Lets talk about hobbies. When you were a kid and someone asked you what your hobbies were, what did you answer? I asked the question in this morning’s yoga class, and some of the answers I got were dancing, playing in nature, and playing dress-up. Everyone found something in childhood that, after discovering it, found so much pleasure in it that they and (possibly) their friends made it their hobby. What growing up inevitably led to, for those of us who didn’t excel at sports or have the proclivity to do what later was admired, was the moment in the teenage or pre-teenage years when all of a sudden it didn’t matter what your favourite pastimes were, what mattered was what was “cool.” In the name of fitting in and being accepted, we all, to greater or lesser degrees, let what made us happy fall by the wayside, and we re-directed our efforts as best we could to be cool.
I’m constantly trying to inspire new ways to look at our existence to my students and readers, incorporating the Yoga Sutras and other texts, as well as the insight I have as a result of my experiences…and I’m constantly talking about the impermanence of our energy, of trying to re-connect to the source of that energy and let go of the dramas that are constantly stirred up by our jobs, our relationships, our politics, etc…I firmly believe that when we can identify everything we do and live that is temporary as temporary, it will allow us to live our lives with more perspective and be able to let what really doesn’t matter pass us by with little or no fallout. I try to ask questions that will provoke thought for those listening to me, all to make people take as much time as they can for some self-study…and in keeping with that ultimate goal, something crossed my mind earlier today…
The more work I do in Yoga, the more I realize that my focus is to help people realize their greatest, most expansive & ideal selves…to permit them to dream bigger than they ever thought acceptable, and then to pursue those dreams with unflinching confidence and determination. Whether these dreams embody one’s desire to live free of insecurities, or whether one dreams of being on a stage in front of tens of thousands of people, the road to realizing our greatest hopes is the same. In this era of shameless self-promotion, driven by the irrational hunger for fame (often with nothing to offer in return once the fame is achieved), we are conditioned by society and the media to focus on our selling points…how absolutely fantastic we are…how marketable, how picture-perfect, how dumbed down we can allow ourselves to get in order to be adored and devoured by the masses. It is exactly the flipside to this approach that fascinates me and which I encourage those who hear what I’m saying to pursue…to focus on what makes us different, what is unique to each of us, often tapping into that which remains buried under layers of defense mechanisms and insecurities. The traits and attributes that are specific to us as individuals (and that may have at one time or another been a point of embarrassment and shame) will largely determine how we are remembered, and it is in nurturing these differences that our greatest potential often unfolds.
We are surrounded by doubt and fear, from all directions, all around us. We are bombarded by images of who we should be, what we should wear, eat, and drive, and how our bodies should look. All these “standards” that we inevitably hold ourselves up to (in spite of ourselves and our better, innate judgement) succeed in driving, and sometimes even creating, that fear. Fear of not fitting in, of not belonging, of being outcast…and all the while, the only thing we are accomplishing is the complete and utter suppression of our true selves…of our innate light, of our inspiring individuality that stems from the source of all energy which we all come from and to which we all return.