We’re constantly being pushed and pulled by everything and everyone around us. We manage our needs against the needs of our family & friends and the people we work for. We over-commit, over-plan, over-work ourselves while we under-nourish, under-serve, under-mind ourselves. Whether you are a high school student, a CEO, a single mom, or an ambitious young professional, it seems like people don’t have a moment to breathe, let alone commit to a mindfulness practice or go on a deeper spiritual journey. I am going to out on a limb here and say it’s not impossible. When you do some re-organizing of sorts, you can create a balance between your karmic to-do list while giving your soul some TLC. In order to do this, you must have a clear understanding of your karmic duties (to family, to employers, communities) & spiritual responsibilities (to yourself). Once these are concretely defined, everything else must fucking go. Especially living in New York, it feels like you are constantly missing out on something if you are not “hustling” your way through life — whether it’s a promotion, a better apartment or an exclusive social event. The ironic part is when you are running  from one thing to another (sometimes literally), you end up either too tired, too distracted or too hungover to enjoy the experience that’s right in front you. Worse yet, you’re in a constant state of defeat for failing to achieve everything you’ve set out to accomplish. For me — my karmic duties include: achieving personal financial goals, working a full-time job while building a business part-time, and spending time with my family. As for my spiritual responsibilities — this includes a daily mindfulness practice, writing, reading and teaching yoga to others in a safe and meaningful way. I also manage to do silly things like have spontaneous dance parties in my apartment and make myself home cooked meals.  My life was not always like this. There will always be a trade-off — you are always balancing one need against another — health vs. wealth, sleep vs. productivity, work vs. family.  When I was younger and chose a high-stress, high-reward career, I committed all my time to my karmic duties as the cost of my spiritual self.  When I finally quit my job, I was knee deep in spiritual as well as physical/mental health debt. In order for me to pay this off, I had to temporarily abandon my karmic duties to heal the damage that had accumulated over the years. Similarly, going off and studying at an ashram or traveling for months will provide tremendous spiritual wealth, but will quickly empty your bank account. Actively managing against these extreme imbalances helps avoid racking up financial, spiritual, health debts. Through experience and awareness you can finely tune your personal balance of health, wealth & happiness.  When you can effectively prioritize your time, balance the trade offs and commit to showing up & being present —  you are consciously choosing how you spend your time and the type of life you want. You are in alignment with yourself. When you sense forces pulling you away from this alignment you’ve designed, ask yourself why am I doing this? Does this serve my karmic duties? Does it lead to spiritual growth? Honor yourself and fuck everything else.

 

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