I’ve been arguing with my accountant for years now about the legitimacy of writing off my yoga membership as professional development.
I might just do a teacher’s training so that I can finally claim this one since a consistent practice, (and one that’s supported with teachers and community,) is instrumental for my capacity to do my work.
The kind of presence and awareness needed, to be able to meet, hold and work with a client in a way that deeply serves them, isn’t simply drawn upon from nothing, nor can it be cranked through. I need to be deeply engaged in my own practice and ongoing conditioning if I want to be effective. This goes way beyond doing some body postures.
For anyone whose work involves serving others, creating art, taking risks or leading something, the better you know yourself and your rhythms, the better you’ll be able to work with them to get the best of yourself out into the world.
The beginning of summer reminds me of the early days of owning my salon where I’d book clients in at 6am and work through till 10pm, sometimes midnight. I don’t tell you this to glamourize busyness. While I used to imagine taking the summers off, wondering what it would be like to spend those hours in the sun, in nature, soaking up the long days in west-coast recreational bliss, I actually loved working those hours. At the time, it really fit with my rhythm and capacity. I was young and single with no kids and had an excessive amount of energy. I owned the place and loved everyone I worked with and it was a hub of creativity and community. Showing up at 6am for loyal clients I adored to do what I was inspired to do made a tremendous amount of sense and yielded great results. If the sun was up, I was doing hair. My body could take it and my spirit thrived in it.
The downside of doing that for so long was it created some work habits that have taken a lot of awareness and courage to untangle. Fast forward a decade, I want and need more rest, more space, deeper spiritual practice and more time outside without an agenda or deadline. Toss in a five year old on my hip and under my wing and the rhythms of my 20s make no sense at all.
Changing habits and finding rhythms that really work and honouring them is challenging. At least it has been for me. Taking the time I need doesn’t always feel good. In fact, it can be anxiety provoking. My mind, out of sheer habit, will prod me towards that which has worked in the past, instead of what will truly serve now.
But I really feel that I owe it to myself and to those I want to serve, to find the rhythms that nourish, inspire, energize and deepen. All of us do. And there’s a cultural value system around being busy, fast paced and successful that can totally toss a spear into discovering what really works for you. Claiming your boundaries around the lifestyle and rhythms that lead to your most gratifying work is not something to do someday, when you’ve met next week’s deadline, it’s something to focus on everyday, tweaking as you go, so those rhythms become habits- healthy and sustainable ones that are current and aligned with where you’re at now.