Start Where You’re At

By Lisa Selow

CC Image courtesy of kpishdadi on Flickr
CC Image courtesy of kpishdadi on Flickr

Many of you have big goals, dreams, and visions. You have desires. It all can get so overwhelming at times. I know because I’ve been there. I’ve stood there stopped in my tracks, thinking, “How will I get from here to there?”

Your desires might seem far away. Maybe you put them on the back burner for a while? Maybe you just can’t think about them ‘cause you’re not taking action and it hurts too much not to make them happen? Maybe you’re not sure where to even start? Yes, I know what those feelings are like too. I myself have been prone to procrastination and perfectionism, which ends up meaning that I wouldn’t start or finish anything.

I recommend starting where you’re at. Take one action step today in the direction of your desires. Tomorrow, same thing. Take another, small action step. Just keep going. (I like Dory’s quote in the animated film, “Finding Nemo”: “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.”) Eventually, you’ll get “there.”

I’m really not into the idea of “getting there,” though. I see the process as the place where there is joy. The destination, to be honest, is not as fun or sexy as the journey. So, why not enjoy the journey?

It’s totally okay to just start where you’re at, even if you are sort of imperfect. What if your so-called imperfection was PERFECT?

What if your human side is that part of you that is beautiful and talented? What if you are denying others joy in experiencing that part of you?

What if you didn’t wait to be an expert or have the perfect abs? I mean, everyone is a beginner in some way, I promise you. Be okay with looking like an ass or silly. Why not? What others think of you is none of your business, as a wise spiritual teacher once said.

This past year, I had to tap into my inner life coach due to some self-doubts. I let my ego get in the way of continuing towards my dreams. In an online group I’m in, I was discussing my dream of studying to become a yoga teacher in the future. Someone there projected their reality onto me about what it means to be a yoga teacher. She said you have to be “religious” about it all and dedicating most of your time to it, to be a great teacher. The person shared a video of some teachers doing the very “advanced” asanas (postures) in yoga. Also, she said that I’d probably get bored teaching yoga due to it not being creative enough for me.

All of these limiting beliefs were not mine, I realized. I did have to dig deep ‘cause it really hurt. I’m a sensitive type of person. I ended up seeing this hurtful exchange as a gift. It showed me what I really believe about being a yoga teacher:

  • I can start where I’m at. I’ve done yoga for years, but I don’t have to be perfect.
  • All that is required to teach is an open-heart and an intention to serve, along with the knowledge of teaching others how to do the asanas safely
  • It’s okay to be a work in progress.
  • I define teacher and student as the same thing. I really feel as though we are both.
  • I don’t have to be an expert. I can acquire the knowledge, wisdom, and guidance from books, classes, and teachers and share it with love in my heart.
  • I’ve probably been a yoga teacher in many past lives and that DOES count!
  • Yoga is more to me. It’s the connection within and to the divine and others. It’s the harmonics of music and peaceful feelings from meditation. It’s the feeling of flow and allowing and accepting. It’s union.
  • Yoga is not a religion. It’s a spiritual practice.
  • I don’t have to be able to do the “advanced asanas” so that I can teach yoga. Again, it’s okay to be a work in progress.
  • I am into beginner’s mind. I love approaching yoga and other things in life like I’m a little kid learning it for the first time.

So, I felt better.

What about you? Do you ever struggle with getting from here to there? How do you feel about starting where you’re at right now? How do you handle the naysayers when it comes to your goals, dreams, and vision? Please share in the comments below.

Only a Flashlight

How do you see reality?

By Anita Moorjani

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Although I try to share my near-death experience, there are no words that can come close to describing its depth and the amount of knowledge that came flooding through. So the best way to express it is through the use of metaphors and analogies. Hopefully, they capture a part of the essence of what I’m trying to convey at least in some small way.

Imagine, if you will, a huge, dark warehouse. You live there with only one flashlight to see by. Everything you know about what’s contained within this enormous space is what you’ve seen by the beam of one small flashlight. Whenever you want to look for something, you may or may not find it, but that doesn’t mean the thing doesn’t exist. It’s there, but you just haven’t shone your light on it. And even when you do, the object you see may be difficult to make out. You may get a fairly clear idea of it, but often you’re left wondering. You can only see what your light is focused on, and only identify that which you already know.

That is what physical life is like. We’re only aware of what we focus our senses on at any given time, and we can only understand what is already familiar.

Next, imagine that one day, someone flicks on a switch. There for the first time, in a sudden burst of brilliance and sound and color, you can see the entire warehouse, and it’s nothing like anything you’d ever imagined. Lights are blinking, flashing, glowing, and shooting sparks of red, yellow, blue, and green. You see colors you don’t recognize, ones you’ve never seen before. Music floods the room with fantastic, kaleidoscopic, surround-sound melodies you’ve never heard before.

Neon signs pulse and boogie in rainbow strobes of cherry, lemon, vermillion, grape, lavender, and gold. Electric toys run on tracks up, down, and around shelves stacked with indescribable colored boxes, packages, papers, pencils, paints, inks, cans of food, packages of multihued candies, bottles of effervescent sodas, chocolates of every possible variety, champagne, and wines from every corner of the world. Skyrockets suddenly explode in starbursts, setting off sparkling flowers, cascades of cold fire, whistling embers, and animations of light.

The vastness, complexity, depth, and breadth of everything going on around you is almost overwhelming. You can’t see all the way to the end of the space, and you know there’s more to it than what you can take in from this torrent that’s tantalizing your senses and emotions. But you do get a strong feeling that you’re actually part of something alive, infinite, and altogether fantastic, that you are part of a large and unfolding tapestry that goes beyond sight and sound.

You understand that what you used to think was your reality was, in fact, hardly a speck within the vast wonder that surrounds you. You can see how all the various parts are interrelated, how they all play off each other, how everything fits. You notice just how many different things there are in the warehouse that you’d never seen, never even dreamed of existing in such splendor and glory of color, sound, and texture—but here they are, along with everything you already knew. And even the objects you were aware of have an entirely new context so that they, too, seem completely new and strangely superreal.

Even when the switch goes back off, nothing can take away your understanding and clarity, the wonder and beauty, or the fabulous aliveness of the experience. Nothing can ever cancel your knowledge of all that exists in the warehouse. You’re now far more aware of what’s there, how to access it, and what’s possible than you ever were with your little flashlight. And you’re left with a sense of awe over everything you experienced in those blindingly lucid moments. Life has taken on a different meaning, and your new experiences moving forward are created from this awareness.