I just turned 41 and am at something of a life impasse. I have written one book which did pretty well and am now grappling with the ‘difficult second album’ syndrome of book two. Book one was literary (poetry), but since I have gotten deeper into yoga, my spiritual life has opened up in a way that feels incompatible with the high-fallutin’ literary community. I feel a bit lost, confused and ‘between two worlds’. At the moment, yoga doesn’t earn me much money. Writing (literary stuff) also earns bugger all too. What should I do? Will turning to yoga as a main income source eventually kill my love of yoga? Am I doomed to always be poor because of my deluded notion that I’m an ‘artiste’? Can you smell the self-loathing as I write this?? What should I write now? Who am I now? Who cares?? HELP!
Do you know how many passions I have?
I dedicated my life and my entire credit card to studying yoga for many years. I was deeply committed to the practice. And then guess what, a few years later peppered with a bit of disillusionment about the community… Something else caught my soul.
Now this new thing is REALLY the thing.
And before yoga there was another thing and after this new thing I pray to God there’s something else.
Joseph Campbell calls us types “generalists” which has a negative connotation but really it’s not at all. Specialists have to dedicate their lives to examining one specific track while we generalists get to jump on a track, move over to another one, learn something over here that relates to over there, which then informs what you were studying five years ago and voila- you’re a fucking spirit guide/yoga/poetry genius with a bestseller on your hands!
I think Malcolm Gladwell’s book about the 10,000 Hour Rule did a great disservice to a lot of people because it made the generalizers of the world ashamed of our curiosity and flexibility.
We thought “oh shit, I gotta knuckle down on one thing to have any success” and that is narrow minded, scholarly bullshit.
This is what I am:
Doumentary Radio Producer / Storyteller / Yoga Teacher / Womens Group Leader / Facilitator / Theatre Maker / Actress / Artistic Director of a Theatre Company That Tours Internationally / Writer / Advice Columnist / Mother
I love all these jobs deeply and if I add them all up, they pay my bills.
Art is not usually recognized monetarily in our culture. As a poet, you know this. I have also come to peace that I also get paid handsomely in passion, fulfillment and personal freedom.
As for teaching yoga full time- yes, it’ll probably make you hate it a bit. Doing anything full time makes me hate it a bit. That’s why I have 10 jobs I love.
It sounds like you are sniffing out the next project.
You may always be poor if you follow your heart but who gives a shit. If you have food, a roof, a lover, some warm clothes, a bikini and a leg wax once a year- you have nothing to complain about.
When I die I want to be yelling “Nooooo, I didn’t get to start my “recumbent bikes for dogs” idea. I want new inspiration for brilliant ideas and the terror of beginning… untill the very end.
You have skills. You’re scared. There is already the sparklings of a vision in place but you are in the “unknown” zone.
The next step will come.
Follow your guts.