It’s that time of year when you start to see “Best of…” lists. “Best Movies of 2010,” “Best Songs of 2010,” etc. Looking back on all of my blog entries over the past 14 months, I realize that it’s essential for all of us to reflect on what we’ve learned. And by that, I don’t mean that we should dwell on the past… but rather, we should take what we’ve learned and carry it with us into the future. (Try coming up with your own “Best of…” list. Remind yourself of the journey you’ve taken, of how far you’ve come in 12 months.)
Here are my Top 10 Reflections of the Year 2010:
10. Don’t be afraid to let silence linger. That means pausing when someone does something or says something that doesn’t sit well with you. People who are unafraid of those “pregnant pauses” in conversations are more likely to speak gracefully and confidently. They save themselves from getting worked up and they earn respect from their peers.
9. Saying “no” is okay. As Barbara de Angelis points out, saying “no” takes courage. It allows us to stay on course and be true to ourselves. It involves listening to our gut and taking care of ourselves so that we can have the energy to say “yes” to those things that truly call us.
8. Practicing non-judgment will free you. One of the hardest things to do is to practice non-judgment…especially when people make you angry. Learning how to step outside of yourself and become “aware” of your emotions is the key to letting go of the unwarranted and unnecessary junk that other people can often toss your way. As Plato said: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is facing a harder battle.” Even when that’s hard to swallow, remember that sometimes the other person’s “battle” is simply their struggle to love themselves.
7. In discomfort, there is growth. Last night, my yoga teacher said this to us while we were in a very difficult pose. Sweating and panting and struggling to maintain the pose were symbolic of the challenges we can face in some of the other “uncomfortable” areas of our lives, whether that be our jobs or our relationships. If you feel “stuck” in a situation, just sit with it. Realize that we are never stuck. Yet sometimes we don’t move because we don’t know how. We still have growing left to do.
6. Never settle for mediocrity. Lululemon’s mission is to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness. The company defines mediocrity as: “…putting up with things the way they are with no firm plan to change the situation by a specific date. Mediocrity is following a predetermined and unfulfilling path. Most people live in a state of mediocrity. Mediocrity is as close to the bottom as it is the top.” Always remind yourself that you are destined for greatness. There is no other way.
5. Yoga is my religion. Raised as a Catholic, I’ve never felt the same kind of spiritual connection to God as I have through yoga. It’s hard to describe unless you practice and meditate yourself. While there are all kinds of religions and theories on deferring to a higher power, separation of the ego, etc., I think that everyone should practice whatever works for them… as long as it fosters PEACE.
4. Opening your heart will change your life. It makes me smile but every time I see Jane Seymour’s commercial for Open Hearts necklaces, I think of how true her words are: “If your heart is open, love will always find its way in.” The tricky part is not everyone knows that their heart is closed. An open heart is tied to so many other things in life: trust, overcoming fear, forgiveness. But once you allow the heart to “crack open,” it’s amazing to observe just how much that action changes your life… for the better.
3. Meditation brings grace. While I still consider myself a “new-ish” meditator, I now know that meditating clears the cobwebs of the brain, improves the relationships I have with the ones I love (and don’t love!), and keeps me calm and focused. While not everyone needs to meditate, doing so will bring you grace.
2. Think of your ego is “that guy/girl.” Separation from the ego, or simply having the awareness that the ego is a distinct thing that can affect your thoughts and influence you to stray far, far away from the TRUTH is crucial to spiritual growth. Think of your ego is “that guy” or “that girl” who embarrasses themselves as a party by being totally obnoxious, gratuitous, or flamboyant. Do they represent who you are, at the core? Probably not.
1. I am an educator. Being an educator is my life’s calling. I’ve known this my entire life…despite past efforts to stray from this path. We ALL have a great purpose in our life: to love ourselves, to love others, and to always be the best version of ourselves for as long as we are here.