Namaste & Welcome!
New Year's Week Greetings Everyone. Over the holidays my family and I watched one of my most favorite holiday movies called Love Actually. This movie's common theme or 'thread' that runs throughout is one of taking risks, and being vulnerable, even at the expense of looking like a fool or failing. Even though it's a cheesy hollywood romantic comedy, it's also a total feel-good movie and it hits me in the heart every time I re-watch it (which is at least once a year). One of my favorite quotes from that movie, which Liam Neeson says to the boy who is playing his son is, 'Let us go get the shit kicked out of us by love!' Sometimes, when we are taking a risk in life, we feel like we might somehow get the 'shit kicked out of us', but that is part of the point of it all, to feel that fear and do it anyways!
I want this year to be one where I take more risks: To show up, to be vulnerable, to not hold back for fear of failure, or making a mistake. I remember a quote that hung on my friend's fridge for many years in Lenox, Mass. (wish I still had it) that spoke to how we are meant to experiment in life, we are actually meant to make many mistakes and to pick ourselves back up again. In essence, to risk is to grow and to grow is to really live! As Oriah Mountain Dreamer says in her poem, The Invitation, "It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive."
To take a risk, to be vulnerable, is to be powerful and to acknowledge that you are worth that risk. Taking a risk could look like: Asking that person out on a date that you have been wanting to ask out for soooo long, planning a trip when you don't have all the details figured out or how you can make it happen and doing it anyhow, trying a career change because you just can't work at that soul-deadening job any longer and you really want to follow you dreams, telling someone you care about something that feels hard to share but is your deepest truth and your real feelings. When we risk being vulnerable and sharing our hearts, we no longer betray our own spirits.
As we move into the new year of 2015, what risks are you willing to take? I have found in my own life, that when I am moved to take a risk, when I take one small step in that direction, the Universe takes 20 steps toward me. When I hold myself back out of fear or worry, I end up feeling depleted and sometimes even depressed. One of my greatest yoga teachers once said to me, 'Remember, you are bigger than your fear!' I love that and I hope we can all get a little bigger than our fears in this sacred and blessed new year. Happy 2015 everyone! May it be full of courageous risk and vulnerable love.
Asana Suggestions: Poses where you are invited to take more risks like arm balances, inversions, or deeper back bending poses to cultivate fearlessness and inner courage and fortitude. For some of us, just showing up to a yoga class might be a big risk.
Contemplations to Deepen Your Practice:
* If you knew you couldn't fail and money was no object, what risk would you take in the new year?
* Even if you knew you might fail or make some kind of mistake, what risk is so valuable to you that you would take it anyhow on behalf of your soul?
* How do you feel in your body when you work through your fears and try something that feels like an 'edge' for you versus when you avoid the fear and don't follow through?
* Think of a time that you tried something that made you feel a little (or a lot) nervous, but you did it anyway. How did you feel after?
* In what areas of your life are you comfortable taking risks and where could you up the ante a bit (think about work, relationships/love, travel/adventure, health and wellness, finances etc).
The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer:
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithlessand therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
And a few goodies on being vulnerable:
“I plan to live out the rest of my life standing in the light of vulnerability and authenticity—-and I will embrace anyone who courageously meets me there.”
— Rachel Macy Stafford
"More times than not, we associate vulnerability with weakness. Truth is, being vulnerable is the bravest thing we can ever do. Allowing ourselves to be fully seen and unapologetically authentic takes an immense amount of courage and strength.
In order to live an authentic and honest life we must allow vulnerability into our lives and into our relationships with others. When we suppress and silence the thoughts and feelings that our alive in our hearts we are inevitably shutting the door on truth.
Cultivating authenticity and vulnerability in our daily lives means showing up, speaking what is true in our hearts, and not apologizing for the way we feel. When we fail to share our deepest desires, thoughts, and emotions we convey a message to ourselves that we are wrong for feeling the way we are feeling and invalidate our own internal experience."
— Kelly Joyce