I recently finished reading a marvelous book Vital Signs: Discovering and Sustaining Your Passion for Life by Gregg Levoy (Do yourself a favor and read it if you ever get a chance!). It reminded me of the exquisite beauty of a non-ordinary life, and the reminder that we all have the choice to do so. You don’t have to fall in love, quit your job, move away from your Home-base and travel to live an extraordinary life. Although it doesn’t hurt. There are tiny moments every day to choose to recognize the miracle of our existence. At the end of the book the author talks about the chance of life happening on Earth is as good as a hurricane rolling through a wreckage yard and leaving a complete 747 in it’s wake. A Miracle.
In the time since our last post, we went to Austin, Texas to visit friends. A childhood friend of James was generous to fly us out with abundant frequent flier miles, and share a car with us while there. In the week we were in the Lone Star State, I learned as much as I have in a month (although I feel like growth amplifies growth, the more I dive into the learning, the more I get, and the more learning opportunities arise).
I was reminded, and James learned, we are not city people. They have their place, and are great for certain types of people, but the biggest city (or town depending on who you ask) I’ve lived in was La Crosse, Wisconsin, when I was in college, with a whooping 60,000 people. I grew up in the country, surrounded by trees and the quiet buzz of wild-life around me. Spending a week in a city that is growing by 1,000 people a week (we were told) is not my idea of rest. That being said, we were grateful for the numerous parks and outdoor recreation areas Austin has that we took great joy in exploring and experiencing. We also delighted in the numerous food trucks that spot the city, and ate very well. Staying with friends allowed me to have a kitchen, and I was immensely grateful to make food that nourishes us, and to share it with friends. For those who love a good beer and live music, please visit Austin!
I was grateful to connect with an old friend who I studied abroad in Italy with, and I hadn’t seen in 3 1/2 years. I celebrate the connections that are truly timeless, even though we don’t stay in contact much, I could drop in with this lovely woman and share where I am right now, and be heard for it. I have great respect for the authenticity of individuals I gravitate towards, and who gravitate to me. We saw old friends that had new lives, and the lesson I take away from Austin is: listen to Truth, which resides within. When we are connected to our own truth-intuition-we feel when a person, relationship or environment is in alignment, or when it is not. It doesn’t mean one is wrong, or better than the other, it just means I feel most me in the presence of Truth. And I want to feel in alignment as often as possible.
We saw the way relationships can influence people (particularly romantic partnership); relationship is the opportunity to be a mirror for someone, to choose to see ourselves through the lens of someone we trust and respect, and to refine who we are, to become more our True selves. On the flip-side of the spectrum, relationships can also enable us to stay who we were when we met that person, which inevitably, we won’t. I’m inspired to allow myself and my relationships to be living entities, to be malleable, flexible and transformational. This personal growth stuff is no cake walk, and, I didn’t sign up to breeze through life and play it safe. Another lesson from Vital Signs: risk is a necessary ingredient to living a passionate life. Risk requires accepting fear, and going for it anyway, and the result is that we are alive, fully. Safety is nice, and maybe convenient, but it’s also just that, safe. It’s the known, the comfortable, the expected. It’s what I call living “a life half lived” and that is not what I came here to do. I came to live this life like the wild ride it is, to scrap my knees climbing trees, to feel cold water on my skin, to taste foods my tastebuds don’t already have an opinion about.
When I chose to give up the comforts of a house to go home to, I didn’t realize how much I was also choosing to walk hand-in-hand with the Unknown, the Great Mystery. As I walk in the Mystery, I also see the bounty with which Spirit provides. I’ve had a bed to sleep in and food to eat every day.
We returned from Texas to more yoga magic. A Yin Yoga for Spring class; Compassion in Action: Assisting Yin Yoga (an 8 hour workshop on assisting, massage, and the importance and power of healing touch and space holding), shared at Body Yoga-Roseville, whose owner and community we adore. We taught Yin-troduction to Transformation at Bikram Yoga Natomas, where we were greeted by 20+ kind, compassionate and inspired souls, desiring a more Yin way of being. I see how the practice is an example of how many people want to be throughout their days, not just on their mat. Yin yoga is one of the most potent self-care, self-healing practices I believe is available. And you need nothing more than some quiet time to yourself to enjoy the benefits. I invite us all to do less, to feel more, to live this precious life and continuously ask yourself “what is important to me?”. And we know the answer is not a bigger car, or more clothes, or the right hair-cut. My answer: Connection, to myself, to community, to nature, to Spirit. Connection costs nothing, and is available any moment you choose to feel how connected you already are.