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February 12, 2012

Misadventures of a Yogi. ~ Brian Leaf

Like the Blues Brothers before me, I am on a mission from God. Seriously!

It started one morning. I was meditating and realized that I had to write a yoga book. More precisely, I received a clear message that I had to clean my office. Myself. Not hire a cleaner, but get down and scrub. And that then, after I cleaned, I would receive the next step in my quest.

So I cleaned. I braved the spider webs. I filed piles of papers and recycled phone books from 1997. I inhaled dust for this calling, people.

Then I meditated.

And…..a few sentences came. Each day I would meditate and a few sentences would come. I would walk zombie-like (in order to stay in the zone) to my computer to record the sentences before returning to meditation.

This became the guiding principle of my days and what I wanted to talk about over lunch. However, I never showed the manuscript to anyone. It was a work in progress.

Actually, I did show a few pages, very early on, to my literary agent.

He fired me. Gently.

Over a year’s time, I lost clients and went into debt. I wondered if I might be insane. I wondered if when I finally showed the manuscript to people, we would have a Beautiful Mind moment, replete with Psycho music and the realization that, wide-eyed and drooling, I was proudly presenting seventeen journals of unintelligible scribbles.

But when I wrote, I was charged with God. I was filled with grace. Rainbows would spring from my head and illuminate the rooftops.

My friends referred to the book as my arc. I was landlocked yet constructing a giant boat at God’s behest. I was building this thing with no apparent publisher, no book deal and no platform to sell it.

Finally, one day, I was done. I had been at it—following the energy, meditating, and writing down the messages—for more than a year, so I still showed up every day and tweaked the manuscript out of habit. But the messages had stopped coming and the energy had shifted. It took me ten days to realize this.

I emailed the manuscript to a publisher. I had seen this publisher accepting my manuscript. I had seen a contract. But, a bit too neurotic to just wait and trust, I occupied myself by sending the manuscript to seventy-three additional publishers.

Around that time, I also showed it to a few friends. They knew my story. They knew I was on a mission from God. They knew I was building my arc. So I think they expected Conversations with God, and were a bit surprised when they found it to be more Louis C.K. or Seth Rogen rather than Neale Donald Walsch.

I was hurt that they were appalled. I was so in it, recording and refining the messages, that I did not find it odd that my yoga book began, “Unless you have just had lurid hotel-room sex or are acting in an episode of Mad Men, there is surely an uneven power dynamic between one person sitting naked on the toilet, and the other hovering above in a dark suit.”

But now I see that it all makes perfect sense. In a time when we get our political news through Comedy Central, why might we not receive the good news through a raunchy yoga memoir?

I received the book deal. I got a say in the cover design. I emailed Sting to write a blurb for the cover.

No word from him yet.

And this blog is my story. It is called Misadventures of a Yogi. We will talk about the publishing process, about my adventures and misadventures in yoga, about faith, about intuition, and about following one’s heart. I hope you will join me.

Photo credit here.

Brian Leaf is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi, coming to bookstores in September, 2012. You can follow him on Facebook.

This article was prepared by Assistant Yoga Editor, Soumyajeet Chattaraj.

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