There comes a time in everyone’s life when you must stop waiting to become who you want to be and start being the person you want to be – Nikki, Edge of Yoga
Well, give yourself a big pat on the back because 2020 is over and a scene in the rearview mirror. To look back with gratitude at 2020 would be to dismiss the severity of the year. No one could possibly be grateful for a pandemic. Yet, the year provided a time for self-inquiry, and for that, I am grateful.
Yoga has had a hard time recently as it has sometimes been reduced to a form of exercise but even thousands of years ago yogis acknowledged the need to spend some time in quiet contemplation and to look inwards. Yoga in its truest form is the practice of self-inquiry.
In this, consumerized world we often validate ourselves through the external, “when I get this promotion then I’ll be happy as I’ll do x,y,z”. The reality is our perception of ourselves is often ‘off’ and the constant pursuit of more external gratification in the name of happiness rarely brings the pay-off we are seeking. How can it if, we judge our success (and others) by what we have, not who we are?
Yoga and meditation give the space for self-inquiry. When we practice, we are learning to sink into the body, and into the present moment. I am just as guilty as anyone for disappearing into my own thoughts and when I am in my mind I tend to be in the past thinking back to a better time or dwelling on past traumas or projecting on to some rose-tinted version of the future. However, the more we can sink into the body, bring awareness to the breath, to our own energy flow, the more we raise our awareness of ourselves, and the more confident we become to surrender to the present moment.
When we dwell on the past or hang our hats on a future not yet created, we get stuck in a place of judgment as we judge any given moment on a comparison of what we thought it would be like. These mind games rob us of the gift of the present and the joy of seeing the moment for what it is, simply that ‘it is’. However, the present moment is where we create the future, where we can plant the seed of awareness and watch it grow. In each asana, in each meditation, and with each breath, there is an opportunity for that seed to grow.
So 2020, I thank you. I am stronger because of the challenges, more aware because I have had to work on myself and I live with more joy because I have known unhappiness.
For 2021 I hope we all see ourselves bigger than the definitions we paint. May we all have the courage to look beyond self-imposed limitations, to wake up from living in the ego so we may take our place in the world with courage, sensitivity, and grace.