One 'No' Per Day Keeps The Doctor Away!

I left my stressful job in advertising last October to teach yoga. I’m loving every second, but none of those seconds are made easy without me designing them that way.

You see, my programming from the 10+ years in the ad world stuck with me; I’m really good at moving fast and filling my time. What I’m not so good at however, is slowing down. I can push, sprint and jump (how high?!), but ask me to slow down and I’m either instantly annoyed or instantly challenged. Often both.

But I kept finding myself overwhelmed…by choice. My schedule was part of my daily design. I kept saying “yes” to everything that came my way from teachings gigs, writing articles, offering retreats - all things I figured would boost my new career. But I ran out of time. I couldn’t find time to do it all whole heartedly and that drove me nuts. I was conflicted and stressed. I ran out of personal time too -  I couldn’t find time to meditate, to practice daily, to enjoy my dog and even my husband. I had no time to keep the promises I made to myself because I had made a new promise to someone else. I kept saying “yes” yet again.

So now, I’m saying “no” to at least one thing per day. It was my life coach’s idea (thanks Handel Group and Hildie Dunn). When she first suggested it, I laughed and thought “what on earth will I say no to?!” Sure enough, there was lots. This past week I was able to enjoy meals again, had dinner out with my husband, I finished reading a book and even went for 2 runs. I practiced yoga and held poses longer. I slowed the eff down and enjoyed myself.

In my new daily design, saying “no” is just as important as saying “yes.” I like to think of it this way: By saying no, I’m saying yes to myself. To my soul. To what I really need to be able to make the next “yes” whole hearted.

And let me tell you, whole hearted yes’s are the best kind out there.

The Purpose of Life

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”  - Dr. Suess

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the purpose of life. In the shower one morning, I asked my husband randomly “what do you live for?”. At first he wasn’t sure whether to answer “you baby… of course” or whether to really give it some thought. 

I gave the question some time and a lot of thought. I came up with many answers, but none felt like the answer to the reason I go on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not questioning my reason to live. I’m questioning life in general.

What if it’s all very simple? We’re really good at making things difficult and adding layers that are hard to remove. Myself included. We like to think, rethink and “what if” over and over again, missing out on any simple answers.

Then I came up with this:

What if the purpose of life…is to enjoy? 

That simple. No layers, no over thinking - just enjoyment. 

I like it when things are that simple.

So I tried it out. I ran the idea through some different belief systems to see if I could rationalize it further.

If God created us, and we were enjoying life, he’d be enjoying it too. You see, it’s hard to watch someone in pure enjoyment without feeling a sense of enjoyment yourself. And if God is within us, he’d be feeling our enjoyment. He’d know exactly what an embodied smile felt like, and how it sweetly hurts if the smile stays for awhile.

The Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism say the purpose of life is to seek happiness. To eliminate things from your life that do not bring lasting joy. So it’s not about being a selfish ass who goes around enjoying life by messing up others - that’s not lasting joy. Many studies have proven that the basis of human emotion is compassion and if we’re not being compassionate we’re eventually met with some pretty awful feelings.

I also think there’s a lot of misconception about how to truly enjoy. I’m totally guilty of often thinking I need more to enjoy more, but it’s not true. I mean sure, if I were cold, stuck outside and it was raining, I wouldn’t be enjoying. The idea of warmth, dryness and shelter automatically bring me into a better state of enjoyment. But I think that acquiring a lot of stuff only brings temporary pleasure - not lasting enjoyment. I mean… I won’t be saying “Damn I’m so glad I bought that pair of hot shoes” on my death bed.

Is avoiding things we don’t want to encouncter something that brings lasting enjoyment? Not for me. It’s important to evolve by engaging with things just as they are and offering ourselves the fullness of the moment. In this way I can say I gave it my all, my 100%. Without that I’m always feeling like I coulda/shoulda/woulda done better.

I like to ask myself, what truly serves me in finding lasting enjoyment? Whatever my answer, I follow that path towards accomplishing. It’s a path that serves my life purpose. It’s life affirming.

What brings you lasting enjoyment?