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.
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!
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