For the last 15 years I’ve been focused on building Kindness Yoga and empowering the leaders of my studios to run things without my daily involvement. Then, last year (November 2015), my wife and I chose the 29th of December 2016 as a date that no matter what we would be boarding a plane and heading to a beach somewhere to live for a least a year. In April of 2016 (only five months after we set our goal) we were boarding a plane and moving to Costa Rica! It happened much faster than we thought. I love to practice the game of manifestation (and it is particularly potent when my wife Cameron and I can get on the same page about what we are wanting).
As a recovering opportunist, I have always looked for the easiest, most efficient next step to make the biggest difference in whatever it is I was doing. This has been a very workable strategy thus far – it has been the philosophy through which we have opened many of our studios and has been the engine behind much of our growth within Kindness Yoga. For example, someone would call and say “Hey, I am having trouble with my business, do you want to take it over?” or “Somebody just moved out of this space, do you want it?” The business has just grown and grown, and most often it was because I said “Yes”, usually this yes would push our team past what we thought was possible for us as a group (financially or bandwidth-wise).
The ceiling for what I thought was possible has really been expanded by these experiences. Each time I have said “Yes!” and taken action, providence has stepped in with all manner of support that I couldn’t have predicted and lo and behold we have been able to pull off most of these aspirations.
However, this style of life and business takes a lot of emotional energy, physical energy, and attention. Choosing this way has often lead us into a tremendous amount of uncertainty and in general it is a more stressful than easeful way of growing. At this stage of my life I am working with an axiom: ‘I don’t have to work hard to have big things occur’ (this could be achievements, global change, or personal transformation) but honestly I don’t know how this new strategy looks or have much experience with it. You see there has always been a deep desire to grow Kindness Yoga to affect greater transformation and consequently I have said “Yes!”, to many opportunities that have just shown up. Over time we have become skilled at living in the uncertainty of following the next opportunity.
However, at this point I point I find myself wondering how the practice of manifestation would look and feel without leaving it up to random opportunity? It might be really fun! It might even be more effective.
So right now I am inspired by discernment. Choosing selectively which opportunities to accept and which to pass up. For the first time in my professional career Kindness is truly operating without my day to day direction. I have become a business owner instead of an employee that owns his business. This is a really incredible position to be in, and at the same time – “What the hell do I do now?” There is nothing but opportunity in front of me, and lots to choose from. I find myself a little lost quite frankly, which is surprising to hear come out of my mouth.
That said, looking at my position from a different perspective, I can also say that there is no problem here – it is all perfect. We have the most incredible set of challenges and uncertainties that I have ever heard of. What I would tell myself is that there are no “wrong” choices, and that I can say “no” or “hold” to even what seems like perfect opportunities.
I am actively choosing the criteria around what represents an actionable opportunity. In my experience if I attract a situation that feels really good except certain points and I have the courage to say “No” to it, another version of what I am wanting is coming right on its heels. It reminds me of one of the teachings of Abraham Hicks, where they say it’s good that there is a lag time between what you say that you want and receiving it. This lag time is to protect you. If you said, “I really want to ride on an elephant – that is my dream,” and then bam! There was an elephant in your living room and you were riding on top of it, you would be experiencing the problems of getting what you wanted too fast. I think that as I have become better at getting what I want out of life, the time between asking and seeing evidence of what I want coming to me, is shortening. Especially when I am meditating, and visualizing, and speaking about it, and feeling it as if it has already occurred. Man! It’s like – is there any version of life that I couldn’t live?
I should also say though, that there is a cost to achieving a dream that is not mentioned in the colorful brochure in your mind! Moving to Costa Rica means that we had to leave Denver – and there was nothing wrong with our life in Denver. We have friends and family there, we have a community, we just built our dream home one year ago… so there are challenges of leaving a life that works. The heart-ache of saying good-bye to everything that you love and know. It is the death of my life as it was and it brings moments of deep appreciation for everything that we have.
Ultimately it has become clear that it really doesn’t matter where I live or what successes I achieve. It always comes back to this – Am I centered? Am I meditating? Am I practicing yoga every day? Is there something that I am not saying? Someone I need to forgive? Do I need to ask for forgiveness? Do the people around me know how I feel about them? It is these daily rituals that make life great.
I wonder about what it would be like if my “striving” just chilled out? Today I was driving with my daughters going under the speed limit and I had zero desire to pass the guy who was having me drive that slow. I could see people around me wanting to go faster and there was just this very different feeling inside of me – a softness, a release of something. “Wherever you go, there you are” – it’s a cliché, and yet – that is really just the truth of it. If I am not doing my rituals, and being good to my partner and good to my kids, then it doesn’t really matter where I am – I will be suffering on some level.
If I were to tap into the Universal part of me at this moment – he would be sitting back with a slight smile on his face, just really relaxed, and stomach unclenched. There is nothing wrong. There is nothing to do. I am safe.
Patrick Harrington is the father of two girls, and a husband. His life has taken on more and more meaning through his committed explorations into his own patterns of – and addictions to – suffering. His classes and retreats reflect this intimate and vulnerable process, and allow his students and fellow teachers to relate on a level that transforms. It is though his own healing journey and movement towards living his dharma that leads his yoga teaching, parenting, relationships and business.Patrick has taught before tens of thousands of students, lead teacher trainings and mentored teachers over many years as the owner of Kindness Yoga. “We – as yoga studios and teachers – are not in competition with each other,” he says. “Rather, we are in competition with all the unconscious activities out there.” Patrick believes that yoga will direct culture towards a more awakened strategy of life. He encourages us to wake up to what we want to contribute in this life and “quit messing around and get on with it!”