30th Year

Well, it is that time of year again. The time of the year that is filled with dread, excitement, anxiety, and lots and lots of blessed phone calls…that’s right it is birthday month. This month marks a milestone in my life. It will be my 30th year on this planet and oh what a ride it has been. I have laughed, I have cried, I’ve traveled (not as much as I’d like yet) I’ve struggled, I have smiled, I’ve danced, I’ve fallen down, and picked myself back up. I have learned, I’ve grown, I’ve loved…hard, and I have literally picked up my life and moved thousands of miles away from my family at the ripe age of 21. This life is crazy and I have learned many lessons. Here are a few lesson’s I’ve learned leading up to my 30th year.

  1. Relationships matter…

It has taken me many of years to realize the importance and value of a healthy relationship. After all, we are in this life together, and this is not exclusive to only partnerships. I am referring to all relationships; the one you have with your sister, or mother or father. The relationship you have with your neighbor, or with your coworkers, or your boss. Even the relationship you have with the postman or perhaps the guy at the Laundromat who accidently shrunk your clothes when he took it upon himself to switch out your loads without permission. Relationships (the good, the bad, and the ugly) are necessary, meaningful and authentic. Relationships promote self-awareness and encourage growth. They offer accountability and transparency when needed, and extend love and support unconditionally. I am not the only person in this world and the relationships I build with others matter to me. They matter a lot.

  1. The smallest moments make the biggest impact…

The other day while at work, one of my students, who has a long history of high anxiety, became overwhelmed from too much homework during study hall. The pressure and stress got the best of him and what started as a little agitation quickly turned to tears of frustration. As I gave him the space I thought he needed and supported him with words of encouragement, he continued to cry and remain unresponsive. Although it was simply schoolwork that triggered such strong emotions, my student ultimately was homesick. This young student of mine had not lived with his family in over two years.

Two and a half years and counting, he has been away from his home, and the next day was his birthday. Instead of spending this special day with friends or family, he would be here instead, at the treatment center for his third birthday in a row. My eyes also filled up with tears, and we sat in silence for what seemed like forever as I continued my attempt at soothing his anxiety and worry.

It was in that moment that I realized how courageous this young student is. He is required to overcome a much different type of adversity than I was faced with at 10, 11, and 12 years old. He is a brave young man with a strong spirit and a heart of gold. I cannot imagine being away from home at only 12 years old. I also cannot imagine spending three birthdays in a row with people other than the people I love most dearly. It was also in this small and short moment that I realized how important this job is to me and that I am important to this young man. I am not sure if he’ll remember that moment years from now, but I surely won’t forget watching him cry and feeling his heart ache so loudly that I could feel my own heart breaking for his. I won’t forget the impact he and the other boys I work with have on me on a daily basis. Literally, minute after minute, I fill up with more and more gratitude for this job and this opportunity to be a part of the journey these boys are traveling.

  1. There is only love…

In this life, you have two choices from which to act – either love or fear. Think about it… it really is that simple. Each passing year, I learn more and more about the power of love. I am surrounded by it. If you only extend love, then you will only receive love. Don’t believe me? Try it. It’s a guarantee.

  1. You create your own reality…

“Is what you’re thinking about right now (in this moment)

what you want to create in your life today?” -PLR

Have you ever thought to yourself while driving to work: “Wouldn’t it be nice if I find a close and convenient parking spot?” and then magically your perfect parking spot appears! YOU did that! The universe is always conspiring to give you what you desire. In each moment, your life is being shaped by your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. I read a book once called How Yoga Works, by Michael Roach. This book spoke to the power of the mind. You see, your mind is like a giant, vast garden and your thoughts are seeds. When you desire something, you think it, and when you think it, you immediately begin to manifest it. The life you live is the one you are choosing. If you don’t like the way things are going, choose something different. What do you want out of this life?

Say it out loud. Create it. Allow it to manifest.

  1. I believe in yoga

My soul deeply believes in the healing powers of yoga. After all, yoga has much to teach. My practice has taught me patience, self-acceptance, to put my health and well-being first, stillness (oh how this continues to be a work in progress), to be more open and to find new perspectives. Yoga continues to teach me the power of having unapologetic “me” time (also still a work in progress), to be present and that yoga doesn’t stop once I get off my mat.

Most importantly, my practice has taught me that it is just that: a practice. Yoga is a practice because my body and spirit are continuously growing, changing, evolving and becoming stronger. This practice of yoga will feel differently each time I step on that torn up old green mat, and for that, I am grateful.

  1. Continued… Yoga is hard

Life is hard, and similar to life there is yoga. That’s right, yoga is hard too. Now, it isn’t hard because it requires flexibility (which is doesn’t FYI) or because you don’t know what the hell Ujjayi Breath is. It is hard because you have to show up to do the work. You can’t see the positive changes or reap the benefits of this beautiful practice without showing up on the mat and doing the work. And although at times you may feel like your downward facing dog sucks, or you’re incapable of doing the bendy twisty yogi thing, it really isn’t about all that. Instead, yoga is about being present and mindful. It is about being willing to work and to change. After all, change is constant, and that I am finally starting to accept.

  1. It is only a body…

As I spoke to a dear friend the other day about tattoos, I had a small moment of clarity about my body: It’s just a body. My body acts as a vehicle for which I get to journey through this life. I am grateful for my body and after all, I am the only one that has this exact version. My body is beautiful because it is unique, strong and it is mine. With all that being said, my body and I have a tumultuous relationship. I have had a love/hate relationship with my body since turning 17. My junior year of high school was when the judgment began. I began telling myself stories about how I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough. I told myself obnoxious stories such as: I was getting fat, or chubby, or a slow runner, or a poor athlete. I wish I could say I don’t tell myself these stories anymore, but I’d be lying. Instead, the negative self-talk is becoming less and less and I am starting to remember more and more that I am perfect just the way I am. And when I say perfect, I mean… perfect! And with all that being said, it is just a body. My heart is more important and my spirit prevails over any and all negativity. The insides really are the best part, I promise. Each year that passes, the outside matters less and less and focusing on me, as whole, means more and more. Life is precious, and I’d rather not waste moments on being negative to me.

  1. Self-love is a must…

Although, in my previous statement, I stated “it’s just a body” I now want to share another truth with you: the truth is you are not just the body, but you are So. Much. More. Respecting and loving your body is important because you only get one in this lifetime, but understanding that you are more than that and loving yourself unconditionally is just as essential.

To say that you will love yourself more when/if you are skinnier, or prettier, or finally land that dream job, or finally land that dream partner is blocking the infinite amount of love that is already present within you. Trust me, this one is extra personal for me and I often find myself striving to be more and do more. The truth is, I am enough. I do enough. I have enough. All of the external things I possess that I have attached so much meaning to, do not and will not equal “happy.” Self-love comes from seeing yourself as you truly are: whole and complete and perfect. That’s right I said, perfect. I believe it is actually the imperfections that make a person so perfect and beautiful J When you truly see yourself this way and accept every part of who you are, the beauty and confidence that emanates from you is magnetizing. Like I said, this life is precious and I plan to spend each moment from here on out loving every and all part(s) of me.

  1. There is a teacher in all of us…

The first time I heard this statement, I was sitting a room-full of other starry-eyed yogis as we listened to our teacher speak to the “seed of the teacher.” See, it was here I assumed she would teach us to be this brilliant and inspiring yoga teacher that would inspire so many! However, what I ultimately learned was that I was already a teacher. As well, the woman at the intersection of Academy and Austin Bluffs who cut me off in traffic is a teacher. My kindergarten student when I was substitute teaching is also a blossoming teacher. My best friend is the most outstanding teacher. My sister, my mother, my cousin, and oh yes, my ex-boyfriend are all teachers. In fact, he may have been my best teacher yet.

The list goes on and on. Simply put: there is a teacher in us all. I do not believe in coincidence. I believe that each moment I experience is an intentional moment in which there is opportunity to learn, to grow and to love. I am always looking for “the teacher” in all situations.

  1. There is always laughter…

Laughter truly is the best medicine and sometimes, it’s the only thing you can do. Life isn’t always easy and sometimes shit happens. Like I said, sometimes all you can do is laugh. One of the most attractive features, I believe, that a person can possess is his/her laugh and smile lines!! I love seeing all the wrinkles created by smiling and laughing so much. In fact, I hope my face is riddled with them one day.

When in doubt, just laugh…

     10. You may never really get over your first love…

Some people may disagree, but this is the lesson I have learned. I loved this man. I still love this man. Let me be clear when I say still. I mean to say that I still love the memory of him. I love him for who he was when we were together. I love him for how much he loved and adored me. I love, and am grateful for, the experiences we shared, the connection we had and the lessons I learned from that relationship. Today, I can’t say I have all the answers, but I have more trust. I trust myself. I trust the journey I am on. I know those experiences were given to me like a neatly wrapped gift and I can choose to be thankful for that gift, or to have regrets.

I choose to be thankful.

If you are constantly looking back with sadness, resentment and regret, this can often lead to looking forward with fear and worry. With such perpetuation of negativity, you will fail to see each day as a new beginning, with a new life for you to create and live. Like I said previously, in each moment, through your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors, you are given another chance to reinvent yourself, to change your perspective to only see the good in any situation. Remember, there is only love.

Cheers to 30, I can’t wait to see what is next…

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