My husband and I were out walking the dog once again this weekend. The sun had finally decided to show it’s face, brightening up every corner of suburbia after a dismal, gray week and we raced to get outdoors to enjoy some fresh air and tromp through the neighborhood with our sweet pup.
As I tilted my face up to the sun and drew in the fragrance of the outdoor air I exclaimed, “It’s been a really good year.”
“Oh, really? Why?” my husband asked.
Which then turned into a half hour of me rambling on about all of the good that has come out of 2014. And afterwards my husband looked at me and said, “Well, that does sound like a good year.”
Reflecting on it now and the conversation we had about what constitutes a “good year,” I thought I’d share with you the journey I took in 2014 and why sometimes you may not physically travel at all, but you actually speed ahead on the road of life picking up tokens and lessons on the discovery to self realization.
- I learned how to say, “no.” This was a big one for me. How often did I say yes to something that made me internally groan? Too often to count! But this year I decided to say yes only to things that I truly wanted to do. I reflected on the activities throughout the week that caused extra stress or took time away from my passions and started to say no to what no longer served me, which then opened up time to say yes to the things that did. Saying no is not easy, but it is definitely worth it.
- I let go of trying to be perfect. Okay, Bikram Yogis you know what I’m talking about! We all want to be seen as perfect and to not let others see how vulnerable we can be, yet we practice a yoga that leaves us red faced and soaking wet. Where I used to spend my days completely dolled up – perfect hair, perfect make-up, and perfect clothes – I now spend them make-up free, hair pulled back, and always sporting an outfit that’s meant to get soaking wet with sweat. I have gotten to the point where when I actually do go through the motions to put on regular clothes, do my hair, and put some mascara on those lashes I barely recognize the girl in the mirror. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to be comfortable in your own skin.
- I put relationships that were not healthy in the right place. Isn’t it funny how we sometimes prioritize people that don’t prioritize you? I’m not saying get rid of all of your friends or stop spending time with your family. I’m saying recognize how others treat you and how they make you feel. You want to be surrounded by people that say, “Yes, you can!” instead of, “Do you really want to do that?” You wanted to be surrounded by people that when talking about others are not tearing them apart, but wishing them the best. If someone doesn’t have a kind word or compassion when talking about another, when they talk about you they also probably do not have kind words or compassion.
- I wrote about my past struggles to finally leave them in the past. I am currently working to write my first book based on this blog taking a look at my own journey with the yoga, as well as, the journey of students I am so fortunate to teach. It made me really sit down and face some of the darker times in my life, which was uncomfortable for me, as I don’t like concentrating on the past. But as I really took a look at the whole journey it made me thankful for where I’ve been, but even more thankful for my life now. Sometimes it’s good to look at the darkness, so you can appreciate the light.
- I realized that I don’t have to buy into the fear that there isn’t enough for everybody. We’ve been raised in a society that preaches that there is only so much to go around. It’s untrue. There is unlimited abundance in the Universe, but if you are always thinking about what you don’t have and concentrating on the fact that you don’t have it (poverty consciousness) then you will never tap into the fact that what you want is just a thought away from coming into being(wealth consciousness). Change your thoughts and you will definitely change your life.
So, the coolest part of learning all of these great life lessons this year is how it affected my yoga practice. I have been a long time believer that everything that happens in your body, happened with a thought or emotion first. Here’s a chart to give you a quick example of this.
(photo credit: http://physicalculturist.ca)
For years I have struggled with my hips and my left leg from an old dance injury. The yoga always made it feel better, but then it would flare up again and again. I knew there were old emotions trapped in that part of my body, but didn’t know how release them. (I know…how woo woo of me, but remember I am a yoga teacher, a writer, and spent years as an actress…I am a bit woo woo). But all of a sudden the hips are opening up, the pain has been gone for a while now, and I am able to go deeper and deeper into the postures. Is this a coincidence? No way!
The mind, body, and spirit are linked. Yoga teaches you that day after day, sweaty session after sweaty session. I spent this year really taking a look at where I am, releasing old fears, and saying yes to the life I want and the payoff has been nothing short of amazing. If you understand what work you need to do in your mind and your body and decide to actually do it, your spirit will soar. You will find new adventures ahead instead of repeating the same cycle year after year. And that’s what life is meant to be – just one crazy adventure lived one breath at a time.
What have you learned about yourself this year VFTP readers? What do you hope to learn in the coming year? Leave your comments below or visit the VFTP Facebook Page.