Still being somewhat at the beginning of this year, we tend to look back and evaluate what has happened in the last year and what we have or haven’t achieved. If we had high expectations, it’s very easy to get stuck in negative thoughts and judgements about missed opportunities and failures as just another year has gone by. When I look back at last year, I first try to see what I can be grateful for and it is truly a lot: My little and extended beloved family, supportive friends, a beautiful & safe home, my dear teachers, my own yoga practice, my calling as a yoga teacher, a lovely yoga home in Berlin called Spirit Yoga, lots of holidays and travels to new places and certainly - above all - my health.
I feel incredibly blessed with my life and the liberty to actually choose how to live it freely and full heartedly. Unfortunately, not all people and animals on this earth get to experience freedom and we all often have to experience suffering in our own lives in order to remember the gratitude we owe the universe for simply being alive and free.
Last year, I have been struggling with the question whether I am living my life to its fullest potential, whether my calling as a yoga teacher is really meaningful. Should I consider a different, more “serious” career the way my parents had advised me years ago? Is this even the time to practice self inquiry, since my daughter is still young and needs me simply being a mother? Meaning - dedicated a large part of my day to being fully present, aware and available to her needs? And if it is not the time - when does that time come and how can I be sure to not miss the opportunity
To come to the point, I still haven’t really found all the answers. But what I have found, is a way to continue my journey of self inquiry, for which - as I now know - is never the perfect or “enough” time. It has helped me tremendously to feel again more content in my own skin, my soul, my life. It’s actually rather simple: Just by beginning the journey to get to know myself better again and by taking the time to really look inside to see what is unfolding, I can feel that this is where I’m supposed to be now. There is nothing for me to look for on the outside . Everything will unfold itself how it’s meant to be. “The path is the goal” as Mahatma Gandhi said so beautifully. I just have to take step by step, do my daily practice and enjoy the journey.
It obviously didn’t happen overnight and I’m not „there“ yet, as it’s an ongoing journey in this and probably many more lifetimes. But it reminded me to trust myself, my intuition and my own journey towards my true Self as long as I’m actively seeking it. It’s just that I, and we all, have to do the work ourselves. We have to take charge of our own lifes. We are responsible for our own happiness. We surely cannot change the world we live in from the outside, we have to change from the inside-out to create the world we envision and want to live in.
“You are here to understand yourself, not to be understood” ~ by Paramatma Siri Sadhana. When I read this post on Instagram from my beloved teacher, I knew it was meant for me to read. It’s so true. We are here to understand ourselves, to connect again to our true inner Self and to unite with God. No one can do the work for us. No one is responsible for our happiness. It’s totally up to us. I won’t share each little detail with you about my own journey as it is not relevant. It could be something completely different for you. But I will share my “recipe”. You have to figure out your own “ingredients”:
“Me” time: This year, I commit to taking guilt free “Me” time. I know it‘s not really easy as a parent, with a demanding job, travels, etc. And of course, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. But at least, I’m making the effort and allowing myself to claim some space. As a mom, I had to actually learn again to ask for some help to enjoy a few moments of stillness. I admit, it’s not easy for me to not feel guilty about this “selfish“ time. But as far as I can tell, the ancient advice seems to be true: You can only take good care of others, if you also take good care of yourself. No one else will do it for you. So don’t hesitate and just go for it. It will give you some space to detach and just simple be yourself again.
Spiritual practice and mentor: For a long time, I have been looking for a spiritual mentor who can guide me on my personal spiritual journey. I have been already blessed with many inspiring teachers during my Yoga teacher trainings and studies. But after I had my child and moved from NYC to Berlin, I was looking for someone kind, compassionate, radiant, wise, with a strong spiritual practice who can and is willing to guide me through my current stage of life as a yogi, teacher, student, mom, wife, daughter and friend. And luckily, I reconnected again with my dear teacher from NYC. Even I don’t get to see her personally, she is still guiding me with her teachings, wisdom and love as I do my own daily Sadhana (practice) given to me by her. I feel so blessed to be guided and protected again on my spiritual journey. And I honor all the other teachers in my life - past and present. I believe it’s important to have a teacher and mentor in your life who can guide and inspire you to become the best version of yourself.
“Dance, Laugh & Swim” - that’s a beautiful advice given by another inspiring and gifted teacher called “Krishnataki”. Even I’m not planning to become a massage therapist, I spontaneously decided to attend a 5 day Thai Massage Workshop with him last year . He came highly recommended and since I was looking for some inspiration, I just took the leap and tried it out. And LOVED IT! I enjoyed the teachings by this charismatic and wise teacher, I enjoyed the Thai Massage practices (Even I felt clueless as a beginner, I felt the healing powers of giving and receiving a well intended touch and massage), I enjoyed the practices we did like dancing to loud energizing music in the morning and chanting mantras together and I enjoyed the experience to learn again something completely new. At the end, he didn’t really advice us to practice Thai Massage, eat a certain diet, meditate, etc., he simply recommended us DANCE, LAUGH & SWIM instead. Basically, to celebrate and enjoy life itself. I love it!
That all being said - Creating space, surrounding yourself with wisdom and love, living life to the fullest and simply allowing yourself to enjoy - have been my ingredients for a free and fulfilling year so far. Yours may be very different, but the important idea behind is: Go find your ingredients and apply them. Let’s not set too high goals and bars for 2019 and the years to come, let’s practice to be present in the moment, to celebrate and enjoy life, to be kind to one another and to take nothing for granted.