Happy new year yogis! I love a new beginning as much as most and this year feels wonderfully momentous. I approach 40 years old this year with amazement and wonder at the ways that life continues to unfold in miraculous ways. This time last year, I was planning to begin teaching our first teacher training. Now, that training is coming to a close, with 20 incredibly strong, dedicated yoga teachers. The hard work that went into making this possible, for them and me, was not a miracle. What felt like a miracle, though, were the forces that brought our group together and helped to create a strong collective; a group of people who were both inspired and inspiring, who found the energy to work hard, and equally create something new in their world and allow something new to be created within them.
Approaching these life milestones, of turning 40, beginning a second teacher training, and continuing to expand our yoga offerings, all feel like budding miracles. The path to where I am has been marked by less than perfect decisions, struggles and pain, and life has become so much different than I ever imagined or planned for, and yet here I am, ready to begin again, with my heart wide open to what may come.
Love has come in the form of grace within my life again and again. I know that God–see this as he, she, it, the universe–provides grace in various forms of love over and again. In staying open to this grace, in keeping my heart open and ready to receive, I have felt both elation and pain, but no matter what I’ve kept my heart open. I have received love in the form of teachers and friends, tiny babies and family; in children’s laughter and students’ grateful smiles; in the excitement of the beginner yogi feeling the sensation of jubilation in a back bend for the first time and in the support my husband offers when business difficulties arise. I have been given more knowledge and fresh starts and supportive hugs than I ever imagined possible. Miracles, over and again. Grace. I have stayed open and have received and my cup runneth over and over.
I am entering my 40th year of life with such excitement for all the possibilities and ways that I now have to give back and share all that I’ve been given. I stand before myself understanding the words of the Derek Walcott poem, “Love after Love:”
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
I am feasting on the bounty that I’ve been given, soaking in all of the love and challenges, equally. My new year begins with this resolution: to stay open to receiving and to giving back. I am excited to share all that I’ve learned with the community of yogis around me. I know that this practice allows us to open our hearts and bodies in ways that allow us to receive. It happens often first through the poses or the breath work, and suddenly (and it is often quite sudden) the student is releasing into sighs or tears and able to let go of some physical or emotional restriction that’s kept their heart and body blocked to receiving. It’s often visible, that moment when the student lets go and becomes softer, more open to their beautiful self. That is what I hope for us all in 2014: that in discovering who has the right to share in the personal space that is your heart, you greet yourself at the door smiling, ready to welcome in the life that is yours; to receive each love letter of your precious life and know that grace will continue to arise for you.