One of the most important lessons I have been learning is how few things actually matter to me. Some time back I began to simplify my life. This manifested in a physical way as we started the process of purging our home. It has been reflected in a less tangible way through cutting back on commitments, people who are rather toxic to our family, and most importantly, a shift in perspective and priorities. Recently, these particular areas have been streamlined even further.
I find I now have two main areas of focus. The first is to take care of and love those people I hold most dear. This includes myself as I am one of the people I hold most dear. The second is to live in peace. I am finding not much else matters to me beyond these two priorities.
The first is rather broad. it extends past the obvious to keeping house (in a loose way), protecting the environment for my children's future, etc. The second one is what I have really been focusing on lately. Living in peace. I want to live in peace. What does that mean?
Ultimately for me the meaning is coming to fruition by much less confrontation. Truly, I despise confrontation. I am actually quite good at it. I can stay very focused and have great mental clarity. I can center in the moment and not be flustered. Nonetheless, I truly despise it. It leaves me feeling grimy and less than what I should be.
The practical outcome of living a less confrontational life is just letting so much more go. I honestly believe this is the best way.If you really think about it, you probably aren't going to change someone's mind on something in confrontation mode. People have strong views on organic food, war, public breast feeding, vaccines, health, really this list could go on and on. You can fuss, fight, argue and debate. In the end most people will still hold the same views and your souls will be a little more tattered. There is no purpose. If you really believe something, just live it out in your life daily. Trust me, people will notice and they will ask you questions not to fight but to learn. It is in that moment you can change minds and change the world in at least a small way.
I will still deal with confrontation if something threatens my first focus. You aren't going to mess with my kids. You aren't going to bully my best friend. You will not hurt my husband. There are times to call up the fiery dragon sleeping within all of us. We should still remain kind and compassionate. We can take care of our own and be loving and firm.
I went to an amazing yoga workshop with Thomas Fortel yesterday. He said, "Sometimes you need to be the warrior and sometimes you need to be the healer." The idea just struck me as real truth. I think most of the time we would benefit, as would the world, if we chose to be a healer.
That brings me to the nurturing part of this post. I have been going to this workshop each winter for 3 years now. Yoga is such a micro-movement practice for me. My progress is so slow, I don't see it from day to day. Even though it is slow, it is steady. Each day I progress a little more. These yearly workshops serve as bench marks for my progress. It is amazing to see the change from year to year.
Yesterday I did indeed see that I am moving into each asana with more ease and strength. That is wonderful but for me my progress in other areas matters more. Pranayama breathing used to be so hard for me. It honestly gave me a headache. Yesterday our breathing exercises filled me with energy and rest at the same time. It was amazing. However, the most important thing was I am letting go of ego. This letting go will be a lifetime of practice but yesterday, I took a couple of baby steps in the direction. My performance mattered much less. Just being there. Just learning. Just soaking in the energy from the room of yoga students was far more important. It was powerful.
Many people thing a three hour yoga session must result in a very zen state. It does but what you don't realize is that deep of practice can actually bring up some more problematic feelings. It is okay. They need to come out so you can be free of them. But it can be unsettling.
So today we are home.I am cleaning and tidying the house because it gives me great joy. I may bake cookies with the kids again because it brings us great joy and much laughter. I am not going around people. My soul is just a little worn thin which means my empathetic nature will be open and raw. The lack of boundaries would be harmful for me. Today I am nurturing myself. I am taking care of what needs to be taken care of. I am happy. I am growing. Life is very, very good.