How to Do More of What You Love Every Day and Still Pay the Bills

having funThere’s a theme that comes up often in yoga classes that goes something like this: Do what you love. It has some variations, and chances are you’ve heard them go something like this as well:

I always suspected that the people who went around saying these things had either already figured out how to do what they love and make money doing it or they were being financially supported in some way!

But I’ve thought about it some more.

Do more of what you love

Today my yoga teacher suggested an activity that was a twist on the usual “to do” list – something another yoga teacher had suggested to her. The task was to make a list of things we enjoy doing and then to be sure that we spent this day (which happened to be a Monday) doing what we want to do.

Ah, if only I had that luxury, I thought. I’d probably go get a pedicure and then pack for a week away at luxury yoga retreat – preferably one that includes learning how to draw or paint. But unfortunately, there are bills to pay. And without getting into details, I, as a responsible adult, have little choice but to make that a priority right now, so…

It seemed more or less obvious that I could not afford the luxury of being sure to have some fun on this particular day.

But wait. Life should be fun, shouldn’t it?

I’m not an advocate of being miserable. I’ve shown that in my life by leaving one or two dead-end jobs and opting out of activities and relationships that don’t help me grow, thrive and live in love. But how do those of us who don’t have the luxury of pretending we don’t need to make a living manage this “do what you love” thing?

Well, it’s simple. If you can’t do what you love every minute of the day, then you need to find a way to love what you do – or at least find a way to not be miserable while you’re doing it.

A while ago, I wrote about this in conjunction with the idea that everything in life is a meditation. I’ve learned to do this with some of the more tedious aspects of my work and my life – like dry technical editing or grocery shopping. (Seriously, next time you go grocery shopping, try to go slowly and really notice the colorful array of fruits and vegetables in the produce section or the mind-boggling number of choices you have if you want a dozen eggs or a container of yogurt!)

Doing more of what we love each day is important, and so is taking care of our responsibilities. So, if you can’t quit your job or ignore a deadline in order to spend the entire day today doing what’s on your “things that I love to do list,” try loving the simple fact that you’re alive and functioning, and make it point to love (or at least like) whatever you need to do.

After all, the very fact that you’re able to do anything is something worth appreciating. And despite the fact that I haven’t been doing something I’m in love with every second of every day, here’s a short list of the things I’ve loved doing in just the last 24 hours:

  • I drank more than one delicious cup of coffee.
  • I ate a yummy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • I went to an awesome yoga class.
  • I watched my New York Mets win (again)!
  • I watched a fascinating drama on television.
  • I listened to some of my favorite music.
  • I noticed that the lilies in a bouquet of flowers that I bought a few days ago have bloomed and are gorgeous.
  • I did my “editing meditation.”
  • I wrote this latest entry for my blog.

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