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Is Continuously Striving to “Be Better” Wearing You Down? (+ A Playshop on June 7th!)

Hello pretty.
How have you been??
I know, I know it’s been a while (again!) since I last showed up in your inbox.
And I am not going to feel bad about it. (A work in progress to be honest…)

Striving, Out of a Sense of  “I am not enough-ness” vs. ” I am A-OK-ness”

When I first started this blog I intended to post weekly. That is what many expert bloggers recommend to get the most readership, a weekly dose of insightful, pertinent and inspirational content. Ha! What was I thinking!? After feeling guilty for a while for consistently failing at delivering awesome content week after week after week, I decided that this weekly rhythm was just not working for ME. And so instead of continuing to beat myself up week after week after week, I decided that posting twice a month would be my new rhythm.

But even that proved to be too much. With a (happily) full schedule, on-going studies in the field of mind-body wellness, my need for quiet time OFFLINE, a dance class here and there, and a private life too you know…I just couldn’t find the time to post twice a month, lest my well-being and joie-de-vivre would suffer. And I wasn’t gonna let that happen!

So once again I had to reassess my expectations of myself. Once again I had to make peace with the situation (or keep feeling guilty? Nah.) and again instead of struggling to reach a goal that evidently was still too big for me, I decided that ONE, just one blog post per month would be my new and workable rhythm. I kept it up. For a little while. Until I wasn’t anymore. And while it still feels doable, the reality is that writing consistently, at any frequency, requires a discipline that I don’t always have. There. I’m human! And learning to make peace with my humanness, not being as “good”, “perfect” and “on top of things” as this mind thinks I should be (question your thoughts girlfriend! They’re not always true!), that is a lesson I keep learning. A lesson in being kind and compassionate with myself. And rejoice in all that I already do, have, am, that IS working very well. And that’s a ton of things! I bet it is the same for you too, if you would only take the time to reflect on the journey you’ve travelled so far.

Ironically I have found that it is when I cut myself some slack, and appreciate exactly who and where I am at this point and time that I am able to deliver my very best. Then, my striving to “be better” arises out of a healthy appreciation for the unique individual I am, and a recognition of the potentials deep within me begging to find outward expression. What then drives me to keep forging ahead is a longing to contribute my best offering to the world. That kind of striving never tires me. On the contrary, it fills me and thrills me! It is fun.

Contrast that with never-endingly seeking to improve oneself because you never feel “good enough”, driven by the belief that if you would only get this book written now, lose 10 pounds already, meditate more (or whatever else is on your list) then you can relax and enjoy yourself. Ouch. Ever reaching higher, and sadly never quite “there”, expect a chronic sense of discontent and major depletion. You can only sustain this orientation to life for so long before it burns you out.

The Ayurvedic Perspective on Striving

The tendency to set the bar very high, to be obsessed with “getting it right”, looking, sounding, writing, being (!) perfect, is an imbalanced expression of what Ayurveda (yoga sister’s science) calls the pitta dosha. Pitta is one of the 3 energies (with vata and kapha) that Ayurveda recognizes as the energetic building blocks of every human being. Pitta is basically the energy of fire. Expressed on the mental/emotional plane, too much fire makes one cutting, hypercritical, impatient, controlling, obsessive. At the core what drives this perpetual striving for more is the feeling of being “less”. Tough way to live for sure, tough way to be. ‘Cause that’s the thing, an excessively “hot mind” can turn us into a drill sergeant, with ourselves and others.

Does that mean in order to chill we have to stop striving to improve, expand and grow? Of course not! When channeled efficiently the hot, sharp, intense qualities of fire make one focused, intentional, visionary. This kind of mind births new systems into the world that revolutionize the way we live and communicate (hello Marc Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs), sees a project through to the end, delivers impassioned, heart-opening speeches (Marianne Williamson is a perfect example of that), courageously sound the alarm when governments or companies commit wrongdoings (hello whistleblowers all over the world), or simply gets your butt to the gym for a sweaty, soul-cleansing workout.

But how can we keep this hot, passionate energy from falling into workaholism, better-ism and plain perfectionism? With a dose of cooling playfulness. A sense of humor. Appreciation for now, as it is. Remembering the big picture and to stop and smell the roses (Literally! Rose is the scent of choice to cool an aggravated pitta mind).

Some of us have more fire than others, to be sure. Maybe you recognized yourself in some of my descriptions above. But regardless of your constitution, summer is around the corner and it is rich in fire. Do you get short-tempered when the temperature rises? More critical than usual? Less patient? Downright angry with the world?! If you’re a “yes!”, then you’ll want to join me and my friend Kat Katsanis-Semel on June 7th for our “Cool Off & Come Alive” playshop (that’s right, it’s not a *work*shop 😉 )

Cool Off & Come Alive with Sylvie & Kat on June 7th

On June 7th, I’m excited to be joining my friend and gifted intuitive, Kat Katsanis-Semel to facilitate a heart-centered mind-body wellness event. We’ll teach you how to chill and be gentle with yourself. Our playshop will bring both our skill sets together: ayurveda-based hatha yoga, deep relaxation (yoga nidra), mindfulness-based meditation paired with affirmations, mini-massages and heart-centered intuitive messages.
Click HERE for details and to reserve your spot. (Early-bird pricing ends on Sunday May 31st, 2015.)

I hope to see you there. Until then, breathe easy please.



(ps. we are limiting attendance to 12 people. Get your ticket soon!)

(pps. In case you miss me during those long absences from your inbox, you can always find me on FB, drop me a note even! I’d love that. And if you live in NYC, come visit me at Upper West Side Yoga & Wellness where I teach weekly.)

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