Monday, November 30, 2009

Be Yourself. Do What you Love.

A little while ago I posted my 10 Personal Commandments, and I promised to write more about each one in later posts. I've been musing over what to write about the first of my Personal Commandments for a few weeks now... it must surely be at the top of everyone's list of personal commandments - Be Yourself.
It is the most basic, perhaps most obvious, and in theory the most simple thing one can do in life...but somehow it takes most of us a good thirty years to figure out Who we Really Are, and then the rest of our lives learning to Accept who we are, Be who we are, and Love who we are. Perhaps really, this is the very reason we are here. Because the flip side is learning to accept Others as they are, Allow them to Be who they Are, and learn to Love them as they are. (Please excuse the random Use of Caps).
We are all unique. No two people are the same. No two lives are identical and we all look at life from a slightly different perspective. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself, to disagree with the masses, to voice your opinion, to choose your own path, and to live a life that you know is right for you. But there is nothing more soul destroying than doing the opposite - waiting in the wings, going with the flow (which feels more like swimming against the tide when it's not what you believe in), keeping quiet, following the crowd simply to feel accepted, looking for approval in all the wrong places, living behind a mask.

Where and how on earth do we start to live an authentic life?
I think being Yourself is mostly about doing what you Love. Most of us have a pretty good idea of what we really love doing, what makes our hearts sings, what makes time stand still, what brings us the most joy, what excites and inspires us. As Joseph Campbell so famously advised ''Follow your bliss".
But in order to live in the world, and be a part of society, build relationships and friendships, raise a family, earn a living, pay the bills, inevitably there are times when we are going to have to do things which we don't love so much, or don't particularly feel like doing at any given moment. So then it becomes a choice between saying No, or doing what you don't necessarily love doing, but doing it With Love. Not FOR Love, but WITH Love. Because the moment we start doing things For Love, For Approval, For Acceptance, we reinforce the belief that we are not lovable simply as we are, regardless of what we do, say, or think.

So I challenge you from today, to:
Dedicate a good portion of each day to doing Something which you Love, simply because it brings you Joy. If your life is overflowing with commmitments, sit down and prioritise your time so that you dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to yourself. Perhaps the only way you can find an extra 30 minutes is by setting your alarm half an hour earlier (believe me the energy you generate from doing what you love will more than make up for half an hour less sleep). Do whatever it takes to find ways to make time for your passions. Get rid of the unnecessary, time consuming, time wasting tasks that are not feeding your soul.

And then, for the rest of your day, do what you Have to do With Love, knowing that what you are doing fulfils a purpose that makes the life you are living more comfortable and meaningful - whether it is by earning money, building relationships, cleaning your home or preparing food for your family. Eventually you'll find that you start Loving What you Do, simply because you're doing it from your heart.


  1. Lovely words Kathleen.

    I have learned that loving what you do is in some ways more important than doing what you love, certainly in terms of That Thing You Do to Pay the Bills!

    Teaching yoga full time became, for me, something of a chore which is why I cut down my teaching hours and went back to work. My own yoga practice has improved tenfold because of this and now I am learning to approach my day job with mindfullness and an open heart (not always easy!)

  2. Thanks Rachel - and yes you're absolutely right. I had a similar experience when I started teaching yoga a couple of years ago - suddenly the thing that I felt so passionate about and brought so much joy to my life - became a source of stress and self doubt. After all TEACHING yoga and DOING yoga are worlds apart. So I decided to give it up.. until a couple of months ago when I started teaching just once a week in my local community. Now I'm enjoying being able to share my love of yoga without it negatively impacting my own practice and the rest of my life :-)

  3. Hi Kathleen - thanks for your comment and really pleased you'd like to join the Blogsplash. Please could you send a quick email to so I can sign you up? Thanks!