Magical Thinking


Last month, a fellow yoga teacher friend asked me how I got to be a traveling yoga teacher. I thought for a moment and said, "I just decided that was what was next for me, and it was." Sound too simple? The mind sure does love complexity. :)  Sure, there are some real constraints that we need to navigate with and around to design the life that we want -- family, job, financial constraints, etc.. And many of these constraints are actually excuses that we use to hold ourselves back from really putting ourselves out there but they are wrapped up to look like constraints/obstacles.  

Doing that thing we really want to do is scary. It requires us to believe in ourselves, invest in ourselves enough to take big risks and trust that the universe does, indeed, have our back. While I wouldn't profess to be a self-help guru, I have learned a thing or two that may be helpful if you are in the same boat as my friend.. 

For one, it's helpful to remember that brains are hardwired to avoid taking major risks or undergoing big changes - so it is natural and indeed wise that we don't throw caution to the wind any time we have a passing whim to do something really different. We need to give changes some time to marinate in our consciousness..Using meditation as an inquiry practice is useful.. Ask yourself, if money, time nor place was a concern, what do I really want to do? Suspend (real and perceived) constraints and let yourself imagine your ideal life. See if it is sticks around, and if so, is it motivated at all by fear, anger, sadness or confusion? -- because that won't end well. If it is indeed a feeling we have  "in our gut" then we know to move forward.

I "knew in my gut" I would be traveling and teaching in my future.. I didn't "want" it to happen or "wish" it would happen. I KNEW it would happen.. Even though I had no f*&%ng clue how to get there, it was happening.This is what I call "Magical Thinking".. I allow myself to entertain my future dreams, to regularly visit them to give them more power (or stronger neural pathways) even if I have no concrete plan to make them happen yet. I don't give up, I just keep repeating in my mind and out loud that this is the thing that I want, and wait for the next step to open up. 

4 years ago when I first tried to move to Germany, I had full faith and conviction that I would be given a visa to live and work here. I had no idea how, but I knew it. So I did each small action needed to get from point A (in Germany on holiday with a return ticket back to the US) to point B (getting my first 2 year visa). I didn't get overwhelmed, I just did it step by step, listened to my own intuition, kindly avoided sharing my future ideas with the naysayers, and kept the faith. 

When you are clear on what you really want, it's really not that hard. Try it out. What's the worse that could happen? Maybe something magical…