhaps that’s a way to drop into the flow of a life that feels manageable and fulfilling. Perhaps.

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