2012 was a year of transformation and affirmation for me. As a yoga teacher, I witnessed, in sadness, the breaking apart of the Anusara yoga community. I hung suspended in hope for many months before resigning my hard-earned Anusara-inspired certification. The dissolution of my yoga world began a significant change in me.

Absent an external structure for my teaching—a complex set of ‘shoulds’ about how and what I should teach—I had more freedom to make choices and to try new approaches. At the same time, the responsibility for these choices rested solely with me. So my yoga teaching, learning and practice became, and continues to become, both broader and deeper. My transformation, rooted in deeper self-discovery and self-reliance, is expansive. As a teacher, I can offer more and be more creative, even as I continue to learn from fabulous teachers, from my students and from extensive reading.

In my personal life, I reached an important milestone when, in October, I turned 70. Although many prior birthdays passed by with little notice or thought, I decided to celebrate and contemplate this one. At the end of December, family and friends came to celebrate, with much love, affection and laughter during two festive events I will always remember.

Birthday Greetings!

Birthday Greetings!

As for contemplation, for months I asked myself what it means to be 70, and each time I came to the same answer: gratitude. Each day I feel grateful to be here, to be engaged with life, with loving family and friends, to live in this beautiful part of the world. I like to think that I got the gratitude gene from my amazing aunt Pauline, who passed away recently at age 93 and whose presence I feel often.

I heard a wonderful quote on NPR during the holidays that summarizes what I have been feeling in just one word. It is from the well-known rabbi and theologian, Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972):

“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement…..get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”

 “Amazed.”  That’s it!

This entry was posted in Aging, Anusara, Gratitude. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Amazed!

  1. Katie Shults says:

    Happy 70th Karen. You are Amazing!

  2. Jaymie Chernoff says:

    Happy late birthday, Karen! I love the Heschel quote.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Jaymie. I have decided that, because this is a BIG birthday year, I can celebrate it until midnight on the day before I turn 71…..which is an elaborate way of saying that your birthday wish is not late, but very welcome.


  3. Sigrin Newell says:

    Thank you for the quote Karen. I too struggle with what it means to turn 70, especially since my birthday is this week. Your quote helps. My spiritual practice this past year has been to sing “Zippedee do dah” at least once every day. It reminds me to be present to the wonderfulness of the day. Often enough I’ve changed the words: “My oh my what a worrisome day”, “a grey cloudy day”, etc. But that is always followed by Mr. Bluebird sitting on my shoulder to remind me to appreciate what I have.

    May we all live in joyful amazement through another year and another decade.


    • Karen says:

      Happy birthday to you, Sigrin! As you suggest, it’s so important to be grateful, while not assuming every day is ‘sunny.’ And, even more, the cheerful bluebird doesn’t have to be a mister!


  4. Gail Ayre says:

    As I write this I am in Rangeley looking out on a lovely morning and noticing the changing vista preparing, once again, to celebrate the beauty of autumn in New England. I am sorely missing our yoga class; you are truly an inspiration to me and I am certainly planning to resume a regular class once we are settled back in Portland! Meanwhile, I am doing my own yoga practice, trying to remember your teachings.

    I too experienced 2012 as a time of awareness, celebration, and gratitude. All of that has continued into 2013 and certainly been validated through meeting you and experiencing a regular yoga class! I wanted to thank you once again for your beautiful gift to us this summer! I wish you health, happiness, and continued energy, both for your practice and your life. I see that we share October as our birthday month! Libra, the balance! Blessings to you Karen!

    Gail Ayre

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Gail. This is such a beautiful affirmation of who we both are–Libras and more. Inspired by you, I’m now writing a blog about finding/choosing a yoga teacher. I look forward to practicing again together in the summer of 2014, if not before.



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