I am 58 today. 5 plus 8 = 13. 1 + 3 = 4.
When I was four, I saw only the beauty, joy and magic of the world. I looked for fairies in the garden. I stopped to stare at flowers and birds and to pick violets and gather chestnuts and acorns. I loved my family and my friends and felt safe in the world. I was a lucky little girl.
|In our front yard|
|I do not remember this scary looking bunny|
I don't have a picture of me at 13 - those pics are all in our storage unit in Santa Fe - some of you will remember pictures I posted of that. We have to deal with that stuff eventually, but like Scarlett O'Hara, "I'll think about that tomorrow!"
Now I am 58.
|Picture taken of me today on my 58th birthday.|
For much of the time between 13 and 58, I took detours, as most of us do. I still saw the beauty and magic of the world, I still imagined stories and still dreamed of going to wonderful places. But those things weren't at the forefront of my life. I let them slip into the background while I studied and worked and accumulated lots of stuff. The focus was usually more on "what was missing" rather than on appreciation for all the abundance and blessings that were right there in front of me.
Sometime in my 40's though, the 4-year-old and 13-year-old started talking to me, loudly. They said, "HEY! YOU! YEAH, YOU, GOODWIN! WHAT ARE DOING COUNTING NUMBERS AT AN INSURANCE COMPANY? TIME TO GET BACK TO BEING WHO YOU REALLY ARE."
It took some time, some years of transition, but I did find my way back. I found my way to writing, which I knew from the age of ten was what I should do. I also found my way back to yoga, which I also first discovered at the age of ten. Yoga and writing are the two things that have called to me my whole life. In my 40's they started calling, "Come back to us, come back to us, come back to us."
For those of you who don't know much about yoga - well, it's not just a form of physical exercise and it's not a religion. It's simply a path to becoming the best WHO we were meant to be. When we practice yoga, the body moves with the breath, the mind focuses and becomes quiet.
And when the mind quiets; when we can finally stop listening to all the garbage going on in our heads about what we should have done or shouldn't have done, what we are afraid of or feel guilty or ashamed about, what we are worried about or scared of - when we can get that STUFF out of the way, our true Self can finally emerge.
Not the ego self defined by where we live or work, or how we look or how much stuff we have in our storage unit - the true Self we came here to be. The Self who is the best realization of our 4-year-old self's innocent delight and gratitude for life; the realization of the 13-year-old self's imagined potential and possibility.
|That's me doing Half Moon Pose in La Paz, Mexico a couple of years ago.|
I've made lots of mistakes, wasted time and energy wanting things that weren't good for me, working at things that made me feel empty. I've had my share of loss and sorrow, especially in these last ten years. So it's not like my life has been all happy-happy joy-joy. No one's is. Life is a continuous cycles of ups and downs. But through the yoga practice, we discover that by learning to love and have compassion for ourselves, we can love and have compassion for others. And being in a place of love and compassion helps us weather the cycles of life, and it helps us help others weather them too.
For me, writing and yoga are the same. My writing is my yoga - my path in the world, the way that whatever gifts were given to me when I came into the world 58 years ago are passed through me and given back to the world. Today at 58, I feel like Me; like the Me I was at 4, filled with gratitude and appreciation for the beauty around me, the people in my life and all that is good and kind; and I also feel like the Me the 13-year-old me hoped I might become. I feel like I haven't let her down, and that feels pretty good.