Life is short. I’m sitting here in my home yoga room after crying my eyes out upon hearing the news of a dear friend’s father passing on. I had never met his dad before, but my friend and his wife are like family to me. So their loss is felt and my heart aches thinking of them. Now I think of my own father and tears swell up in my eyes just knowing that none of us have forever with the ones we love, and I hope I haven’t already wasted too many moments. These precious reminders wake us up to live and love fully while we can.
This month I wanted to write about vulnerability but then almost stopped myself short a couple days ago thinking I had nothing to share. Then these salty tears rolled down my cheeks upon hearing the news and I realized how important it is to open ourselves up in all moments, in all ways, to this divine mystery of life; to open fully to this big love before it’s too late. We squander too many moments with petty dramas, we lose sight of the fact that it’s transient, we forget constantly. And then, if indeed we are brave enough, we get the chance to reveal our hearts alongside other fellow souls on this journey home – opening up over and over again. And we may close it off once more, fearful of the world seeing us as vulnerable, tender and emotional; as real. The journey we make between expansion and contraction, inhale and exhale.
I’m just home from a retreat in Montana and it was one of the most potent gatherings I’ve been blessed to host. I was clear upon embarking that this retreat would feel different, that I felt empty (in the BEST of ways) and ready to fully connect, with a newfound vulnerability and openness. In the past I had always stayed a little more composed, perhaps restrained, and not as vulnerable. There was something about holding the ‘role’ of retreat facilitator that kept me at a distance but this year I intentionally ripped the facade off and allowed myself to be fully human, messy and present. It was liberating, it was beautiful and it felt divine. And I believe it gave space for us all at the retreat to go deeper, listen closer and truly meet each other.
I feel as though I’ve held those composed layers of myself for too long and it no longer serves me or what I want to share through the wisdom of yoga. After all, these teachings weren’t designed for us to fortify and build up bigger walls to protect ourselves and our egos, or keep us separate from one another. They were offered to us by our teachers to help strip ourselves down to our most intimate nature and fully connect with the gift of this world, this life and other fellow beings. In a word, to be vulnerable with life itself. To realize that we are connected so intimately with it that to deny any aspect of this is a denial of our full merging with God, the divine, spirit or however you make sense of ‘all that is.’
And so I’ve set out into this ocean of love and learning once again, recalibrated the course and opened myself up to becoming the best student of this life that I can. Vulnerable, open, ready to learn, ready to forget what no longer serves, ready to listen – present with all that arises. The real-deal yoga. Perhaps you'll take a moment today to consider where you’re holding yourself back from really experiencing this life to the fullest, and that you find yourself opening up in ways you never dreamed possible to let the magic of it all fill you up again, over and over and over.
Speaking of vulnerability, while on retreat at Feathered Pipe I sat down for a live podcast interview with Andy Vantrease for the Dandelion Effect Podcast. I shared untold stories about my journey, how I met yoga, my family and more. It was an emotional journey for me, but cathartic to share in front of so many dear souls on the retreat. Have a listen here.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti