by Kara-Leah Grant
I just wrote some 700 words and I realised that I’ve been telling the same damn story on this website for the past five years. A story of struggling to earn money through teaching yoga and writing.
And now, I’m dropping the story and simply saying:
I give up.
I’ve had enough.
I don’t care anymore.
I’m going to stop trying to earn a living from writing and teaching.
Oh, I won’t stop writing, nor will I stop teaching. These things I will continue to do, always and forever.
But no longer will I attempt to earn my living from teaching and writing.
What will I earn a living from?
I have no idea. Right now I’m focusing on the letting go, and feeling all the sadness and disappointment that surrounds it.
What I do know, unequivocally, is the value of my work. I know that what I write and what I teach has enormous value, and has has a big impact on people’s live.
The amount of money I’ve earned the last few years in no way determines the worth of that work. Nor does my lack of financial success determine my value in any way.
This I know.
I also know that what I have been trying to do, for a number of years, has just not worked. I am a lousy promoter and salesperson – I don’t enjoy the hustle and I just don’t do it well. I do best when I can just show up and do my thing, whether it’s teaching or speaking or writing.
And after cancelling yet another workshop due to low numbers, I give up – on the pushing and the striving and the trying and the hustling and everything related to trying to make things happen like creating things and launching things and promoting things.
For a long time I’ve believed that personal success was completely dependent upon the individual – work hard enough with the right attitude and you can be anything and do anything.
Yes, I read Ayn Rand when I was a teenager and I liked and believed what she said.
I’m now questioning that.
I’ve long believed that yoga and meditation practice was the key to shifting society. That if enough people practiced yoga and meditation it would completely revolutionise our world. And so, I saw my teaching and writing as the ultimate way I could serve this world. I could help people wake up.
I’m now questioning that too.
I look around at the yoga community and I don’t see a lot of integration between yoga, sustainability and social justice. I don’t see that many yoga teachers making any kind of effort at all to make their classes accessible to disadvantaged populations.
I question whether the money I donate annually to the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust through the sale of my books is enough.
I had great fantasies of selling 10,000 copies of my books so I could turn around and write them a check for $10,000. That hasn’t happened – yet. Although I have donated something like $2000 over the last two years. But now, I don’t think that’s enough.
I don’t think I am doing enough socially and politically.
I watch dear friends like Marianne Elliot and Lindsay Alterton get involved in politics and activism and I wonder – is that where I need to be?
I read articles like this one about a 17 year old homeless boy in Auckland and I wonder, what more can I do?
And all this focus that Ive had over the last four years on building a career and earning a living through my passion seems… self-obsessed and self-absorbed and self-indulgent.
Because what the fuck is the point in being “successful” when other people live in abject poverty?
Eleven years ago I had an awakening. It fucked me up big time and it took years to recover from but it was also incredible. I experienced myself as no-self at all. I felt the truth of the universe.
For a long time, that sustained me through the painful rebuilding of self afterward. But lately, I began to feel like I had fallen asleep again. Like I was missing something. Like I had got all caught up again in the illusionary world of maya. Trying to get somewhere, be something, do something.
I’d become all about me, me, me again.
All of these threads are beginning to weave a new story… one of giving up on personal success because I don’t care anymore. One of giving up earning a living through teaching and writing because I have failed repeatedly. One of looking out at society and asking, how can I best serve, given my talents and skills?
Because I am talented, and I have skills. But most of all, the eleven years of personal work I have done have lead to a strong sense of personal power that’s not rooted in any sense of ‘I’.
‘I’ am nothing, with nothing to prove, nothing to believe, nothing to say even. I am not here to make you wrong and me right, even if you’re John Key or an oil giant. We’re all just a part of the play.
And it feels to me like that means I’m ready to step back into the world and do what’s required – whatever that might be.
For now though, I’m doing nothing. I’m letting go and allowing whatever to happen.
Use this coupon igiveup and you’ll get $10 off any print or electronic book.
Buy one for you. Buy one for your best friend. Buy one for your sister, brother, mother and next door neighbour. (Email me to inquire about wholesale orders for yoga studios.)
If you love The Yoga Lunchbox, I also invite you to become an Insider. It’s $35/yr. Love the site, spend the money, if you have it. If you don’t, send me a prayer or a blessing instead. That’s just as powerful.
Finally if you’d like to just donate some money because you feel like it, you can do that through Paypal using this email address. Click to see the email address.
Otherwise, celebrate with me this epic acceptance and raucous rejoicing in giving up striving and trying and pushing and hustling, because giving up is all just a part of the dance of life.
This is the next stage of my journey, and not a defeat but a victory.
I don’t need reassuring or sympathy.
Instead, do a dance of joy for me because out of this death will arise a new birth.
I am no longer trying to make life happen.
I am allowing life to happen.
With love, always.
ps. Book sale ends 5pm Monday June 22nd NZ time.
pps. No matter what happens, The Yoga Lunchbox will continue. I adore this website, and it may not earn me a living, but it has given me a community & I love you all. I’ll always show up for you.