TRANSCEND THE SUFFERING

By August 26, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

CHAT OVER CHAI

BREAKING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE :
TRANSCEND THE SUFFERING

A lot of us think about turning our passion into our day jobs.
I did it. I’m a mission driven entrepreneur, and in real terms I’m truly living my dream.

But being an entrepreneur is also really, REALLY difficult.
+ I want you to know that, sometimes, not feeling ok is ok.

HOWEVER! Before we get into the hardships of being an entrepreneur, let’s review ALL THE GOOD about my job!
Because the rest of this is about the inevitable struggle.

THE WOMEN

There are over 20 employees in India at this point – ALL WOMEN, except for one man. The luckiest/ unluckiest man in the world!

The women are extremely sassy and love to hassle me nonstop :

You wear too much black.”
“Your hair is always messy.”
“Why don’t you have children?”
& my favorite : “You’re expired.”  I guess that’s what happens when you’re 31 and single 😉

They are total characters, and I love them so much.

THE IMPACT

To witness their stories and actually have a direct influence on their lives in such transformative ways is incredibly fulfilling.

FOR EXAMPLE:
One of our first employees was a young girl who was 19 years old, 
making bangles with her little sister for a combined $1.50 a day.
So we made a deal with the family. We will give the older sister a huge raise, if you promise to get the little one into school!
We know now, that changes everything for her.

It likely changes when she’ll get married.
When she’ll decide to have children.
What she’ll do with her life.

I don’t even know if she remembers anymore. But it brings tears to my eyes + more satisfaction than I ever imagined possible.

WHEN THE WORK IS A GIFT

There are nights I’m so excited, I can’t sleep.
Nights when I’m so at peace with what I’m doing, I rest deeply satisfied.
Days where I feel that if I could keep working like this for the rest of my life, I would be on such a constant high.
I’m so incredibly lucky.

SEEING THE DREAM COME ALIVE

There is nothing like it.

AWESOME JOB PERKS

I was in India a couple years ago on my birthday. That same day our darling employee Choti Renu had sewn through her finger.
She was crying and we got a car to bring her to the doctor. She couldn’t open the car door, because she’d never been in a car before.
So we got her all stitched up, then went back to the office where she started working away again.

Suddenly I noticed all the ladies were gone. I heard them call my name from the back. And then I went to the back room…

Where I was greeted with an attack mob.
Choti Renu picked me up and literally spun me around in the air while the others attacked me with cake.
They wiped cake all over my face & hair. (
In India, people apparently know that on their birthdays you should just bring an extra outfit…)

In addition to the cake, the ladies made me a present…
They found a picture of me and my cat on Facebook + had it screen-printed onto one of our tote bags.

Yep – that’s how I know they love me.

LIVING MY MOTIVATION

“Be ashamed to die until you’ve won some victory for humanity.”

This quote by Horace Mann is the source of my motivation.

Every day it reminds me why I keep doing what I’m doing, + inspires me to do more.
It also helps me remember that every success is meaningful.

Whether it’s finding a new source for organic thread in Delhi
(in order to support local artisans + reduce our environmental impact by shipping from a further location)
OR
Teaching one of our employees who had never used a computer before how to double-click … then send emails …
and eventually become an Excel wiz + our Quality Manager, making spreadsheets and using shortcuts I didn’t even know existed!

There’s no such thing as a “small win” in my company. Because every achievement could have a positive impact for humanity that I can’t truly even fathom the reaches of.

Your motivation for life might be different.

It might be to help others live a healthier existence.
OR
It might be to help others celebrate important moments to them by providing the best baked cookies in your city.

Whatever your motivation/mission, the most important thing is to identify what matters to you, and then live by it!

Because, despite how happy you are living your motivation, you will often feel like this:

I feel like this 50% of the time.

I know that I’m giving you mixed messages, because I was just talking about how great I feel doing my work in India.
How much I love my ladies… How I’m living my dream…

But sometimes, in between those moments when I’m so happy I can burst… this is how it feels.

Because, as an entrepreneur, it’s never just business. There are always challenges and struggles, and the business isn’t isolated from your personal life.

You still have a family.
You still have your own physical health and limitations.
You may or may not be in a relationship.
You’re always aware of how your business directly impacts your financial reality.

+ I admit … it’s hard.

There have been a few times in my life that I have taken on more than I could handle.

About 3 years into WORK+SHELTER I was doing way too much:

  • Working full-time in NYC, meaning a 9-7 job.
  • Running WORK+SHELTER and processing a super-sized order.
  • Studying for the GMAT and applying for business schools, fancy hard-to-get-in ones.
  • Going through a heart-wrenching, feel-like-I’m-dying, wake-up-every-night-crying style breakup.

I was on my way to work one day, on the train with my partner at that time, and I remember he said to me:

“Why are you even doing all of this? What’s the point of WORK+SHELTER anyway?”

I listened to him…
Then I blacked out.

I woke up outside of the train, on a dirty subway bench with a stranger.
My
partner was above ground trying to call an ambulance.
When I went to the doctor they did brain scans, thinking that I had had a seizure…

But that wasn’t it at all.
I had a crippling anxiety attack.

+ they carried on for a while.
More times than I could count, I found myself crumpled up in a ball sobbing on my kitchen floor. I had trouble breathing. Eventually, I lost the love of my life because he didn’t respect that I was born to be an entrepreneur.

There is a lot of sacrifice.

And while some things do get easier, it can all still be too much.

Just a few months ago, on New Year’s Eve, I was so low and burnt out that I couldn’t get out of bed.
I cancelled my plans + cried all day.
I couldn’t get the energy to write back to emails that whole week.

But it was a friend’s birthday, + she had been helping me a lot with WORK+SHELTER, and I didn’t want to let her down.
I kept my pajamas on, threw on my boots, + and went to show my face for a few minutes at this party…
But then, as soon as I walk in the door, I started crying.

My friend, bless her heart, gives me a huge hug + says, “YOU KNOW – we LOVE crying here.”

The next day, January 1st, I woke up at 6 AM and started working again.

SELF CARE

The take away here is that when you are a small-time entrepreneur, you ARE your business, and thus, self-care is not optional.

So if you’re thinking about taking the plunge, ask yourself:

Do I know how to take care of myself?
Is now a good time?
What does the child inside of me need?
Do I have enough friends who will let me cry at their birthday party?

Be aware of Maslows’s hierarchy of needs.
This was something I definitely had to learn the hard way.

BUT … after many years of practice + failing …

I’m basically a self care professional now.
Here are some of my tips!

  1.           Yoga yoga yoga. (Or whatever exercise makes you feel powerful and joyful. I used to think that yoga was hippie bullshit. Now I’m an evangelist. Check out some of the basic yoga poses below!)
  2.           Eat well. (No, for real. Meaning take the time to make yourself balanced meals out of real food.)
  3.           Switch up your setting. (Although working from the same office/location may be most convenient, it’s refreshing + inspiring to change your environment + setting from time to time.)
  4.           Go outside + get some sun! (Even just a 5 minute break is endless invigorating + will help you work better, longer.)
  5.           Play hooky. (I spend many evenings, including the regular Friday or Saturday night working until my local coffee shop closes. So I don’t feel too bad when I on occasion shut down my laptop early to skip off to the botanical gardens or a random architecture tour (yep, that’s what I’ll be doing when this post goes live 😀 .)
  6.           Schedule time each week to spend with friends + family. (I use Google Calendars for both my business + personal agendas! Plan it, and don’t cancel.)
  7.           Play with your cat! (Or dog.. Or goldfish.. Or whatever cute animal you fancy.)

So, what are you waiting for?

Get out there + transcend your suffering.


Be well + happy yoga~ing!
Theresa

DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW WORK+SHELTER!

    

 

{All images used under license of Shutterstock + Pinterest}

 

My Favorite Self Care Poses

Source : Greatist

1. Plank
Plank Pose

How to do it: Start in downward facing dog. Shift forward so your shoulders are stacked over wrists. Reach heels back as you lengthen the crown of your head forward. Ground down into hands, pull up through arms, and spread collarbones away from the sternum. Lift the front of your body up to support the pose.

The benefits: Considered one of the best moves for core strength, plank pose strengthens your abdominals and promotes stability.

 

2. Chaturanga Dandasana
Chaturanga

How to do it: From plank pose, shift forward slightly. Bend elbows to a 90-degree angle with upper arms parallel to floor. Ground through palms and spread collarbones wide. Lift shoulders away from the floor as you pull your front ribs into the spine. Lift upper thighs toward the ceiling as you reach your tailbone toward your heels. Gaze forward.

The benefits: Chaturanga is a key part of sun salutations, which you’ll find in most vinyasa classes. It promotes core stability and strengthens your abdominals and triceps.

 

3. Upward Facing Dog
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Upward Facing Dog

How to do it: Lie facedown on the floor. Bend elbows and place hands on the mat in line with lower ribs. Reach back through your legs, and pull yourself forward and up to straight arms. Lift thighs and knees away from the floor, spread chest wide, and lift breastbone up.

The benefits: You’ll open up your chest and shoulders, and stretch the abdominals and hip flexors. This pose appears after chaturanga in a classic sun salutation.

 

4. Half Moon
Ardha Chandrasana
Strengthen your legs and stretch tight hips with this yoga pose

How to do it: Start in triangle pose. Bend front knee, tracking it with your second toe. Step back foot in and walk bottom hand approximately 12 inches in front of you. Line up thumb with pinky toe. Shift your weight into front foot and lift back foot off the ground. Reach back leg strongly toward the wall behind you, then raise up top arm. To challenge your balance, rotate your chest up toward the ceiling and gaze up at your top hand.

The benefits: This balancing pose strengthens your legs and outer hips, stretches your hamstrings and inner thighs, and promotes concentration.

 

5. Warrior I
Virabhadrasana I
Warrior 1

How to do it: Start in downward facing dog. Step one foot forward between your hands. Turn back foot out approximately 45 degrees and ground into back foot. Line up heel to heel, or slightly wider. Bend front knee over front ankle while you stretch through straight back leg. On an inhale, lift torso and arms up to the ceiling.

The benefits: This energizing pose strengthens your legs, arms, and back muscles. It also gives your chest, shoulders, neck, thighs, and ankles a nice stretch.

 

6. Warrior III
Virabhadrasana III

How to do it: From warrior I, hinge forward at the hips and rest your abdomen on your front thigh, arms alongside ears. Step back foot in and shift your weight into your front foot. Lift back thigh up and reach through back heel. Spin inner back thigh up to the ceiling. Press palms together and gaze forward at hands. (To modify, take arms alongside hips, or place hands on the floor or on blocks under shoulders.)

The benefits: This heating pose strengthens your legs, outer hips, and upper back. It also helps improve balance and posture.

 

7. Intense Side Stretch
Parsvottanasana
Intense Side Stretch Pose

How to do it: Start in mountain pose. Step left foot back and place it flat on the floor at an approximately 45-degree angle. Ground down into both feet and lift up through both thighs. Lift arms up to shoulder height. Turn arms in slightly and join the palms to touch behind upper back. (To modify for tight shoulders, join fists to touch, grab opposite elbows, or place hands on the hips.) Hinge forward at your hips and lengthen spine over front leg. Lift shoulders away from the floor and spread chest wide.

The benefits: The pose helps calm the mind and stretches your spine, shoulders, wrists, hips, and hamstrings.

8. Dolphin
Dolphin Pose

How to do it: Come to your forearms and interlace fingers, keeping elbows shoulder-width apart. Tuck toes, lift knees off the floor, and reach hips up and back. Allow head to hang off the floor. Ground down into forearms and lift shoulders away from the floor.

The benefits: This pose helps build strength in your upper body in preparation for headstand and forearmstand. It can also help calm your mind and relieve stress.

 

9. Bow
Dhanurasana
Bow Pose

How to do it: Lie facedown, then lift chest, arms, and legs off the floor. Bend knees and reach back to grab outer ankles. Lift toes toward the ceiling, spin inner thighs in the same direction, and lengthen tailbone toward the backs of your knees. Spread and lift chest.

The benefits: This backbend stretches the whole front of the body, especially the chest and the fronts of your shoulders. It also gives a nice massage to your abdominal organs.

 

10. Camel
Ustrasana
Camel Pose

How to do it: Kneel with shins hip-distance apart. Rest hands on the back of your pelvis. Press down strongly into shins and reach up through the torso. Lift chest up as you stretch arms back to reach hands to heels. (To modify, curl toes under so you don’t have to reach as far.)

The benefits: This backbend stretches the entire front of your body, from your throat to your ankle, and even helps strengthen back muscles.