Have you been going through contemplation about how you want to show up in the world, these past months? I feel so strongly that the actions we take right now are going to shape our own future, and effectively, shape the future of our planet. I'm thinking about the micro level, which begins within. And the micro influences the macro, we can rest assured that the way we navigate our personal lives affects the greater world around us.
This past June, I was asked to introduce mindfulness to a group of teachers at a local middle school when the new school year begins. My insides literally fluttered with anticipation at this request; I've seen first hand students of all ages respond almost immediately when they begin mindfulness practice. To have a whole school of teachers understand and practice this profound method for mental well-being and embodiment, yup, I'm ALL in. I give her an enthusiastic YES and we agree to firm up our plans in August.
Here we are at the end of summer, and I receive a message from the principal: teachers are back to school on the 31st, we cannot have visitors in the building, there is the option to do an online session, what do you think? My gut instinct, "No, this doesn't feel right. I need to be with the group, in person to share this teaching authentically". My mind speak, "you can't say no, you already agreed to give the session", "if you say no, you're shutting the door on an opportunity to work with this school in the future", "you can do this, you're just letting fear get in the way".
I sat with this for a whole weekend, teasing out the voice of the ego from what felt authentic to me. This is not easy work, because stillness and receptivity is required for true clarity to make itself known. It truly is the still, soft voice within. We are in the pattern of shutting down our inner knowing in the name of determination and accomplishment: "you can do anything you set your mind to" and "make it happen". And yes, those adages can be useful and even admirable, when what you are working toward is fully in alignment with your truth.
Honestly, I feel like my response was a bit of a leap of faith. Internally, I was saying, "Divine, you have called on me to serve you (and in turn, what is best for all beings), and I feel you guiding me to say no to this virtual teaching opportunity. Show me each next step". Without repeating the email verbatim, I shared with the principal that, given the experiential nature of introducing mindfulness to her staff, I felt that too much would be lost through the screen. I offered her a wonderful resource who would be open to doing a virtual session and said that I hoped that we would soon land in a place where we could work together, in person. To my surprise, her response followed promptly. She agreed, and suggested that we save it for a time when we can all be together.
This experience felt like a wink from the universe, a confirmation that this deep listening and following through was indeed, the response that best serves not just me, but her and her staff, too. If you're like me and "no" was not part of your vocabulary until your 30's or later, you get that this is big!
My yoga practice these days is fluid. By practice, I don't mean asana (the physical practice of moving through yoga shapes). The goal of my yoga practice is not physical health, it's a lovely benefit, but it's not my goal. I walk, bike, lift weights and do some asana for physical strength and conditioning. My yoga practice is about connecting to the deep knowing, the authentic truth inside of me. It's about replenishment and tapping into the place where spirit lives inside. Peace, contentment, ease of being, and action that serves others and the world lives here. The practices that bring me to this depth vary, some days it's restorative yoga or Reiki, others it's pranayama and meditation, some days it's mindful sauntering through nature, sometimes it's a conscious and curious conversation about tough topics with my dear friend, and on Thursdays, it's diving into some creative endeavour with my niece and nephew.
More than ever, we have a powerful opportunity to move into alignment with your Divine purpose, your dharma. If you are wondering where to begin, perhaps this week you could reflect on this question: "Who and what are the actions I take in service of?". Aligning with your dharma, aligns you with being part of the shift our world needs at this time. The time is ripe for aligning with your values and your truth with your actions. Even when it's hard and you are guided to say "no". Even though you might be shaking as you speak vulnerably, do it anyway. You will be supported.
The Divine has your back when you have the highest good for yourself, others, and our planet at the forefront of your actions.
I'd love to hear your story...