Archive for sacrifice

The Same Old Question

By guest blogger, Carolyn Cook.

Why don’t I make more money?

I ask myself this question every couple of years, and I always come up with the same reasonable answers:

  • My field, non-profit live theatre, doesn’t pay well financially. The personal rewards of doing good work in this field are huge, but there’s no money in it.
  • My family means a lot to me. Choosing to homeschool my daughter and live close to my mother has curtailed the time I can afford to spend at a high-paying job.
  • My husband has a good job, so my family isn’t suffering. In fact, I work hard to run a frugal household, so that we can live comfortably and save for retirement. I enjoy the challenge.

Those three answers are so strong, they ought to put an end to the question. But somehow, like a bad penny, it keeps turning up.

Why don’t I make more money?

I’ve decided to risk changing the question, rewording it in order to rethink it.  So here goes:

  • Do I really want to make more money?
  • What, specifically, would I do with a higher income?
  • How much more money would I like to make?
  • How could I make that amount?
  • Am I willing to make the sacrifices and get the training I might need to make that amount?
  • Do I give myself permission to start finding the answers to these questions?

I think you can guess that I’ve already given myself permission to start finding answers. I have a long way to go. But I’ve given myself one concrete, though completely arbitrary, answer to guide me, at least for the time being. I’ve decided that I would love to make $40,000 a year for at least five years. After that, who knows?

I don’t know where this search for answers will lead. But just reframing the question has opened my mind. There was implied self-loathing in the first question: why don’t I, the stupid, flighty, creative type, make more money? Why am I dependent on my husband’s salary?  Why have I squandered my intelligence and education in a low-paying career?  What’s wrong with me??

That line of questioning was getting me nowhere fast. I’m risking new questions, seeking new answers, and keeping a firm handle on my self-respect.

I won’t ask that same old question again.

 is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship. You can now read about her life and insights at her own blog here.

This post first appeared on True Voices’ RiskADay blog, a project, which has now concluded.

Om-azing Grace

By guest blogger, Andrea Lea

I have been practicing yoga off and on for fourteen years now. More off than on, quite frankly. I cannot explain why there has been more off time, considering how much I love yoga and how yoga has always been there for me (when I showed up), but it is the reality. Because of the emotional turmoil of my teen years I developed an odd resistance to things which were good for me. I gave many of those “off” years to cigarettes and depression, I suppose, and let me tell you, you cannot have a consistent yoga practice and be a depressed smoker at the same time (make no mistake: this depressed smoker was disguised as someone having a lot of fun). In fact, I’m pretty sure that smoking cigarettes is the exact polarity of a pranayama practice!

We all make these trade-offs along the way, and usually we know when we are giving ourselves the short end of the stick. I knew ten years ago that I had a special relationship with yoga – that I could bring yoga to people, or translate, if you will – but I was so unwilling to part with my last little bit of teen angst and petulance that it didn’t seem worth it at the time. It felt like sacrifice. It felt like giving up something I loved. It did not feel like freeing myself from the enslavement of addiction and rewarding myself with something that brought me true joy and calm. So I lit another menthol and decided to think about it a little longer…

In early 2009 (no longer smoking or depressed) it occurred to me that I wanted to teach yoga to teenagers. Those are the years during which so much of our programming gets locked in, and many adults never seem to transcend it. I want to help kids find the strength and balance – in body, mind, and spirit – to navigate the white squalls of high school life with their dignity and identity intact. In August I got my first yoga teacher certification, and today – November 2nd – I taught my first kids’ and teens’ yoga class!

Here’s what I learned (which I believe applies to all risk):

1 – Leap!
2 – Have a detailed plan – be very prepared.
3 – Forget your plan. Go with energy flow in the room.
4 – Laugh.
5 – Note the net that appeared when you weren’t looking. (Moment of gratitude for net)
6 – NEVER convince yourself that ANY group is a “tough audience” – only outpicture the best possibilities
7 – ALWAYS remember, in every situation, that people are people. If you look them in the eyes, smile, and be authentic, you will experience the best of everyone you meet.
8 – Stop punishing self for “wasted time” or anything else that rings of mistake- or regret-like energy. Those lessons will become tools if we let them.
9 – Ten minutes of meditation (or quiet centering) can open ten doors in your heart, your mind, and on your path. Never once have I wished I hadn’t taken the time to meditate!
10 – Loosen your white-knuckled clinging attachment to a particular outcome. Indulge in the satisfaction of a risk well-taken and start planning your next one…

…which is, for me, to escape to a north Georgia cabin alone to complete my first book.


Andrea Lea is a writer who is cracking the code of the symbolic and recording the spiritually hilarious. Her adventures so far have included several years and a cooking show in post-Apartheid South Africa, a stint in rural south Georgia, a brief but sparkling singing career which she intends to revive, and a glorious indigo daughter named Dom. When she’s not painting, taking photos, writing, singing, or doing laundry, Andrea can be found in her kitchen, channeling her grandmother through new recipes, and feeding folks.

This post originally appeared on