When you look up into the immensity of the night sky filled with stars, maybe a planet visible, what importance or meaning do you put there?
When you look at a happy, giggling baby, what do you see and feel?
When you look past the shore of an ocean out to the horizon where the sea meets the sky in an indistinguishable line of blues, what do you envision?
When you hear the chanting of Hindu sadhus, of Muslim imams reciting the Koran, of rabbis, cantors, priests, bishops and cardinals bellowing out prayers, what response do you observe in yourself?
When you walk through cemeteries or participate in the burial of a loved one, what significance or meaning do you put to the scenario?
We put whatever importance we want to any given moment in time, an importance that somehow fulfills a need in us. A need to defend our beliefs, to change or alter them, to lay them to rest and to adopt new ones. But we see and interpret what we want to. The world as you know it is a construct of your own mind.
Consequently, whatever you fear is in large part a construct of your mind. It is adaptable to change, as adaptable as it was when that fear first landed into a mind that had not associated fear with that particular experience or stimulus. You want change? Then look at your situation differently.
You can look at the night sky in all its splendor and see the impossibility of infinity and oblivion, randomness and chaos just waiting to swallow up this earth and all its inhabitants, or you can see the miracle of what we can barely grasp and the beauty of that not-knowingness.
You can look at a smiling, gurgling baby and feel the fear of the responsibility associated to ensuring the well-being of something so helpless and vulnerable, or you can see the possibilities associated to this beautiful bundle of joy and its potential to grow, learn, lead and inspire us all.
You can experience a funeral ceremony as the grief-drenched ending of the beauty your relationship with the deceased has been, or you can see it as the transformation of what was into what is, with the excitement of seeing what will follow, as no cycle ends without another one beginning, holding the promise of beauty to come.
This entire dream of “life” is just that, a dream. If you don’t like the dream you’re dreaming, change the filter you’re seeing it through. All you need is the knowledge that you have always been able to do it, but you were never told. I’m telling you. Now you know.
Why would you doubt your worth?
Why would you pretend to be someone else?
Why would you settle for mediocrity?
Why would you waste this precious time by doing what you’d prefer not to?
Why would you do what everyone else is doing?
Why wouldn’t you ask for help when you need it?
Why wouldn’t you reach for your dreams and wildest ambitions?
Why wouldn’t you assume that it will all work out?
Why wouldn’t you passionately respect yourself?
Why wouldn’t you finally just do it, your way, on your terms?
I’m lying in a pitch black room finding myself awake when I expected to already be asleep. The window to my right is recessed slightly and between the drawn shade covering it and the wall that frames it is the faintest strip of night that has wedged itself in. That strip is everything to me right now because it reminds me that there are degrees of darkness, that nothing is ever black or white and that when I veer off into the darker reaches of my mind and get too caught up in identifying with those reaches, there is always a lighter hue to point my mind towards.
On the eve of my 41st birthday, I find myself reflecting on how simple it would be to move from the chaos that seems to be sweeping the globe to perspective, peace and purpose. Based solely on my own experience and observations, here are some reminders to help maintain clarity and meaning, especially in the moments that would ordinarily send us into a downwards spiral:
1) Don’t let feelings of inadequacy steer you away from showing up in the world in the manner that you feel compelled to.
2) Support others.
3) Love, play and work hard.
4) Do your best, as often as possible.
5) Fess up to and own the moments where you fuck up instead of passing blame onto others or trying to protect your image due to pride. These moments are essential to evolution and learning.
6) Your dreams, the words trying to work their way through your voice and the urges that motivate you into the world are yours specifically. Pay attention to them and allow them to guide you forward. Trust they will bring you where you are meant to go.
7) Your intuition is the voice of the energy that animates your body. Listen to it. It will never steer you wrong.
8) Rise up with as much light as you can summon to meet the darkness that presents itself.
9) Take accountability and responsibility for what you put out into the world. It will outlive, outlast and represent you when you’re no longer here to do that for yourself.
10) Be kind to yourself. If you don’t know what that feels like, you won’t have any idea how to offer it over to others.
Things You Only Know If You’ve Taken A Yoga Class
1) Yoga holds a mirror up to your face and challenges you to identify what you see.
2) Yoga teachers are like politicians – some are professional bullshit artists, and some are genuinely concerned with making a difference.
3) A yoga class separates those who spew quotes around as a means of defining themselves from those who stay quiet but embody the essence of those quotes.
4) Breathing deeply is way more intense than touching your toes.
5) A good class leaves you with the understanding that the teacher hasn’t taught you anything – he or she has simply reminded you of what you already knew.
6) Staying focused on the moment you’re in is the hardest thing you can do.
7) What your mind believes the body braces itself for.
8) No one is better at getting in your way than you are.
9) People love to examine their toes, given the opportunity.
10) Yoga shifts your perception from what your take on life previously has been to what simply is.