When I was in 5th grade I won the Young Authors competition in my school. I liked to write and had some talent at it, but it never dazzled me like choir practice, piano lessons, and dance class. I was in the Honors Program throughout middle school and high school, but when it came to taking AP Literature for college credit my senior year, I decided to bypass it and in its place take Creative Writing.
This class I loved. I could write about anything and in almost any form – short story, essay, or poetry. It was all so freeing after the classes that for years had made me a student of structure and grammatical rules. And it was through this class that I came to publish one of my poems and actually receive payment for it. But I didn’t think much of it at the time. I was busy figuring out that really tough Sondheim piece I wanted to sing at the final concert and how to sharpen my theory and piano skills before I headed to college as a Vocal Performance/Music Education Major.
I was leaning into my performance skills. This is what I wanted to do with my life and naturally the more I honed these skills the better I became at them. But this did not mean that I no longer had a talent for writing, or other talents that I may have been ignoring. I had a singular focus throughout my college years and the years leading up to my early 30s and because of that the performing side of my life continued to grow.
But then writing came into my life once again. A company I was working for in between acting gigs didn’t have anyone on staff that could write the content for their website, so I pitched in. I had forgotten I was any good at it. I was just filling in the blanks for them and helping out as best I could. But then it turned into an actual job. A “you can do this from home or wherever you are performing at the time,” kind of job. And suddenly I was writing everyday after years of barely putting pen to paper or taking the time to send email updates to friends and family.
All of us have talents like this. Things we don’t even consider special or unique, but in the end are designed just for us so we can live a life bursting with unlimited potential. You may not be good at writing or singing, but are incredibly gifted with numbers, website design, or interior décor. You might be sitting at a desk somewhere focusing on using just one of your talents, but you could easily create a career or life around something entirely different.
It seems we have to choose what talents we want to lean into and hone at such a young age. You have to have it all figured out by 18, but dreams can change and situations fall into your lap and suddenly you’re doing things you never imagined and actually loving it. Who says we only have to do one thing with our life or have a singular career? If each of us has been given a set of unique talents isn’t it best that we use as many as possible while we’re here to serve those around us? Nothing is set in stone and the journey of your life doesn’t have to be predictable, but if you allow it you can find every bend in the road an absolute surprise.
With yoga nothing is ever set in stone. You may have enviable flexibility but then have to dig deep to increase your strength. Or perhaps the opposite is true. Maybe you are instinctively talented at certain postures, but others allude you until the timing is just right and the body and mind are ready for it. The thing is as you continue to practice, the postures you really go after achieving are giving you the strength, flexibility and stamina to go even deeper into other postures making your practice one that is in constant flux, ever changing, and indeed, at times, surprising.
But as you focus on going deeper into your practice it is no longer just for you. The innate talent we all have towards the yoga, once cultivated into a meaningful and regular practice, is to be shared as an example for those working for these skills. Your asanas, stillness, and the presence of your breath are set to inspire those around you.
The key is to stay open and don’t lock anything in stone – whether it be your life, your career, or your yoga practice. Embrace the unknown of your journey, and your life and your practice will evolve into a reality you never could have imagined.
(Photo credit: israelsmith.com)
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