The sun rose this morning as it did ten thousand years ago. The only difference is that it is us, together, who get to set the intention and breathe life into experiences on this planet on the shoulders of our ancestors.
I set an intention the Summer of 2010 that I didn’t fit into a corporate lifestyle and I was willing to do anything to get out. Intentions followed by actions allow each and every one of us to manifest lives of our own making and choosing. I did everything to Break out of the 9-5 (read: The Drive to Break out of the 9-5), grew friendships with passionate like-minded individuals (read: Ashok Amaran Remembers his first day Coworking…), and by December of that year left that life behind(read: I Quit).
2011 was the year of rapid growth with our Mobile App and Web Development company Kunjan and I co-founded at Quark Studios. At our peak we had up to 12 people working with us. We don’t like to call anyone who works with us contractors, employees, developers, etc… We call everyone team members because while they are with us and choose to be with us, they are part of our team.
While we grew more freedom in our own lives, working 70-80 hours a week to more reasonable 30-50 hours this year, I set a personal intention earlier this year that I hope to follow through with in this year and years to come.
It was a very personal intention while looking out into the ocean on the shores of Goa, India.
I had just woken up and had a vegetarian breakfast at the Guest Inn I was staying at. The birds were singing, a slight breeze was in the air with a warm heat in mid-January. I attended a morning Hatha Yoga class next door at the studio beside the Inn. The teacher led with an intention she said she was told during a recent teacher training (all the teachers there were students themselves getting trained) which was finding pure stillness to give the mind peace and the body health.
She described a previous evening during one class were many of them were gathered there in front of the Yoga Master expecting to do some advanced postures and were all ready to out-do those standing next to them. Showing off how they were ‘better’ or more ‘far along’ with Yoga because they knew they could do a pose not many others could pretzel themselves into. But what happened was he made everyone stand with their arms stretched out to their sides as if in Goddess pose, and simply hold and Breathe. For 2 hours. Together they all danced with breath in the silence. It was one of the most difficult Yoga classes many of them had ever had and many of them were unable to fully maintain present throughout it. Afterwards he said, ‘There is always room for growth. The one thing that doesn’t ever change is change itself.’
After class, I was on the shore, thinking over what it truly meant to live a happy, fulfilled life. What does it truly mean to be happy? What makes a person love life? What makes them get up every morning and want to live every moment to their fullest?
I got the answer. My answer. It was gratitude. Gratitude for life, for your body, for your health. Not just being healthy, but treating yourself like an actual living temple in this world. Something that even Buddha, Jesus and many others who were ‘Enlightened’ had also said.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you” – Jesus
“Every man is the builder of a Temple called his body, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead.” -Henry David Thoreau
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” -Buddha
They were saying to not look at them though; they were saying to look at yourself. Use them as an example, but look inward at yourself because the ability to find peace, love, happiness, strength, good health, and anything you could possibly want is within all of us and has always been. Even if you are unhealthy this moment, illnesses are only a part of our experience. It’s more our intention and how we apply our actions that make a difference in our lives. Why are there so many inspirational stories of cancer survivors like Lance Armstrong? They decide the moment they know of mortality they want to choose life instead. It doesn’t always work out, and can be a tragedy, but it doesn’t mean it was never true. The answer was to be alive. Be absolutely grateful for the breath of air you are taking at this very moment to even read these words.
My intention was then to live a life full of health and happiness for myself and others. No one is perfect, and I’m no where near where I want to be. But I’ve realized this is the intention I want. And I know just like when I set that intention the Summer of 2010, it will come with the following of actions in this journey we call Life.
I’ve been practicing Yoga regularly for almost 9 months now. And one thing you quickly learn in a regular practice if you’re open to it, is Yoga is more than physical poses and postures. It’s more than toning your core and recovering from injury. It is all of these things and many more actually. But underlining it all is that it’s a practice of life itself. A place and time set aside on a mat to return to that stillness I felt on the coastline of Goa. You flow through poses, connecting deeply with your breath, and when you do this regularly for 90 minute classes, you connect with yourself. At the end of every class no matter which you take, you will end in Shavasana. The most important pose in my opinion. It is also known as Corpse pose. You lie in absolute stillness flat on your mat for 5-10 minutes, or longer if you wish. The idea is to return to that place of reflection, and calm yourself down before rushing back out into the busy world again. Do you realize you do this every night though? Every one of us? We have our own personal Shavasanas each night in our beds for 8 hours… We arise from this state renewed each morning allowing us to set a new intention for the day. That’s what a Yoga class gives you. That sense of renewal when you’re able to escape the busy-ness for only 90 minutes and set that new intention for your day. No matter how big or small. This is what I do now each and every morning before I even allow my feet to touch the ground. When they do, I ground myself in intention because it gives us the focus and clarity to stay on track in our ADD fueled world with distractions all around us. Just this past weekend I was so happy to enjoy this state of renewal as I was working on an upcoming project:
Even as I had traveled these past two weeks through Phoenix, San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Seattle and waking up this morning in Vancouver. One thing never changed: I returned to find my own stillness, my own peace, health and clarity each and every morning. My hope is through this new project I’m working on, we can all hope to find it on our own schedules as well by learning to reconnect with our breath.
Today is my birthday. I turned 25 today. It was funny because in the busy-ness of projects I’ve been working on, I had only remembered a day before. The truth is, the sun rose this morning as it did ten thousand years ago. It will rise again tomorrow. I love that it’s my birthday today. People will recognize it, no doubt post on my Facebook, and attempt to contact me throughout the day, but this day is grateful to me because it contains life. Life is a gift. And we should treat everyday like it’s our birthday because it truly is.