It’s been a while. Last time I started writing was mid-January, but I got deterred and sidetracked. It was my birthday, actually. Here is a reflection that I wrote on that day:
Every day is a day for celebration. Being alive and feeling that “aliveness” within oneself is a reason in itself. I don’t believe in birthdays. I might be “turning” twenty-one today (as if I wasn’t a process of becoming), but I think the seven thousandths six hundred and sixty-fifth day is just as important to celebrate as the seven thousandths six hundred and sixty-sixth day. What’s important is feeling this “aliveness”, this enthusiasm towards life, and working on igniting it within others around us, sharing the light to the best of our capacity every single day. That is cause for celebration – furthering ourselves; detaching ourselves from the irrational demands of our egos; cultivating awareness and understanding through action. Don’t wish me a happy birthday. Instead, think of what makes you happy to be alive today. Generate that enthusiasm for life within yourself. And spread it like wildfire.
I know a lot of people that are averse to birthdays, even though for a long time I thought myself alone in it. For me, the aversion stems from years of expectations. Expecting something grand and magical to happen on The Day. Expecting everyone to know it’s my birthday and that everything should go well for me. Expecting nothing unexpected to happen. Every year for many years my birthday was a disappointment. Until I decided to pretend like it was a normal day. At first, I got frustrated with the people that would even acknowledge that I was suddenly a year older. I would tell everyone that I hated birthdays and that I didn’t want to hear anything about it, let alone receive any presents. I have a different perspective on it now. I know that gift-giving is often more rewarding for the giver than the receiver (except when it’s just money), so I enjoy thoughtful gifts. I know that my friends and family enjoy celebrating my existence, just as I enjoy celebrating their existence. But I think what’s key here is the idea that we should always be celebrating each other’s existence. We should be celebrating everyone’s existence all the time. Perpetual celebration of life is part of what makes me so happy and enthusiastic. I think it’s an important component of happiness.
Remember I said I would start taking an online course? Well, I am obsessed. It’s part of why I’ve been so silent lately. I absolutely love my course. It’s called Transformative Change in Developing Sustainable Communities and it is more practical than theoretical. For my assignments, I am preparing three community development workshops that will be held at the local health center with a group of elderly people and hopefully some local high school students. I am elated to finally have a framework that pushes me to do work that I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been reflecting a lot about how to facilitate dialogue between people. I want everyone to be included in the process of making the world a better place so they can contribute their vision and opinion. I want to regenerate the earth and teach people how to live regenerative lifestyles, but I don’t have it all figured out. I need you! All of you out there! We all need each other, really.
I am consciously fighting the individualism that is integral to the capitalist worldview. We are stronger together. We are better together. Anyways, as you can see my course has sparked inspiration and passion within me, and I love it.
I’ve been teaching traditional yoga classes for high school students too. It’s amazing how much I am learning from them. The younger the students, the more challenging it is for them to remain focused and earnest in their practice. Thus, I have to be more creative in how I teach so as to be more engaging than I normally would. As the level of focus and earnestness increases, I can increase the difficulty of the mindfulness practices, which are just as important as the practice of the physical postures. Teaching also teaches me about myself and my own limitations. Being more engaging in order to keep my students’ attention is difficult for me because I am a rather calm and collected person. However, I really enjoy pushing the perimeter of my comfort zone, expanding it more and more.
Speaking of comfort zones. I’ve been recently working on vocalizing my thoughts, opinions, and needs. I would much rather sustain myself and be independent, yet there are times where my lack of proficiency in expressing my needs actually works against my wellbeing. Slowly, I’m finding opportunities to speak up in a way that I feel doesn’t impose anything upon the person addressed. Though I often make mistakes and feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I just want to scream inside. But I can feel the expansion of my self in a way that is hard to explain. All I know is that it feels like hell, but then it feels really good, and that good feeling never goes away. I encourage anyone that’s up for a challenge to work on one thing that makes you absolutely uncomfortable. Choose wisely. Choose something achievable. There are things more or less challenging than one another and it’s important to keep in mind that the purpose is not to practice something that will make you regress. Pick something small that you know you can work on and throw yourself out there. Right out of your box. I would love to hear what you’re already working on or what you think you might want to work on. Sharing our experiences help us grow.
I’m heading back to my diving board, ready to plunge in philosophical thought regarding the practice of community development. Thank you for allowing me to share this space with you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Love and Light,