Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year, New Vision

This year, I have decided to give the 52 essay challenge another go. And this year, I start en route to India.

Here we go, 2019. Are you ready for me?

As I write this, I am somewhere between London and Dubai, 33,000 feet high is the sky. My final destination: Mumbai. I am en route to begin a month-long 300hr advanced teacher training and spiritual study of Bhakti yoga. Because of the end-of semester-crunch and the flurry of holiday activities (shopping, decoration, entertaining, and most importantly: baking!), the reality of this hasn’t had a chance set in. Now, that I’m here, sitting on a plane for another seven hours, I’ve had time to be still. No one asking me where their sweater is. No one asking me what to do with their food on left their dinner plate. No one tattling about her older sister being on her phone. The cabin is dark. There are tiny pinpricks of light on the ceiling above the aisles to give the feeling of a night sky. The babies have stopped crying and the engines drone on, loudly. (I have noise canceling headphones for this reason, but had to take them off, because after a period of time, the pressure on my jaw, right below the ears, was starting to give me a headache. So, I will sacrifice my hearing for a little bit in order to avoid a headache. Some decision, huh.) And in the stillness, this shouts in my head:

I’m going to freaking India!!

How did I get here?

On this first day of a brand-new year, I can’t help but reflect on the journey I’ve had to get to this point. When I first said yes to this –to this chance to continue my spiritual growth in India—I had no idea what I was saying yes to. And to be honest, I still don’t think I fully know yet what I am saying yes to. But what I have seen is my life change and grow and open in amazing, unexpected ways. When I needed something, the universe provided. It was only a matter of me recognizing that, of being aware.

Small example: I was giving a poetry reading in the city on a Sunday night, during the holiday season. I drove into the city during that time of year they call Gridlock Alert season. Who wants to drive in that? And to find street parking? Hah! As if! Well, I got in my car, set an intention for smooth travel and a parking spot near the bar where I was reading, and listened to some Christmas music, Pentatonix style. And wouldn’t you know? I drove in without incident –no crazy and/or angry drivers. Once I got to Houston, I thought: okay, keep your eyes peeled for parking. About two blocks away from the bar, I stopped at a red light. Right next to me was what looked like an open parking spot. I saw it in my periphery vision and in the back of my mind thought: nah, too good to be true. The light changed to green and the car in front of me got through before it turned red again (there was a lot fo congestion). I thought, while sitting at the red light: really? Is this my spot? I mean, I’m sitting at the same traffic light for another round of red. I should at least park in it and then check out the signs.So, calmly, I maneuvered into the spot. Got out of my car to check the parking signs. And sure enough, I was good! It was a miracle! But really not. It was me setting my intention, knowing that the spot was waiting for me, giving gratitude for that spot before I got there, and –this is an important part—recognizing my spot! I almost missed it. And it’s not like I could’ve circled back again. It would’ve been gone by the time I went through the traffic light.

Moments like these –big and small—have been happening in my life since I said yes to India. And I am amazed. Grateful and amazed. The biggest takeaway this year, for me, has been to say yes and then to let go of control., to sit back to let the universe do the work.

I am also amazed and humbled by the amount of support I’ve gotten from friends, family, colleagues –everyone in my community— these past several months. I’m really blown away. Me? Really? You believe in me?says the teeny tiny insecure voice. Yes, you. Beautiful, bold you.The universe never ceases to amaze me. Thank you, my loved ones. I am endlessly grateful.

I am astonished by how much my heart has grown, how much it has opened to love and to compassion. How much I have opened up to vulnerability, despite how terrifying it sometimes (usually) feels. I look at my student from this fall semester –we’ll call him Griffin—and how I was able to hold space for him as he endured one traumatic event after another, how I was able to do this while also keeping my energetic boundaries (and not getting sucked into the tornado of an emotional drain). How I was able to be of service and support to him without sacrificing my own well-being. I had never been able to do something like that before. Incredible.

I’d like to think this all started with the intention I set a year ago today with my touchstone word, “authentic”. I look at my intention bracelet, at the word “authentic” stamped into a nickel token wrapped around my wrist and think: wow – I’ve really done a lot of work to peel away the layers of false selves. I’m really working a being my most authentic self. And I feel fantastic!I look over the past year at moments in which my truest Self showed Herself. The most notable moment for me was when I received my Kundalini yoga spiritual name: Surya Gian Kaur, which means: one whose wisdom shines as brilliantly as the sun. Damn, I thought. The spiritual name is merely naming the thing you already are – you had just forgotten. And I will say that when I received this name, it resonated within me. Yes, I thought to myself, yes, this is me. Truly me.

So, what will this year’s word be? I’ve been thinking about it in the back of my mind the past couple of weeks. What’s emerging are two words, actually. Open heart. “Open” as both verb and adjective. In thinking about authenticity, being open comes with the territory. The willingness to vulnerable. And in that vulnerability, we are not only our truest selves, but our strongest selves (as much as that sounds counterintuitive).

Yes. That seems right. 
And YES to everything that awaits.

Here we go, 2019! Here were go!

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