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A few months ago, I was thrilled to receive an email from a friend and longtime student, Courtney Carver. She was in New York promoting her new book, Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More. She wanted to reach out to her NYC signing event because she said that I had played a significant role in the evolution of the book.
See, almost 15 years ago when I was living in Salt Lake City, I got a phone call from Courtney. She was interested in private yoga sessions because she needed help finding balance in her life. She was crazy-stressed, working a poisonous and impossibly demanding job, and felt maxed out in every facet of her life.
Her abrupt wake up call for a lifestyle change came when after repeated visits to the doctor to answer some nagging questions about why she just felt so “off,” she was diagnosed with MS. And from the moment of her diagnosis she was determined to make some drastic changes to her life.
Courtney and I started meeting for private yoga sessions at 5am a few times a week because that was the only time either of us could meet and it was important enough to make it work. Together, we developed a yoga program to support her “getting her life back,” as she put it, by energizing her body, freeing her mind, and healing her heart.
We didn’t have a lot of time and her MS dictated that each practice be distilled to its essence. It couldn’t be too hot or too intense, nor too cool or too easy. We calibrated each yoga practice using the foundational principles of sukham and sthiram, the balancing principle of ease and effort. As a result, Courtney didn’t get exhausted or sluggish during our yoga practices. By eliminating the excess and practicing balance, we created a sustainable, personal yoga practice that eventually produced magical results. Her health and vitality began to return, her mind felt clear, and she felt as though some deep healing was happening in her heart.
Of course at the time I didn’t know that I was involved in the beginning of something extraordinary. This notion of eliminating excess and practicing balance soon stretched beyond her mat into the practice of her life. Courtney knew she needed to simplify her life to heal her body, mind, and heart and to find her real purpose for the world. But soon she discovered that simplifying her life was her purpose for the world.
Courtney eventually began a movement called Be More with Less. It’s message: simplify, simplify, simplify and discover how you come alive when you free yourself of the shackles of stress, the burden of an overly-demanding lifestyle, and the heaviness of owning too much stuff. Her movement took off and, all the while practicing balance, she has built an enormous audience with social media platforms, speaking engagements, a robust blog, podcasts, and most importantly her brilliant, new, and successful book, Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More. Have you heard of her Project 333? That's Courtney. Project 333 was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine. Yeah, she's big time.
The Be More with Less message mirrors something I believe, practice, and teach which is that mastery is about getting more by doing less. By learning and using yoga and mindfulness techniques of connecting body, mind, and spirit with movement, mindfulness, and breath, you avail yourself of a quality of being that is optimal to a point that is almost unimaginable. This quality of being is your birthright, the way your life is supposed to feel and comes not as the product of effort but only as the product of balance.
Though MS is supposed to be degenerative, Courtney says that she feels more alive now than she did before she was diagnosed with MS. Finding balance was the crucial lesson that helped Courtney “get her life back,” one that she would eventually share with hundreds of thousands of people across the world. And while I know that my role in her courageous and inspiring story was relatively small, I’m nonetheless very proud to have played it.
I’m not sure how many books she signed before her NYC book signing event, but you can be sure that I was the first in line at the NYC signing to proudly get an autograph.
This story has many themes. Finding balance for optimization and healing is one. Another theme is about sharing your gifts to create massive benefit for the world as well as deep, satisfying work for yourself.
I recently created an online yoga and meditation course called Sourcing Your Heart’s Gift. It’s an engaging journey about finding deep personal satisfaction and generously serving the world by sourcing your heart to discover your purpose. I loved building it and in the process my heart grew exponentially. It’s been wonderfully successful and I’m eager to run it again. The next course begins in one week on April 23.
By creating the Be More with Less movement several years ago, Courtney found her heart’s gift for the world and is bravely sharing it and actively making the world a better place. My heart’s gift for the world is sharing yoga and meditation so that people like Courtney can go out into the world and share the gifts that they are destined to share.
What is your gift that you need to share with the world?
I invite you to join me on this heart-felt journey of self discovery.
This is cool . . .
Courtney and I have teamed up to offer a joint giveaway. This giveaway is going to make you smile. I've teamed up with Courtney to help you know your heart. We'll be choosing two winners (one from a comment on this Instagram post and one from a comment on Courtney's post) by random drawing on April 18th to win membership to my online course, Sourcing Your Heart's Gift (including yoga, meditation, and a journey straight to your heart and a signed copy of her new book #SoulfulSimplicity. Learn more about my course with this link. If you’d like to win, follow these 4 simple steps.
1. Like this post.
2. Comment with something that fills your heart.
3. Tag a friend who would like this book for an extra chance to win.
4. Head over to @bemorewithless and enter to win on her post (same image)