A lot of people I talk to these days, whether it’s friends I’m catching up with after a long time, or someone I’m just meeting, tell me how brave they think I am for making such a big career/life change. While it is flattering, and I am so appreciative, the truth is that it wasn’t a huge decision. It was a lot of little decisions.
Each step along the way, my inner voice made it clear what the next step should be. I started meditating. I went to a retreat in India and decided to become a meditation teacher. I started to realize that although I loved my job, I would wake up when I was 60 and wonder where my life had gone. I started to crave a big life change. I fell in love. I decided to move across the world to follow my heart. I met an artist who was a physician and had made a complete career change. I didn’t even know a doctor could to that! (He’s a really good artist. And he’s really happy.) There weren’t any enticing medical jobs when I moved overseas, so I decided not to practice medicine while I was there. I looked for non-clinical jobs at the CDC, WHO and Joint Commission, but none of them panned out. I went to India, and during my teacher training, I realized that I wanted to teach meditation full time. All or nothing. My relationship circumstances changed and I ended up moving back to my hometown, Atlanta. End of a relationship, back at home, living with my parents, new career, new city. No security. But there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.
It’s not that I don’t have free will, but I do feel choiceless. Like something bigger than me is making these decisions for me. I feel that my medical career prepared me for this moment- it trained me to be a teacher, taught me the successes and pitfalls of our medical system, and showed me that doctors and healthcare professionals (and patients) are experiencing dire amounts of stress and burnout. And it gave me a voice within that community.
It feels rough, sometimes, I’m not gonna lie. I sometimes doubt myself, my message, and my ability to achieve ‘success’ in this profession, whatever that looks like. People can be skeptical of what I’m teaching, and of its value. Some are so busy being stressed that they don’t think they have time to learn this beautiful practice. There are times when everything seems to be going my way, and momentum is building, and then there are other times when nothing seems to be ‘going right’.
When it comes down to it, though, none of it lasts. The good or the bad, the success or the frustrations. Life is a series of present moments, and the more any of us try to cling to a sense of security, or a resistance to change, the more we suffer. Yes, set goals. Yes, work hard. But the outcomes? Who am I to think that I know better than nature what the future holds for me? Failure today leads to new opportunities tomorrow. These sentiments might be cliché, but it's the reality I'm living. Whenever I have doubts, I think back to how my life has changed since I started practicing Vedic meditation, and to the incredible meditation experiences I’ve had that I couldn’t have conceived of before I started practicing 5 years ago. I know in my core that I’m meant to be teaching Vedic meditation.
There’s no other option for me, really, than to put one foot in front of the other and embrace every moment of every day, whether or not it appears to be 'good news'. Most of the time, I feel like I’m living the most fabulous life in the world. Even when I don’t, I’m infinitely grateful for the ability to recognize my inner voice and make the small decisions, no matter where they lead.