Ask and you shall receive doesn't always mean buckle up or brace yourself. It's not always scary, not always Worst-Case-Scenario dressed in a stuffy dark suit showing up to Teach You a Lesson. Sometimes it's lovely, serendipitous, bolstering, joyful. Today feels that way. Today, I feel how Oprah must feel. Okay. Maybe that's a bit dramatic. Today, I feel a bit dramatic. And lucky, and hopeful, and happily tapped into how connected we all are to one another.
When I started this yoga journey just over three months ago, it was personal. I needed a way to navigate the liminal space between life before and after age 30, life before and after cancer's reminder of mortality by proxy. What a gift it turned out to be, what an eloquent response to my deepest requests--the questions I knew I was asking, and the deeper longings I probably still don't quite understand.
There's no less dramatic way to say it. Even on a day when I didn't feel slightly like Oprah, I would say it just like this: yoga has changed my life.
I could write for ages about the gifts and transformations which have arrived for me through yoga's conduit. Err, well, I guess I sort of already have! But today I'm particularly grateful for connection and community. I'm so happy to learn this lesson over and over--to look back over the past several months and notice a thread of inspiring, encouraging encounters. If my lessons in imperfection and self-acceptance often come sternly suited up and ready to get down to business, my lessons in opening up to new friends are absolutely kicking up their heels and letting loose. This is gleeful growth.
Call it the law of attraction; I think that fits. Or call it new interests and environments; it's that too. It's also this new lens I'm developing, of self-love and self-acceptance, which allows me to see opportunities for connection in places that would've been hidden when I was peering through a thicker haze of self-doubt and insecurity. Any way about it, it seems I'm bumping into brilliant, beautiful yogis every time I turn around!
I'm so excited to introduce some of the inspirational yogis I've met along this path and to share some of their stories on the Community page. I use the term "yogi" loosely here--I just mean people like you and me who are students of Guru Life. Yoga is the doorway into full, meaningful living that makes the most sense to me personally right now, but there are all sorts of entry points, all sorts of ways to, as Mark Nepo says, stay close to what is sacred.
Speaking of which. What is sacred? What's teacher for you? What do you fear? What do you want? What drives you?
I was inspired by Oprah's Super Soul Sunday series to come up with a list of questions that maybe will illuminate parts of all these different paths we take toward what we consider to be sacred. I stole some of the questions outright and came up with some myself.
Feel free to send me feedback about the questions, and also consider adding your responses to the Community Page by contacting me! Several community guests have already been kind enough to indulge my curiosity--you can find their stories here. Also, check out these Soul to Soul questions Oprah-style in a clip from her interview with Maya Angelou. And then be sure to put that little inner voice in check when it starts comparing your answers to Maya Angelou's. She's Maya Angelou. She writes poems for the president. She's published like a hundred books. When you're 85 and you've lived as an African American female through the Civil Rights movement, you can compare yourself to Maya Angelou. For now, just have a little fun being curious about your own interesting self. (That's the speech I just gave my own inner voice as I filled in the blanks below after watching the interview. You're welcome.)
Name: Jenny Hall
Website: This one!
Email/Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me
Day Job: Inpatient case manager at a psychiatric hospital
Dream Job: Writing, traveling yogi, collecting stories
If I Had a Million Dollars: I’d hit the road with my yoga mat and my laptop.
What I Wish Everyone Knew: We all feel that way. What way? Whatever way you’re feeling that makes you think you’re crazier, weirder, less lovable or separate in any way from everyone else. Also, it’s okay. What’s okay? Everything. Including you. You’re okay just the way you are.
What I Want: For everyone to know what I wish they knew.
What Holds Me Back: Tired, old, unhelpful, fear-based thoughts.
What I'd Like to Let Go: Fear
What I'd Like to Keep: Love
Biggest Fear: Failure, rejection.
God Is: LOVE
Prayer Is: Listening. It’s the still space where Oh, crap! becomes Oh, now I get it! Thanks!
What is Sacred: Connection. Those moments when I connect to a deep place of stillness or knowing or creativity in myself, and the moments when I connect to the invigorating or energizing or reassuring or inspiring spirit of someone else. Both are really connections to God, I think. Little spigots tapped into God for love to pour out of.
Teacher: Everything. Like the Charlotte Joko Beck quote says, every moment is the guru.
Quote of the Day: “Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.” Osho
Current Book Obsession: A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson.