As the new year begins, we all tend to take a moment to reflect on our positions. I like that about us. These little universalities serve as a reminder of our general similarities. Oh my gosh, you’re human? I’m human too! You love? I do that! Have you suffered? Whoa. Weird. Me too.
It doesn’t really matter much where you were raised, what you believe, how you worship—we are, all of us, interested in the purpose and power of our lives. Also, the alleviation of whatever pain we feel. And deep, meaningful joy. The kind that we occasionally glimpse and then hunt ferociously in the concrete wild. We claim funny little trophies everywhere: shiny phones, new cars, vegan donuts or whatever. Name it. Trips, houses, furniture, football, bling, status, fame, nose jobs, yoga pants.
We pursue a whole lot of things and hope to find purpose. To be nourished. To feel good. And we may… sometimes, temporarily. Then it fades. We plot our next hunt.
We look everywhere. In friends, lovers, careers, possessions, adventure. We become desperate and try new things. Yoga Booty Ballet? A psychic? A threesome? Maybe we need a puppy. Or a new therapist.
All of which may be interesting and helpful. But not without one absolutely imperative condition.
We have to see ourselves in our interaction with these things. We have to look at ourselves relating with the wild. We have to observe. And then look inside to see its effects.
We’re conditioned to look every which way but in. We study the whole of the material world and congratulate ourselves when we take it apart, change it, fix it, understand it. People get awards for this stuff! But no one gets a PhD in themselves. We all qualify for the Nobel Peace Prize. It could go to each of us if someone had just offered a user’s manual early on. But alas.
We do whatever we can to avoid introspection despite the ongoing promise made by yogis and other seekers thousands of years ago… that we can find peace in the diligent practice of self-inquiry. It’s not a secret and it’s not religious. It’s simply access to the one source that knows our purpose, softens the hard edges of pain and offers a little joy. It’s us. It’s inside. It’s always been there. And will always be.
It isn’t the easiest process. As soon as we look in, we see. Egad. I’m an impossible knot.
At that point, most of us avert our gaze.
Thankfully, the knot is not impossible. And in these bellwether days of the year, when we’re all sneaking a little peek at ourselves—tallying up accounts, considering pace and striking notes—maybe there’s an opportunity to go a little deeper. To consider the knot.
I’m gonna be totally honest. I haven’t always shared with you everything my teachers, their guidance, and my experience with it have taught me. For a number of reasons. Like you, I’ve felt shame. That I should be better. Or different. I’ve worried that what I’ve learned is a little too wild. A little too brazen. Because I’m no one. Just a woman with funny hands and a non-discriminating sense of humor. I snort when I laugh. I know a little something about a lot of things and a whole lot about one or two. I had a decent career that taught me good, fast and hard that it wasn’t right for me. I tried to have a kid and discovered that I don’t have absolute control over my body or the trajectory of my life. I had a beautiful marriage that ended just at the point when good stories should end. I became alone and saw its merits. Saw that it’s our where we find our nature so we can share it with others.
That’s how I surrendered. I stopped trying so hard. I asked for a guide. One, then two, then three, then four appeared. Not friends. Guides. Teachers. Mentors. People with wisdom. People willing to share it with me. I take everything they offer. In return, to some, I offer money. To others, I offer gratitude, prayers, love… whatever they ask of me and whatever they’ll accept in lieu of payment. With their help, I started to understand my patterns. My habits. The ways my reluctance to change them held me back.
So here I am. With this invitation to you: if you’re curious, ask; if you want help, ask; if you want guidance; ask; if you want support, ask. Make it about you, first.
Because I think it’s time we’re all more straightforward about what we want to learn and what we can do for each other. If you’re interested in getting to know yourself—your habits, their effects, ways to change them—I’m happy to share what I can with you. I’ll care. And I’ll share the tools of yoga. Depending on your interests and goals, it’ll include movement, breathing, chanting, mantra, contemplation, meditation. And this constant reminder: what you experience with these tools isn’t about the tools of yoga.
It’s about you.
It’s about you finding connection to joy and self-awareness. It’s about you learning your own wisdom. It’s you finding you.
When you’re ready…