What a year!
Completing the renovations on our home.
Selling it privately.
Making the heart-breaking decision to leave my partner at 7 months pregnant…
… only to witness a miracle of transformation that brought us back together in the most incredible space.
And of course teaching yoga, sharing yoga, practicing yoga, learning yoga, loving yoga…
…all while holding down a full-time public service job and witnessing firsthand the goings-on within government (oh the stories I could tell…)
And now here I am. It’s the first week of 2010. I’m 39 weeks pregnant. And I have a moment to reflect on the year’s that been…
So here’s what this year had to teach me.
1. It’s real easy to be spiritually deluded, no matter how aware you think you might be.
Most of 2009 I was miserable in my relationship, despite loving my partner dearly.
I thought all my suffering was happening because I wanted certain things and wasn’t getting them… so I focused on trying to let go of these things I wanted.
But the misery kept continuing.
It sucked! I was well versed in spiritual lingo, knew all about letting go of desires and wants as they’re the source of all suffering… but something wasn’t working.
It took an extremely perceptive astrological reading from a good friend, and the work of a very good counsellor to help me realise that it was ” ok to want what I wanted”. That I had this spiritual understanding all backwards and was trying to let go of who I was in order to hold on to the relationship – and this was why I was so miserable!
We can’t let go of who we truly are… that’s who we are.
So I changed tack.
I got clear on what I truly wanted, from the heart, because of who I was.
And I let go of the relationship.
And wouldn’t you know… as soon as I let go… the relationship changed… and I got what I truly wanted. And now we’re living happily ever after. (True!)
Lesson? You gotta stick to your guns. You gotta be who you are. And when you do that, from the heart… life will truly amaze you.
2009 was worth it just for that one lesson.
But there were others.
2. Pregnancy rocks!
Yep, I have had the best pregnancy ever. And I’m sure it’s all down to yoga. Even now in my 39th week… I feel light and vibrant and energetic and good to go.
Right from the start, I’ve felt blessed. I had no morning sickness at all. And no other pregnancy woes at all. Not a single one – unless you count a need to sleep more, and low iron levels briefly in the fourth month.
Even now, I don’t have any swelling, no varicose veins, my bladder lasts right through the night, I haven’t experienced baby brain or any food cravings at all. No anxiety or fears about labour or the baby either. I even still fit enough of my clothes (yeah for stretchy yoga wear and empire-line dresses) that I haven’t had to buy a single maternity item.
All the horror stories I heard from other people about what would happen to my body when I got pregnant… not true. For me anyway.
So what gives?
Why is this?
I have a couple of theories.
1. It’s a total fluke, and my next pregnancy could be completely different. Maybe I’ll be sick as a dog. Swell up like an elephant. And be peeing as often as a gnat. (They pee all the time right?)
2. The baby has some seriously good karma built up from previous lifetimes and is radiating out all that goodness to me.
3. It’s something to do with my lifestyle – my body, mind and spirit.
I’m betting on theory #3.I’ve had a great pregnancy because I’m super healthy in body, mind and spirit. It really is that simple. Pregnancy is gonna be different for every single woman, based on who they are.
In fact, pregnancy presents itself in as many forms as there are women and babies. Each one will be different, based on the woman, her circumstances and the child she is carrying.
Pregnancy takes on the shape of the woman who becomes pregnant. It is her, and she is it. What she needs and what she will experience is unique to her, and only she knows how to respond to her changing body. That is – if she is in touch with herself – body, mind and spirit.
That’s the toughest bit really.
It’s all there is
Lesson? That life as we experience it is not a fixed entity outside of us, it is a reflection of who we are, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Want to change life? Change yourself. And first, you gotta know yourself.
I already knew this… intellectually. But boy, did pregnancy bring it home to the heart.
Life flows through us. We create life. Damn how cool is that!
3. I know nothing
Yep, very little at all in fact. Far less than I did in 2008. And way less than I did in 1998.
Which is one of the reasons I didn’t teach pregnancy yoga while pregnant. I had no clue what other pregnant women should be doing, I had no training in pregnancy yoga, all I knew was what worked for me. And I’m not you. So how can I tell you anything?
About one of the only things I do know for sure is that I’m over offering advice, especially on this website. A hangover from the days of my personal development blog, it’s gotta stop. Because I have no clue what you should do in your life.
I really don’t. I know what’s worked for me. I have an idea of things you could try that might have specific results… but beyond that. Don’t know much really. But am really interested in hearing what life’s like for you, what your perspective is, what you see…
Lesson? If people ask me specific questions, I can still offer my perspective. But it doesn’t mean it’s right, or right for them. So I ask that you try it out and determine for yourself if it’s right for you. And that includes how to do Warrior 1.
4. Other people are not just bit parts in my life movie
The tricky thing about this realisation is that I had no idea I was seeing other people that way- maybe not all other people, but definitely my nearest and dearest.
Call it self-centred, call me a drama queen, call it clueless… whatever. But about halfway through the year, right dab smack in the middle of all the dramas with my partner, it began to occur to me that half of what was going on was because I was getting upset he wasn’t playing his part the way he was meant to.
I had this grand vision of how I wanted my life to be, and I knew what I needed to do to make it that way, and what other people needed to do… so why weren’t they doing their bit?
And then I started to realise.
They’ve got their own life movie they’re starring in. Their own shit they’re going through.
It’s not all about me.
So I began to let up a bit, and whenever someone wasn’t acting the way I wanted them to… instead of getting upset or trying to make them be the way I wanted… I took a step back to see if I could see what they were going through and what they might need.
Made a big difference.
Wish I’d figured that one out in my teens.
Lesson? Life gets a whole lot easier when I shift from being reactive to being responsive. When I’m concerned for where the other person is, instead of just being concerned of how they’re impacting me.
This lesson just keeps on popping up too… I can see it’s going to take some serious practice. And that’s ok. I got discipline. I can handle practice.
5. One of the most precious things in life is sangha – spiritual community
We live in a world that is generally materialistic, and fear-based. Surrounding myself with people who who the same values as me – other people who practice yoga and meditation and know that material gain is not what it’s all about – has been invaluable this year.
I have been truly blessed to meet some incredible people, and attend some incredible events. This website has helped some of this process, as I have “met” scores of yoga teachers from around New Zealand. It’s given me great hope for our country, and our world.
And it really made me realise that it’s ok to be choosy about friends, to be choosy about who you spend time with and who you surround yourself with. The people around you help you grow and develop – so might as well be people who stand for what you stand for.
Lesson? Community isn’t something that just ‘happens’, it’s something we create. And it’s one of the most valuable things in this world that you can create.
While it doesn’t sound like it, all of these lessons have been learned thanks to my yoga and meditation practice. My practice helps me be aware of what’s going on in every moment – of the thoughts and feelings I’m having, and that moment of choice when I can react to my thought, my feeling… or I can choose a different response…
It’s a constant process. But it’s an empowering one. And one I figure I’m getting better at. I definitely feel way better at the beginning of 2010 that I did at the beginning of 2009.
And so when things start getting sucky again, I’ve got this toolbox of lessons to pull from. I can sit back and ask myself:
OK, are you trying to control things here? What’s really going on? What actions can I take to shift this experience I’m having? How can I surrender to what is, without compromising my truth?
Generally, it works.
And that rocks.
Yeah for 2009.
Excited for 2010.
Bring it on.