“ If you don’t change directions, you will end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu
I love this quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, Lao Tzu. I find it encouraging when I have direction and am working towards my goals. I can sense that I will indeed get where I am going if I press on. I find it motivating when I am slipping into bad habits or neglecting myself. It helps me see when I need to pivot and move in the direction of the things I want for myself. For me, right now, those things are longevity, integrity, fulfillment and ease.
I turned 48 in August. I am on the downhill slide to 50. I am heading into the second half of my life with a good idea of how I want to age. I’d like to have quality of movement, stamina, healthy digestion and a high functioning immune system into my 70’s, 80’s, and beyond. I understand now that I am at a point where I have to point myself in that direction and make it happen as best I can with my daily choices and habits, because, not to do that would be to leave my health up to chance, or head in a different direction intentionally.
I knew this in the past, but I didn’t always choose to do what was in my own best interest. I was out of integrity there. I knew I needed to eat a little cleaner, go to bed a little earlier, and diversify my exercise regimen, but it was so much easier to do what I had always done. It was fine, until that lack of integrity started showing up as anxiety, weight gain, bloating, headaches, and joint pain. That was a direction I didn’t want to continue to go in.
When I was out of integrity with my body’s needs, and suffering the side effects, I had mood swings and suffered from guilt and shame about my choices. Sometimes these moods would keep me from saying yes to seeing a friend, or taking my one of my daughters somewhere. I might have chosen Netflix over writing because I didn’t feel like writing. Yet, I’ve longed to be a writer my whole life! In this way, I was unfulfilled creatively, and socially, and felt like I was not getting everything I could out of being a parent. I knew I could have more fulfilling relationships with my family and friends, my yoga students, even my pets and the planet, if I had more energy.
I didn’t really have time, though, to alter my habits, because I was so damn busy. Busy drinking coffee, cleaning house, running kids around, grocery shopping, cooking food, checking Instagram, scrolling through Facebook, and caring for everybody else’s needs all day long. Mind you, I was caring for their surface needs, and missing the cues to meet the deeper needs, because I was keeping an unsustainable pace. I had so many things on my to-do list every day, and a belief that my worth was tied to checking those boxes, and I was so busy checking boxes I was not getting to receive the joy that was right in front of me when spending a precious few minutes with one of my girls. The exception was teaching yoga, but even that was often tainted by the busyness. Rushing in to teach a yoga class with the day’s busyness still clinging to my skin was the norm, though, not the desire. I longed for more space and a slower pace so I could enjoy my life, my kids, and my work.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”-Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu again. It’s so simple and true. Nature does not hurry. You cannot force a rose to bloom. You can’t hurry the seasons. Things unfold, and everything is accomplished.
Nature’s rhythm is medicine. Aligning to dina charya, or daily rhythm, has turned things around for me, and pointed me in the right direction. Through following nature’s lead, I have been able to witness the healing power of my own body, which gives me faith in my potential for longevity. By having a daily routine that is automated, and oriented towards meeting my body’s needs, I feel a new sense of integration, as if my body, mind, and spirit are in harmony. I have access to more energy on a daily basis and I am using that energy to say yes to friends, family, and work that lights me up. My relationship with time has changed. I have shed my addiction to busyness, and now prioritize easeful living when scheduling, planning, and moving through my days.
It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t do it by myself, but in a group of supportive peers oriented in the same direction as me, with an experienced and knowledgeable guide. We helped each other along, and now that I am on the other side of those particular struggles, and a little further down the road, I want to reach back and extend a hand to anyone who may want to catch up with me.
Where are you headed? Sit with that for a minute. Which way are you oriented? Is it towards daily rejuvenation, longevity, and thrive? Or, is it towards degeneration and future suffering? Or, are you just wandering around hoping to stumble into your best life? There is no right or wrong here, only an opportunity to consciously choose your path.
Take my hand and let’s go this way, together, towards our good health, towards our wholeness, and towards our joy. We’ll go slow, one step at a time, and we will stop and smell the roses.
I am creating Yoga for LIFE to celebrate and share these habits because they are a map. Following them has gotten me from where I was to where I want to be and pointed me in the direction of where I want to go next. They can do the same for you. You don’t have to be a yogi or know anything about yoga to walk this path with me. All you need is a desire to change direction, and a trust in nature’s wisdom.
Schedule a free consultation: https://www.pbpyoga.com/?about=true
For more about me: https://www.pbpyoga.com/blog/introducing-me
For more about the habits: https://www.pbpyoga.com/blog/the-10-habits-what-and-a-little-why
For more about Yoga for LIFE: https://www.pbpyoga.com/blog/the-10-habits-what-and-a-little-why