New Year's Eve.......what better time for reflection and planning simultaneously? My favorite yoga pose for this is Warrior 2 and I would post a pic of one but my computer is not cooperating so I'll just describe it. From the front of your mat step your right foot to the back bringing it parallel to the back of your mat. Bend your left knee so that the knee is directly over the ankle. Arms are reaching from the front to back, stretching in both directions. The gaze is past the front fingertips. I could write two pages breaking this pose down but will move on with the point of that description. When I do this pose I glance behind to check my footing, I gaze forward, but MOST importantly I am completely centered and present in the pose. Now, how does that relate to my life?
I am reminded that I need not become so consumed with past failures or successes, nor future plans that I lose sight of the present. However, there is value in the glance back and gaze forward.
Shame for past mistakes has been a difficult hurdle to cross. That battle still rages in my mind sometimes. Reading Brene' Brown's, Rising Strong this year has been so helpful. Rising strong is not a once and done. It's rising, every single time, no matter how many times it takes. The mistakes we make in life can cause us to feel a bit stuck but ignoring them will certainly not produce change and growth. It's in that glance that we acknowledge the choices we make that produce shame and situations that keep us in a cycle of negative thinking. Here is the truth that you and I can hold to.... there is forgiveness, we must give it AND receive it to be free. Any other truth is not truth. We cannot replace one unfreedom for another!
The future has been my obsession. One day when _____ happens, I am going to ______. The story of my life for WAY. TOO. LONG!!! My happiness hinged on what could, would, should happen tomorrow. Do you do the same? Comments I often hear are "I am going to start coming to yoga when I lose weight or get more fit." Being present is difficult because we must accept where we are, yikes. That has been transformational for me. It's okay to not love where you are but it's not okay to not love yourself there. Growth happens as we love ourselves and accept ourselves, which for me was only done by asking God to show me the me He sees. He loves and accepts us right where we are. We do not have to change anything for Him to love us. Change often happens as a result of that love not because we are trying to earn it. Gazing forward has a much different meaning to me than obsessing over the future. Gazing forward is looking fearlessly towards what could be and embracing possibility. We needn't obsess over goals nor neglect making them.
Be present. Words that I say constantly to myself and students. What do those words really mean? As I sit this early morning, before the sun has risen with my steaming mug of coffee, I take a deep inhale and make a decision to notice everything about this moment. I feel at peace right now, the present is the only place that has brought that with certainty. After 2 years of a focused yoga practice I have attached Jesus, love, and peace to my breath so every time I take a deep inhale those 3 words fill my lungs, mind, and heart. Regardless of the past or the future and the feelings they produce, shame or anxiety, the present, the inhale, is filled with Jesus, love, and peace. That, my friends, is why being present is the most important thing in my life and in the pose.
Whatever life is presenting you right now I want to invite you to come into a Warrior 2 pose and take a deep inhale then slowly let it out. Pay attention to exactly how it feels in your body. The body often gives clues about our minds and spirits. Be present with those feelings and invite God to heal the broken places. I pray that as we glance back we acknowledge and learn from our mistakes. That we will not become stuck in past failures or successes. We will learn from things behind but not let them become baggage to hinder our journey. I pray that as we gaze forward we will allow faith and love to be bigger than fear. We would continue on this path even if we are afraid. Most importantly that we would be present. Inhaling, exhaling, paying attention to the steam of coffee, the flicker of candles, the gentle nudges of children and spouses as they ask for our time with out using words.
My dream for 2016 is simply to live a life that is filled with God's light, love, and liberty. I believe that is God's dream for me too. I can't wait to see what is in store but I'll try to keep it to a gaze forward. What is your dream for 2016?