The Wisdom of the Tradeoff

Moving to Australia nearly 10 years ago meant leaving behind a comfortable existence in the US. We had a sweet house in a charming area, we had friends, the kids had friends, and my big, tight-knit family were almost all within a 30-minute drive. Nobody could see the ‘logic’ in our move across the world. And in fact there was no logic. We had a dream of a different life for ourselves and we used every cent we had to get our family and our stuff to Australia. When we got here, the change (and associated lack of money) required Layne and me to completely reinvent ourselves at the age of 47. These were huge tradeoffs.  Massive, really.

But we had the choice to look at the tradeoffs two different ways: As something to be endured, or as something that would ensure our growth.

Denis Waitley said, “A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. YOU are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.”  Rather than being weighed down by this concept, both Layne and I found it empowering. We decided that after having been through what we had been through physically; heart surgery, colons removed, brain tumour (that’s for another post), we would not see ourselves as victims, and we would NOT lead timid lives. We decided we’d take charge of things and create the life we dreamed of having, even if it didn’t make sense to the people we loved.

In my experience the distance between where we are and where we want to be is bridged by the changes we are willing to make in our lives. If nothing changes, then nothing changes.  As yogis we have a practice that offers the opportunity to create a dynamic relationship with change. The rise and fall of your breath anchors you into being when things are scary. The tempo of your heartbeat holds you steadfast in a shifting landscape.  The familiarity of your mat becomes ‘home’ when home is in transition.

That being said, some tradeoffs are never worth it. I won’t trade in my relationship with Layne and my kids for my career. I wouldn’t move in to the ‘perfect’ house if dogs weren’t allowed and we couldn’t bring Winnie. But many of us settle for living with an obstacle or limitation that can be shifted by making a healthy trade-off.

So…what is the next thing you’d like to achieve, create, do? Is there a trade-off you’ve been unwilling to make? Can you view the tradeoff as an opportunity for growth rather than a sacrifice to be endured?

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