I can't remember where I first read or heard this fabulous quote by Albert Einstein... but I know that it immediately resonated with me.
The thing is, that I've always approached my life with a very child-like wonder. In many cases, it's been something people tease me about. Throughout my life, people who know me well, and some that don't have told me I am naive.
And, I suppose I am, in a way.
The thing is, I really think most everything has a sort of magic to it. A wonder. I think people are, inherently good. I think that there are more things that make us LIKE one another than make us DIFFERENT from one another. I tend to trust first, and become suspicious only when given sufficient cause.
And yes, this has caused me to get hurt. A lot. And the part that is so hard to explain to people is that in spite of the ways this naive approach to life has hurt me, I don't regret one moment or one decision made from that place.
Why should I? I choose faith, and wonder, and goodness as my guiding lights and when I turn out to be wrong, I see these experiences as learning and growth opportunities. Each of these experiences helped me to become the person I am today. The good experiences, and the bad experiences both were a part of my growth learning, and they still are.
You can look at life and see it for it's darkness, despair, loneliness, cruelty and you can live your life trying to avoid all of those things. Some might say to even attempt to avoid all the pain life has to offer would be a futile effort.
Or, you can look at life for it's beauty, it's wonder. You can choose to see every setback as an opportunity and every bit of life from the smallest plant to the brightest shining star as a miracle.
These aren't rose coloured glasses, I'm wearing. They're crystal clear, but still, they sparkle like the stars.
What do your glasses look like?
So often, we go through this world hearing, seeing, and believing the messages other people or entities tell us about ourselves. Sometimes we get so lost in this fog of perception that we can’t see through it to what is real and true for ourselves.
I recently had the great privilege of working with a student who had never done Yoga before and wasn’t sure she could. But, she was willing to try anyway. Well, willing isn’t the right word exactly. She was actually EXCITED to try. That, alone, was pretty amazing if you ask me.
The entire practice we did together was beautiful and inspiring from the very first moment until the very last.
But, it wasn’t that she could do the Yoga that was inspiring and moving – I never had the slightest doubt that she could do it. Everyone can! The Yoga you do may look a little different from the Yoga I do which may look a little different than the Yoga my next door neighbor does – but it’s all Yoga and neither is better or worse or more or less real.
So it was not watching her flow easily into every pose that was so inspiring. What moved me almost to tears was how she gave herself over completely to the experience in a completely open-hearted way.
I’m not saying she wasn’t nervous or afraid or resistant or hesitant. She may have been some or all of those things. But if she was, she did not let any of those feelings get in the way of her having a complete experience.
That was what was so powerful about working with her.
So many times in my life, I have found myself hesitating or avoiding doing something that I know I would enjoy because I wasn’t sure I could. And each time I have pushed past that moment, I’ve been totally amazed by the results. But sometimes my fear or hesitancy or resistance interferes with my ability to reap the most possible benefit from these moments. When I try something the first time in a cautious, careful manner – I'm not quite fully committing to the entire experience. I'm robbing myself of some of the joy and wonder I might find in it.
Once again, in another way, I am taught that with the biggest risks, with the most vulnerability, with the greatest openness, we receive the greatest gifts, the biggest ah ha moments, the most sensational wows. These are the moments we can be truly amazed by ourselves.
That’s what’s available to you, if you can look past the fear and hesitancy, the self-judgment and doubt!
Here’s your challenge: Take some time this week, and find a way that you can do this… that you can open up more fully to a new experience. Give yourself the gift of being totally amazed by yourself. Don't forget to report back in the comments about what you did to totally wow yourself!
One of my teachers, Ariel Pavic, pointed me in the direction of Gil Hedley's work recently, and I had the great pleasure of reading his article, "How I Fell in Love with Fat" which was published in Spirituality and Health magazine in the winter of 2007.
The article was heady and wonderful, written from the perspective of an intellectual who sees the magic in the human body. His work is unique, unlike anything I've ever seen. He offers workshops and seminars that intersect biology and energy. And in this article, he talks about the wonders of the layer of fat in the human body - of adipose tissue.
I wasn't sure what I was going to think at first, but as I read the article, I discovered that what he was describing was beautiful.
Fat is not just something we "put up with" in our bodies. No, fat does so much more than that. It serves a purpose, multiple purposes and, as Dr. Hedley points out in his article, it is what creates the body's unique shape, especially in women.
How amazing to realize that what makes us look like us and not near clones of one another is the very thing we are so constantly at war with.
It was profound and wonderful to look at fat as a living organ of the body with a biological, and spiritual purpose.
When I read his "Parable of Fat's Creation" he'd written for the article, I was dumbstruck. It so poignantly spoke to the beauty of fat, and made me think about my body in a completely different way. I transposed his words onto the image he'd chosen for his article to share with you all. The combination of this wonderful image by Richard Wilkinson (an image I've loved for some time) and Dr. Hedley's Parable make a powerful combination.
I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have!
I found myself thinking about this question today - What do you need?
It would be easy to rattle off a list of needs, without thinking about the question. Isn't that what we do, when we contemplate this idea? Money, gadgets, time, reassurance, things that we are convinced will improve our self-esteem or make life easier for us.
But when we pause, and really contemplate the question, we are suddenly in the position to first define "need" and determine what that means for us, personally.
Lately, I"ve been feeling like I have an overwhelmingly large list of things I "need to do" and things I "need" to make it easier to do them: more money (to make everything easier), more time to be undisturbed to allow me to focus on things I need to do to accomplish my goals, more focus so that I can use that time wisely when I get it, more energy and activity, more motivation...
But then I stopped and asked myself.... What do you want?
Because, let's face it, if what we want - moment to moment or day to day - is not in line with our perceived needs, we're going to end up not getting what we want OR what we need. And I suppose that's where I've been the last few weeks.
I'm telling myself all the things that I need in order to do what I think I need to do - when, meanwhile, what I actually want in this moment is to be gentle, move slowly, take my time, relax, and not feel pressured to move too fast. I need time to digest and marinate in the work I've been doing.
So I tuned into this mindset and looked at what I want, versus what I think I need, and discovered that what I need right now - what is best for me is to listen to myself with awareness, trust in my body and in my work to lead me where I need to be, and to stop trying so hard to micromanage the process.
It is difficult but necessary to allow myself the freedom to make peace iwth these choices so that I am not at odds with myself. In doing that, I need to commit to keep an eye on this as it shifts and changes naturally so that I am ready to transition to a more active process when the time comes.
Life, as it so happens, moves in a cyclical manner, and so what I need most, what supports me and my process most is allowing myself to ride the wheel without self-judgement.