Every January I like to look back on the people and events that made the greatest impact on my life during the previous year— especially the teachers who shed light on everything I couldn’t see before. The past twelve months have been incredibly transformative, so having a record of what brought me to where I am now will not only be beneficial to me but hopefully you as well.
First, I’m going to rewind back to November 2014. A series of events in my personal life revealed a damaging, cyclical pattern that was impacting both the personal and professional relationships in my life. The common denominator in all of these relationships was me. Rather than blame others, I had to get to the root of what was inside me that was getting in the way of finding the happiness, love and respect I was searching for.
Enter the first teacher of 2015: Dany Lyne of Unleash Your Potential. I sought out Dany at the advice of a close friend. While the condensed description of what Dany does would be “reiki”, that would be a gross understatement. Dany uses her deep sense of intuition and combines this with energy work to uncover all the garbage our bodies are holding onto. Just like we all have that one room or closet or drawer in our home that we’d rather just ignore than deal with, the same neglected space exists in our bodies. Once Dany showed me how I was still very much holding on to things I had convinced myself I had let go of long ago, I was able to do the real work and move forward.
Moving forward, however, didn’t happen overnight. My patterns were deeply ingrained, but so was my desire for change. I had started to experience glimpses of lightness—feelings of true contentment where I began to live in the “flow” I had heard others talk about, where what we say and do are aligned with what we actually enjoy and want out of life. And yet I was still giving in to old habits, old frustrations, and struggling to leave behind the relationships—both personal and professional—that no longer served me.
Cue teacher number two, Christophe Chaix, who I described to friends as a jungle-dwelling French magician practicing bodywork in Nosara, Costa Rica. I was leading my third retreat in this small surf town on the Nicoya Peninsula, and again at the advice of a close girlfriend, booked a session with Christophe as a gift to myself on my 31st birthday. Just as Dany Lyne does “reiki”, Christophe is advertised as a “massage” therapist. What he offers, however, can’t really be summarized in one word. While the physical portion of the treatment left my body feeling like a rug that first had the dust beaten out before being washed, vigorously rung out and then hung up to dry, it was Christophe’s intuitive sense that led him to share with me exactly what I needed to hear. In fact I still have the little piece of paper on which he wrote his instructions to me pinned above my desk: “No victim, no judge, no expectation”. Rather than allow the triggers of past experiences and beliefs to colour the world around me, he urged me to start living from a place where I was the centre of my own story, where I could identify triggered feelings of victimization, judgement or expectation (which came up as anger, fear, etc.), and then go about healing them at their source.
I returned from Costa Rica more aware of my own agency, ready to accept responsibility for the unfulfilling areas of my life. I started to ask more questions of myself, especially in moments of frustration and doubt, to get to the bottom of where those reactions were coming from. By the time summer arrived, the answers surrounding how I wanted my life to look were becoming clear, and the next step was devising a plan for how to get there.
I knew I wanted more balance in my life. For the past six years, I made work my sole priority. It should have been no surprise then that my personal life left much to be desired. And I’m not just referring to relationships: I craved more time to train my OWN body; I missed having time to read for FUN and I dreamt about making more wholesome meals at home out of a desire for exploration and nourishment rather than just fuelling the machine I’d turned my body into.
Here we arrive at teacher number three: Me. The means for creating the life I want have been within me all along. It’s such a cliché , but it’s true. Dany and Christophe provided me with the tools, and countless others have inspired me along the way and reminded me of what’s really important, but at the end of the day it’s come down to connecting with my own sense of intuition and truth. Memories of loneliness and stress from last summer led me to cut back my teaching throughout July and August by 50%. Doing so allowed me to meet the man who now brings the type of happiness and fulfilment to my life that, until recently, I just wasn’t sure was in the cards. Throughout the fall, I then zeroed in on the type of work that felt like PLAY, when I felt inspired while teaching, versus the work that was draining all that good energy out of me. By the end of the year, I had a clear vision in mind of what it looks like to play everyday while making worthwhile contributions through my unique set of skills and talents.
And now here we are in the first days of 2016. On New Year’s Eve, I made the declaration—OUT LOUD, as all declarations should be!—that I am excited for what this year will bring: excited to love more and spend time with those who bring positivity to my life, and excited for the success and accomplishments that the year will hold. I want to walk out of 2016 with a sense of WONDER at all that has taken place, along with deep gratitude for all of the teachers I’m sure I will meet along the way.
What’s your declaration for 2016? Share with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the tags #mydeclarationfor2016 and @yogaelement.