Tag Archives: authenticity

I Want

IMG_3206I want to live a life of adventure. I want to know what it feels like to fall through the sky. I want to travel and see the world and have my soul resonate with the vibrations of the most beautiful geographical locations on this earth. I want to eat food that tastes like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. I want to swim in warm oceans of transparent blue water and let myself float under the sun until I’m waterlogged. I want to laugh until my jaw and my belly ache, and I want to love with a passion that inspires works of art. I want to stand in front of millions of people and wake them up to every single way that we’re exactly alike. I want to walk through forests and smell the richness of nature, and I want to be with friends who interweave their tapestries of life with mine. I want to sleep uninterrupted every night and wake up every morning when it suits my fancy. I want to find ways to express this unstoppable force of love that I find vibrating in my body, and I want to help others find ways to express the exact same force that they embody. I want to live bigger than anyone ever told me I could and I want to die knowing I did it all my way, no compromise, no dumbing down, no doing it so others can be comfortable with it.

I want you to take every “I want” out of that last paragraph and understand what I’m doing with my time.

What do you want?

 

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Push

With the deep heat of mid-July in full swing and  many people taking vacations and time off of work, I figured that now is a good opportunity to offer something to those of you who have a moment to sit and reflect. Every so often, I encourage people to take a break out of their day or week to sit in silence and reflect on what they’re doing in their day-to-day lives. I even encourage my students to take a break from their yoga practice every so often. I’ve spoken about how pausing my own yoga practice for a week or two has given me incredible insight and reminders about why yoga means so much to me and why I keep coming back to it. I’m a big fan of the perception and clarity that comes from pausing to breathe, evaluate and re-assess the state of one’s life and habits, because the potential benefits are immeasurable.When we spend the majority of our time doing something, from our professional career to keeping ourselves healthy and well, we get so caught up in the routine of it all that we lose sight of the initial reasons that brought us there.

I’ve been working a lot this year, adding a handful of projects to my already busy 2012/2013 schedule of classes, retreats, education and workshops, all to keep myself focused and stimulated. In the midst of all the planning, scheduling, and communicating, I took some time this week to unplug from all my outlets to ask myself the simplest (but scariest) of questions: why am I doing all this?

It’s very easy to lose sight of the initial reasons that led me to make the decisions I’ve made to teach, mentor and put myself out there, just as it is for anyone to lose sight of why they spend their time the way they do. The opportunities for reflecting on  how we spend our time are infinite. I know that the measure of one’s success is very often based on the degree of positive feedback and reinforcement that one receives as a result of one’s efforts, and it’s even easier to allow the ego to flare up every time that occurs. I also know, however, that the more one buys into the illusion of validation when it presents itself, the more one is affected by the lack of validation when it seems like no one is paying attention. To substantiate one is to substantiate the other, and both are an illusion. They can be indicators of possibly veering from one’s intended path, but they ultimately aren’t real.

After really giving it some thought this week, the fact of the matter is this: I do what I do because it’s the most authentic extension of myself. I do what I do because I am in a state of perpetual wonder at the possibilities that are available to not only me, but to us all. I work as hard as I do because it’s not work for me – it’s personal development and exploration. I push forward in this life to inspire others to push forward in their lives, because the possibilities are more wondrous and inspiring than anyone could imagine. I definitely feel like I face challenges and risks in having chosen a path that ultimately depends on whether or not people want to listen to what I have to say, but I also have unshakeable faith in the knowledge that nothing of any value is accomplished without taking risks and barreling through challenges.

And so I now find myself re-focused, with clear objectives in all areas of my life, objectives that I know will bring me past the boundaries of what I thought possible. I want you to do the same. Essentially, I’m doing it to show you that you can do it. I am doing everything possible to demonstrate how the doors we have always believed were closed to us have been open the whole time – we were just standing in our own way. Push past your limits of what you thought you were capable of achieving/doing/being. Don’t pay any attention to the voice of doubt or fear that will inevitably pop up, either from your own thoughts or from those around you. Do what’s right for you, and know that you haven’t figured everything out yet – keep pushing and exploring, and I’ll do the same. Let me know your findings when you get there 🙂

Truth or Dare

So things are changing at Centre Luna Yoga where I spend half of every week, as some of you already know. My extended family (and the founders of the studio) Jenn & Jason have welcomed their beautiful little boy into their family, and are both nesting with the little guy as I take the helm at Luna. Massive change for me, as my admin days there have always been shared with Jenn, laughing our way through each day as we get all that the studio needs to get done completed. My nearly sold-out Santorini Yoga Retreat is less than three weeks away, and I’m teaching more than ever. With this increase in my workload, I’ve noticed that by the end of the week, I need to take some real time for myself. To come back to myself, to recharge, to balance things out. It’s taken me a few weeks to realize that I need this – in the first week I felt like I needed to be everything for everyone, regardless of what point during my week I was being called upon, and what was being requested. From teaching classes to being a soundboard to my friends and family, I felt like I couldn’t let anyone down. They needed me, I was blessed to be needed, so I would make sure I was available for everyone..which left me reeling.

Last week, Cat from Jivamukti London left a status on her Facebook page that seemed to speak directly to what I was experiencing – she wrote that she couldn’t be everything to everyone, not authentically. She wrote that if we can be honest with ourselves about that, we were off to a good start. I swear I felt like she wrote it for me, but that’s what I hear from a lot of my students when I speak at the beginning of my classes and after they read these blog posts…so I guess we’re all living parallel existences…

My take on it, which is exactly what Cat wrote, is this: as soon as we begin to allow ourselves to be honest with ourselves, we can begin to be honest with others. I know that I have a tendency to give until I find myself depleted. With that knowledge, I have begun to pace myself and recognize when I need to say no to things and to turn down offers or opportunities, both of which I have made a pattern of taking on for the simple reason that they presented themselves. What I have noticed in my own life is that the more I take on and commit to, the more I start resenting the lack of time I have for myself. It’s silly, because I LOVE what I do. But what this has shown me is that my internal barometer will always indicate when I’m overextending myself, and so I’m now more attuned to it.

Instead of feeling badly about saying no to someone who’s asking for my attention and energy, I now realize that by explaining to someone that I’m not “fully present” due to running myself ragged, I’m letting them know that I have the respect for them that they deserve, and that while I may be refusing to engage in the moment, I’m also presenting another day and time for us to pick up the discussion…another point in time where I will be 100% authentic, present and able to give them the attention they’re asking for and that I feel they deserve. I am blessed to trusted enough to be the “go-to” person for many people, and I take that responsibility incredibly seriously. With that said, I have come to the understanding that by being honest with myself about these things, I am empowered to be honest with others. And in doing so, I am strengthening the connection and bonds that exist between us. No one wants to disappoint those they care about, or those that seek them out for guidance or a sympathetic ear, but pretending to be fully present while offering a fraction of the energy with a diminished attention span doesn’t do any good. We have to move away from the place where we are afraid to be frank and let people know what our reality is. And instead of letting them down, we’ll see that we are more appreciated than we thought we’d be, only because we’ve let people into our space of truth.

This is what I’m putting out there for you: how honest are you with yourself? What are you avoiding, and what is the worst that you think can happen by simply being real? If the yoga practice opens us up to the infinite truth of who we are and why we’re here, why would we allow that flow of understanding to suddenly halt in our communication with others? I hate to use an expression that is often regurgitated, but the time is now. One huge moment of awakening for me was in 1991 when Madonna‘s concert-documentary Truth or Dare was released. I had a wall-size poster of it on my bedroom wall, and every night before bed I would look at it and read the caption at the top of it: “The Ultimate Dare is to Tell The Truth.” It empowered me to be authentic and honest with my family and friends about my sexuality (was the Madonna poster not a big enough hint?), and not only opened up communication amongst us, but it made the bonds between us virtually indestructible.

So how can you move into a place of 100% authenticity? What aren’t you dealing with? And why not? I guarantee that the fear behind your inability to address these issues is way worse than what the future holds for you once everything has moved into a place of truth and honesty.

So there you are. It’s your move 🙂 Truth or Dare.