Today is my 29th birthday, the kick off to my last year as a 20-something, and I could not be more excited! The last few years have been monumental for me in terms of growth – physical, mental, and spiritual. Looking ahead, I know that the next decade will continue to bring continual opportunities for transformation.
“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” – Bob Dylan
I went to yoga this past Saturday morning, and my teacher shared this quote. She explained to us that as much enlightenment or clarity as we gain on our mats, we have a responsibility to bring these learnings in to the world through positive action. Knowledge can’t turn into wisdom without experience, and wisdom is useless unless shared. Last year on my birthday, I made a commitment to keep putting out good karma in this world and to be open to the abundance it returns. For me, this translated as realizing my gifts and sharing them with the world. I’ve been blogging and teaching yoga for a few years now, and while it’s a norm for me, I am constantly surprised by the impact that they have and so grateful for the opportunities to live my passions daily.
On my birthday each year, I try to sit down and reflect on this point in my life. In the past I’ve set goals, reviewed a list of things to be grateful for and a list of things to learn from, and created an intention for the upcoming year. But this year, I’ve already been doing these things consistently. I’ve realized that I don’t need a big event to gain perspective; I can be mindful when I feel stuck and work to change course. I don’t need an occasion to express gratitude; I can look up at the sky and draw joy and inspiration from the clouds. I don’t need a milestone to remind me to reflect on life’s lessons; I keep these with me daily and realize that they will show up time and again. And hopefully, each time I get better at recognizing them and continue to grow through them.
At this moment, I feel extremely blessed for my life. I’m enjoying my job again; I have flexibility to pursue my passions; I know what I like and what I’m good at; I have money and time; I travel often; and I have this ever-growing capacity to love and be loved. I recognize that I’m not entitled to any of these things but am grateful for each of them. I recognize that these gifts give me immense freedom and also crucial responsibility. I also recognize that I’m not trying to be anyone’s hero, just trying to live my truth daily. So this year and each day going forward, I accept the responsibility of my life. I accept my gifts and will keep sharing them with the world in ways I know how. I choose to live life fully through right actions like love, kindness, honesty, and generosity. I will stay true to being me in all my weird hippie ways and will acknowledge when I’m crabby or feeling stuck that it’s ok. I will just be.
Today is yoga love fest! I branded it this way because it’s not really about me or my birthday. For me, today is about yoga or union with the world and with myself. It’s about being one in breath, playfulness, and love. And it’s about being uplifted by my community. So no matter where you are today, do a handstand, go upside down, smile with your liver, and love fiercely. Today is going to be an amazing day but really no different from any other day. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
-Hunter S. Thompson