A new year signals new beginnings, a fresh start & new intentions. If you’ve been contemplating a major life upheaval or career change recently this may be at the forefront of your mind right now, or on the cards for 2016. But when do you know if or when the time is right?
Your heart may be pulling you in one direction while your rational, logical side is posing some very compelling arguments to the contrary. Believe me I know all the excuses! And I’ve had many a heated debate with my rational self over the years, but fortunately my intuitive self has more often than not had the last word, and my most heart-felt decisions have been the ones that have brought me the most success and happiness.
“You’re mad. Bonkers. Off your head. But I’ll tell you a story . . . all of the best people are.” Lewis Carroll ~ Alice in Wonderland
In my mid-thirties, against my ‘better’ judgment, I left a lucrative job, rented out my beautiful home in the UK, and said a tearful goodbye to friends and family – including my 2-week-old nephew – to follow my heart and take a chance on a new life down under. Needless to say it wasn’t a decision I made lightly, but I had long harboured a dream to live & work overseas and I finally came to the realisation that the only thing stopping me was, well, nothing and no-one!
I arrived in Sydney knowing only a handful of people, with no job and nowhere to live. Within a few weeks I was offered a job with one of the world’s best advertising agencies, and moved in to a shared house with a stranger who would quickly become a dear friend. Within a year I had forged a successful career, met my future husband (little did I know at the time) and formed several close friendships that I will treasure forever.
Within 3 years I uprooted again (following my heart once more) to take a chance on building yet another new life – and a new family - in Brisbane. The transition this time wasn’t as easeful. In fact it was one of the most challenging periods of my life, both personally and professionally. But 5 years on I had built my dream home, married the love of my life, and trained as a yoga teacher.
In the meantime my advertising career was faltering. A bit like my ageing VW Golf, it seemed to be regularly misfiring, breaking down or simply requiring a lot of maintenance just to keep it on the road. The truth was my heart was no longer in it. It was a ‘means to an end’. In other words it paid the bills. My long-term dream was to start my own yoga business, but I kept telling myself I couldn’t afford it, I didn’t have enough experience, or the risks were too high.
Each new corporate role I started with a feigned enthusiasm that quickly waned once the honeymoon period wore off; and in hindsight I realised it wasn’t the job, the company, the boss or the clients that were to blame, it was me. I was continuously struggling against the rip and being dragged further out to sea, exhausted and on the verge of drowning in an industry that I no longer had any passion for.
Making the leap from corporate executive to full-time yoga teacher and business owner wasn’t entirely unplanned - I had created my vision board, written a business plan and researched premises - but the timing was definitely unexpected. After a fourth ‘retrenchment’ in 7 years, I finally got the message. I realized I had to stop struggling and go with the flow, calmly exit the rip and swim back towards the shore where my new vocation awaited me.
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King
As soon as I listened to the Universe and made the decision to follow my heart, all the hurdles I had neatly constructed in my path began to shrink, fall over or disappear altogether. I honestly believe the Universe supported me every step of the way. I was finally riding the wave . . .
Since being in business I have learnt to listen to my heart more, to trust my instincts, and to pay attention to signs. And I’ve hardly skipped a beat. Importantly, while I’ve got a clear vision for my business and have set myself a handful of goals and objectives, I’m not hung up on the outcome. Each new day I’m receiving fresh inspiration and bursting with new ideas. I don’t always act on them immediately, or even at all. I meditate on them, allow ideas to marinate, remain open to signs and signals from the universe, and wait to see which ones feel right. And I’m willing and prepared to change direction with the wind.
“Trust that the wind knows where it’s going.” Rodney White
This year I had a goal to attend an overseas yoga teacher training with a renowned international teacher. I asked one of my own teachers and mentors who she would recommend and without hesitation she suggested the famous American teacher Shiva Rea. Shiva travels extensively in the US and Europe but rarely visits the Southern hemisphere. While I was considering Bali or India as an affordable option, realistically the US or Europe would have to wait another year or two, so I resolved to reconsider my options.
Two days later an email popped up in my inbox announcing Shiva Rea’s visit to New Zealand this month where she’s hosting a retreat and teacher training as an extension to the Wanderlust Festival. Thank you Universe! The same day I registered for the event and my booked flights. By the time you read this I will be en route to beautiful Lake Taupo to immerse myself in 5 days of prana chakra vinyasa sequencing for the flow of life with the goddess herself. And I can’t wait to share the learnings with you!
When we let go of trying to plan and control every aspect of our lives, we are more open to unexpected opportunities. When we bend we are less likely to break. When we let go of attachment to an outcome, we create less stress and anxiety . . . And when we listen to our hearts, trust in the Universe and pay attention to signs amazing things happen. Wishing all of my students and readers every success and happiness in 2016.