Yogis and writers are in it for the long haul. To misquote Lady Gaga, they don't live for the applause. Or, as one of my graduate mentors put it, academia is not for people who need a lot of affirmation. Instead, as I warn graduate students, academia is mostly wave after wave of rejection. But even that horrible pearl of wisdom isn't quite right.
Careers/lifestyles built on daily practice are mostly about working without any kind of feedback or recognition, either positive or negative.
This is what makes sustaining the work so difficult. If you don't show up at your keypad or at your yoga mat, no one knows except for you. This can be a horrifying and discouraging thought.
This makes me think a little bit about the backlash against online bragging or humblebragging that is starting to occur. While I agree that it can be gross to publicize every little achievement to 400 of your closest internet friends, there's also something to be said for taking time to celebrate milestones and to draw a little attention to the hard work that so often goes unnoticed, even if it's just drawing our own attention to our own hard work.
Today I submitted my registration fee to Yoga Alliance, which means that I am officially a registered yoga teacher. Though there's no yoga Olympics, and I personally don't understand or love the idea of competitive yoga (yes, there is a competition), it's nonetheless nice to take a moment to celebrate, since the moments come so infrequently.
But we needn't have officially-recognized milestones in order to have little celebrations. Jack London, though a horrible alcoholic, did understand how rewards worked. Once he hit his writing goal for each day, he allowed himself to start drinking. I'm thinking that I might choose a small reward for each week that I write all five workdays or each block of 10 yoga asana practices that I complete on my way to my goal of 40 practices in two months.
To misappropriate the words of another American writer, sometimes it might be okay to celebrate ourselves and sing ourselves. (even if it's just a quiet song to the self)
Get a Life, PhD
The Professor is In
The Thesis Whisperer
Tenure, She Wrote