Since I was a child, I yearned to explore, to move, expand. Many nights, even as a young girl, I'd lay awake daydreaming of places I wanted to go, of the woman I wanted to be. This began to curse me as multiple divorces, moves and basic childhood ups and downs took my imagination into darker places. I began to "what-if" way too much, and I desperately wanted to be an adult.
When I was just five years old, I insisted my parents allow me to cut my own food and demanded they explain what sexual intercourse was, in detail. (Those poor people! They’ve done a great job and I’m grateful.) What I've since realized is that, all that time, I was imagining instead of truly living.
I was seeking a life of adventure without realizing I was already in it.
It's amazing to me now, hindsight can really be 20/20. But that hindsight can lead to insight, and a beautiful life right frickin' now.
The more I meet people of all ages, the more I realize many of us suffer from this or are better today because of having realized these patterns in themselves. We realized how many years of our youth were spent in pervasive discontent, often reflected in clinging to what was, feeling guilty for past mistakes, and paralyzed by fear that those mistakes might be repeated. What a waste of time!
Make all the mistakes you want. But make them only once. There is no fear once you’ve learned and accepted what happened, and then decided to move forward in a smarter way. We must all try to accept our previous selves and recognize that we are not that person today.
Plus, a life without mistakes would be no life at all.
I’ve mentioned before that making the decision to be open to a genuine relationship with a man, whoever that may be, turned out to bring the most extraordinary relationship in my life, which spun off more inspiring bonds with friends and colleagues. They’ve inspired me to love men and woman equally and realize that no matter what your background, we all have something to offer. We all have the potential to set this world on fire. That is no bullshit.
Some people are stuck in circumstances that don’t allow this potential to become a reality, and that’s unfortunate. But even just bringing libraries, community colleges, arts programs and yoga studios to more areas can start the process. It’s our choice to move past our specific story and begin writing a new one. Happiness and better health depend on our being smarter and kinder to ourselves now, forgiving ourselves for all the crap we cannot change, and recognizing how valuable each second is today. It is a must.
Since returning from Italy in 2010, yoga has brought the opportunity to not only travel to great places right here in the US, but to find adventures right where I am. I live in a small, modest 1-bedroom in a beautiful American city. Chicago is a challenge, the winter chewed me up and spit me out.
I’m from Florida: the weirdest, very oddly beautiful state, in terms of character and geography. But hot damn if I’m not spoiled by sunshine and warmth. Yoga taught me to seek the adventure in living in a cold, windy, unpredictably wackjob of a climate, with a confluence of fascinating people to boot.
My point in sharing this info about myself is to show how we can all find the adventure in everyday living.
I teach yoga and write ... how lucky am I? Am I successful financially yet? No, not at all. But I’ve never felt more alive, more in love with life, and more grateful for how I’ve decided to live it. The relationships I’ve fostered with new friends have benefited my oldest ones. I’ve never had less money but felt more rich. I am not magic. I sincerely feel everyone has this right and this capability.
Seeking adventure instead of repeating my past of complaining and saying no to life, when Chicago was hit with one of its worst winter storms in decades, we made lemonade out of lemons and had an adventure in the snow. I wasn’t able to afford travel then, but I had a vacation for a day where I lived, for free. Lay down in a fresh batch of snow, or grass, look up, there is still awe to be had, even if times get tough. Keep your eye on the prize that is breathing, and the optimism and vision for your future.
Find gratitude in the smallest things, and your life will return the favor. And those positive feelings will grow.
I've downsized so much in the past few years and months, and it has given way to an awesome space to live now, and future travel lined up in the near future. Find gratitude for the life you’ve chosen thus far, it’ll move places you want it to go in the future. Believe in who you are today. Your time and energy is wasted otherwise.
Now matter how full your belly, guilt-ridden your mind, or blackened your heart, you deserve a fresh start into a happier you now. I know as I write and teach that I will resonate with some and not with others. Some will genuinely enjoy me, some will simply not like me or my style. That’s a given no matter what we do, so do whatever the hell you want to do. Wear what you want to wear while doing it and do it with gusto!
We all deserve to feel enthused about our lives, in big ways and small. If the big ones haven’t manifested yet, focus on the small. Feel grateful for everything you can, the least of which being your right to breathe.
Stand outside and absorb the warmth, light and life of the sun, and don’t take for granted a sky that changes everyday. Accept who you were, appreciate who you are, get excited for who you’ll be. Act as if your life depends on it.
Everyone wins when feeling free to be exactly who we are. I hope to pop into poses with you somewhere across this incredible planet.