Feeling Grateful

Today I feel grateful for the innumerable ways in which yoga has shaped who I am and how I show up in the world.

I’ve recently struggled with my dedication to yoga. Feeling pressure to look a certain way, I’ve tried convincing myself that I should be doing other things with my body and my time — like going to the gym, lifting weights, running. Sure, those things are important, and I do hope to commit to them more frequently. But I’d also like to commit myself to feeling no guilt about using the physical practice of yoga as a way to cleanse and strengthen my body. It’s a spiritual practice, yes, but yoga is rooted in physicality. No more shame about that.

Year-End Reflection

The end of each December brings a certain pressure to “conclude” one chapter before turning the page on another. Since childhood I’ve been suspicious about the supposedly magical moment between 11:59pm on December 31 and 12:00am on January 1 that signals something new. Isn’t this moment just like any other? The transition from December exhale to January inhale nothing more than the exhales and inhales I take at my desk here and now?

Still, if nothing else, the New Year seems to cultivate a communal sense of transition. It offers space to reflect on our recent past and look ahead, with new insight, to the future. This sort of reflective thinking isn’t en vogue throughout the year, so I’ll take any opportunity to engage with it — even a contrived one — as a good thing.

In the coming days I plan to spend some time reflecting on simple questions that I hope will stimulate personal growth. Hell, maybe it’ll even be sort of fun. Here are some of the questions I look forward to answering.

  1. Describe three to five “good” things that happened this year. Describe three to five not-so-good things that happened this year. Do you notice any patterns?
  2. Of what joyful activities in your life have you been deprived? In what less-than-joyful activities have you indulged? Why?
  3. Describe a situation in which your words or actions reflected the values of the person you aspire to be. Describe a situation in which your words or actions did not reflect the values of the person you aspire to be.
  4. Describe an experience in which you played it safe when you could or should have taken a risk. Describe an experience in which you took a risk when you could or should have played it safe.
  5. What is the future you feel won’t happen if you don’t chase it? Personally? Professionally?
  6. What are three to five traits you’ve discovered or rediscovered about yourself that you like? That you don’t like?
  7. BONUS: Write a thank you letter to someone who has made a different in your life this year.

Are you taking time to reflect this year? What questions do you plan to ask yourself? Share them in the comments below!

Peace and love,

Another Birthday

Another birthday. Where did this year go? My energy is stretched in different directions today, hoping to “use” this day for something “productive.” Maybe I should reflect on the past year: What went well? What didn’t? Or maybe I should set goals for the next: How can I be better? What can I improve?

As I slump into my desk chair, weighed down by a mild mid-afternoon crash, all I want is to be. No looking back. No forecasting. Just be here. Present. Fully me in this moment, and feeling grateful for the sun streaming through the windows, warming my skin. (I’ve missed autumn in Ohio.) Grateful for Sarah’s visit this afternoon filled with cupcakes and gossip, laughter and poignancy. For the millions (literally millions) of processes in this universe that had to function perfectly in order for me to be alive. Right now, in this very breath. In this very moment.