At first glance, 2018 seemed like a strange, frustrating year in many ways. A year I couldn’t quite put into words until I received my birthday poem in mid-November. This is a gift I look forward to each year and something that my adoptive father has been writing for me since I was 13. This year’s poem, which you can read below, described what I was feeling in a way that I was not yet able to fully express or understand.
Finding your voice
You think you are free, but there probably isn’t a gesture, a thought, an emotion, an attitude, a belief in you that isn’t coming from someone else. Isn’t that horrible? You feel pretty strongly about certain things, and you think it is you who are feeling strongly about them, but are you really? It’s going to take a lot of awareness for you to understand that perhaps this thing you call “I” is simply a conglomeration of your past experiences, of your conditioning and programming… Anthony de Mello, Awareness,
It’s a Herculean effort, to be sure—
not the finding of right words
(let alone right thoughts and actions),
but rather the separating
of those planted by others
from the ones that are unmistakably your own…
For a writer,
It is the most constant
and compelling challenge.
Getting beyond the conditioning
to the core—
and discovering the voice
that is uniquely yours—
is a lifelong journey.
What the great writers eventually discover
is that the secret comes
only to those who listen.
This has been a year
of clearing the way,
diving deep, with courage,
dissolving and re-membering.
You step forth now
in the space between
“no longer and not yet”—
perhaps less sure
but certainly more open.
Engage the Earth’s wisdom.
Allow its energy to lead you
into the stillness
that precedes thought,
and in that place,
free from ingrained attitudes, emotions, and habits,
let the words come
as they will.
And they will.
Upon reflection, I would take three key phrases from my birthday poem that helped define 2018.
- Clearing the way: I have changed my schedule so I can clear the way for my vision. I have cleared the mental thoughts and stories that are holding me back from this vision.
- The “space between no longer and not yet”: this has been a constant theme in my classes this year as I have fought with and finally accepted that I did not know the next steps in my life—and I had to be ok with that. For a Type-A controlling personality like me, acknowledging that a shift is taking place and not knowing what that means and where it will lead is pretty damn scary.
- Stillness: “sit with the question and the answer will come” is an approach I strongly believe in. This year, my soul was restless and I was often uncomfortable in my own skin; I was doing a poor job of honoring the space between no longer and not yet. After returning from a recent trip to Sayulita, I feel as if my heart found the stillness and understood the necessary steps and action needed to get there. Hello 2019!
So I ask you: What are your three power words or phrases for 2018? What did you learn that you would like to take into 2019? What past conditioning is holding you back from your vision? Has your vision for your life changed? What action plan will you create?
OWN YOUR STORY
I’ve been thinking a lot about life and destiny lately. Thoughts like, “How much of our path is already determined for us at or before birth? In the end, how do our choices impact and determine the course of our lives?”
Funny enough, all of this started with a conversation I was recently having with my 3-year-old niece, Stella. She’s about the only little human who can wake me up in the morning before I’ve had my espresso and make me read a book called “Where’s Eleven?” By our third time reading it, she had other questions.
Stella: Are you a grown up?
Stella: But look how you big you are and how little I am.
Me: I’m a very big kid.
Stella: But do you make your own food? My mommy and daddy make my food.
June Is just a few days away reminding us that we are six months into 2018. Often, this realization can make me panic feeling like I haven’t accomplished everything that I set out to do. This can send me spiraling down the dark black hole where I question my whole existence. This year I decided to notice what is right first. I hope what you read below will help you to realize the same.
Take time to notice what’s right in ourselves, in others and the world around us. We may become so concerned with correcting ourselves, we become habituated to seeing what’s wrong. Not only just seeing it but constantly looking for it. The question itself “what’s wrong?” is enough to keep us on edge.
MOMENTS OF PEACE
I try to remind students (and myself) that we are much more alike than we are different. I ask them to breathe together, as you never know how much the reminder of breath is helping the student next to you get through a challenging life moment. I know what it’s like to “what if” yourself to death, to live in a state of fear and anxiety where it feels like making a decision will leave you paralyzed. But I’ve been grateful lately to also experience pure joy and bliss where the mind is empty and quiet and there is no desire to be anywhere other than the current place and moment.
10 Steps to Warrior 3 | Yoga Tutorial
Warrior 3 is a prerequisite for inversions but it is often done incorrectly. In this tutorial, we utilize the wall to help us do this pose correctly. Keep reading for a step by step tutorial of Warrior 3.
1. Take the leg to the wall hip level and check that all of your toes are pointing straight down.
2. As you actively push the foot into the wall, lift the kneecap up contracting the quadriceps.
3. Place your hands on two blocks on the highest level and take your gaze towards the belly button, pulling the navel to the spine and tucking the ribs in simulating cat pose.