“The simple perspective I have come up with, through all the years and thousands of hours of practicing yoga and meditation since that first exposure, is that yoga makes you feel good. It’s relaxing. It’s energizing. It’s strengthening. You feel better at the end of a session than before you began, and life runs more smoothly when you maintain a consistent discipline than when you don’t. Yoga enhances your experience of life. It changes your perspective. You thereby find yourself spontaneously embracing a larger, more accurate conception of who you are, how life works, and what God is. You start seeing things differently, with less distortion – which results in more peace of mind, better health, more enthusiasm for life, and an ever-growing authentic sense of inner well-being.
As you practice yoga and meditation regularly, this subtle sense of feeling good gradually becomes so pervasive, so natural and genuine, so much a part of you that it carries over into the whole of your life. And in doing so it helps clarify your deepest longings, motivations, and aspirations, thereby restoring optimism, hope, meaning, and purpose to life”
What I do
I have been thinking about what I do that allows me to have a sense of purpose, intention and connection in my life.
I have noticed that most of my days are full of things I want to do and I’m surrounded by people I love who are inspiring and positive.
This is not by accident. This is my intentional life. I spend a lot of time getting clear on how I want to contribute to my family, the community and myself. I review my core values, regularly. I plan and re- work my schedule to make sure there is plenty of me time, family time, work time and open time.
Sometimes, I have a habit of belittling the work I do and telling folks, oh it’s nothing or its not big deal or I’m so lucky. And the truth is, I am lucky AND I work every day on committing to this life, this day, this world. I sacrifice and I say no, regularly. I’m not able to do everything. I work a lot, I teach a lot. I like quiet and sleeping.
what does this mean?
It means that I do the work. I show up for classes, I meet teachers, I ask questions, I study, I read & read & read. I plan and practice and when things don’t work I find a way to change it up. I listen to elders. I try new things. I feel the pain & the fear, which does not go away just because I am generally a positive person. over time, this has been the proven strategy for me to feel as if I actually have all the time I need to do the things that are the highest priority to me and that I really only do things that truly bring me JOY.
One of the teachings that I recently heard loud and clear from Maezen was in a difficult situation, we have 3 options.
- Change our mind, don’t hold too tight to our beliefs. ( this comes in handy in many of my relationships. I often apologize, put myself in someones shoes, communicate that something is unfair , relate to our common human experience, OR admit that I made a mistake)
- Change the situation, let go of how we WANT it to be. ( get creative with how we approach our lives, it DOES NOT have to be a certain way. it does not have to be clean, it can be messy. they don’t have to eat all of the vegetables every night! )
- Sit, and see what happens. ( have no clue what to do? then pause. sit. watch. observe. eventually something will happen, always)
At any given moment, these are our choices. For example, recently I had a student who was upset about something at the studio & she really wanted a refund. I thought about our policy and what felt reasonable. I decided I was not going to give the refund BUT I would give her a pass into a different event. This type of flexible leadership allowed her to felt HEARD and appreciated and for us to stick to the integrity of our policies by sticking to our expectations. This happens each week with students, teachers, friends and family.
The more flexible I become with my thoughts, expectations and views the stronger my relationships become. The more I respect the people in my life, the more they open up to me. Honestly, I have a lot less suffering as a result.
This practice has drastically changed the tension or blame games that used to occur in my life. I try to come at each unique situation with open eyes and more importantly an open heart.
Here is something else I have learned along the way. All of us are suffering in some way. We are tired. We are angry. We are stressed. We are sick. We don’t feel cared for at home or at work. We don’t feel heard.
When I remember this, my heart softens. I cannot be angry with other human beings who are experiencing so much suffering. I know this might sound a little out there- but for me, it works. When I see someone so irritated, angry, yelling or rude- I just try to step back and look at the big picture. It becomes so clear that this person is suffering, the holistic view of this being is that he/ she is not in a good place. And I’m not here to make that worse. In fact, I feel one of the reasons I am here is to make that pain go away. To demonstrate that we do have the capacity not only to shift our thoughts and perspective but that ANYONE can do it. If I can, YOU can. I don’t believe in doing this a preachy way, but through modeling. I can only change myself. I can only be myself and show love to all those I come in contact with. I can hold your hand and hug your heart. The more I practice, the easier this becomes for me and the clearer my purpose becomes.
I know we all are fundamentally loving and compassionate. I know when we strip away all the drama and the bullshit and the thoughts of our “crazy busy” lives, tears start to swell, hearts start to open and peace abides.
Can you stop and think about each beautiful being you come into contact with today and see them whole.