Tag Archives: goals

My Two Cents

As we creep closer and closer to another calendar year, I’ve been noticing more and more videos, social media and blog posts, webinars and courses on goal-setting as a way to profit from the New Year’s Resolution craze. Personally, I believe that New Year’s resolutions are ineffective and their own form of self-hate, as they typically come about by looking at some aspect of ourselves that we dislike and then vowing to change that aspect by committing to a practice that is not healthy, beneficial or respectful of who we truly are and how we operate in our own lives. I believe that we force ourselves to suffer by trying to tweak that thing that we think is a problem, and from what I’m seeing, there are tons of people ready to not only reinforce that there is something wrong, but that the only way to deal with it is to adhere to some unrealistic regimen.

If you want to take advantage of a new year to create a healthy habit, then work with intention. Set your intention to be loving and kind throughout 2016, especially when you feel pulled into anger or impatience or disregard. Set your intention every day to be loving and kind. Start with yourself and then redirect that lovingkindess outwards with no specific direction. It will land where it is meant to in ways that are unknown and unpredictable. Stop instigating change by using criticism, fear and judgement as catalysts and understand that love takes care of it all. Start there.

The Newest (business) Model

The past week has been somewhat of a cross-country whirlwind for me…I left Montreal on Monday for Vancouver to attend the 1st (hopefully) annual Lululemon Ambassador Summit, an all-expense paid trip organized by the Canadian retail giant. Along with 119 other ambassadors from all over North America, I was flown out and put up at a gorgeous hotel in the downtown core of the city, where we spent the next few days attending lectures from keynote speakers and participating in goal-setting, social networking, and other inspiring workshops…all orchestrated by Lulu, all to ensure that we, as the faces of the company in our respective communities, were living our best lives possible.

Now, I’ve worked for a retail giant that talked big, using words like “diversity” and “creativity”, and communicating how important a richly-lived life needed to be for each and every one of their employees…but when it came time to treating said employees in a manner conducive to living a rich life, the almighty dollar proved more important a priority. With the past couple of days now over, you’ll hopefully believe me when I say that Lululemon has put all other businesses to shame, and I don’t even work for them!

The people at Lulu made it transparently clear that their mission is to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness…that the business model of the future involves investing in the happiness and success of your people. With us as their ambassadors at the frontline, all they hoped was that their generosity of spirit would be passed on to those we hope to inspire, allowing the cycle of giving to expand exponentially and globally.

I got home Thursday night with images of the incredible people I met and shared moments with, along with a serious drive to continue achieving the goals I’ve set (and continue to set) for myself. With all that in mind, I did a load of laundry and then re-packed my bag to leave Friday afternoon to come down to where I’m writing this, our annual Luna Yoga Weekend Summer Retreat at Spa Eastman.

Coming into the lush beauty of the Eastern Townships to teach such an amazing group of yogis just reinforces everything I find myself working towards in my daily life. It also allows me to honor the integrity of the Lululemon mission by passing on the unconditional generosity of spirit, mere hours after coming back from the West coast.

I would like to offer up my heartfelt gratitude to everyone at Lululemon, not only for selflessly treating me like royalty simply because they could, but for reminding me that my core values are valid and shared…and that I really can effect change by being who I truly am.

Much love and respect…

Just A Thought…

I attended Jae Steele‘s workshop last week at Luna Yoga and walked away with a lot to think about. Jae was in town to promote her new vegan cookbook, Ripe From Around Here, and so I figured that her workshop would be mainly food and nutrient-based, but we ended up talking about an essential ingredient to leading a happy life: communication. We discussed all kinds of scenarios and emotions, and touched on the subject of goals, which has been on my mind for months.

How many of you are currently working towards a goal, regardless of whatever area of your life it affects? And how many of you have a goal in the back of your mind that you’ve been meaning to start working towards but either life or procrastination (or both) have prevented you from doing so? Most of us spend the majority of our energies and time on our jobs, pulling in the money we need to pay our way through life…if while doing this your soul is being nourished and you’re loving what you do, then you’re way ahead of the game. For those that don’t fall into that category, I submit the following for your consideration: why not commit ourselves to pursuing the goals that will bring us closer to where we’d like to be, where we see ourselves in our wildest, most ambitious dreams? Why not make it a point to stop listening to that little voice of doubt, the same inner voice that feels the need to rationalize everything down to the most infinitesimal particle? Why not adopt the certainty that we can be monumentally more than everything we dream of? What I’m proposing (and I do understand that we only have a certain amount of hours in the day within which we need to fulfil our obligations) is that we start actively and consciously moving towards where we see our ideal selves. If we took the same duration of time for our selves that we do for our jobs and applied ourselves to accomplishing what we dream of accomplishing, how much more peace would we be able to incorporate into our lives and into the lives of those around us? Our goals need not be of the lofty sort…from having a simple, long-overdue conversation with someone to wanting to rule the world, we can dream as big as we’d like to. What matters is that we take control of our own happiness now. Today. The only person we have standing in our way is ourself. Do yourself the favour of getting out of your own way. I did a couple of years ago, and the path that made itself visible immediately afterwards continues to be more than I ever could have hoped for. We all deserve to feel an overwhelming sense of truth…a sense of being exactly where we’re supposed to be…surrounded by and infused by the most blissfully blinding light and energy. It’s already in us all, we just need to get out of our own way to make it visible. Today. Now….

Just a thought 🙂

Truer Words

As the first month of 2010 comes to an end, I find myself exactly where I hoped I would be when I mentally mapped out the changes in my life, the first steps of which were taken in late 2008. Leaving my earlier career behind meant spending 2009 hard at work and immersed in my studies, getting the education I needed to move towards working full-time as a yoga teacher and manager of a yoga studio. I basically gave myself two years to accomplish what I felt was the bare minimum to justify all the time and expenses that were invested in my new endeavours.

As I mentioned in my Quickpost from the first day of the year, I have never been fond of New Year’s resolutions, as I preferred to incorporate the changes I wanted to make in my life into my everyday existence as opposed to choosing one day out of the year to do so. Regardless, 2010 is the first year for which I took time to sit down and think about what I wanted to accomplish over the ensuing 12 months, and as uncomfortable as I was dealing with financial goals, I wrote them down regardless. My friend Vanessa once told me that despite not wanting to be motivated by money, we should never feel the burden of guilt from wanting to live life comfortably, without having to worry over finances. Her advice has become a pseudo-mantra for me, and so I found myself on January 1, 2010 writing my goals, some financial, others not.

Four weeks to the day, I find myself amazed and humbled by the workings of the universe. After working tirelessly coordinating and preparing my website (www.bramlevinsonyoga.com), after marketing myself with nothing but ambition fuelling my actions, I have started to see all the effort, hard work and time pay off in the form of private classes, corporate classes and requests to join studios to teach group classes. As incredible opportunity after incredible opportunity continue to present themselves, my appreciation for life continues to swell as does my gratitude to the people who have encouraged me and picked me up when I let discouragement get the better of me. My primary reason for shedding my past career was to see if I could create a professional life for myself that was capable of matching the perfection I am blessed with in my personal life, and I am now seeing that occur, which motivates me even more to continue on this path.

I’m sharing all of this for a reason…I want everyone who finds themselves in a situation that is not to their liking to understand an incredibly basic, but often incomprehensible truth: we are the masters of our lives, and we have the power to change our lives through hard work and a steadfast perseverance, never taking “no” for an answer. Throughout my life I have heard people say that hard work is the only road to success, and I’m not sure if I was ready to apply myself without knowing what I was working towards, or if I thought those words just fell into the growing pail of clichés I heard people slinging around. I now know that truer words have never been spoken.

Yoga is often described as “wisdom in work”, which might explain why it feels so natural for me to immerse myself in it daily, as it taps into the innate wisdom and energy we are all born with, yet conditioned to suppress as we buy into, or make agreements with, the values that society glorifies. As we get older, we continually make decisions based on how we can better integrate into the world we live in, regardless of whether those choices are really beneficial to us as individuals. The most we can hope for is that some of us have some sort of awakening which joggles us out of our dream of reality, allowing us to recognize that the decisions we’ve made may not have been the ones we really needed to make, and that it’s never too late to re-direct our intentions and efforts towards the life we know we could (and should) be living. Understanding that happiness does indeed lie in our own hands makes all the difference, all we have to do is make that connection. Practicing yoga is one of the best ways to change how we see the world we live in and our respective (and collective) roles in it. Unifying the body, breath and mind brings us back to the simplicities of life. Practicing postures we’re not entirely comfortable with teaches us to focus and breathe through life’s more challenging moments. Inverting the body in postures such as Sirsasana, Pinchu Mayurasana and Sarvangasana conditions us to look at everything from a different perspective. And that’s what it’s all about. Looking at the world with new eyes, with innocence and humility, always a student ready to learn, understanding that we are the managers of the blessings in our lives, that we do not own them.

So I continue doing what I’m doing, allowing my life to unfold into the perfect lotus flower I was dreaming of over a year ago, and I offer it up for all to see, as an example of what is, what can be, and what always was. And for that I’m grateful 🙂