Tag Archives: choice

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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Choosing Your Adventure

Every week I bring a new focus to the classes that I teach – one that I find helpful to me in my life and that I feel relevant and potentially beneficial to the students. These focuses are born from inspiration – the inspiration I find from a sentence I read in a book, from hearing in conversation, or simply from observing my own patterns and behaviour. The sources are many, but almost everything I’ve ever felt insightful enough to carry through to my students all boil down to the focus from two weeks ago. The focuses often present themselves to me right before I fall asleep at night, and this one was no exception.

Everything I try to convey in my classes and through the various outlets available to me, every bit of insight and advice I am approached for, all stem from one question we need to be constantly asking ourselves: am I making decisions in my life that I can be proud of? In the same way that all Hindu gods and goddesses stem from the one omnipotent energy source that is Ishvara, everything we seek and question in our lives stems from this concept of having the wherewithal and ability for staying in the present moment to question our motives for taking the decisions that we do. And boy, do we make decisions. Every minute of every hour presents us with countless options as to how we want to live this life we’ve been given. And much like those Choose Your Own Adventure books that I loved as a child, we never have only one option – if you want to do one thing, turn to page 99. If you’d rather do this other thing, turn to page 26. If neither of them is speaking to you, turn to page 155. As with those books, few of the options will ever bring you to your demise, and so we have a grand task presented to us every time we actively decide on something.

Being present and accountable for what we decide for ourselves isn’t about ensuring we’re looking for every single fork in the road to make sure that none get left by the wayside…we would go mad if we spent all our time jumping on every opportunity to make THE decision to end all other decisions…it is, however, about making sure that we check ourselves at that pivotal moment where we understand that the decision facing us has the potential to bring us closer to where we’d like to be, closest to who we see ourselves as being. We always have more than one possibility as to where our decisions will take us. As Sri Swami Satchidananda’s focus on December 1, 2011 stated, “We should be very, very careful about what desires we cultivate. There may be many other little desires, it doesn’t matter; but our predominant desire should be something elevating. Something that would take you away from this to a higher level, never something that would take you backward.” The desires we cultivate are cultivated through our choices, and with a multitude of choices available to us, we need to make sure that we find some sort of advancement or evolution through these choices. Forget about what would make others happy. Parents, siblings, friends, co-workers…it’s not about them. This journey is yours alone, and you have a responsibility to yourselves to honour who you are and how you want to live this life. Ask yourselves the most fundamental of questions when unsure of whether your decisions are proving to be fruitful or not: “Has this brought me suffering, to ANY degree, or has it brought me peace?” The answer will be clear. And it will prove helpful when choosing where your adventure will next take you. It just requires you to show up…to be awake…and to make sure that you can be proud of your choices. For no one other than yourselves. After all, it’s your adventure.

Just Do It

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I often found it incredibly strange that I seemed to be in the minority of people not vowing to change some aspect of my reality and/or behaviour come the start of a new year. My reluctance is not rooted in any type of aversion to wanting to better one’s self, or having the clarity of mind and confidence to illuminate the darker recesses of one’s personality and behaviour, all of which I find quite commendable, actually. I simply found it odd that the majority of those around me felt the need to take advantage of one specific date out of the annual calendar to attempt to bring about positive changes in their lives. As far as I’m concerned, every day that I wake up in the morning is another opportunity to bring about the changes that I’d like to see, taking individual steps towards realizing my ideal self. Despite all this, I am definitely aware of the opportunities that a new year can offer, and so I felt compelled to mention a couple of things for those who are getting closer and closer to the imminent day of reckoning.

My relationship with change has come a long way from where it used to be, which was a place of stagnance and defiance. When I was younger, most of the change that occurred in my life was imposed on me by my parents and teachers, which I eventually bought into (or, as Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements, would say, I made agreements with). Once I found myself in a position where I had control over my life, I found myself waiting for change to happen, at which point I would react in whichever way I found appropriate. Nonetheless, I allowed myself to hand over all of the power and opportunity that was available to destiny, hoping that good things did indeed come to those who waited. I lived like this until a couple of years ago, at which point I realized that my life was not unfolding in the manner that lived up to the standard that I held for myself, and that it was time to take control of the decisions and choices that would determine which paths my life would follow.

Making the decision to actively choose where I wanted my life to go was probably the hardest one I’ve ever had to make, because it involved breaking the agreements that I had made with my superiors when I was younger…and it wasn’t something that happened overnight. I gradually went through the better part of a year making sure that I wasn’t being hasty or irresponsible, while wanting to be able to procrastinate what I knew was inevitable. This incredibly drawn out process resulted in the ultimate truth: putting off any changes that we know will be beneficial to our lives simply because they’re daunting is a far greater waste of energy and time than simply making a decision and sticking to it. The amount of time I agonized over whether I was being foolish and impetuous was monumentally more taxing to my overall state of mind than if I had just decided to step up and do what had to be done. I got there in my own time, obviously, but I am now more conscious of my potential to accomplish what had previously been unimaginably intimidating, even impossible.

There is a concept that states that people lie to themselves constantly about the most significant and insignificant of events and subjects simply because to be 100% truthful would be paralysingly harsh. Due to our tendency to sugarcoat the truth to ourselves, we inevitably end up lying to each other because we are afraid that our imperfections will be evident, that they will be seen in the harsh light of reality, flaws and all. I was responsible for lying to myself about where my life was headed, and must have justified it ad nauseum to those around me simply to make myself feel better about it all. When I stopped lying, when I felt like I had no choice but to take the other available option, a quote by Nelson Mandela soon popped into my head that I had first heard in a yoga class and which stayed with me as a pseudo-mantra. Mandela’s quote is, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” A truism to remember always.

We can do anything we set our minds to. Granted, there are some that have higher obstacles to overcome, but regardless of where we’re starting from, the only person we have to answer to is ourself. In the coming weeks, and throughout the rest of our lives, the changes that we feel are inevitable, those that we’re afraid to incorporate into our lives but that we know are beneficial and that will bring us closer to our ideal selves should be actively pursued. We need to stop beating ourselves up about why we haven’t already taken these steps, and just take them. Nike’s motto “Just do it” is possibly the best advice anyone can ever be given. Think about flicking on a light switch – it’s that easy. Make the choice, take the decision to bring change into your life, and then stick to that decision until you see your life flourish as a result. Don’t get defeated and never take “no” for an answer. From my experience, taking the initial steps towards truth, beauty and light inevitably result in opportunities presenting themselves to help out along the way. If, for whatever reason, the end result is not what was initially desired, then at least an attempt was made and the rest of one’s life is not littered by “what ifs” and “I should have.” And if we end up living our lives in control of what happens to us as opposed to being ricocheted from event to event like a pinball, then we’re already a step ahead of the game. At least we did our best. That’s yoga 🙂