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When I became a yoga teacher 13 years ago, I was keenly interested in introducing yoga into hospitals and mental health centers. I began my own practice right after my father died, and experienced such grounding within my grief that I longed to share the benefits of yoga with people who’d experienced illness or trauma. I taught in hospitals, but it was five years later, in county drug court, that I found my true niche working with teens.
It’s spring, the most hopeful time of the year. The other day, when I was taking a walk around the neighborhood, thrilled that I didn’t need a coat and boots, I started thinking about all the things I need to do to get my garden ready. Although I enjoy gardening, and it would be impossible for me to endure summer without fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes and cucumbers, the whole process seemed a little daunting to me at first.
Hope is one of those phenomenal insights of the emotional body that can appear in any shape and any context. Hope is cherishing the expectation of fulfillment in any part of your life. Hope is found in loved ones — your sister, brother, mother, father. Hope is the water that fills the well, the lighthouse that calls ships home. Hope is the food on your table and the gas in your car. Hope is as specific or as ambiguous as you need it to be. Where there is nothing, let there be Hope. Where there is something, let there be Hope. You can never have enough and there will never be a lack.
With the recent passing of the equinox and the shifting from one season to the next, Hope has taken up residence around each corner of Spring’s beautiful awakening.
“Busy” has become the anthem of the anxious. And yet, when asked, most are hard-pressed to say what, exactly, they’re so busy doing. They shrug and say, “you know, with kids,” or an even more vague, “Not enough hours in the day.”
There was a time I envied those “busy” people. Thanks to a youth spent largely ignored by my more-popular peers, I equated “busy” with “popular.” At home with my books, I imagined “busy” meant parties and concerts, dinners with friends, and interesting work commitments. The lives of “busy” people struck me as exciting. Their time was in demand, and their busyness seemed an indictment of my own busy-less life.
While in LA this past month, I spent some time at the Agape Spiritual Center and listened to the teachings of its founder, Reverend Michael Beckwith. I was inspired by so much of what he said, and one thing really struck home: “If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.”
So often we have a dream or a desire to accomplish something, to do something or to create something, but we get stopped in our tracks because we are paralyzed by the fear of failure or fear of discomfort. Instead of facing that fear or going through the discomfort, we give up on our dream.
We often find ourselves “asking” for expansion. We ask for expansion into a more powerful way of living and being; expansion in our thinking; expansion in our abundance and affluence; expansion in our relationships. The interesting thing to me is that when we are in a space of desiring expansion, we don’t often consider the totality of what that means.
We are now well into 2011, and many people are deep into the discussion of the shifts occurring on this planet. Some feel they are directly tied to the Mayan Calendar and predictions for 2012. Others feel that we are in the center of a transformational movement unlike any other in history.
I recently spoke at a wonderful conference in Sedona, Ariz. The whole theme was about transcendence and how we navigate the waters of the shifts taking place. As I contemplated my talk, it became clear to me that WE ARE THE GIFT in the shift. Each one of us is here for a unique purpose, and each of us has been given all of the tools that we need to be fulfilled and make a difference on this planet. If that is true, then the question becomes “What is in the way of us soaring?” I believe it is because we are stuck in the muck of consistent mind chatter that tries to convince us that we are victims of inevitable doom. This is fed by the intense news reports, old familial belief systems and inaccurate information passed down from various arenas.
On Oprah Winfrey’s last show she spoke about the many lessons that she has learned over the past 25 years. One thing she said really stuck in my mind. She said, “You are responsible for your life.” Now, I know that we all know that on some level, but do we really understand what that means?
I have practiced what I call “The Responsibility Factor” for many years, and I want to share with you my process. The moment anything happens in my life that is significant, good or challenging, I pause and ask, “What did I do to create this opportunity to grow”? Usually, when I ask that question, the answer comes quickly and easily. When it doesn’t, I sit down and “stream of consciousness” journal. I put down my fears, doubts, concerns, excitement and enthusiasm. What comes out always makes my heart smile, even if I see that I am on the “pity pot.”
Oftentimes people come to me and state that their intention is to heal. The definition of healing is to restore to health and soundness; to set right; restoration of that which is damaged to its normal function; regeneration (spiritual, revival, rebirth); and renewal of any lost part.
“The renewal of any lost part” caught my attention. During challenging times people are often seeking parts of themselves that they think have been lost, stolen or damaged. I believe that we are, inherently, whole, and that at the core of our being, beauty and peace exist. When my clients speak about wanting to heal, we explore the deep desire to remember that they are not broken or damaged goods. We talk about the fact that in every situation there is good and it is leading us back to a state of wholeness. When the Japanese mend broken objects, they fill the cracks with gold. They believe that when something is damaged and has a history, it is more beautiful. What if that were true of us? What if each and every aspect of our life stories was an essential ingredient that made us stronger and more beautiful?