I’m having trouble reconciling the different parts of myself these days.

There’s the part of me that wants to become a yoga teacher — to spend my days in a spiritual state, practicing yoga, helping others with their practice, and writing. In some ways this feels like the truest path — the most authentic to who I really am, deep inside.

Then there’s the part of me that’s drawn to media strategy. I love it. It gets my intellectual and creative cylinders firing. And I care about media deeply — about the stories we tell, and how they shape our world.

I don’t know why I experience such duality between my spiritual and intellectual sides. Maybe it’s because for so long, my intellectual abilities were wrapped up in the false, or incomplete, version of myself that I shared with the world: the A student, the overachieving junior staffer. She was all brain, no gut — anchorless cerebral ability.

I’ve spent the past 10 years excavating my spiritual self, and maybe I’m being a little over protective — afraid that if I let my intellectual self take center stage for even a minute, she’ll take control. She likes control. And she’s ambitious. She makes it hard for me to be grounded in my body. When I get caught up with her, I forget to breathe.

How to think and breathe at the same time? How to bring the authenticity and groundedness of my spiritual life, into my intellectual life? These are the challenges before me.

Postscript: I think this tension between spirituality (which I associate with simplicity) and intellectual vigor (which I associate with complexity) is at the heart of my indecision over where to live, as well. Staying in New York feels like choosing the life of the mind, the life beyond the basic spiritual elements that fulfill me, while moving somewhere less expensive, with nicer weather, feels like following my heart, and choosing the simpler, richer life. But I see the biases I’m bringing to the table, and I realize they may not be fair.

How about you? Do you struggle to reconcile your spirituality with your intellectual interests and abilities? Or do you experience another kind of duality that you seek to reconcile?

 The photo above is by Flickr user skooksie

5 thoughts on “Reconciliation

  1. Oh – so very much. I think it is a constant struggle in some ways and yet they can clasp together quite well in other ways. Spiritually and intellectually we always need to be "fed". We yearn for more and that is natural. My problem is that I know I could shoot to the top in whatever I do if I really wanted to but the other side of me fears what it could mean and that I would have to sacrifice in areas I don't want to so I don't pursue it. I hope that makes sense. I don't feel like I'm missing out…not when I consider what I have but sometimes my need to "feed" myself intellectually and spiritually gets out of hand and I find myself ravenous for an outlet. I'm not sure if I am making sense or rambling…I do really "get" your post though and totally understand what you mean. 🙂


  2. I work towards blending my Faith into everything else. Because I am a sum of my parts, the dreamer, the writer, the worker bee, the reader, the motorcycle rider, husband, father, son, friend…I am not anyone one "thing" I am a combination of all of these and more.Perhaps, and this is only a suggestion, blending the intellect with the spiritual will make a more fulfilling whole.Just a thought. And a great post. Truly, food for thought and something I shall ponder and possibly write about.


  3. Tracy: "My problem is that I know I could shoot to the top in whatever I do if I really wanted to but the other side of me fears what it could mean and that I would have to sacrifice in areas I don't want to so I don't pursue it." …This resonates for me a LOT. The fear that pursuing intellectual paths will force me to sacrifice the spiritually nourishing things I'm so protective of, including my most authentic self. And yet, we probably both realize that fear is never the right guidance. Not this kind of fear, at least (versus the exhilarating fear that comes before taking a leap of faith). What's underneath our fear? Fear of our own power? Mark, I think you're absolutely right, that blending intellectual & spiritual will make a more fulfilling whole. That's my aspiration, but it feels very far away right now.


  4. I agree with Mark – blending together all your parts is a good way to go. If I am having a hard day at work or struggling with work I can lean towards the father and be comfortable knowing I working to help support my family.I do my best when I think about an end goal and milestone. For example, once Emily and got jobs we settled on a date to either buy or rent a place. After that everything started falling into place. We started our saving plan, figuring out how much we needed, etc.Maybe setting a date or your intellectual and spiritual goals will help get the ball rolling. I think you can have it all, as long as you make it realistic and stay disciplined.


  5. Hi Amanda – I really admire the honesty of this post (and all your posts, for that matter). I perceive yoga as an intellectual as well as a spiritual pursuit, so I would not describe the dichotomy in the same way as you. But I have struggled with wondering if I should pursue yoga/spirituality as a career – because, like you, I love it so much and can't imagine my life without it – or if I should focus my career on my other passions (cooking and health). I went ahead and did a 100-hour yoga immersion. While it doesn't qualify me to teach, it steeped me in the methodology and philosophy to an extent that has enabled me to go deeper with yoga and led to some realizations about what I really want to do in my life now – which is to pursue my passion for cooking and health.I say if you have a deep curiosity about something, go ahead and explore it and see where it takes you. Many yoga teachers I know have other things going – for example, my main yoga teacher who is quite advanced in her certification is also a filmmaker. So you never know.


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