I am teaching a five-week course and giving an introductory talk on the topic of this blog post–details below. You certainly don’t need to attend the course to find the ideas in this blog post helpful though.
Victor Frankl famously wrote “Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how.'” One reason why the long hours, the stress, the crowded subway, the traffic jam can seem so difficult is because we aren’t living according to our ‘why.’ We do it all without connecting to our authentic Truths. At the same time, we feel stuck because we cannot completely change our entire lives and careers.
But what if you didn’t have to completely change your life–at least in the beginning? What if you could find your ‘why’ and live your purpose in the life you have through a series of “transformational adjustments?” What if you don’t have to start by changing your life at its core but can begin by changing at the margins and later change the core if you want to?
Everybody always tells us to change from the inside out but sometimes changing the inside is just too hard. However, if you change the outsides of your life first that can support an eventual change at the core and also help you make and informed decision about what you want that change at the core to be.
Some examples of transformational adjustments:
- Instead of wishing you could work with children instead of at your corporate accounting firm, say, and ultimately doing nothing because the change is too big, go to your firm’s philanthropic office and ask to help put together a pilot program for kids.
- Rather than wishing you could get rid of your car but knowing you can’t, take one day a week to experiment with commuting by train, bus, carpool or bike. Begin looking for a way that lets you keep your car in the driveway at least part of the time.
- Instead of wishing you could work for a sustainability firm, make a name for yourself within your company looking for efficiencies that are better for the world. Help bring in speakers for brown bag lunches.
- Rather than wonder whether you should be a farmer, stop watching so much TV to free up some time every week and begin growing things on your windowsill or yard to see if you like it.
- If you are thinking your family will ridicule you for becoming vegetarian and it all seems too much, start with sticking to plant based products just one day a week when you are away from people who will judge you.
Once you have settled into one transformational adjustment that brings your life a little bit more in line with your values, start on the next. In six months or a year, you will be much more in line with your “why.”
The point is that many of us feel stuck in jobs and lifestyles that make us feel unhappy while also harming our communities and world. We feel stuck because we think we have to make radical changes which we know we cannot do. But if you make a series of little changes, you will:
- Get to test whether the big changes you think you want to make actually give you the satisfaction you are looking for or if you should go in a different direction.
- Slowly, build a life that ultimately supports the more radical change you want to make.
- Begin feeling the satisfaction of life choices that are in line with your values–in line with your ‘why.’
Perhaps you’d like to leave a comment on a transformational adjustment you have made towards a more meaningful life and how it has worked for you?
With regard to the talk and the course, both will take place in NYC at Jivamukti Yoga Studios at 841 Broadway between 13th and 14th Streets. The talk is on Sept 10, 2015 from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM and is free. The class takes place on five consecutive Friday nights from September 18, 2015 at 8:30. Cost is $119. You can register here.
PS If you don’t live in NYC and wish you could take this course, go here to email me. If there is enough interest, I will do it online.