2016: A Year in Review

“This is my year; claim it” was written on the first page of my 2016 calendar. I recently asked myself with care if I had accomplished this ambitious command. The answer is YES. 2016 was a potent year of growth, claiming, letting go, and, most importantly, generating tools to feel safe – to be myself.
Conscious relationships, yoga, nature, and highly attuned spiritual teachers allow me to better understand myself.
I built this past year on three foundational values that I nurture on a daily basis: love, honesty, and faith.
Love: I got closer to understanding what love is this year - not just romantic love, but allowing love to consistently show up in all my spaces. I have wanted to experience “it” for a lifetime but had no idea what "it" really meant. I consulted Google, my father, and spiritual counselors. This is what we came up with:
Love is more than a feeling; it’s an action of embrace and surrender. Love is choosing to regard all the parts of our experiences as equal expressions of the divine, including those that are painful, embarrassing, shameful, and scary. I’ve identified and labeled the six key parts of myself that I call my “personas”. Each one is hilariously named for the purpose of self-intimacy and, depending on which one is demanding center stage, to give it more love, not less. The comfort and awareness of knowing who is showing up on a given day lets me fold the feeling into my being instead of numbing. This year, I walked with my personas hand in hand and became even more comfortable living in my own skin.
Honesty: I used to lie as a child - not massive lies, but little ones that got me out of trouble. Liar Lila (my “liar persona”) vied for center stage with one intent: to make me look better.
She’s still with me. Recently, a fellow swimmer remarked that I had been getting to the pool late for morning practices, at 6:30am instead of 6:00am. “Well, I got up at 4:30am,” I boasted, when in truth I had awoken at 4:45 am. Despite its size, I used this lie as a way to prove myself. Becoming aware of this directed me to speak lovingly to myself during the swim and plan to tell the truth. Immediately after my workout, I sought out the woman in the locker room and confessed to her that I had not been honest.  She probably didn’t care but that wasn’t the point. I needed to dismantle this part of me that no longer served me. Each confession reroutes neural pathways that support the best version of myself, as opposed to an outdated pattern in my history.
Faith: Faith is defined as believing in something unseen. I removed the sentence, “I carry the torch” from my relationship to self vision statement. This phrase was in reference to my mom who instilled in me deep faith. I dedicate every yoga class to her by ending with, “may we bless our bodies for moving today and the breath that moves through us during this time and space”, privileges that she lost too soon in life. Last year, I realized that faith means I can walk the sacred path of life in reverence to my mom, but not for her. I am responsible only for my part, and we walk together.
Five years ago, I had a dream: to create a sacred community where we could show up as ourselves, put our bodies in awkward shapes, practice stillness, and be okay. Really okay. And then take that knowing to our families and community.
I used to pray that at least two people would show up. One thinly attended class my mind went completely blank and I almost quit. Miraculously, the first sentence of my career vision came: I am the bringer of light. From that statement, I realized that teaching doesn’t really have anything to do with me. Yes, I tend to my values to stay in alignment, but my main task is to get out of my own way to let grace pour through me to you. And that is faith.
Transparency is a key part of who I am as a teacher. Let us continue to evolve together in 2017. I thank you for your time.