by Kara-Leah Grant
It’s my first day back at “work” in 2015. I’m starting by renaming “work” as “creation”, because that’s really what I do. I create. And I love it.
I create words, movement, ideas, processes, life and ultimately, myself.
This year I’m cranking up the mojo on my speaking career (find out more about booking me here) and I’m working on launching my first webinars.
Actually, I was meant to do the webinar thing last year, but I kept putting it off. Out of the comfort zone, new technology, and another huge piece of work…
However, this year, I’m naming it straight out of the gate because publicly naming our goals is one way to stay on track and stay accountable.
A strong sense of personal integrity holds me to that which I name – and integrity has been responsible for some of the biggest successes in my life.
When I was invited to start teaching yoga, despite no training or certification, I did the next best thing I could. I made a commitment to practice every single day. Not for myself, but for my students. There was no way I could be a teacher without that commitment. My integrity held me firm.
Now that I’ve published Forty Days of Yoga, I find myself with even more reasons to practice yoga every single day.
If I can’t practice what the book preaches, how can I expect people who read the book to follow the programme? That extra motivation has kept me on my yoga mat over the last couple of years.
Every year I do three or four Forty Day Commitments to remind myself of what it’s like, where the challenges lie and to make sure I have what it takes to stay the process. (I’m in the middle of one right now.)
If I hadn’t started teaching yoga and I hadn’t written a book called Forty Days of Yoga, I wouldn’t be so consistent in my daily yoga practice.
That’s the irony – out of my strong, daily practice arose my teaching and book, yet out of the teaching and the book arises my strong practice. They feed each other.
The public nature of being a yoga teacher and author meant I had to live up to those roles. I had to become that which I said I was – even on those days when I would rather ditch the practice. (And believe me, there are plenty of those days!)
That’s the thing when it comes to anything in life – who we are creates the life that we experience. And who we are is defined by the choices we make.
Something like 40% of those daily choices we don’t even make – they’re done on auto-pilot, out of habit. These are the choices like what we do when we first wake up, what we drink when we first get out of bed in the morning or what we eat for breakfast.
These are our habits, and by and large, they define us.
I have a habit of writing life out on the page or the screen when it gets really tough, a habit that started with daily journalling as a teenager. This habit has created literally millions of words in journals, articles and blog posts.
I also have a habit of hitting the yoga mat to process difficult emotions when life gets tough. That habit of consistent yoga practice led to teaching and books.
It wasn’t always like this though.
I used to be in the habit of taking drugs on a regular basis, thinking I was having truckloads of fun. I once had a habit of using men and relationships to find meaning and direction in my life. Until recently, I had a habit of denying or avoiding all emotion and retreating into the perceived safety of my mind.
Collectively, those old habits lead me to psychosis and incarceration in an acute psych ward. Who I was and the choices I was making – unconsciously or consciously – created that part of my life.
Fortunately, we also have to power to make different choices, create new habits and re-define ourselves and our lives every single day.
Using the awareness of myself built up through thousands of hours of yoga and meditation practice, that’s what I’ve done. Choice by choice, habit by habit.
That’s the way I continue to live my life. I take aim at something I want to create – like a successful speaking career. I determine the choices I need to take to make that happen. I set up the habits that lead to that goal.
And then I do it.
Of course, that’s the really difficult bit for most us – the doing it bit.
Because it’s in the ‘doing it bit’ that we come up against the biggest obstacle we’ll ever face on our way to creating a new life – ourselves. That part of ourselves that doesn’t want to change. That’s afraid to change. That’s perfectly happy with everything just as it is right now thank you very much.
This is where the power of creating your life takes flight though – really, you’re re-making yourself into the person that’s living that new life.
You’re letting go of the old parts of you while cultivating the new parts of you. It’s you who is a work in progress, it’s you who is the creation.
Not your goal.
Not even your life.
And as you change, because you’re ready, and you’re able, and you’re committed, and damn it if you’re not going to do this thing… then that change in you means your life changes.
You successfully complete your goal and find that as a result, you’re a new person.
I wanted to write a book.
That meant I had to become an author.
I had to sit down every day and write x amount of words.
That’s what got the book done.
If the words weren’t good enough, I had to make them better. If I didn’t know how, I had to learn how. If I didn’t know how to learn, I had to find out how to learn.
And every step of the way, I had to work through my fears and doubts. I had to soothe them and calm them, and convince them that this was possible and worthwhile and I could do it.
It’s the same for you, whatever it is that you want to experience this year.
You have to name it.
Then you need to figure out what you need to become in order to do it. And then you need to become that, working through your fears and doubts and knowing that you can do it.
This year, I’m going to be exploring this process – how we become that which creates our goals.
I’m going to be writing about it, making videos about it, and talking about it. This is what I do when I want to understand something from the inside out – just like I did with Forty Days of Yoga, when I learned from the inside out a guaranteed process to make a daily yoga practice a reality by writing about it and teaching it to other people.
This year, I’m going to share with you the process that took me from lock-down in an acute psych ward to a successful career as an author and speaker.
If I can do it, you can do it.
The only question is, what do you want to do?
What do you want to create?
What do you want to experience?
Or, an even better way to ask the question is:
Who do you want to become?
That’s the one question to ask yourself this year. Ask it, name it, then become it. More details on how to become it to follow. Stay tuned.