New Years Revelation

It’s New Years resolution time. A time I remember greeting with promise, hope and great expectations, this year, seems a bit more daunting. It might be that I’m growing older – which was no more apparent than while suffering the day-long consequences of enjoying one drink too many at a holiday party last week (my 21-year-old liver is no more…) Or, it might be circumstantial – following my first semester in grad school, I already find myself searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. (While I won’t say it’s all darkness ahead, I will say I can’t yet see the light…)

Of course, it could also be that my year as a yogi has changed my perspective.

In the midst of the holiday season and a particularly stressful time in my life, I’ve been seriously craving some clarity and some reprieve, which has led me to consider how my mindset is impacted by dwelling on the choices I’ve made in the past and on my anxiety for the future. As you’ve likely heard before, the practice of yoga is about bringing your awareness into the present. I recently read in James Fowler’s “The Present Moment” that the practice of meditation can even be simply defined as an act of “love for the present moment,” (as well as for the love of Truth, of Beauty and of Goodness – such a beautiful sentiment, I’ve recently incorporated into my practice/daily intention setting). And Yoga Journal recently shared that the key to happiness is to stop planning for our ideal future, and to shift our focus on living today, in this moment.

As these seeds were planted in the back of my mind, the time was right – and ripe – for a revelation. And sure enough, as often happens during my daily practice [of asana and meditation], a single thought swept through me and helped assuage my fears and anxieties for the coming year. Just like that…Not a resolution, but a New Years Revelation:

You have everything you need.

Soaking in the peace of mind that comes along with this resonance, I realized I need a re-prioritization this coming year – Not a ‘quick fix’ solution, or yet another brilliant addition to my busy schedule, as I often associate with a resolution. I already have it all, but my current mindset consumed by back-peddling and negativity isn’t serving me, or allowing for all the Truth, Beauty and Goodness of the present moment to shine through, to really enjoy it. Although I usually avoid getting too personal (because after-all, A Year in Yoga is all about you!), I hope that sharing more of my revelation with all of you might help plant the seed to inspire your own, for a happier, brighter, more content and gratitude-filled year ahead…So here it goes ❤

 My Priority List for 2015:

  1. Self-care. Much of my work in Yoga Studies thus far has centered around healing and trauma, and what I’ve come to learn is that everyone is healing from some sort of trauma (big or small) – and it’s not our job or our right to evaluate how deep, how harsh, or how justified someone else’s trauma, or journey is. I can’t be any good at my job, in my relationships, or even in my yoga practice, without taking care of myself first. (A lesson I can attest, I’ve learned the hard way.) For me, this means allowing myself time and space. Time to breath in between an all too hectic schedule, even if this means telling someone else you’re unavailable. (Sorry, I’ve got a date with myself tonight!) And space: a few moments of solitude, a clean environment, and at least an hour a day when I’m totally unplugged. Create your own rules, or don’t. Whatever it takes to give yourself the attention you need to heal from whatever hurt you’re holding onto; to rejuvenate, to flourish. You’re no good to anybody, until you’re good to yourself; and life is, along with many other [beautiful, wonderous] things, a process of healing.
  1. Love. I have to admit, this is a new list-topper for me. I’ve always loved the idea of love, but I’ve never wanted to make it a priority. It’s simply too scary. The moment you open yourself up to love, you create space for rejection and loneliness. It’s much easier to be alone. Much easier, but empty. And certainly no less lonely. This kind of love doesn’t have to be with a significant other, it can be for a family member, a best friend, even a furry companion – but it is that pitfall, head over heels, unconditional, crazy-expressive-passionate kind of love; that fills your heart until tears well up in joy, and makes you equally as vulnerable to hurt and despair at its loss. If you’re lucky enough to have experienced this kind of love, you’ll likely also agree that it’s simply this feeling that makes life worth living. It gets you out of bed in the morning, keeps you going when you’re running on fumes, and picks you up when you (inevitably) trip over your own feet and fall on your face. While yogis aim to embody detachment, this kind of love is the only exception. To love whole-heartedly and steadfastly, to love all living things this way is a yogi’s primary goal. Because only by loving this way can we achieve happiness, and can we find peace, in our lives and for others. I am so very blessed to have an abundance of love in my life. Really, what else is there to want? But putting our own ambition, or other priorities ahead of love means abusing it. It’s a two-way street. Let the love in your life come first and guide you, and you will have a life full of love – and therefore, at its very core, of happiness and peace.
  1. Stability. Of course, even with love and self-care, we all need stability in our lives to do anything more to function in society. (Consider: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) Having grown up blessed with a strong foundation of stability, I ventured out over the past several years for a taste of challenge, of hardship (though not explicitly so at the time). I had something to prove, to myself. If I wanted to serve populations who had less than me, then I felt I needed to know what that really meant – and even what that felt like. Studying abroad in a third world country, working full-time for minimum wage, and immersing myself in homeless, low-income and prison populations; these choices have undoubtedly shaped my life. I say so with full recognition of how privileged I am to have made these choices – sprinkled after and in between my private college education, graduate coursework, well-paid jobs and refused opportunities. But what I’ve learned, however difficult at times, has been invaluable. Stability to me, represents a strong support system and enough financial resources to provide a home, pay the bills, and put food on the table (which varies in feasibility based on location and skill-set). When one of these areas is lacking, our whole being is at risk. The love and self-care we’ve worked so hard to cultivate is threatened, and we’re unable to do much more than run in place, and just “get by.” Evaluate what makes you feel stable; what’s your springboard for growth? And be so grateful for it. Nurture it. Cultivate it. Cherish it. This is also living with present awareness for all that we already have, and a goal of mine for the coming year.
  1. Be. And the rest will come. I can spend today, tomorrow and next year conjuring up my next project, worrying about my final exam, mulling over my past mistakes, and yearning for the light at the end of the tunnel. But at what cost? Too often stress and anxiety overshadows our ability to experience, enjoy and live in the present. By living this way, we risk losing a sense of ourselves and of those we love. When we finally achieve whatever it is we’re after, or perhaps just get tired of the chase, who will be there with us? What kind of shape will we be in – our physical bodies and our mental well-being – when we get there? Will we really be able to enjoy it, or will we already have our eye on the next prize ahead – an even bigger house, a more expensive car, a promotion, another degree? What about right now? Wasn’t there a moment when we dreamed of being right here? Relish it. We’ve all worked hard and learned tough lessons, jumped over hurdles and slayed dragons to be here – and here we are. We’ve worked so hard to be right here. So, we better enjoy it – You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Instead of thinking about what you should add to your life in 2015, I encourage you to consider all you already have. And challenge yourself to have your own New Years Revelation. To re-prioritize what really matters to you, at this point in your life, and allow that to be your mantra and your intention for the coming year. And strive to just be with it.

Sending boundless love and well wishes for a safe and very merry new year to you and yours. Cheers to all that 2015 will bring!

The light in me honors the light in you.



Photo: Throwback to New Years 2012 with my BFF Ashley at Lansdowne Pub Fenway Park in Boston. Thank you, Ashley for being there through it ALL and for always letting your light shine – & for always encouraging and inspiring me to do the same ❤

Losing Patience: Even Yogis Get Mean

Reporting back on my first week of grad school (in Yoga Studies): I learned a lot last week. In fact, I think I mentioned a few too many times that I’ve felt like my head might explode, in the most wonderful way possible. But the most challenging aspect of my week wasn’t the classes or my new assistantship, or even balancing my personal life. (I’ve got the logged hours and post-picnic hangover to prove it.) No, my biggest challenge by far has been: keeping my patience.

Patience. It seems like an obvious concept, but it can have different meanings in different contexts; and this past week, it’s taken on a few. There was my most recent frustration, when I couldn’t find the recycling bin in my friend’s building (…anywhere!) so I finally threw the bag of bottles down the trash shoot. (I’m still so sorry about that.) But patience could also refer to being polite with the operator after waiting “on hold” for fifteen minutes; listening to a friend’s story all the way through without interrupting; or letting your dog enjoy the outdoors instead of rushing her to hurry and “do her business” (guilty, guilty, guilty). Everyone has those moments of falling off the wagon and not making the best decision they could have, or should have made. Even yogis get mean. And for me, yesterday was one of those days.

One of those days where it’s not one thing in particular that seems “wrong,” it’s everything. Nothing sits well, nothing feels right, and no matter what you do or try to do, it’s wrong, stupid or counterproductive. But, lucky for me, an important part of a consistent yoga practice is being aware and observing your own thoughts. And eventually I realized that everything felt so wrong, because I was wrong. I was setting the bar impossibly high for myself during my first week of grad school and the busiest weekend of the semester (eight hour lectures Saturday & Sunday). But yesterday, I wanted to go to the Labor Day picnic. I wanted to spend time with my boyfriend, read 100 pages for class, write a two page summary, practice three hours of Sanskrit, go grocery shopping, meditate in the morning and do my usual asana practice. Totally feasible, I swear. Really.

And I did (most of) it. By all outside accounts, it was a great, very productive, really fun day. And in many ways, it was. (I even got a bit of a tan!) But I still ended the evening feeling frustrated – and inevitably, exhausted. Even after succeeding in checking off my “To Do” list, the list just got longer. And in my haste to “get it all done,” I hadn’t allowed myself to relax and be present and missed out on quality time with the people I love when I finally had the time to spare. My lack of empathy and patience with myself directly impacted the quality of my experience and my interactions with others. But rather than continue to beat myself up about it – as I may have done in the past – I’m instating some patience, pronto. I remind myself: You’re human, and you have a lot on your plate. You have to go easy on yourself. With any new transition, there’s an adjustment period. You need to give yourself time to adjust. 

Before I recently found myself in a constant state of transition, I found a constant state of kindness, having trained myself to think this way – with sincerity and patience – more regularly. Unfortunately, life happens, and enduring transition can make maintaining any type of consistency difficult. But today is the start to my second week of grad school, and I am deliberately (and publicly) setting the intention to always defer to kindness. Not only because it will make my week that much better (and trust me, it will) but because I know that, with practice, I can regain that steady peace of mind and live again in kindness – on the regular.

I encourage you to set an intention this week. For patience, for kindness, or for whatever you need most, because we are all, always in transition. And if we want to succeed and get the most out of life (and I hope we all do!), then we’ve got to be kind to ourselves, and to others. May as well start today.

Namaste (I honor the truth – and kindness – in you),



P.S. I haven’t forgotten the recipe(s). Stay tuned!