This post was written by Jeff Mah, the facilitator of Yogic Explorations.
Here we are, at the end of the year. A time where I become introspective and reminisce on my highlights and challenges of the past twelve months.
I look lovingly at my daughters (3 and 6 years old respectively) and marvel at how much they've changed. Clara, now in grade one, has a burning desire to learn. On the other hand Paige, isn’t a fan of daycare and is a strong willed wonder. Every day, there are laughter and tears and they teach me how parenting is a marathon of love, patience, frustration and steadiness.
My partner Hilary went through a turbulent year in her career - and despite all the long hours, emerged with an understanding of how skilled she truly is.
For myself, I continued to run the Yoga Lounge, and following a calling in my heart, became a part-owner of a new business where I could craft things with my hands. In a perfect world, this opportunity would have arrived a few years down the road but sometimes when a dream calls, there is no right time - you just have to jump.
In the mirror, I notice a few more grey hairs and some deeper smile wrinkles... but other than that - yup, that's definitely me.
(Thank you yoga practice!)
December carries the pressure of holiday gift-giving (let's be honest - if you have children, it's hard to be immune), but what I really desire in life are experiences.
It’s funny how my younger self placed so much value on possessions. As I’ve gotten older, I can begin to see through the cycle of being bored with what I own and wanting something different and new.
But the ability to experience this life - that is truly special. To live in a place of learning and growth. To be so deeply engrossed that my heart quickens and the corners of my eyes feel tears.
Everything that I remember vividly of 2018, was a meaningful experience. And if it wasn't for my yoga practice, I don't think I would have had the skills and the awareness to be fully be present in these moments.
With this upcoming New Year - here are some of my tips on how you can have more meaningful experiences.
Schedule at least one special multi-day event that is a gift to yourself. This could be a vacation or a retreat. The key thing is that it’s a few days, which allows your to immerse yourself more fully in the moment.
Think of the people who are important to you and commit to having special moments. For example, my partner and I make a point of getting a babysitter and going out for dinner - just the two of us. With my daughters, I try to plan special outings.
If there's something that you’ve wanted to learn, don’t wait - take that first step and dive in. You become truly alive when learning something of genuine interest.
Set personal limits on social media or take breaks from it entirely. Facebook, instagram, etc can be helpful, but are designed to be addictive. One can’t help but fall into comparison of others on social media - but what’s on the screen isn’t a 24/7 representation of people’s lives. Also, there’s the great irony of, “if I have to take the time to post about what I’m doing, aren’t I robbing myself of being fully in the moment?”
Commit to a daily practice such as yoga, meditation or journaling. The consistency of returning to our practice provides a much needed stability for our senses.
Finally, realize that there is specialness in every moment that we are alive. While it can often seem like we need to live for the “big moments”, if we can shift our perspective, we can see the splendor in the everyday. For example, when someone you love smiles at you, witnessing the sun’s rays break through the clouds, experiencing a moment of clarity and insight.... just to name a few.
May this be a year that is fully lived and felt!
Looking forward to crossing paths and sharing experiences,
There are still spots available in Jeff Mah's Yogic Explorations retreat!