Friday, December 10, 2010

A decision to change a year

Today’s Reverb10 prompt asks, “What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?”

There is no doubt that is a loaded question. What makes a decision wise? The second half of the question, I think, answers the first for many of us. Do we determine that a decision is wise based upon the outcome of that decision? How is the wisdom of a decision different whether it is in a personal or professioal setting?

After considering these questions, and considering many big decisions I have made this year, I think I have some sempblance of an answer, especially because it fits so nicely into the general theme - integrating yoga and the law as a profession. This year, I made the decision to follow my own heart. I have been writing about this a lot this year, but just as my year has been about creating a solid foundation, deciding to follow my own heart was a huge step in that process.

But what does this mean? It means that I took the leap and said yes to going to New Zealand to study family law. Sure, I have no idea what I will do when I get back, but I trust that my work there will not go to waste, and I will come back to the United States ready to be a part of creating new family and juvenile law systems here. It means that I took the plunge and taught Stress Management workshops for lawyers, not allowing the State Bar or low sign-ups to deter me from doing what I know is going to help people. It meant, perhaps most importantly, giving up the fear of talking about yoga and heart in the professional world. That was probably the biggest step.

The other day I taught a workshop at a law firm, and one of the attendees was invited by others; ok, they used peer pressure and dragged him into the room. The poor guy had no idea what to expect. I felt myself going to that place of fear of being open about yoga, heart, meditation, etc., but then I realized that my true self would not come through, and I gave the same presentation I always do. Perhaps I did not change his views, but the possibility is there. The possibility toward openness is always there. I am lucky that I live in a time where others have set this path for me. Ten years ago, I would not be able to do the work I do now. I could barely have this blog. But because of others and their courage, I can talk about the heart chakra in a law firm and not get kicked out.

I keep telling people that I do not want this blog to be just about me, but I want it to be useful to others. These prompts have asked me to reflect on my year. Why share them? What good does that do the world? What good does it do other professionals? With this post, I hope that people can see that the professions are more open than ever to new paradigms. The world is rapidly changing, faster than any of us can comprehend, and what is “right” will continue to change each and every day. But when you follow your heart, you know that what you are doing is right for you. What I have found is that people respond best to me when I am my true self. We all “know” this, but sometimes we wonder. This year, this decision to be me, fully me, has allowed me to see that truism in its full light. 

Bringing this into the workplace is vital. Following your heart means you know what your heart wants. In work, when we know why we do the work, we are more likely to enjoy the actual doing of the work. In short, having the ability to follow your heart makes your work your livelihood and not only a way to afford the food you eat. Are you ready to make this decision?

Wise? I do not know if this decision is wisdom. What I do know is that it has made for an exciting and fulfilling year. How have you followed your heart this year?

Namaste and Blessings! 

© 2010 Rebecca Stahl, all rights reserved


  1. Following our hearts helps us "see" our purpose. And with that clarity of purpose we can make big things happen in our professions -- and deal with all the change that is happening, as you note.

    I, too, have been wondering how my posts are serving others. Self-absorption is just not my thing. Thanks for helping me see that this is about clarifying purpose, the fuel that helps us help others.

  2. Thank you, Lois. Learning to see purpose has been one of the greatest gifts for me.

  3. Where I have followed my heart this year is a decision I've come back to a few times. I was a final candidate for two jobs: one, a full-time job with regular hours and benefits in a semi-related field; the other, a part-time job doing exactly what I wanted to do, but would make my life and schedule exactly as ridiculous as it has been. I chose the part-time job. It also allowed me to keep my other part-time job, which I am now in danger of losing due to budget cuts, so I may be job hunting again in the summer. I wondered recently whether I had made the wrong decision, but I know I didn't. I have learned so much in my four months at this new job and have enjoyed it immensely. Practical learning is much more important to me than what I am learning in my master's program and helps keep me focused on my goals in a way I know I could not be if I had taken the full-time job.

    Thanks for the chance at reflection! :)