I just returned from a yoga retreat weekend in Kripalu in the Massachusetts’ Berkshires. I learned about Kripalu more than 25 years ago from my college psychology professor, who used to go there with his wife for a recharge. I never expected I would someday live in Massachusetts and have the opportunity to visit Kripalu myself. I attended a three-day session called 5 Elements yoga with Jennifer Reis. It was an incredible balance of postures, theory, and relaxation. My favorite part was the amazing relaxation visualizations that would put half the room to sleep before she finished the exercise. During the three days, the teacher asked us to answer some life-coaching questions. Her favorite was: “What is true for you?” Only once did we have to share it with someone, but for three days we could keep it in our heads, color about it, or write about it in our journal.
The session reminded me of a powerful question that I sometimes have clients answer when I can see they are miserable and struggling with making a career change. I say: “It is your funeral, and a good friend or family member is giving your eulogy. How do you want to be remembered?” This question makes us all think differently about how we are spending our time and living our lives.
I often think about my how I spend my time and the choices I make. I share with my friends that I truly enjoy being my daughter’s Girl Scout leader, even though it takes almost as much time and effort as running my own business. I also tell them that I would not change my time spent this way for anything.
I have a friend I met when I attended Northeastern University who recently visited us from Nigeria. When she emailed me last month to say her tickets were booked and she would be staying with us for two weeks, I panicked. I had not seen her for 21 years and worried that the reunion would not be as smooth as the wonderful friendship we shared 21 years ago when all we had to balance was studying and having fun. I also worried about how I could make this a great visit for her with everything else going on in my life. I was able to take a solid week off from work during her first week and to schedule only a few hours of work each day during the second, so we could squeeze in as much fun as possible. I continued to think about the question. “What is true for me?”
Having this special time with my friend, Eunice, and the opportunity see my daughters learning about her life, culture, and traditions made me realize that, for me, this is what life is about. When thinking about career and work/life balance, it’s critical to remind ourselves that making time for relationships is one of the most important life lessons.
When you get a chance, listen to one of my favorite songs by David Wilcox: “Start With the Ending, It’s the Best Way to Begin.” One of my favorite lines is “What if you went into a relationship fearless, you could tell the truth because you weren’t afraid it would end. It probably wouldn’t end, if you told the truth.”
What is true to you? Do you feel you’re living your life in a way that drives you in the right direction, or are you letting life lead you like you’re holding onto an aimlessly wandering kite?