“The unexamined life is not worth living, but the unlived life is not worth examining.” Julia Cameron
Birthday balloons. Mid-year. Summer solstice. Welcome to July. It’s a special time of the year. For me, it’s my 38th birthday. J’adore birthdays – all week I’ve squealed, “did you know Thursday is my birthday?” Poor management team! Each birthday I like to list my accomplishments since June 30, 2010 and my dreams for June 30, 2012. A colleague sent me this idea via e-mail about six years ago and the concept has stuck. It’s a perfect way to spend a few hours over a pot of Morrocan mint tea at Teaism.
Although it may not be an actual birthday for you, it IS the half-way mark for 2011. Take a moment to review what your 2011 dreams were – lose 5 lbs, daily yoga, kindness toward mother-in-law, meditation practice, pet adoption. How are these unfolding? How are you feeling as a whole? What are you reading? How are you spending your time? How is this contributing to your overall happiness? List 5-10 fabulous things that have transpired for you this year. List 5-10 things you’d like to see transpire by December 31, 2011. Share them here if you’re so inclined. Studies show we’re more apt to do things when we write them down and even more likely to do them when we share them!
A few fabulous things that have transpired for me include: N Street Village internship, joining Pigs Animal Sanctuary board, adding vintage/reclaimed items to TranquiliT, adding great members to our team, successful Tranquil Space Foundation LunaFest film festival, raising $1000 for India at India Night, scheduling Art + Yoga retreat in Paris + Provence. A few things I’d love to see transpire include: launch new e-course and e-book, new Tranquil Space Foundation website, successful Benefit for the Animals, inspiring team retreat, learn heaps at Disney Leadership Institute, win Pepsi Refresh grant for Tranquil Space Foundation.
Today I was blessed to attend the N Street Village annual luncheon where the former editor of Essence magazine spoke about giving back, connecting to our core, and loving ourselves first. She was eloquent, on point, and shared heaps of fodder for deep thoughts. Taking the time to connect within (a foundational step within yoga) allows us to better serve others - our families and communities. As a social work graduate student interested in social justice and macro change, it’s inspiring to see how the small changes we make within can contribute to the greater whole. For example, consider baking cookies for your office, complimenting a colleague, bringing flowers to your beloved just because, penning a snail mail note, volunteering, or making the perfect gift for a friend. These simple gestures can have profound effects and they take such little effort on our part.
As a yogini and entrepreneur obsessed with creativity, I am constantly looking for ways to blossom my practice and my small businesses into their most fabulous selves. As a teacher, I encourage you, too, to explore what that would look like. One of my favorite Buddhist teachers reminds us that we are perfect as we are, we just need a little work. Agreed 100%. You are beautiful. Embrace eccentricities. Throw caution to the wind (from time to time). Let your light shine. And continually reevaluate where you are and where you want to go. Don’t let life happen to you.
Wishing you a glorious second half of 2011. May you shine brightly. May your practice of yoga transform who you are and what you bring to the world. As my favorite mantra (recently tattooed on the inside of my arm) states: may all beings be happy and free, may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all. The perfect summary of a life well-lived AND well-examined.