Do you know the story of My Big Fat Greek Wedding?
Nia Vardalos was a struggling comedian. Her comedy was centered around her Greek heritage and her un-Greek husband, and all of the funny things that happened as a result. One evening, Tom Hanks’s wife, who is also Greek, saw the show and loved it. She told Nia that it would make a wonderful movie.
Do you know what Nia did? She handed Tom Hanks’s wife her screenplay.
Yes, that’s right, my friends. Nia was a struggling comedian, who dreamed of having a movie made. But she didn’t just dream, my friends. She did the work. She had a dream of success, and despite struggling, she prepared for success.
Tom Hanks later saw the screenplay and called her up – and they made a movie where she played the lead role.
What would have happened if Nia hadn’t had her screeplay already written? Perhaps she would have written it, or maybe someone else would have. Maybe it would be forgotten by Tom’s wife – after all, comedy shows usually happen quite late, and at all comedy places I’ve been to there’s a two drink minimum. It doesn’t make for the best memories the next day.
Since Thursday evening, I have been in a dark place. I think everyone thinks that a “dark place” is bad, but I don’t. Dark just means alone. It’s a quiet place, a place of reflection, of introspection. I have been contemplating truth, and satya, and why it’s so hard for me to speak mine. And now I’ve moved on to asteya – nonstealing.
Not being prepared for success is, in a way, stealing from your future. Not having enough confidence, not properly educating yourself, not giving yourself the time to prepare or reflect or learn. By ignoring my truth, I have stolen from myself.
In Deborah Adele’s book, The Yamas and the Niyamas, she writes:
When we don’t know what we want or we don’t have the courage to pursue it, everything that everyone else is doing looks tempting to us. We begin to lust after others’ accomplishments and others’ possessions. We get sidetracked from our own dreams and our own realness. However, when we are focused on our own dreams, we can move forward with dignity… undisturbed by the glitter and sparkle along the way. By holding on to our “bamboo shoot,” we can begin to build our competency and create the circumstances within us to have what we want.
Holy my whole entire life.
In denying my truth – that I want to be a writer – I have been grasping onto everyone else’s dreams. That began with college. When I wanted to study English, I studied art because everyone said, “But you’re such a good artist!” And on and on. I have been searching for the career that I really want for decades, it seems like, and all because I haven’t yet been able to admit to myself that, what I really want to be, is a writer.
Several years ago, I had this existential crisis. Before, when I was a runner, I used to identify myself as such. “Hi, I’m Amy, and I’m a student and a runner.” “Hi, I’m Amy, and I’m a Fitness Specialist and a runner.” It was a part of my identity. So when I stopped running and switched to yoga, my whole identity shifted.
I was no longer a runner, but I didn’t feel like a “yogi.” And if I was once a runner, but not always a runner, then the truth of the matter was I would never always be one thing. The only unchangeable thing, at least in this lifetime, was human – so I stopped using “I am.” I started using verbs. “I practice yoga, I teach yoga, I paint, I write, I am human.” This became very important to me. This is actually how I came up with the idea “Yoga for Humans,” and the blog name “Amy is a Human.”
But now, that I study truth, I realize that the truth is always changing. And by lacking to identify myself with something in which I strongly identify, I am, in a way, stealing from my own identity. I fail to take responsibility for it.
And maybe that’s been this whole point all along, is that I haven’t wanted the burden of being me. Or the expectations that comes along with saying “I’m a yoga teacher,” or “I’m a writer,” or even, “I’m a vegetarian.” It places limitations on me in a way I wasn’t ready to accept.
And maybe I needed that for a while, but it has stolen from me the time and the responsibility it takes to adequately prepare for my own success.
And, like Deborah’s passage, I have been so easily swayed the past several years. I have wanted what others have, simply because I refused to admit to myself what I actually wanted – to write – because of the burden and the responsibility that comes with it. To be a writer, you actually have to write.
So no more, my friends. I am being true to myself. And this is me. And my truth is:
I am Amy.
I am a writer.
I am a yoga teacher.
I am still a human.
And I will bear all the responsibility that comes along with that, and I will prepare for my success (I have worked on my book every day since last Thursday, when this darkness started), and I will stop committing to things that other people want for me if they’re not what I want. (Some of it I will still have to figure out what it is that I want.)
That’s it, my friends. I hope you’ve learned from my darkness, I hope you hear your own truth bursting from inside you, and I hope you stop stealing from your future by preparing for success now.