We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Clarke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julia, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
There’s nothing worse than overriding your instinct that something isn’t right and mistaking brute force for devotion. The line between effort and struggle is a fine one: how do we know when the universe is saying “stop” and when she’s saying, “there’s another way”? I find the image of a river to be helpful here; when you’re on the right path, there might be treacherous rapids and obstacles in your way, but you meet them all with a fluidity that can only come with a deep sense of purpose. In many ways, it’s not possible to give up because the ocean is calling you. The writer Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied this for his book Finding Flow and discovered that people are happiest when they are challenged with tasks that demand skill and dedication, and which are undertaken for their own sake and not out of a sense of obligation. When I can meet challenges with a meditative sense of purpose that fills me up, I know I’m on course. I always ask myself two questions: Is this depleting me or energizing me? At the end of my life, will I regret the time I put into this?
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners and I write about yoga, Ayurveda, wellness and travel. My creative process is to ensure I have as much direct experience as possible of the depths of nature – from the peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the coral reefs of Thailand – and cull from these experiences lessons and viewpoints that are both material and subtle, personal and universal. My goal is to take ancient teachings from yoga and Ayurveda about the nature of life and explain them in ways that are accessible and make the reader feel they are at home in the universe. I got to where I am today with good fortune, sincere curiosity, a commitment to education, a lot of experiences and a sense of purpose. I pursued a bachelor’s degree in journalism straight out of high school because I always wanted to write, but that took me on a detour through a career as a radio presenter and music promoter which eventually delivered me into teaching yoga and Ayurveda. Teaching yoga gave me a medium to fall back in love with words and storytelling and I think dedicating myself both to cultivating my study of my subjects as well as my writing craft led me naturally to my first book. I don’t know if I’d say it’s been an easy journey but it’s felt fluid and fortuitous and life-affirming. One of my favorite concepts from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali reads “Pain that has not yet come is avoidable” and I try to live by that rule, offsetting future pain with self-care, enough rest, and good decisions. What do I want the world to know about Restorative Lifestyle? That rest is the foundation of action. Be still today so you can act tomorrow.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d take you on a road trip. Pick you up in Denver and head straight down to the sand dunes for our first Colorado sunset, then over to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for a day and night by the river. Over to Mesa Verde National Park to see the cliff dwellings belonging to the Puebloan Indians then to Durango for some downtime watching the steam trains puff by. Up to Vail for an overnight backpacking trip to Turquoise Lake then down to Boulder to finish up with a night (or two) at the Boulderado and dinner at Pizzeria Locale.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Shoutout is to Lorin Roche, whose work on the yoga text The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra for his book The Radiance Sutras gave me the tools to feel at home in the universe and the materials to make art out of nature. Every yoga teacher should own this book.