At a workshop, the other day, I met her – the old version of myself, circa 2003. She was harried and disoriented, had a to-do list the size of the Atlantic, and kept running to the phone, as if each ring could bring the client that would turn her into a success.
She couldn’t pay attention, she said, because she was just too busy. Having been there, I knew it wasn’t the busy that was the problem, it was the disoriented inner self, that was desperately trying to make a dent, reach success, hold all the balls up in the air and stay on this side of failure and disgrace. In the eyes of herself first and foremost.
If there is one thing I learned in the decade and a half I’ve been in business it is that you don’t create success chasing it. You create it by building yourself, the inside-out way, as my friend and colleague Jenny Sassoon likes to point out. In the busy, overstimulated, everyone-wants-your-attention life, the more you run after tasks and things to do, the more they’ll pile up on your plate. Ever hear the “Want something done? Give it to a busy person” idea? It would follow that since you are busy, plenty of people would love to get you to work on their priorities. Thanks, but no thanks, right?
The answer starts with returning to ourselves and figuring out why the heck it is that we are running on this treadmill. To answer this, each one of us constructs a set of values, the ultimate answer to the WHY? Question, because without it, there’s no point to doing any of it. Our definitions of this WHY might be different, but we all desperately need them to make sense of an ever complex life.
My definition is the belief, articulated by the Holy Ari, that each person is a one-time-only creation, with a job nobody else ever could or ever will be able to accomplish in God’s world. There is something only I can give to my kids, family members, friends, neighbors, and clients. With this WHY I do my best to make choices and build priorities, decide on what to say yes to and what to skip. And, yes, yoga helps breathe through the process.
No matter where we stand on the gender-role continuum, it’s hard to argue with Chazal’s assertion in Midrash Raba that everything depends on the woman. When we are in the happy, can-do zone, we figure out ways to smooth out challenges, sell to our clients, repair broken relationships, make dinner from nothing, and do a host of other terrific stuff. And still feel happy. When we are down, everybody and everything around us find a way to malfunction and nothing we do works.
This can sound like a chore or be viewed as a privilege. The privilege of leaving your unique mark in this world, the size or nature notwithstanding. The privilege of using the amazing skills you have in the service of other people, who don’t always know how much they need you (but you do!). The privilege to experience the joy that comes from a real connection to yourself (you are way more terrific than you let on).
That’s why Lily and I put together the B-lance retreat. Sure it will help you retool with lots of great take-home ideas for all areas of your life. Yet more importantly, you’ll be able to carve out the space to relax, meet other women, and really connect to the amazing, competent, joyful, irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind core that’s inside you. And from that core, like rays of sun, will emanate all of our abilities and achievements.
So join us under the sun of Netyanya’s beach and then take your little piece of sunshine back home. For yourself and for all the people warming themselves up against your light.