By: Danielle Wilson
My classes, my movement, my words of inspiration all habitually reflect the thoughts and themes currently stirring around in my mind and in my heart. I am a being consciously thriving on growth, always aiming to learn and transform and expand my horizons—a tendency which sends me into an almost constant state of internal reflection. On a personal level, this is a state of being that can both work for me and against me, in any given moment. Questions, curiosities and theories fall in and out of each other in my head like a never-ending rabbit hole, sometimes providing substantial answers or solutions, but never going too long without simply perpetuating existential confusion. However, when it comes to living as a yoga instructor, a lightworker, a leader of mindfulness and love—whatever title I’m embodying—this is a practice that enhances my ability to serve the people around me, every time.
Recently, I’ve been steeping in themes dealing with experience. Prior to now, I tended to believe that in order to change the way I feel, think, or act, I had to take action in changing the atmosphere and people around me. It’s an empowering thought: not happy at your job? Find a new one. Not pleased with your friends? Make new connections. In many instances, out with the old and in with the new can be the best mentality and action to take. Sheesh, if I had only kept count of the times I’ve realized that the suffering I’d been enduring was a product of being around toxic people or an unhealthy work environment and had to cut those things out of my life entirely in order to create space for a fresh, more peaceful state of being. If your knowledge of the Zodiac expands even minutely beyond that of the average person, you’ll understand when I say this is me embodying the stereotypical Capricorn I’m capable of being, so quick to cut anything and everything out of my life if it doesn’t seem to serve my highest good. I came to it, though, as of late, that maybe I can change the way I experience people, situations, and life in general, without clean slating them completely, if I simply alter the way in which I go about them.
External factors of our lives don’t always have to take responsibility for our experience. Whether I already enjoy the way I experience something or someone, or not, I’ve realized that changing the way in which I perceive the experience or choosing a different route to reach the peak of it, will always provide me with new lessons, wisdom, feelings, perspectives, and opinions. For someone who loves to learn (mainly about what makes the world, including myself, tick), investigating this theme has been quite gratifying. How many aspects of my life do I experience habitually? In what other ways can I go about experiencing these facets of my life, and most importantly, what more will I learn from living life through this practice?
On our mats, we can practice the same flow, but take different variations or modifications, choose a different playlist, or maybe none at all, alter the atmosphere through the use of heat, or incense, or plants, and each one of these decisions will lead us to experience the same flow, differently. It is also possible, though, to simply alter the way we go about the flow in our perspective and transform the practice completely. The experience on my mat took on a new life when I stopped utilizing it as merely an effort towards staying in shape, it brought me more self-love and peace of mind when I quit comparing myself to the people around me, and my practice evolved completely when I chose to see it as a conduit to spiritual connection. This, I believe, is the most personally empowered manner in which to stimulate change in our lives. It is a matter of being willing to release our conditions and habits in order to gain new insight on the experience. This pushes the boundaries of our minds, hearts and spirits in a way that makes us kinder, lighter, more understanding and compassionate of ourselves and the world around us. It helps us realize that the idea of there being one right or better way to do, be, or live is absolute nonsense. Through this, we begin allowing ourselves to experience life from a deeper and truer place of authenticity, and we start being more accepting of others as they do the same. We release expectations because we know no matter how things go down, there will be wisdom to gain, and we open ourselves up to a life of less suffering, heightened sensation, and more clarity of the beauty that’s always existed around us and within us.
So, where in your life can you break the mold of your habits? How can you perceive the same, differently? What alternative path can you take to arrive at the same destination, collecting fresh ideas and perspectives on your way? Whether it’s on your mat or in your life, I challenge you this week to catch yourself in moments where the need to change an external factor arises. Can you pause, and choose to alter something on an internal level instead? Maybe you’ll find that you had the power to experience the same, differently, all along? Or maybe you’ll discover that there really are some toxic external factors that need releasing? Regardless, your willingness in to be internally fluid will pay off twofold—you’ll learn something new, take a step towards evolution, and prove to yourself that a stagnant version of you is the unhappy version of you. Learn, grow, change, see, experience: I dare you.