It’s October 29th, and today I turn 29. It’s my Golden birthday! The last 5 years I have celebrated my birthday surrounded by dear friends in China. This year I find myself in Varakala, India. 3 weeks into an intensive yoga teacher training. My companions are 5 other yoga students (including Ross) and our 2 lovely teachers Ellie and Mahesh. I woke up this morning at 4:30 and happily went to our 5:30 yoga class. I entered the shala to the glow of candles and insence sticks…. Very special birthday candles to light our practice. What an amazing way to celebrate.
Believing that the early rise and yoga practice is the greatest way to spend a birthday is a huge indicator that I am well and truly… “Growing Up”. It’s about time! However… I’m not finished yet. I am coming to believe that the reason we say we are “growing up” is because long after we stop growing taller we still continue to grow “up”… closer to the stars. We can all continue to grow… if we choose to. Our choices as we become older are to continue to change or simply to stop. To stop means to become stagnant and un-shiny, like a dying plant. To continue means we strive to take care of ourselves and stay green…. You know how a new plant has that lime green fresh young color? I think we can carry the same glow by maintaining a commitment to continuous growth. To come back to the blogs theme of the seeds we water are the seeds that grow… we only grow if we are watering our seeds… This whole last year for me has been about learning how to water the seeds so that I can continue to grow.
29… Almost 30! How do I feel? Incredible. That being said, it hasn’t always been easy. Such is life… For example, Grandpa just died last week. We had a small ceremony for him on the beach and I got to begin chewing once again on the giant “death” lesson. Beside that one… There are 5 lessons I believe I have learned (either in the last year or 29 years). These lessons have watered my soul and contributed to a sense that I am in fact “growing up”. I didn’t know what photos to use so I just took some from the last week…Some from my Grandfathers beach memorial, a few from the trip we took on the backwaters on Saturday and a few from my b-day. Enjoy 😉 Again, back to the lessons learned in my 29th year.
1) My head is Bigger:
I know it sounds bad. I would never admit to having a big head unless I had good cause… and I think I do. The space inside my head feels bigger. I don’t know how it happened but there seems to be more room for things to move around! The ease at which thoughts come in my head and then leave has increased. Just this evening Mahesh, our teacher, told us to leave space in the brain for silence… A wise notion indeed. More room for things to move around in there means I am not holding on to the little things as tightly. What a relief! When I manage to have more space in the head… I feel lighter and freer.
The lesson: Let your head get BIGGER.
2) I’m done waiting for “the Peak”.
I spent a large part of this year, while travelling, caught up in my own head about “what I should DO with my life”. I have LOVED all the travelling and amazing places we have seen, however, all to often I had this sense of being unfulfilled or that I wasn’t enough because I hadn’t met some imagined standard of success. I commit to ending my reach for “the Peak”. The Peak is that spot in time that we all long for. The day I get a raise, the perfect apartment, or the “perfect man”. The Peak might be to learn how to meditate or to get into headstand unassisted… The Peak is that moment that lies in the future and it is never in the present moment. The Peak may arrive and then the eyes will simply focus on the NEXT Peak… What a waist of TIME! Heck. I may not have the dream job but when I open my eyes it becomes easy to see the amazing blessings in my life. I can allow this to be enough today.
The lesson: Stop waiting for the Peak: You are already there….
3) “God”* is wherever you are.
God*- Your own understanding/definition
I can’t really qualify this one so simply but I can explain this… I heard a quote last year in Bali. It was as we were sitting down to meditate and I drew a card. It read, “The only God you will find at the top of a mountain is the God you bring there.” I was just beginning a teacher training and had this surge of spiritual energy. I really felt that because Bali was “the island of the Gods” that it would be easier to “seek” there. Well. I learned an important lesson pretty quickly. That perhaps I was using my environment as an excuse for whatever frequency my spiritual practice was running at. Well, here we are in India. Again, a super spiritual place and the “perfect place” to feel God, to see the spirituality on every corner… and I DO! The difference… I KNOW that the same “God” lives here as the one that lives on the corner of Colfax and Broadway in Denver, because, I carry it in me.
The lesson: No need to seek out spirituality anywhere but inside of yourself.
4) Work Hard and Laugh Hard.
The last few weeks here in India, studying yoga at Mysore Hatha Yoga, have felt amazing. Why? Because they have been CHALLENGING. We have been forced to push ourselves to the limit. This is an important lesson because unless you have spent 13 months on “vacation” (like I essentially have) only then would you know how hard it is to not be committed to one specific thing. The work ethic that we have demonstrated here towards something we love has been really challenging and incredibly fulfilling. FINALLY! As compensation for our hard work, we have LAUGHED so much! We have all worked and played hard.
The lesson: Be committed to something, and work hard, because then laughing feels better 😉
5) Stay GREEN.
Basically, this lesson negates my statement that I have grown up. I am ok with that. I don’t want to be DONE growing. I want to stay green no matter WHAT my age is. I am confident I can maintain the fresh lime green color of a newly formed leaf by making a commitment to never stop. The day I wake up and think I have graduated or somehow reached my PEAK is the day I stop living.
The lesson: Never finish “growing up”.