“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The body is the bow, asana is the arrow, and the soul is the target.” ~BKS Iyengar (1918 – 2014)
Change… Graduation has always meant major change for me. After graduating high school I took off for college. 10 years and lots of soul searching later I graduated from college and started a dream job working with children with a diagnosis of Autism. And now, facing graduation again I have to prepare for major change. I have to leave my beloved first job, the place that gave me a start, the place that reassured that special education is where I belong, the place where I love to walk into work every day and not only see the smiling faces of the children, but my amazing co-workers. This might be the hardest transition I have faced yet. But if yoga has taught me anything, it is that the hardest changes are usually the best ones. Stepping forward into the unknown can be thrilling.
Just like when I first started yoga, it was new, it was exciting, and I was scared to try new poses that challenged me. But I tried, I fell, I tried again, I fell again… but when I finally landed that pose it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. So in my new
job adventure I may fall and that’s okay. Because when I get it right I know I will be a better person for it. Our failures don’t make us who we are, but rather they mold us into the amazing beings that we are: our best Self.
A few things I would like to tell my 20-year-old self…
1. You are smart. That girl that didn’t care about school as a teenager just graduated with her masters with a 4.0. Never call yourself stupid. You are amazing.
2. Don’t fret about money. It can be a real issue for some, but think about the grand scheme of things. Being a millionaire is not of much importance.
3. Happiness is a state of mind that does not revolve around physical things (people, money, possessions).
4. Don’t be afraid to meet new people. The most amazing friendships are made there.
5. Don’t regret anything. Learn from your failures.
More change… Not only am I facing this major career change, but I am preparing to make the change from being a single girl living in a 1 bedroom apartment with a dog to being a wife. I am excited and scared all at the same time to take on these new roles in my life. It is important to me to be the best partner to my husband and the best teacher to the children that need it so much. I want to give everything I have to these two new roles in my life but as I think about it I can’t forget the relationship that I have built so strongly over the past 10 years… the relationship with me. I came to know myself through all of my soul-searching in my 20’s and I can’t forget or let go of that girl. I love that girl. So here’s the merging of me as one whole person and my husband-to-be as one whole person and I think the most important thing is that we don’t forget those people as we merge into one. We have to make time for our relationship with each other as well as with ourselves.
I ran into an old friend the other day while taking my dog for a walk. It turns out that she has lived on the same street as me for a year and we never crossed paths. As we were talking and catching up she talked about her life in New York City and how her career in theater made her feel the need to be perfect. She constantly watched what she ate and always felt pressure to have this ideal body image. Although she’s still passionate about theater she faded away from it and decided that she really needed to experience “the stuff of life.” I hugged her and went about my walk and those words stuck in my head… the stuff of life. Do I enjoy the stuff of life? Am I too hard on myself? Am I too strict on my diet? Is eating a cookie (or two) really that bad?
With my wedding 4 months away I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Do I want to look amazing and fit on my wedding day? Of course. Does it matter? Not really. We’re getting married because I love him and he loves me, not because I look hot in a white formal gown. True love goes beyond that. But here’s the hard part… Showing that amount of love to yourself. I have a major inner battle with this. I love myself. I am proud of what I have accomplished and what I stand for as a person. But do I love myself every time I look in a mirror? … That needs some work.
I think we all need to learn to enjoy the STUFF of LIFE. Eat healthy foods, fuel your body, love your body, love your Self. But at the same time, have fun, eat a cookie, laugh, play, and go out with friends. Have a few glasses of wine, treat yourself to dessert (you deserve it) and be happy.
I have decided that to prepare for my wedding I will not restrict my diet any further. I will eat the foods I like (thank goodness I love veggies!), stick to my organic/whole foods/no processed diet, and amp up my workout schedule to what it was before grad-school happened. So far I’m enjoying getting back to my workout routine and feeling better about being active every day.
Have fun. Enjoy the STUFF of LIFE.