Archives for posts with tag: Change

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A new year is upon us, and as with most people, I am prompted to look back and reflect on the year that has passed. For me, 2013 represented a whole new beginning in life. A chapter that has changed my perspective dramatically and shifted my goals to match. Becoming a mother was much more than a simple addition to the family, it was a beautiful awakening to a slower paced and more simple life.

As I look back on this amazing year, a few important events stick out to me. The first, of course, being the birth of Charlotte. She has altered the way I view life. More specifically, the way I perceive time. I am more patient than I ever thought I could be. You see, each day I have the rare opportunity to watch someone discover, explore and experience things for the very first time. From watching how our shadows glisten against a snow bank to laughing as we play peek-a-boo for the thirtieth time in a row, my days are filled with such wonder that I choose to consider every moment precious. Because I cannot get this time back, so I best use it as wisely as possible.

With that shift in my perception came the second big event, or change I should say, I simply care a lot less about being “somebody”. I had this notion that in order to be successful in my field I had to be well known, have countless followers on various social media sites and be working towards pseudo-celebrity status. Well let me tell you! That just seems like a lot of effort and time to put towards my ego. Time better spent make sheet forts and funny faces in the mirror with my little ball of snuggles. When I really examined why I wanted these things it was because that’s how I had come to classify success. But what is success to me? What is my personal end game? I want to be well respected in my field. I want to be considered an expert at what I do. And though it may seem like it at first, the instagram gurus and teachers with tens of thousands of facebook fans are not necessarily more of an expert… they just have a great marketing team!

I also had the revelation to stop pursuing goals that are important to other people and not exactly important to me. It is sometimes hard to carve a place for yourself in an industry full of so many talented yoga teachers. And every now and again you get wrapped up in a conversation, drop an idea, and get the encouraging jeers from the people around you to make that your new life’s purpose. What… wait… how did that happen!?! Luckily I learned to forgive myself long ago for changing my mind, so a simple shift in focus is no big thing for this coming year.

The plan for the next 365 days? Focus and continue to grow in the direction that suits my purpose. Learn more, read more, do more. My focus is to be the best version of my true self, a mother, a wife and a yogi.

As far as my shift in career focus. I am choosing to spend more time on my knowledge and approach to helping my students and less time on pushing myself to be a “popular teacher”. I have already made the shift in my classes and it feels glorious. I am back to my roots again, teaching a more authentic version of yoga (to me anyways), and most importantly, I’m not apologizing for it. I am pushing my students away from their purely western comfort zones and infusing a little more tradition into their lives. It makes me feel the way I did when I first began my journey as a teacher… like I could actually instill some sort of inspiration and change to the world around me. If this makes me slightly less popular for the time being, I’m happy to bare that cross. I think in the long run the people who come to yoga for more of a connection than a work out will find their way to my classes. The universe always matches energy (you get what you give).

This year promises to be rather entertaining on all fronts and I am looking forward to embracing all that it has in store….. oh, and  I’m going to give this whole blog thing another go…. hopefully I can stay committed this time around.

“At various points in our lives, or on a quest, and for reasons that often remain obscure, we are driven to make decisions which prove with hindsight to be loaded with meaning. (225)”
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

When everything else seems a little out of place, and I can’t quite let go, I send myself to yoga. My mind slows down, the tension melts out of my shoulders, and I am reminded as to all the reasons why I love this glorious form of therapy.

Tonight was no different. I had a fine day, nothing dramatically wrong, just feeling a little off lately. There are a lot of things running through my mind that have been winding my muscles far tighter than they are used to being. So I made the decision to leave my practice in someone else’s hands. Their thoughts could guide me through each asana so that I could simply melt into the silence of my mind. I could let go of everything that needed to be let go.

Each movement was like a breath of fresh air. Each vinyasa working me a little deeper into all the places my muscles store my feelings. Each moment, allowing me to get closer to the root of my recent discomfort. Not confronting it, but accepting its existence, and knowing that I will have to give all my thoughts their own time to present themselves. 

People think that yoga and meditation are about turning off the voice in your head and finding silence, but it’s not. We cannot truly find silence that way. We mustn’t force the mind into submission. Instead, we acknowledge the thoughts presence, and promise to hear it at a later time. Only then can the mind be satisfied to allow us freedom from all noise. 

After class I had the opportunity to stick around and enjoy the company and conversation of a few colleagues. This was wonderful. Just taking a moment to sit and drink tea. Talking about what’s been on my mind and hearing an outside opinion. Being able to do what I love best, and that’s be in and around the welcoming spirit of the yoga community. My heart fills when I have the chance to connect with someone on a level deeper than mere pleasantries. It helps that the crux of the conversation was anchored by the mutual understanding that change is hard, but living the dream is worth it.

So my day got lighter. My shoulders released ever so slightly towards their comfortable space. And the pensive tension within myself is beginning to subside. It’s almost as though I will make it through another day by finishing on a good and happy note. And really, is that not the goal of all our days?

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? (136-137)”
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

 

Nothing on my task list, I look around me. The sound of music fills our home rivaled only by the soft murmur of the dryer in the background. I sit in our living room on the sofa with feet propped lazily onto the coffee table. To my right, Buddy resting after a long day of doing all the things curious dogs tend to do. To my left, Tino is snuggled in looking elegant and refined as every cat does.

The house is in order having just been tidied. And though there’s a few chores that could be getting done, I instead choose to take this moment to notice all of this exquisite normality. This amazing feeling of silence while surrounded by inconsequential noise. It’s deafening and rejuvenating all rolled in one.

As I sit, and do what I consider important work, Greg finds himself at the desk, doing work with deadlines.

Even at 9pm on a Sunday evening, my devoted husband puts in a few hours of work. I suppose this is why he is where he is in his career. He cares. Things matter to him. Most importantly, details are his focus. I am often in awe of how much his passion seeps into his work.

This is one if those moments.

All of these things happening around me simply help me to remember how beautiful life truly is if you just take a moment to notice. If you just allow yourself to slow down and live in and amongst the little things. Stop moving from place to place, one destination from the next, and discover the glorious journey that is taking place in between.

I have this distinct feeling that when we are all coming to our final days, we will look back and appreciate these memories far more than what we currently consider the milestones of our life. These are the moments that shape our character, define our relationships and ultimately lead us towards achieving those sought after milestones because it is within these moments that we allow ourselves to grow. It takes no extra planning or effort, it just takes a little awareness.

For me, these moments let me notice what is really important. When I stop and look at my husband working hard into the night it shows me how devoted he is to his work. And just as yoga and all it brings to my life is my passion, his work is his. I respect him for loving what he does and putting so much of himself into it. I appreciate him for working as hard as he does to provide us with all that we need. And I love him for being this man without ever thinking twice about it.

If I had chosen to busy myself with some extraneous task, would I have noticed all these things? Would I have felt all of these warming feelings? And if I hadn’t, what then? Maybe nothing, or maybe we would have suffered for it in the long run. I’m happy I don’t have to speculate.

I hope to always take the time to notice. Let the little things lead my focus in life and allow the big things to fall where they may. Most of all, I hope to always choose to enjoy the journey, walk the most pleasant path and make time to sit, quietly, enjoying the moment.

It’s hard, sometimes, to initiate change.

There are only certain times in our lives that we are lucky enough to be able to change at a moments notice. When it feels right to drop all of our current obligations to simply follow a new path. Follow a new bliss.

For all the other times, it’s quite a bit more difficult. We have commitments and obligations that tie us down. We can feel trapped, and this feeling is what causes people to resent their current situations.

It can be a frightening idea, change that is. Leaving a part of your life that may have defined you for years. Closing a door in order to find a new direction. You might have reservations about the concept of change itself. Are you just seeking a challenge? Are you simply bored? Is it a case of the grass is greener? ….

YES!!

To all of these questions, yes. But why should that be a bad thing? If you’re seeking something it’s likely because your current situation is not where you’re supposed to be.

It’s true you know… The whole do what you love and you’ll love what you do thing. If you wake up and feel reluctant about something in your life, don’t just dismiss that thought, take a minute to recognize it.

For the people that are lucky enough to have something they would rather do, it can be a huge step, but it’s worth taking. It’s scary and it can be a long process, but it’s probably better for you and your happiness in the long run.

I’m not one to preach. I’m in this situation and have been for a few years to be honest. I know where I want to be, and I know what I have to do to get there, but I haven’t taken the plunge just yet. It’s very difficult to make a change that may be right for you, but will disappoint people around you. I have a big heart. I’m the type of person that has a hard time saying no and an even harder time knowing that people are going to be disappointed in me.

I know that I’ll make the change soon, and even know that it might be better if I treated it like a bandaid, but I’m afraid. I’m just not big and brave enough yet, but I will be.

I know that change is hard, but I hope everyone out there can have the courage to do what’s bet for them. Put yourself first. Why not. I promise I’ll try to muster the man-bites I need… If you do too.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~Anatole France