I am constantly amazed at how the Universe and the world around me keep me on my toes. As I write this I am on a layover in Dallas, Texas, and just a few hours prior, I was at Madison Airport running back to my car at 5:38am (after a run into the airport because I realized how far the economy parking lot is, and heck I have legs to I can walk, but I don’t want to be late). In just a few minutes the Universe taught me to be even more conscious and do what my Inner Self, that whisper from God telling you to do something and when we don’t listen we may have to do something more complicated than what the initial request was. So that run back to my car I was talking about was because after check in (and my flight being moved from 6am to 6:30am) I went to the bathroom, and after, I had the thought to text my husband to tell him I’m at the airport, but I thought that I’d wait until later because I didn’t feel like taking my phone out of my bag. Well after security check I was searching for my phone and couldn’t find it…it was in my car. And at 5:38am I found myself, with my roller suitcase and handbag running in 8 degrees to get my phone, hoping I won’t miss my flight at 6:30pm.
Lesson here, do what your Inner Self says, and when you don’t there is a silver lining, I wasn’t mad that I had to run back to the car (after running in the first time to get my flight). Because I instantly thought of the fact that before I even made the choice to not look at my phone, God and the Universe already switched my flight to accommodate my choice five minutes later.
I have for many years now believed that being comfortable in life means that you are not growing, and that there are two different kinds of easy: one, easy because you are avoiding life’s challenges so what you come in contact with is never pushing you to be more than you currently are; and two, easy because you understand that you need to be challenged and that all the “problems” you are facing currently are because life is not giving up on you, the Universe and God want very much for you to succeed and that what is currently taking you down, is actually building you back up. The only real challenge is if you choose to listen or not.
Over the years I have had many opportunities to challenge my personal integrity, my belief system and how I act on it, my lifestyle, my truths, among many other personal convictions; and within all of those opportunities I have come face to face several times with the meshing and tangling with others integrity, belief system, lifestyle and personal convictions and what I have come to notice, and turn my awareness towards is my actions and reactions to the interactions with life in general.
And what I have come to find is that all these encounters force me to put life into actual action. Now as you read this you are probably wondering ‘life into actual action’, isn’t life actual action? But hear me out; life is only living when you chose to be an active part of it, faith is only faith when you choose to attest to it and walk in its footsteps. Yoga is only yoga when you take it off the mat and into every day life. Now readings this ask yourself a few simple questions: one, do I agree, two, if I don’t agree, why, am I not living up to my potential, three, am I consciously choosing to only do what is comfortable and the norm, only what others say is right or correct living.?
If everything is a mirror for right living, for ourselves to get a real glimpse as to what is really going on inside of us, then this is the question I ask myself is: “what is my mirror showing me today?” I don’t always like the mirror because it tells me that what I am doing and what I know I should be doing and am capable of, are different. When we accept the mirror in all aspects of life we allow another opportunity in- to grow and become the person the Universe and God intended us to be.
There is no drug, surgery or amount of money that can replace what the mirror can do for us. We live in an age of politically correct action; we are trying to save everyone from harm’s way, from hurt, from consequences to help them from seeing the mirror that is in front of them. I often times wonder if removing the mirror from people’s lives is really the right decision. As a yoga teacher, I tread both heavy and lightly on these grounds because we are all at a different place in life and within our own personal convictions.
I have a bit of abhorrence when my awareness kicks in and each night when my husband wants ice cream I want to pretend that I should have some too and it won’t affect me later. I dislike greatly that my mirror kicks in and shows me that I would be a lot less stressed, less tired, and more ready for the day if I just go to bed earlier. The list goes on, in the past I came to realize that my food choices were base on what I felt I should be doing rather than what I need for me, my body image was based solely on what I thought others thought of me. My self-worth was entangled in the worth of those around me. And what I believe in and acted on in faith was knotted in with was drilled into my head without reason why, and was in-fact faith without action. Sure I went to church and prayed and did my fair share of volunteering (which I love and would probably be a missionary if I wasn’t a yoga teacher) among other things.
But looking back in that part of my life what I needed was to be shown that all the things I needed were inside of me. That by accepting the Self is actually accepting the Universal Consciousness (however that manifests for you). And the self-hate I had towards myself and the lies, self-mutilation and anger I had was not an action in Universal Consciousness or of God, and although I did a pretty good job of looking the part and doing all the right things and even the work I was doing was supposed to “save me” the only thing that really saved me was when I realized that I had purpose, I was in-fact a part of that Universal Consciousness and that God was actually inside of me rather than some big scary thing in the sky that was going to punish me for wrong doing. My God is my mirror, showing me everything I need to know about myself, life and living, doing work and living honestly to the best of my ability.
My yoga practice (which has very much floated over into how I live) will not be all you expect: my family eats meat, I like an occasional cup of coffee, I am guilty of a late night snack, I own a T.V., you might be amazed at the fact that I don’t’ agree with all environmental actions taken that is currently taken to make the environment a safer place; which I think may actually be causing more toxic harm; and sometimes I even shop at Wal-mart (remember those people that work there chose to work there and need jobs, which this establishment has provided).
No one is perfect and if you are projecting yourself to be, I’m impressed and need to know your secret. But more important is that yoga is teaching me that I should be pure in all that I do, that I should be honest, compassionate and live to be happy, and share happiness with others. That it’s not talking the talk, but walking the walk.
I am thankful that my yoga, the yoga I know and live and teach and walk by is my mirror, both on the mat and off the mat, and when I approach that ready to listen, ready to learn and ready to do the work, I am amazed because I never know what is going to happen. The old me would have either ran or got defensive, but in understanding what the real point of a yoga practice is I thank God for my mirror to be able to see things as they actually are and know that what and how things come into play in my life are an opportunity for me to learn, grow and truly live.
In respect, Namaste.
Hope in her backyard in Dancer Pose
We have all said it to someone, had someone say it to us or even said it to ourselves in a moment of self realization: You need to take better care of yourself, take more time for you and maybe even learn to say no.
We do in fact get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday living that we forget that if we do not pay attention to our personal needs and well-being there will quite simply be no us, no you, no me. Within this honoring, this mindfulness we are in-acting towards ourselves it has been very apparent to me that this act of selflessness needs to be coupled with an intention, awareness and consideration of those around us as well.
We often times get too caught up in our own "stuff" we forget that what we do, the choices we make and the things we say affect those around us.
Consciousness of who we are, what we are doing and how we live is something we must choose to do each day and then act or react accordingly.
I have found myself lately in situations that have been teaching me about my own consciousness and how I am in fact playing into others lack thereof. I ultimately care so much about my foresight has been that I will sacrifice myself for others to move forward. But I have noticed lately, more than ever, that there is seldom a return on this (when you are not truly honoring your own being). Now I know some of you will say “sure there is”. But what I have ultimately found is that the self sacrifice I am referring to is the one where we are in fact enabling those around us to stay stuck, even though they may get what they need: a ride, some money, help, or a hand out with our having asked, but within that process we end up sinking our own beings to help them stay afloat with nothing in return.
Many times we (the enablers) make choices and act in such ways because we feel we may be inconveniencing others and in return they may not want to buy something of yours or come to your party or help you when you are down and out. What we often times forget is that in doing such this, with these intentions and mindset no one wins. Sure that person is down on their luck, in a bind or struggle but if you keep helping them how will they learn, and if you keep helping them how will you learn? When we act I this way we are actually holding the other people involved back from growing, we are enabling their karma to never fully meet with them face to face because we feel bad or we want to help because we feel guilty or they pull out the victim card on us. And as much as we are trying to help them honor themselves by assisting them in making the right choices, helping them heal from a crisis, we need to turn that around towards us and ask ourselves if we are doing the same thing?
The truth is we all have problems; we all have rough patches, bumps and mishaps; now some come in the form of cancer, dis-ease, financial loss, martial or family problems, and self insecurities that may in turn become horrible self destructive addictions. But these are purely learning lessons, some very difficult, some sudden, or seemingly unfair, but if you can step back from them a bit and trust that everything is in its perfect place and a learning opportunity we will only move forward leaving no one accountable for our actions except ourselves. My life has screamed this for as far as I can remember. As a young child I felt the need to fix everything, in my teens I struggled with a paralyzing eating disorder and then early into recovery our first daughter Faith at 28 weeks gestation was diagnosed with a irreversible condition that left her with a short life spent in my arms (and my husband’s). I had to choose each time to not see myself as a victim, to not blame everyone around me and to not blame myself. I choose at each moment (literally) to see what the silver lining was, to see that life was teaching me, Faith chose this life and chose me and my husband as part of her path and we to hers. She gave me personally many great things that I am grateful for and she would have not given me them any other way. Just like your current life and situation is giving you something right now to grow from, to help change your life and work through your karma.
So when we learn to honor ourselves, and act in a self-less way, we need to ask ourselves this “am I helping or hurting”, these choices should hold us accountable to our actions, words and thoughts. Remember the lady in McDonalds with the coffee, I believe that this episode paved the way for people to believe that self integrity, self responsibility and accountability will not get you what you want, we now live in a society that would rather divorce than admit that they were wrong, sue every company, person and organization than step up and do a little hard work and grow. Much of the ownership in today’s society comes in all the wrong forms. Respect is bought, stolen, or cheated, we are taught that honesty will not get you far in life, and we are taught to be enabled from early on.
Simply put, when we learn to respect ourselves, see the greater good in ourselves and lead by example what seems so hard, unfair or impossible only becomes the biggest stepping stone in your karmic journey. Sink or swim, look around is anyone really pushing you under? For me (during my eating disorder) I found I was letting myself drown, and manipulating those around me to keep me afloat just enough not to have to change.
So go out and take better care of yourself, but in that process seek awareness and understand that we are only given what we need and have asked for ourselves through our own choices and actions.
(C) 1984 Saskia Davis, check out her amazing website for more infomation www.symptomsofinnerpeace.net (some of these symptoms are compliments of this website)
- A tendency to think & act spontaneously rather than from fear.
- An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
- Loss of interest in judging others.
- Loss of interest in judging yourself.
- Loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
- Loss of interest in conflict.
- Loss of interest in always being the best, and more interested in being.
- Loss of ability to worry (a very serious symptom)
- Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
- Feeling connected with others and with nature.
- Frequent attacks of smiling for no apparent reason at all.
- Increased tendency to let things happen, rather than make them happen.
- Increased susceptibility to giving and receiving love.
- Increased tendency to laugh at what life continues to offer you.
- An overwhelming feeling of thankfulness for people in your life that are difficult to feel grateful for.
- An overwhelming feeling of thankfulness for all the things you have been given.
- A deep understanding of living life rather than doing life.