Tomorrow it will be two years since my brother died. It feels as if these two years have been a compression chamber of sorts. Somehow more life, more emotion, and more growth have been squeezed into these 730 days than in any other 730 days of my life. Sitting here at my keyboard, on the brink of this anniversary that I will never celebrate, but will never not mark, I want to share with you a choice we all must make - to choose to accept grief as the sister of love. We must dive into it and allow it to take us on its journey. This takes courage, gentle determination, and steady patience, but grief can lead us to a heart-space we never dreamed possible.
You and I may not know what to do in the face of the grief, sorrow, pain, and horror that we feel when confronted with the gut-wrenching events that fill our headlines each morning. We may feel powerless, but that is far from true. We each have the power to create beauty in this world. We have the power to act on the love that fills us to overflowing. Each time we share the beauty within us with the world around us, we touch others with love. What gift of beauty will you share today? I promise you, whatever it is, it will matter more than you will ever know.
I am writing this on the eve of my birthday, annually a good day for a little introspection and retrospection. This year marks a birthday that ends with a 5, hopefully a mid-mark of another decade here on planet Earth. I remember vividly the joy and anticipation I felt when celebrating my last birthday that ended with a zero. In hindsight, I am thankful that one of my birthday gifts that year was not a crystal ball. Had I known how the next five years would challenge me, stretch me, and, in some ways, break me, I would have been more afraid than excited. But, while painful, the past five years, have also been a profoundly fertile time of growth and change – exactly what I believe we celebrate when we celebrate birthdays. I hope you'll join me in celebrating your next birthday as I am celebrating this one of min - as a wonderful opportunity to celebrate your capacity for growth and a moment to welcome the coming year with joy and anticipation.
For six years my dog has been bounding into my garden, crushing my plants. For six years, I have been hollering at him. This pattern of ours had become so normal that I'd almost forgotten it was a problem I could solve. It turns out that a lot of our stress comes from little bursts of friction caused by our own behaviors and choices! The self-awareness that comes from yoga can go a long way toward smoothing these self-induced bumps in the road.
A truck drove into a bridge in front of my house, inviting me to imagine how a yoga practice could have helped the driver avoid some of the mess he made. He might still have had the accident (nothing, not even yoga, makes us perfect). Yoga could have helped him minimize the swath of destruction caused by his reactions - which he and my neighbors would have appreciated very much.
"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely." Accepting (even welcoming!) change takes great fortitude. Unlike the rigid strength of resistance, however, it is a flexible strength that allows us the resilience to bow, bend, and bounce as we choose to allow life's changes - welcome or unwelcome - to become growth opportunities.
Learning to play Wordle HURT my brain! This was a felt-experience in developing neuroplasticity or flexibility and it is very, very good for us. In fact, it keeps us young. Yoga is a great way to develop and maintain plasticity of both the body and the brain. Regularly rising to its challenges is a way to stay physically and mentally younger than our years for the rest of our lives.
No, life isn’t perfect. Sometimes we have to take crazy long drives when what we really want to do is stay home. Sometimes we have to do really gross jobs. But, if we’re paying attention, if we’ve set the intention to practice gratitude, life will deliver moment after sparkling, cozy moment to feel grateful that we’re here living and breathing and loving in this glorious, messy world of ours. Please join our FREE weekly gathering as we share and support one another in our practices of gratitude this month.
We mostly think of gratitude as something we feel when something nice happens to us. What if, instead, we thought about gratitude as a choice we make? As something that we do? A practice, perhaps? Practicing gratitude is simple but not at all easy. Join our FREE weekly "support group" through November to practice together. I promise it is worth the investment of energy for a grateful heart will never stop finding gifts to be grateful for.