here’s my inspiration and motivation to keep going. hbu?
One of the main questions i’ve had over the years is this:
What is your inspiration to continue doing what you are doing?
What is the fuel that keeps you going?
I get it.
We’re all out here, doing our best in this crazy world to make best of it the way we can. And hopefully align with something that pings our pants on the journey.
I feel so lucky that for the last 9 years as a solopreneur, i’ve been able to combine many of my passions as my full time job (or jobs cause: polymath life!)
But that’s not to say it’s been easy.
Whew! Far from it!
There have been many “dark nights of the soul”, contemplations about whether i’m being useful enough, worrying i couldn’t do everything i wanted to do the way i wanted to do it, concern for my health in juggling it all (then navigating an autoimmune disease diagnosis half way into the journey then learning to adapt to living with chronic illness which has been…terrifying and exhausting tbh).
I have spent many occasions wondering if i should keep going.
Whether there was any point in me doing all of this, no matter how much i wanted to be of service.
That perhaps i should just get a “normal” or “proper job” in order to have some “safe” and paid hours, where i could then have more time, more income and more distance from what i was doing.
Often, these concerns have been due to a lot of societal pressures: being told my face doesn’t fit, or that my dreams and goals were too big, or that i wore too much colour (hmm…k hun 🤔) , or that i was too “nice” to be taken seriously yet there’s been an equal amount of “you look like a bitch but actually you are really nice…” comments/shade from strangers … i mean… 😒 i can’t help my face, knowwhatimean? #restingbitchface?! Or just judged by particular groups of people?! You decide!
Also - and this was a big one - the lack of diversity in my fields of work have always been a big concern and been at the root of many challenges. I mean, i could say things have improved with the yoga “community” since i first started teaching, but woyyy, there is still so so far to go.
I am still, frequently “the only one” in trainings and classes.
As for being a dj as a WOC, i’m always the only one on any bill.
Which is deeply crap (but think that also says a lot about the arts + culture scenes + countries i work in…)
Same in publishing.
Coaching (in the UK at least).
It’s been relentless in whatever industry i’ve worked. It’s certainly not cause people like me don’t exist, it’s because we’re not allowed the same platforms or afforded the same opportunities or granted the same respect or paid the same as our white counterparts.
Which is utterly depressing and enough to make you want to give up. I mean, what’s the point in all the time and investment and studies and personal development and experience if only to be overlooked and unappreciated?
It’s important to see yourself. To feel represented. To have role models and inspirational peers and mentors in your community. I have them, oh my, i’m so grateful for the internet cause, truly, without my connection to these people across countries + oceans, i am not sure i could have made it.
They lift me up and remind me it’s important to keep going.
To be out here, doing what i do.
That my work is important.
But i can’t help but yearn for this feeling of connection to others in my day to day real life. To feel safe to just be me and not have to think i’m paranoid any time i attend a yoga class / “women in business” meetup that clearly, is not for people like me. I’m not welcome and it’s made very clear. Cause i stick out apparently. I make people uncomfortable by existing (re: comments about my face above). They don’t know what to say (and often just end up sticking their fingers in my hair to save their awkward feelings… and it happens to me every time i go to any of these social situations which as i type is making me feel nauseous…). Kimberlé Crenshaw’s framework on intersectionality is merely a trendy buzzword. That sits along with “diversity” and “accessibility”. A temporary label to fit the superficial gloss of these times in order to acquire more coins and monopolise even more space. That’s the thing though, by seeming to “say” something, you can look like you’re doing the work without really doing anything at all.
Anyway. (insert a deep heart-weary sigh)
I know there are many of us out here. A diverse range of people, whatever “minority”, whatever Other, and we are out here doing it. Doing the work. Being polymaths for forever cause it was necessary, and at least, in my own family line, it was to survive and pay the bills and put food on the table. I’m not the first, nor will i be the last, thank goodness. But it’s unusual still, maddeningly, for us to be paid the same as cis white peers.
And if we do get an opportunity, it’s hard not to feel tokenised in white spaces - there is always a macro or microaggression served that you’re expected to swallow. And it’s ever so lonely out here.
And to have those conversations with peers, white peers, has always been…complicated. And exhausting from all the eggshells i have to tiptoe over to protect white feelings over my own actual experience of horrendous racism, discrimination and bs in the industries i work in. UK, Norway and beyond.
These last 9 years have been a lot.
And if you have ever felt what it’s like to experience discrimination in any form, i’m sure you know what i’m talking about.
An interlude of hope:
“Go within every day and find the inner strength
so that the world will not blow your candle out.”
― Katherine Dunham
Many of us are out here in the world trying to make stuff happen, in our lives and careers. To “one day…” get to this place we have in our minds.
Perhaps we have a 5 year plan (they freak me out tbh!).
Or perhaps our vision is about a feeling with a longer term perspective (more me, obvs). Neither is better or worse of course, whatever works.
But what i will say is, no matter your dream or goal or plan, in order for there to be longevity in your journey, it has to be built on a foundation of integrity. It has to come from your baseline of truth, your reason for being and for doing what you do. Beyond “what” you’re actually doing.
It’s your route to “how” you’ll make things work, no matter what feels like it’s against you. Whatever setback, or resistance on your road.
Your ability to make things sustainable is in what lies beneath. Your driver. The spark that moves the depths of your being.
The sometimes feeling of a guttural “YES”! The sometimes feeling of uncertainty yet “ok then i’m going to do it anyway!”. The sometimes quiet whisper of “i’m scared, but i hope, so i’ll trust”.
This is the thing that will keep you going! It feels vital. It calls and urges, despite the noise of what’s hard! It exists and survives regardless!
It offers perspective and clarity amidst confusion. Is a beacon of hope and sometimes absurd belief in a sea of cynicism!
What i’m talking about, my love, is your purpose.
-Which…is a big word. I appreciate.
Bigger than one blog post can begin to unravel. But…
That’s the key to what will keep things sustainable on your journey!
It’s what will keep you showing up, despite the hard days.
Cause there be hard days, my friend….
But you can and will survive them.
There are days too where you’re knee deep in stuff you had no idea would be a part of your path. And sometimes those might not be things you’d love to or even want to do! But you have to do them, still!
Your connection to your purpose - your deeper motivation will be a beacon for you to keep going. Because you’ll connect to the bigger picture of what you’re doing.
Even if you don’t know your next steps! Or have a clue on your direction! Let your why, be your guide.
"I wasn't concerned about the hardships because I always felt I was doing what I had to do, what I wanted to do and what I was destined to do"
— Katherine Dunham
So. As promised, here’s my reason. My “why”, if you like (as it’s becoming a bit of a popular thing to say of late huh?)
Why do i do what i do?
To keep representing and offering accessible and inclusive tools to the community.
That’s my inspiration and motivation to keep going.
I know i don’t fit the image of the stereotypical yogi (teacher or student). Or DJ. Or coach. Or writer. Or podcaster. Or the fact that i’m a mix of all of these things and more (we’re multifaceted beings!). So I’m into dismantling the boundaries and barriers and creating the things i want to exist despite resistance, and doing it in my own way, for the people that are interested in it. Real people. Good people.
In the past, I had a lot of resistance from the yoga community. The western “mainstream” idea of what I am supposed to do and be and say and look like etc. It’s nothing new and it echoes what happens in other industries too of course, I experienced a lot of the same in the music industry as well as other spaces.
Sometimes, simply by existing you’re deemed radical.
So I chose not to try to meet expectations of what i was supposed to be, and instead, over the years, tried to take my work outside of those oppressive spaces and create new ones. Physically and ideologically.
Over the years I’ve created events that used spaces that weren’t often utilised for yoga/music projects: I’ve taken over art museums and culture houses and fro-yo warehouses and chicken shops and galleries and composers homes and schools and offices and basically anywhere that lets me in, to hold events combining wellness, personal development, yoga, music, art and self care, trying to challenge stereotypes and expectations around these subjects.
For me at least, it makes sense that they overlap, and sometimes there is this weird snootiness that tries to keep them exclusive and inaccessible. I want to continue to break down those walls and create spaces and environments and experiences for people to feel empowered and to feel better.
It can be political to be a self identified woman, and be a POC, a black, mixed, weirdo, leading and sharing these kinds of offerings, especially because i use non-standard physical and online spaces. But to me it makes sense, deconstructing and redefining boundaries and spaces too.
It’s political to be a polymath. To not fit into a box. But hopefully that’s changing. And I want to continue to support others to redefine and design their own lives in ways that feel good - balanced, real and meaningful. Cause what good is this 39 year journey of mine if i can’t use what i’ve learned to support Others?
Everybody deserves access to transformational tools that are authentic and accessible and it’s my mission to empower other humans to adapt and “take home” these techniques so they can create their own versions of self care in creative and sustainable ways.
Tips for finding your inspiration + motivation
to keep going!
What would KatherineDunhamDo?
“There is an energy within... pure strength... the energy of the person which is put in different forms, in different shapes... once we discover that energy I think that such a thing as dance becomes such a delight because you're moving on a stream that is you but it is even over and beyond you.”
— Katherine Dunham
I was long with it, but i think that’s because i can talk about this stuff for days, mate!
And that’s a key to finding your own “why” too:
Finding YOUR why!
What is it that you are passionate about? Can you drill into WHY you’re passionate about it?
What is it about the thing that get’s you excited? How did you get into the thing? Can you tell me a story about how you discovered this connection you had? And can you tell me why it’s important to you?
“You dance because you have to. Dance is an essential part of life that has always been with me.”
— Katherine Dunham
That’s your way in. Get really acquainted with your drivers. Let yourself understand what makes you tick and why something pings your pants. …I still don’t know if this is a horrible expression or not…
My point, is to not fear the feeling. Cause connecting with it creates a stronger connection to what you’re doing.
And it will be what guides you.
This is your purpose. Dharma. Meaning. Motivation. Sauce. The thing that keeps you going.
All of that being said, there are certainly times to quit. To throw in the towel. To adjust or remove parts from your path. And that helps to refine your focus - so what will you take with you and what will you leave behind?
What do you think?
Feel like sharing some of your thoughts with me? Tell me what keeps you going! I’d love to know your motivation (yeahhhh, that’s the Kelly Rowland song. I try not to sing it every time i say that word but… *shrugs*)
Do you feel aligned with your purpose?
Get in touch! Comment below and tell me about your journey!
or reach out in secret to let me know!
Encouragement unlimited! And a playlist to keep your head up, cause you HAVE this! 🎵
love, dionne x