Focus on What You Want

Winter Solstice

Hurray! It’s my birthday! Forty trips around the sun– how’s that for space travel? Seriously, I’m ecstatic to celebrate LIFE and the joys and sorrows it brings.

Focus on What You WantSPOILER ALERT: In my yoga classes and private sessions with clients this week, I’ve been passing out little glass stones with a word or phrase of inspiration. I teach about 100 students and private clients in any given week. It’s my way of saying that you, l appreciate you, you’re important to me and I love you. As they’re resting quietly in savasana, I place a stone on their mat. I’ve loved seeing their faces as they gently sit up and realize what’s been placed at their feet. Many of them not only have said thank you, but that the word or phrase was exactly what they needed.

“You must be psychic”, Mary said as we walked out of the studio.

“Maybe…” I responded with a wink.

“While we were practicing yoga today, I kept thinking, “I’m so grateful for my health. I’m so grateful to be alive. And that’s what my stone says “I’m grateful for my health”! I can’t believe it! You see, a few years ago, I had a brain tumor removed,” she said and she placed my hand on her head and pressed it into her hair to her scalp. ” You feel that hole in my head? That’s from the surgery where the doctors bored into my brain to remove it. My children were very young and it was so scary to think I might not be there with them, but I am. And I am so grateful!”

“I’m so grateful that you received the right and perfect stone. Thank you for sharing that with me. I picked the stones out of the bag at random, but I trusted that whatever you would receive would be what you needed.” We both had tears in our eyes and she continued to tell me how excited she was to be with all of her children and family this Christmas.

Life is a gift.

When I was little, I was bummed to have a birthday so close to Christmas (I feel your pain, dear friends with born days near or on Christmas). My birthday is 4 short days between the day when the entire world (it seemed that way when I was little) celebrates the birth of Jesus? It just felt cruel. School was always closed, so no party there. Friends were with family shopping and preparing for the holiday. Even in my own household, the tree was up and pies were baking in the oven– not to be sliced until that fateful day. My mom would bake me a cake and my family would sing “Happy Birthday”. I’d open my birthday presents (some wrapped in Christmas paper— “you forgot, didn’t you?”) I never really enjoyed going birthday parties because it just reminded me that I wouldn’t have one. (Begin tiny violin playing here, playing the tiniest, whiniest song).

When I realized that my birthday was not only near Christmas but was actually the first day of winter (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway), I thought “ you gotta be kidding me!” Not only will I be alone, but does it have to be the DARKEST day of the year!? Ok, so be it. I would make jokes about it, apologizing that my birth was bringing about the bitter cold, snow and ice we would be experiencing that year. As I got older, friends made an effort to hang out with me, take me to dinner or fun places for my birthday. I enjoyed it and definitely appreciated their efforts. It was sweet to spend time with them and feel their acknowledgment, care and love.

As I began to learn more about the spiritual meaning of this time of the year— with so many Holy Days or ‘holidays’, I realized that without the darkness there is no light. A seed is planted in the dirt, in the darkest dark, but with the right conditions, grows upward toward the light of the sun. The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the official beginning of winter. The solstice itself is the moment the sun is shining farthest to the south, directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. For thousands of years, the winter solstice has been (and continues to be) celebrated as a time of rebirth, a return of the light. Be the LIGHT.

This year has been tumultuous to out it mildly– on both a personal and global level. Death, violence, destruction, loss, disappointment and sadness defines a significant portion of 2016. But also within this year, were times of sheer bliss, ecstatic joy, happiness and love. And while I am optimistically anticipating a better 2017, I recognize that without darkness, there is no light. I hope that I am bouncing back to that realization faster as I enter my 40th revolution/ evolution around the sun, I feel blessed to have the winter solstice to remind me of the potential that lies just beneath the surface. Be the LIGHT.

How do you want to show up in 2017? Will you wake up to more of your potential? Will you experience more joy and bliss? How will you be the light today, at work, with your family, in the world?

You may be wondering how.

Easy answer: LOVE.

Hard answer: LOVE

It’s an easy word to say but can be incredibly difficult to do. So many things to disagree about? Politics, beliefs, pork chops… pork chops? Yes, but that’s another post.

You can’t buy it and wrap it up. You are love. They are love. That’s it. Just do it. Be the LIGHT.

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Let 2017 be a year of tremendous growth in your personal and professional life. Sign up for “Flow & Grow”, my signature 11 month yoga-inspired coaching program. This isn’t about goals or resolutions, but real, measurable, meaningful change in your life. Since it’s my birthday, I’d like to give you $150 off if you signup for the full program by December 31! More details to come.

If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs. ~ Tony Gaskin