By: Alex Sabbag
If we don’t move toward our manifestations is it all a bunch of happy horse shit?
A piece inspired by my father, to this day, my favorite human on earth
When things come completely full circle it feels like a personal gold star from heaven. Really, some kind of conviction inspired a path, the path was taken, the success (perhaps varying degrees) is accounted for and at the end of the day (or decade) something revealed itself, validating that you made the right choice. I can assure you this doesn’t happen often. In fact, during my 34 (and a half, yes I celebrate my half birthday) years on this planet, it has only happened once–that I’m aware of.
To sit here now, I think the awareness piece is perhaps the most monumental in this short story. Reflecting back, I think there had to have been numerous choices I made, paths I paved and mountains climbed that were the right choice. And to counter that, likely a number of opportunities I didn’t take because I was unaware, or maybe not ready for, and unaware as a result. Perhaps age is the greatest gift of all and with time on this earth we learn how to to quite literally pull our head out of our ass and start paying attention (words of wisdom from my father himself).
In order to pay attention there must be a wake-up call. I think I was asleep, or doing some kind of lifeless roleplay in my body for the better part of my life, we’ll call it pre age 30. At some point I started to awaken, or maybe it was more tossing and turning until the real alarm went off. I believe adults only learn through some kind of trauma. Whether Big T or little t, a transformative life event takes place and we have who we were before and who we become after. This is not a deep-dive into what that was for me, so for the sake of this argument, go with it. Mine was a Big T, and while that certainly jolted me out of some living coma, the awakening took place during the aftermath. Like an earthquake, it hits, but the shockwaves to follow sometimes cause more damage. In my case, the shockwaves are what made me wakeup. And yes, shockingly, it happened through yoga.
Yoga started as a physical practice for me many many years ago before becoming therapeutic, emotional and spiritual during the summer of 2018. For a brief period of time it was the only escape I had from my current situation. It was during this time, I wanted to know why yoga works and how. The curiosity alone didn’t spark my path forward, what ultimately did was this deeply-rooted desire to be prepared. Life had thrown me an unimaginable feat. A situation no thirty-something should be faced with, one with no rulebook and hardly anyone out there that had walked this walk. While I had people around me, I felt abandoned, alone and like I had next to no support system. I know this was not the reality, but often feelings do not reflect what’s real.
The trauma transpired and my reaction to what happened was impulsive, fight or flight hit immediately and I fought. Hard. To the point I had depleted whatever reserves had been stored up in my body. My gut told me the journey through yoga – from the practice to the experience of teacher training – would perhaps give me the toolkit to better handle life. The good, the bad, the tragic, and the traumatic. It’s funny when things get stripped away what becomes clear. Thankfully, I followed my instinct (and the happy people because I so desperately wanted to be one of them).
My entire platform for becoming a teacher rested (you can see my application if you want!) on this desire to be ready, and in turn, ensure my students were ready, too. “Ready for what?” you might ask. Well, that’s the thing. I don’t know your hopes, dreams, wants and needs, but for me, I wanted to be ready for my life. My career, relationships, experiences – all of it. I didn’t want to be asleep, I wanted to be awake, present, aware. I have always stood behind this broad universal thought that we are in the right place, walking our own path and I believed it to be true for myself. I had so many questions – like why on earth is it so damn hard? But alas, my cautious optimism clicked in and I was able to accept that where I am is the right place. Like mama, Jesus, and so many others said, it’s not going to be easy.
My word for 2019 was faith. Faith in myself. Faith in my journey. Faith that I’m in the right place. Faith that it is ok and it will be ok. I have always had faith. I was raised Christian and consider my religious faith an essential pillar in my life. That hasn’t, nor will it, ever shift. But does having faith mean sitting idle, waiting for the good to come? If I just pray a little harder, will it get better? Cleary for me it didn’t mean crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. For about 6 months I completely fell apart (for those who are obsessed with chronological order that would be from about June 2018 – January 2019). I can only imagine how difficult that was to watch… and to those loving friends and family, thank you. I can’t issue a refund to the high-speed trainwreck you witnessed, but I can assure you I’ll be here when your world crumbles. After all, no one said it would be easy.
I realized that the only way out was through. I entered the 40 Days to Personal Revolution Program at Bare Feet and started to develop a routine again. I hiked a million mountains in search of peace. I kept practicing yoga in an effort to rebuild strength. I started teacher training in March 2019. I read countless books, uplifting really… like When Things Fall Apart and Comfortable with Uncertainty, both by Pema Chondran. I spent a lot of time with my parents in California and when an Amazon shipment would come my father would say, here’s more of your self-help shit! Call it what you want, Pema was, and still is, a lifeline. And yes dad, she’s a Buddhist Monk (I can hear the gasps from here).
I have never been one to sit back and wait for things to happen, maybe to a fault. I have always been able to put my big girl panties on and keep moving forward. Unsure of where I’m going, but remaining in motion nonetheless.
The deeper I got into my soul-diving self-help shit (come on, kind of funny), the more I was convinced that my platform of preparedness was the right space. The entire last year I very purposefully took steps to be ready, unsure what exactly I was getting ready for. The further in I got, the more clarity was revealed and the more reassurance I received that it was for something big (not to bury the lead here, but I’m still not entirely sure what the something is, or something’s are yet, but I am sure they’re happening). One of the greatest takeaways was the ability to know who I am. I had to re-meet myself as a thirty-something, in my post Big T life, with a pile of uncertainty in front of me. To some, this could sound like a total mess… but for me, the mess is the magic. The mess is what allows space for opportunity. I do not have a formal plan. I have intentions, direction, desires from life. And I have faith that the path I’m walking is right. But the real question here is this: Is faith alone enough? Or is there more to the story?
Spoiler alert: There is more. To me, faith is nothing without movement. We must keep moving toward our manifestations and living in the direction of our prayers. Whatever language you speak here – church or yoga – you’ll get the point. For me, I have always had this internal push to keep moving. And when the biggest bell rang 18 months ago, I got up and got going.
My parents are utterly confused as to who I am. Quintessential baby boomers, they are two of the most loving, generous and thoughtful people you will ever meet. My friends adore them, I couldn’t live without them and quite simply, they are the best and I am so lucky to have them.
It was over Christmas when I realized just how significant the generational gap is between us. I skipped church on Christmas Eve. I love going to church, but I made another choice. I explained to my father (the only parent speaking to me at that particular moment in time) that my choice did not reflect my beliefs. He had some words for me (verbal little bugger when agitated) and closed out his remarks by telling me my faith and thus referring to my spiritual life, was all a bunch of happy horse shit.
The discussion ended. To me, words are cheap and he has a temper, so no love or sleep lost here. But it did make me wonder if my parents think just sitting idle in prayer is enough to move mountains? I have a much different opinion. I think prayer, meditation, and quiet introspective times are immensely valuable. I think the ability to listen, be present and aware when pathways open and opportunities present themselves is essential. But I think we are all kidding ourselves if we think that sitting on the couch binge-watching netflix will land us our dream job or husband.
What brings my point, and this story, full circle was an experience I had in church last Sunday. I’ve had countless experiences where the sermon has aligned – sometimes down to the bible verse (seriously) with a particular reading (and in most cases *required* reading) for a yoga program. This past Sunday marked the beginning of the 2020 40 Days to Personal Revolution, but more importantly on a personal level, one thousand percent validated WHY I pursued yoga. The bible says this, “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the lord will do amazing things.” To put it in plainspeak – GET READY. Whether your language is church, the universe, yoga, German, etc., the question is this: Are you preparing yourself for what’s to come? We already do this in so many ways… putting makeup on for a night on the town or cleaning our home before company arrives. But are we preparing ourselves for the massive opportunities that are coming? Have we missed some that were presented? Are we awake so we can be aware when they land? Can we have the presence within ourselves to say yes?
I spent my New Year’s Eve in a manifesting meditation. I loved it. My intentions are strong, visions powerful, the path is there – cloudy, but I see it. If you think I’m going to just sit back with some more self-help shit you are mistaken. Sitting idle with intentions is the very definition of happy horse shit. We choose yoga because it allows us the physical movement to welcome and clear energy, tap into desire, sit in stillness and work – yes work – toward what we want. Tomorrow’s provision is tied to today’s position. Breathe in big. Believe big. Cut the happy horse shit and answer me this… Are you ready?