(And Doing What You Love)
“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” — Rumi
I love my work. I couldn't have said that nine years ago. In fact, I spent many years detesting a job that had me up at 5:30 am, driving to an office, and sitting at a desk doing work that felt meaningless. When people asked me what I did, I wanted to disappear down a hole. "I manage a team and we collect NAFTA certificates for our clients so they can save paying duties at the border." Inevitably, questions followed. "What's NAFTA?" "What's a NAFTA certificate?" I didn't enjoy trying to explain. I was bringing home a paycheque but there was no joy in it.
When I entered my 50s, I had a steady yoga and meditation practice in the mornings. One morning during practice, I suddenly realized I didn't want to die at a desk job. I wanted to do something that felt meaningful, that would make a difference to me and to others. It was an 'aha' moment for me, one that I'm sure my meditation practice had given me the clarity to discover. So I decided to become a yoga teacher.
I didn't arrive at this decision without a great deal of terror. At 52, I figured my best yoga years were well past me. I couldn't do a headstand, a handstand, or any advanced poses (no legs behind the head for me!). I was relatively flexible but not very strong. The world is full of yoga teachers, many of whom have been teaching a long time, many with a much more advanced practice. But I loved my home practice, and it felt right for me. So I took the plunge and dove into a teacher training.
It felt great. It was such a relief to be doing something different, something I enjoyed. Even if I wasn't making a difference in anyone else's life, it was making a big difference in mine. And soon I discovered therapeutic yoga, and realized that this practice can make a huge difference in people's lives - people who live with chronic pain and stress.
So here I am today, having left my office job almost five years ago, with a home studio, teaching small classes, running a yearly retreat, and offering therapeutic and private yoga to individuals. My other job feels like a lifetime ago. (What's a NAFTA certificate, you ask? Almost, I can't remember.)
And every time a client walks in with pain and walks out with a big smile on her face because she's beginning to understand how to unlock the door to a pain-free life, I smile in return and am grateful for this second chance at a career that has made such a difference in my life, and is doing the same for others.
Here's a short 10-minute loving kindness meditation I made to help you feel the love.
And now, I'd love to hear from you. Do you have a practice that helps you gain clarity in your life? Maybe you love your job already, but there is something more tugging at your heartstrings.
What would you love to do or accomplish in your life but have been putting off because you think you're too old or too (fill in the blank here) or not (fill in the blank here)? What would you do if you knew nothing stood in your way?
Donna offers a holistic perspective on the relationship and healing of physical and emotional pain.