The Formula for Success

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Before I declared English as my major in college, I took a few business classes. And even though I didn't stick with business, in those courses I learned some crucial lessons I'd use my entire life. Perhaps the most important thing I learned in all of my college courses was an formula for success, taught to me by one of my favorite professors,Norm Nemrow.

Norm Nemrow.jpeg

 

Students clamored to get into Professor Nemrow's courses because he was passionate, fun, challenging and innovative. He was the sort of professor that could bring out the best in students and make them give their best because the students wanted to.

 

One day, Norm was looking around the auditorium at hundreds of young business students and said, something that would change my life. He said, “If you are here simply to learn how to make yourself rich then I would invite you to stand up and find your way out the door. You do not belong in this class. And that goes for being a doctor or lawyer or anything else. If you seek after a career just because you think you’ll be liked or seem more import because of it, then welcome to the beginning of misery. Instead, find a career based on something you love to do, even if it’s not the most lucrative profession because success revolves around this simple formula: Interest breeds excellence and excellence breeds opportunities.”

The Formula for Success

 

For me, more than mastering the use of gerunds and recognizing dangling modifiers like grammatical pariahs, this formula for success for success has been a polar star for me in my life.

 

If you wonder what an English major does as a profession, you're looking at it. I teach and write about yoga for living. Growing up, I worried that I'd always have to acquiesce to "the man" and punch a clock in some soulless enterprise, void of creativity, wellness, and personality.

 

But following Professor Nemrow's advice, while still in college, I became very interested in yoga, developed a level of excellence in the subject, and consequently have developed a fruitful career for myself, spanning more than 15 years, doing something I absolutely love, and with more opportunities than I can cash in on.

I suppose this is really what we are trying to learn in yoga, to learn to listen to our hearts and have the courage to organize our lives based on what we discover as our real priorities.

If you’ve ever been through a very challenging experience, gone through an injury or illness, had someone close to you die, even competed in a challenging race or something, you’ve probably had that experience where all the bullshit is burned away and what really matters in life is left gleaming like a seam of gold in the mountain.

 

Yoga can offer the same clarity, but through a presence that is practiced over time rather than a quick slap in the face (though if you’ve ever been to Hot Yoga your opinion might differ). Yoga can also give us the courage to help us direct our lives in the way that is meant for us.

 

May we all gain the clarity to see what really matters in our lives so that we might employ this same formula for success: interest breeds excellence and excellence breeds opportunities.

And may we have the courage to follow our dreams.

 

How you followed your dreams and found opportunities in the process? I'd love to hear your stories. Please leave a comment and share this post.

Namaste.

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Psyche and Eros: Knowing The Art of Love

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The story continues . . .  If you didn't read the first part of the story, click here.

Four Impossible Tasks

Psyche has had a tasted love and wants nothing more than to be back with Eros. Tragically, she finds herself exactly where she was previously— destitute on the bleak shores of the ocean. But this time it's different. This time she's willing to do whatever it takes to get back to Eros. No longer will she be passive and just allow things to happen for her.

As she is pleading to the gods for help, one god appears, Aphrodite, Eros' mother and says, "Okay, pretty thing. If you are serious about getting back to see my son again, you must accomplish four tasks." Psyche says that she is willing to do anything. And I don't know if you've really ever studied Greek gods but for most of them, benevolence isn't their thing. Aphrodite either wants to punish Psyche, watch her suffer or both. Or maybe Aphrodite can use this Psyche's energy in her desperate condition to get something she wants . . . from the underworld.

Sorting The Seeds of Love

 Photo cred: http://www.grethexis.com/eros-and-psyche/

Photo cred: http://www.grethexis.com/eros-and-psyche/

First, Aphrodite leads Psyche to a door and says that in this room is some seeds and that for her first task if she is to see Eros, she must sort this pile of different seeds into their respective piles and it must be done by morning time. She opens the door and in this room is an enormous pile of seeds taller than her. Aphrodite smugly closes the door and leaves Psyche to her task. Psyche wants nothing more than to be with Eros but this task is impossible. She desperately tries for a while to sort seeds the best she can but eventually she is overcome with grief and fatigue and falls into a deep sleep. During her sleep an army of ants comes in, sees the task at hand and organize themselves to meticulously and thoroughly sort all of the seeds so that in the morning time when Aphrodite throws open the door, much to both of their amazement, all of the seeds are sorted and organized. Psyche is mute in astonishment. Aphrodite isn't amused but merely points to the next task.

Fiery Fleece

Next, Aphrodite instructs Psyche that she must gather some of the golden fleece of some rams that live in a far-off field. Problem is, that these rams breath fire and will singe you to a crisp if the so much as lay eyes on you. Desperate to find her way back to Eros, Psyche makes her way to the field and is hiding in the reeds. She quickly realizes how impossible it will be to gather the fleece of these incendiary animals before she gets turned into a toasted marshmallow. And just before she turns back in defeat, she hears the wind blow through the reeds and whisper to her that if she waits until the sun sets and the rams retire, she can find the bushes near where the rams like to feed where much of their fleece has rubbed off and she can gather it without the threat of getting burnt to a crisp. This she does and again returns, the impossible task done much to the disappointment of Aphrodite.

 Styx Water

 Photo: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1442939&partId=1&people=112373&peoA=112373-2-60&page=1

Photo: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1442939&partId=1&people=112373&peoA=112373-2-60&page=1

Her third task is to gather a goblet of water from the river Styx. She arrives at the gates of the underworld and in strange fashion, the river is raging high above her in the air. There is no way she is going to be able to fill her goblet until an eagle comes down, grabs her cup in his talons, and flies up and fills the cup for her. Aphrodite? Unimpressed.

The Irresistible Lure of Beauty

Persephone's box.jpg

For Psyche's final and ultimate task, she must go all the way through the underworld and find the beautiful Persephone, who has a box with a special ointment that she must bring back to Aphrodite, ointment that will make her more beautiful than any other god. Psyche arrives at the river Styx, is once again overcome with how to even start this journey. As she is contemplating this impossible task of going all the way through hell with its obstacles, dangers, and depths, a tower speaks to her and gives her some crucial instructions. It says that she must first gather some money to pay the boatman to carry across the river Styx, that she must bring with her some sweet treats to give to the animals along the way so they don't eat her, and that no matter what, she must resist all requests made to her for help. The money and sweets aren't a big deal. She accomplishes this without a problem. What's hard for her is when she comes across a man whose donkey has dropped most of its load and who pleads for help. Next some women who look like her mother and grandmother plead for help with their task of weaving. This one hits hard because it is so much like home, remember this is what she did when she wasn't out dating like her friends? Lastly, a dying man pleads to her for help and she must resist trying to help even the dying man. At long last, she meets Persephone who gives her the box of the precious ointment.

It's done. Psyche has completed her tasks. All she needs to do is return the precious ointment to Aphrodite and she will win back her Eros. But instead of rushing straight to Aphrodite, she paused a moment and looked at the box and thought, "Why should Aphrodite get all this good stuff?" And so her curiosity got the best of her and she opened the box. As she opened the box she looked in and never had she seen anything so white, so glimmering, and attractive. Her hand reached uncontrollably into the box and touched the divine contents and because this was stuff meant only for the gods, her mortal body was overcome and she collapsed dead on the spot.

Love Returns

psych and Eros.gif

Again, in Psyche's most desperate hour, the one and only Eros comes swooping down, sees the lifeless Psyche is pierced with love for her and in proper mythic fashion, bends down to give her the most divine, the most loving, the most beautiful kiss that has ever been. Maybe it was Divine Love's purpose (read Eros), maybe it was because Psyche had traveled all the way through hell for true love, or maybe it was the divine ointment in the box, but no sooner did their lips touch than did Psyche gain a rosiness back into her cheeks. Life started to flood back through her veins and soon her eyes fluttered open and she gazed upon her true love, Eros. But this time the gaze was different. To great astonishment, she realized that not only was alive again, but that she was seeing her one and only Eros without vanishing or being cast away, something very drastic had changed. Indeed she had been turned into a god herself and with this divine boon, she and Eros could forever live in love's bliss. At last, Psyche was reborn yet reborn into something much greater than she had ever imagined possible.

What Does This Myth Reveal about You?

The Oracle knew what she was doing when she sent Psyche out to die. The old part of her that wasn't her real, true self needed to die in order to finally become what was possible for her to be. She was more than someone who would marry the Frozen Greek Yogurt geek! She was worthy of the very Eros himself. At this point in the story, she abandons the passive realm of allowing things to simply happen for her and decides to make things happen for herself. Yet, despite her effort, she is met over and over again with impossible tasks. When you are ready to act, expect to be met with the impossible. But don't give up!

 

At first when she is faced with the task of sorting the seeds, she's overcome and falls asleep. Her part of her that was rational, the doer, became overloaded and she conked out. In her sleep, the ants come and did all the work. This represents allowing the tireless work of the subconscious, the dream world or image world to work its magic. And indeed many of life's problems can't be solved in the current rational mindset. We must open up to some unimagined creative force lying within us. This is a time to listen to our dreams, to pay attention to omens, to change our efforts from physical to the trust in the ethereal.

 

When Psyche goes and attempts to gather the golden fleece from the fire-breathing rams, she listens to the wisdom of nature for the most simple, and natural solution. This wasn't rocket science. It was good old, natural, common sense.

 

The eagle flying to fill her cup with water from the river Styx represents a messenger from the divine. Birds often represent that link between heaven and earth. Maybe we further our tasks by not only listening to our dreams and by listening to nature, but also find a mode to tap into our Divine nature through meditation, prayer, or scripture, in whatever form speaks to you.

 

Now, what about the tower? It's pretty strange that the human-made structure of a tower speaks to her and gives her such practical advice. Well, sometimes we need to rely on those things that are already built, already developed, that are solid real and practical. It could be we need to consult a therapist or medication, or do something like go to the unemployment office-whatever. Sometimes we need to use the help of the system or structure that is produced by human beings. The Tower gave some practical advice to Psyche like bringing money and treats to help the passage, but also it gave some difficult advice to avoid helping other people. In this instance, it was a time where she needed to use all her resources to help herself and not fall into that trap of putting others first. Her own ultimate evolution had to be her main concern. Sometimes we identify with being the helper when we need to be helped or just put all of our efforts toward our own rebirth. There is nothing wrong with this and to do otherwise is perhaps an offense to our greatest Divine purpose during times in our lives when we are called to give birth to this new self. And of course, sometimes, we have to go through hell in order to do so. But like in the end of this story we will find ourselves coming through the other side, not only reborn but reborn into a version of ourselves we never imagined with wisdom beyond our compression. Truly we will come to KNOW THYSELF.

 

Socrates is the father of western philosophy and is known by seeking wisdom through inquiring. This method of searching for knowledge by asking questions is known as the Socratic Method.

Socrates said that the one thing really worth knowing is the art of love. And just like Socrates, maybe, through understanding how myths like that of Psyche and Eros might apply to our own lives, we too might come to really KNOW, the the art of love.

How does your life play out like a Greek myth? Please comment below. And share this post! Thanks!

For these articles I drew upon a great book by William Bridges' called, Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes, particularly the Epilogue. For more information about this subject, I'd suggest reading it.

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Psyche and Eros: Greek Gods Who Are Dying to Live Part 1.

Psyche and Eros: Greek Gods

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Greek Gods

It is said that long, long ago, in mythic times, there was a woman named Psyche who was the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. She was a Greek God without knowing it. In fact, she was so beautiful that all the eligible men thought her out of their league so she never got asked out. Here's Psyche, the most gorgeous woman in the land, staying home on Saturday night and helping her mom weave instead of partying with her sisters and friends who were hanging with the fine fellas.

Time went on and Psyche's parents began to get worried, all of Psyche's friends were getting married and having families and here's Psyche, as beautiful and sweet and smart as could be but without anyone to share her life with. And it wasn't like she wasn't trying. She'd go out and try to strike up a conversation with the man down at the Frozen Greek Yogurt shop but he would always turn his head away, all bashful like, and eventually start talking to some of the lesser ladies. This happened time and time again much to Psyche's disappointment.

So, Psyche's parents decided to stage an intervention. They decided to go to the great Oracle at Delphi and ask her what to do about their oddly destitute daughter. And with clarity and wisdom, greater than Psyche's parents could understand at the moment, the Oracle told them that they were to take Psyche out to the bleak and craggy cliffs along the shore and leave here there to die. Perplexed and disturbed but faithful, Psyche's parents did just that.

 Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVMVEXd9WQk

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVMVEXd9WQk

Revelations

Now Psyche, bewildered and forsaken, resigned herself to her fate as she lay on the rocks ready to die. She knew that nobody would ever love her and that the only fate for her was death. In this desperate condition, she fell asleep while waiting for the inevitable messenger of death and when she was sleeping, she was visited by a god, but not the one she was expecting. Instead the great god Eros came down and discovered her there distraught and ready to die. He fell in love with her upon first sight, as is want to happen with Greek gods, and asked his friend, the West Wind, to carry her to his palace.

 Photo cred: wallsave.com

Photo cred: wallsave.com

Psyche awoke in Eros's palace. It was dark and even in the shadows, she could sense its opulence and majesty. She didn't know where she was or how she got there. Assuming she had died, she was perplexed because this wasn't what she had understood the underworld was supposed to look like. Where was the river of Styx, where was that terrible underground path winding downward, where was Hades, the god of the underworld?

Soon a figure appeared in the darkness. Though Psyche could not see his face, as he spoke to her she could sense his gentle and kind nature. He explained that he was Eros, that he loved her, and that she was in his palace, and could live there the rest of her days. He told her that she could have whatever her desire fancied so long that she was never to see his face; therefore, he would only meet her in the darkness. Eros then vanished. Finally, her desires to be in love had miraculously been fulfilled.

And so during her days she was treated to scented baths, servants, delicious food and drink, private yoga classes, and anything else she could possibly want. Each night Eros would visit her. Sometimes they would make love, sometimes they would eat together, but they would always fall asleep together.

Disruption in Paradise

 Photo Cred: mythman.com

Photo Cred: mythman.com

However, each time Psyche awoke in the morning, Eros was never there. Psyche had never seen Eros's face, for that was the agreement. Well, Psyche became lonely and one night as Psyche and Eros were enjoying a little pillow talk, she asked him in the darkness if she could have her sisters visit her here in the palace. At first, Eros was adamantly opposed to the idea but he loved Psyche and wanted her to be happy so eventually he relented and allowed her to summon her sisters for a visit.

Psyche's sisters came and fell in love with the place. They loved the palace, the servants, and all the amenities.  Psyche's sisters were perplexed that she had never seen her lover, Eros. The more questions they asked about him the more she realized that she really didn't know much about him at all. "How can you be sure that he's not some monster, some beast who is holding you captive here in this place?" they asked.

This planted a gnawing seed of doubt and curiosity in Psyche's mind. So, later that night after her sisters left, and Eros came for his nightly visit, she lay there in the darkness and waited for Eros to fall asleep. She crept out of bed, grabbed a candle, lit it, and fisted a knife incase indeed he was a monster whereupon she planned to kill him. She crept back to where Eros lay sleeping and as the first ray of light shone upon Eros's face, a shockwave of astonishment sent surged through Psyche's entire body. Never had she seen anyone as beautiful as Eros. Surely he must be a god, she thought. She shivered as she looked at his beauty and the movement caused a drop of wax to drop from her candle and land on Eros's shoulder waking him. When he realized what she had done, he lamented that she had broken the rule and that as a mortal she was bound to leave the palace and never return. And in a flash the West Wind carried her back to that desolate craggy shore where Eros had first laid eyes upon her.

The story will be continued . . .

Life Lessons

So, like many of us, there were aspects of Psyche's life that didn't seem to be working well. That old life needed to face a sort of death in order for a rebirth to happen. It meant the end of her old life as she knew it. And though her new life with Eros was something new and exciting, it wasn't without sacrifices.

Often times when life isn't working, maybe it's an old relationship or job or belief system that doesn't bring us alive anymore, that old life has to suffer a death. In this myth, the Oracle represents our deep inner-wisdom that prevails over any conscious or rational thought. This wisdom can also be facilitated by a teacher or mentor who might be able to see clearly. The Oracle could also represent the mysterious circumstances of life that sometimes simply work themselves out in a way that end up being perfect for us in the long run.

And even though Psyche's new life seemed perfect in some ways, Psyche had the wisdom to betray the old, rigid beliefs, value systems and agreements, the dogma of her decision with Eros which kept her captive in a realm that she thought would make her happy but was itself a limiting paradigm. Something told Psyche that this wasn't the end of her evolution, that some bigger step needed to occur even though it probably wasn't a conscious decision. In this first part of the story there is little or no effort for any of these decisions, things simply happened and appeared for her.

What are the parts of your life that need to die? Old beliefs about place, self, work, family sometimes need to die in order to find a new version of ourselves. I don't know what I feel about reincarnation, but I certainly feel like I've lived several lives within this life. I'm someone very different than even five years ago. Can you resonate with that? What are the ways that your life seems to have changed? Have you experienced any sort of death re birth, maybe without very much effort on your part? What are the old agreements and beliefs you need to let go of in order to truly embrace this new life for yourself.

Join me next week as Psyche starts to make some very conscious decisions. . .

Scott

Beach Paradise Visualization.jpeg

Balance: Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit

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Be More With Less Giveaway

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.

Kauai.jpeg

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.

 Courtney Carver's Book Signing Event NYC Jan 15, 2018

Courtney Carver's Book Signing Event NYC Jan 15, 2018

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.  

Sourcing Your Heart's Gift

Online Yoga and Meditations Course Starts April 23

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.

GIVEAWAY!

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)

Sourcing Your Heart's Gift: What is the Meaning of Life?

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What is the meaning of life? Specifically, what is the meaning of YOUR life?

What if Vincent Van Gogh were a Real Estate Agent, Rather Than a Painter?

What is a heart’s gift? It’s that thing a person was put on Earth to share and by so doing makes it a better, more-evolved, and more beautiful place.

Your heart’s gift is the thing that only you can offer the world, in the way that only you can offer it. Your heart’s gift can be public or private, subtle or grandiose, but it is what you were meant to share.

Can you imagine a world where everyone shared their heart’s gift?

 

sourcing your heart's gift

Watch this video to understand how to understand how you make make the biggest difference for the world and find the greatest personal satisfaction in life.

an online meditation and yoga course designed to help you to dive deep into your heart to discover and develop your purpose and courageously share it with the world.

February 12- March 25 2018

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