Day 201: Duty

In the course that I am in, we have emphasized a lot on purpose and our duty. My purpose in life is to make this place a little better than when I entered it. I do this by being the change that I want to see in the world. I do this by smiling at strangers. Now, I do this by teaching people about the practice of yoga.

I have students that suffer from anxiety. I have students that have recently lost both of their parents. I have students that are recovering from a torn ACL or hamstring. All of these students come to the studio in hopes that they can find answers or relief. It is my duty to guide them.

I have learned the difference between helping and enabling people. I recommend certain exercises and techniques but it is up to them to practice the techniques on their own. They have to want to make their circumstances better before I can do anything with them. So, I wait. It requires a lot of patience and understand but I wait.

Some form resentment the way I did when I was going through detoxification from anti-depressants. Some are ready and start to make progress within the first session. Most are waiting for someone to swoop into their life and fix it. The majority are looking for the magic pill. The truth is that there is no magic pill to take. It is effort, perseverance and a lot of work to change.

My duty is to be available to everyone. I’m not for everyone but that is none of my business. I put myself out there everyday to be of service. I make sure that anyone that crosses my path knows that I am here for them if they need any support or guidance. This is my duty in life.

Day 200: Reflect

In this day and age where mental health can be used against you and add to the stigma preventing people from asking for help when they need it the most, we forget that we label people all the time as crazy or sane. Normally, this happens when people are provoked. People, for the most part, don’t act ‘crazy’ for no reason. This used to be a trigger for me because I worked with mentally ill people and found that most of them weren’t crazy at all. They were just people that had lost their direction, got addicted to drugs and started procreating.

These people had no idea how to deal with their drug addicts and were torn between that illness and the duty of providing as a parent. They have a constant struggle happening within them. I truly believe that no human being is bad. They may make bad choices but their nature is not inherently bad. They lost their way somewhere and some get back on track and some stay lost in illness.

I always was amazed at how easy it seemed to go to the doctor, get pills and be in this anti-depressant haze. If you look at my past no wonder I was depressed. The summer of my 8th grade year, I was told that if I was gay I had to move out. So, I decide to play it straight and, basically, move in with my girlfriend and her parents. Until the following summer when I couldn’t contain it any longer. I met my first love and we kept it a secret to a majority of the world. He, too, I believe deals with depression just like me.

Then, on top of all that stuff that has never been talked about and cleared, you add the other life stuff that happens. I chose to get into a series of horrible relationships. The last straw was before I moved to California. I was cheated on and this downward spiral started a series of relationships that were all different people but the same circumstances. Time after time, I left relationships feelings life their was something wrong with me when they were the ones that had issues of commitment and monogamy.

Thankfully, I have found a path that not only helps deal with these feelings of uncertainty but let’s me coexist with all of these people that just seem to be lost. When they screw me over, I’m no longer the crazy one. I’m on longer the boy living a double life to survive. I’m no longer the teenager afraid to be who he is. I’m no longer provoked by people that are just lost and hurt people to try to make themselves feel better. I, now, applaud them and hope they actually feel better. Say what you will but that stuff just stick anymore.

Day 199: Starting the Descent

As I have spent the last 7 months in a classroom sometimes more than 8 hours a day, I have learned so much but forgot that my days here in India are numbered. I am now having to start the paper process of returning my two biggest dogs with me in October and starting to think about what can return to the states during the trip as well. There have been moments where a particular song will come on and I start to get ready to cry. There have been times in class where I start to cry looking at the faces of the students in Shavasana.

I have no idea how it is going to be when the third week of December is upon my partner and I. I have no idea what it will feel like to return next year without my partner and not stay in our apartment that we shared for almost three years. There has been so much learning, understanding and love in this time. I don’t recognize the person I was three years ago. I don’t know who he was but he was and still is a part of me.

I have learned the true meaning of gratitude. Gratitude is not just felt in those times where someone has done a great thing for you but in those times of challenge is when the true test of gratitude shines. My Yin Yoga class yesterday completely opened my eyes about how I am constantly running. I have to ask myself, ‘What is all this running for?’

I run and accomplish to prove my value and worth. Now that I know this, I can start to work on this aspect of my life. I am going back to a place where I always changed for people. I changed so that they would be comfortable. I changed because I was too much for some of them. I changed because it got me things I would have received otherwise. Now, the change is mine. Hopefully, it makes people feel good but it will make some uncomfortable.

I have outgrown my roots and sprouted into a tree with vast branches, vibrant green leaves and beautiful lush flowers. I stand still breathing in with contentment of where I am knowing there is a journey to be had. We are taught to run towards our dreams but forget to enjoy all the little details along the way. We need to instead treat life like a walking escalator found in most airports. Looking at all the beauty around us. Life can really be that beautiful.

Day 198: Yin Yoga

I was recently certified in the teaching of Yin Yoga. I conducted my first class on today and the perfect candidate for the class showed up. The student had a variety of health concerns. He was uneasy about trying this new class but at the end was smiling and seemed more energetic. This new found practice has refreshed my teaching style and my love of teaching.

I watched as students unraveled their stresses into their mats and melted away into the floor. I watched their frowns turn into completely stress-free expressions. I shared in their joy and also practiced along with them. I could feel my body opening up as well. I could feel my relentless gratitude shining from my face.

I didn’t have pillows so we only used blocks for props. Props are looked down upon by the classical style of yoga because they try to go back to the roots of yoga as much as possible. Back then, there were no props, pillows or straps to use only the nature around these yogis and their own bodies. Who’s to say that they didn’t use a tree prop their leg up onto or rocks to hold their legs in position?

Regardless, I have another tool under my belt to take back to the US with me. I feel as though door-after-door is opening up for me to walk through. Some of my old thinking has been replaced with strength and confidence and, at the same time, some of the old ways of thinking still exist. I have worked so hard and realized that I was working to be this perfect human being so that my ego can sing. It’s not that kind of life anymore.

My aim is to empower people. I am content where I am so helping just one person realize that they are enough, saving one soul from desperation or lifting one person from a shell of nothingness into a person of strength and power just by sharing my experience. Many in the coaching world have it wrong and are very successful. They lift people up with the sole intention of filling their pockets first. The approach is not sustainable because their pocket will fill up but empty just as fast.

Day 197: Teaching

I have fully accepted that I will never be perfect but am perfect just the way I am. Therefore, I feel like I am able to make mistakes in front of people and have less shame in making those mistakes. It says a lot to me when people are so forgiving that I am learning right alongside them. It feels collaborative and not one sided.

Teaching yoga is both challenging and rewarding because although the results might not be instant you can start to see a change on the person’s face. You can see the lines on the face relaxing and you start to build a relationship with your students. I used to walk in to a class with the mindset that I was the teacher. Now, I walk into a classroom knowing that I have something to teach but that I am just as receptive to learning as well.

My students are such a joy to work with. Some of them have been students for about a year. To see them excited about achievements and small victories is what makes teaching worth it. I forget that I had to wake up at 4am to get to the studio by 5:30am. I forget that I am going through struggles myself. I get to create space for my students to feel safe, loved and cared for.

When you teach you give all the time. It is also nice to know what my limits are and know when I need to fill my glass when necessary. The day that I understood what it meant to be of service to people was the day that I found my purpose. I found the reason I live.

Knowing that the difference between a teacher and a student is a very thin line completely fulfills me. I walk into a classroom still weirded out by people calling me ‘Sir”, but fulfill that role not because I have to but because it is my calling. The other jobs that I do are becoming less enjoyable and agonizing at times because it’s like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. It just doesn’t fit. Just like circumstances, situations, work environments and family members, there isn’t any more room for filler. There is no longer the desire to force things to work and an ease to just letting things be as they are.

Day 196: Thankful

I just got finished teach yoga for about 5 hours straight. If this is what life can be like, sign me up. I spoke this morning about being grateful for every single victory. I asked my students to recall every single victory they felt in class. I told them to replace their negative thoughts with positive ones. I told them to hold their heart and to know that they could feel this peace anywhere, anytime and at their own will.

Now, I’m home and I have been recalling my words and noticing that I need to heed my own advice. I can’t believe how far I have come from not being able to touch my toes to being able to touch my hands flat on the floor in front of me. My largest challenge is my thinking. I am constantly putting myself down and having negative thoughts about trusting people. However, now that this is acknowledge, I can start working on this behavior.

I have no idea where life is going to take me three months from now. I have no expectation of becoming some celebrity yoga teacher or some internationally known artist. I have lost this somewhere along the way of being realistic, being told that I wouldn’t make it and, seemingly, having people that are hellbent on keeping me from my dreams. I used to think it was foolish to get back up again like a punching bag but maybe that’s what this life has in store for me. Perhaps in a past life I was someone that took life for granted and, in this life, my lesson is to have every opportunity being treated as a blessing.

If you look at my late teen years and my twenties, I am just thankful to be alive. That I made it this far is a complete and total blessing. The fact that I still continue to have the will to live is a miracle because just a few short years ago I was ready to end it all. I look at my current problems and they all are my own. The fact that I have a hard time forgiving people for screwing me over doesn’t mean that I don’t try every chance I get. I do this regardless of them even knowing that I am still hurt by this. There are others that I wonder if they are just evil.

Regardless of your circumstances or struggles, you have more victories to celebrate. The very fact that you are able to read this is a victory for both you and me. It is a miracle that someone thought of the internet and made it happen. So many times we think things are impossible but the trust is that we just don’t want to work hard enough to make it happen. So, if you are having a hard time forgiving someone, make the choice to get over it because you are missing out on the amazing world around you.

Day 195: Fairness

I am constantly trying to be fair to everyone I encounter. I usually get pushed into the spotlight or run towards it depending on my confidence of what the spotlight is for. Recently, I have been taking a step back to let others have the spotlight. What I have observed is that many people will take the spotlight and most start to come across as blabbermouths and know-it-alls.

Everyday we get the opportunity to look at ourselves in the mirror and take note if you like the person that is staring back at you. Some days there is a resentment to that person. There is a shame of that person. There is a joy to see that person. Most days lately, I am content with who that person is and proud that the person staring back at me has gone through everything that has made him the strong person that he is today. As I get ready to go back to the US for a visit, I am reminded that I left with so much unfinished business.

First, I was taken advantage of by several friends but the largest slap in the face was a hairstylist named Brittany Ann. She took advantage of my kindness by stealing from me after not paying a debt she owed to me. She tried to have a restraining order placed on me for no reason with the sole motivation that a restraining order would mess up my life and everything that I have tried to build in my community. She owed money for rent and utilities or for a shampoo bowl that I paid for because she was supposedly a victim of another salon owner and didn’t have the money. Even if you have written contracts, criminals know how the systems works in their favor.

I have no idea why she turned on me but it still hurts. It hurts to know that in a matter of months I went from having a huge support network to a circle of friends that I could count on one hand. Then, that circle got even smaller because I wasn’t convenient or I didn’t do the things that I was expected to do. I was a fair-weather friend to people I thought I would be friends with forever. I all still hurts but I know that I’m better off without these people. The ones that have wronged me have made me stronger because I have a better sense of understanding.

Will I step into the same traps I did before? I honestly can’t say because people who truly love people and want to help them do so regardless of what that person does in return. I do know that I won’t take so much so personally. The secrets that I hold of people’s words or others that they have now surrounded themselves based on a hatred of me would be shocked to know the things that have been said about them. I doubt some of them would be shocked because they went from using me to using someone that shared the same negative feelings about me. The point is that I have too much going on in my own life to keep rescuing people. I can help but not rescue. Just as I learned myself, the only person that can rescue you is yourself.

Day 194: Politics Today

I have struggled with not letting politics disturb my peace of mind but it is hard to when the media is bombarding your notifications and email constantly everyday. I have deleted the news app off of my phone but found myself feeling cut off from the world so I reinstalled it about a month ago. I am shocked at the headlines I read and wonder what happened to the United States while I have been gone. While I have gotten this broader perspective of life and my place in this world, the United States seems to have isolated itself in a tantrum of greed and fear.

I am most shocked about our headlines recently as it seems the president is trying to see how much he can get away with. First, it was the attacks on four women freshman in congress. Then, the sharpie conspiracy where it is alleged that he doctored an official map of the path of Hurricane Dorian. Lastly, inviting members of the Taliban to Camp David on the anniversary of 9/11. All of these are equally disturbing to me because I would think that a president would have much more to do than to think selfishly of himself and his own interests.

The attack on the four women is closely linked to the confusing hatred our president has towards the Muslim faith. I have many Muslim friends and all of them are sincere, non-violent and honest people. The portrait that the US has painted of these amazing people is sad and inaccurate. However, our president now wants to ‘secretly’ invite members of that faith that have direct links to the attacks on our Pentagon and the World Trade Centers. It makes no sense.

Drawing on a map may be something that a kindergartener might do not knowing that the map is important and an official document. However, the president is well past kindergarten age and knows very well what he is doing. Doctoring a map may be funny to a person that has servants and security detail but to an average citizen knowing that you have hurricane force winds heading your way starts a series of actions for preparedness. The fact that he flexes his muscles to get what he wants shows that he is a very weak person.

Is it true that his mental capability is less than what it takes to be the leader of the free world? It certainly seems so with his current actions. He has no idea the weight of his words and actions. I’m so sad that he makes the choices he does. I started to have faith that knowing that he would realize his power and start to be humbled that he made it all the way to the white house. I have since lost this faith and am just counting the days until he is no longer in office.

Day 193: Yoga Props

Coming to my mat is my favorite. The amount of energy I feel on this mat is almost like hugging a person. My mat has hugged me. It has absorbed fat, sweat and tears. My mat has been with me in more moments of transformation than any person that I know. It really does have a persona of its own.

While I know that my mat doesn’t have feelings and a personality, I wish it did. To say that I’m attached to my mat would be a lie but I have a closet full of mats. I have cloth mats, rubber mats and grip cloth mats. I always turn to my 1.8mm blue paisley mat. My advice to you is to find a mat that you can commit to.

Find a mat that is beautiful to you regardless of detachment. Just as relationships, there will be days that you don’t want to think of your mat. There will be days that you just want to stay as far away from it as possible. Regardless of my countless positive experiences, I have had my fair share of negative experiences or feelings on that mat as well.

I have hated people on that mat and fell in love with people on that mat all the same. A commitment to a mat is the same kind of commitment that you make to anything else. There will be days that you just don’t want to. There will be days that you have to drag your mat like a chain into the studio. Do it anyways.

After you and your mat are committed to your practice. Start introducing props into your routine. These make your practice fresh if you start to feel like you are stagnating. Wheels, blocks and straps are a great way to start.

Day 192: Wrapping Up Class

With my 900 Hour Certification course coming to a close, I am starting to feel the stress of feeling like I need to move on to the next thing. During this time, I have fought depression, feeling like something is going to go wrong and still trying to figure out exactly what I am going to do with my certification. My ultimate dream is to teach regular batches for people to learn the basics of yoga so that they can take those lessons outside of the studio and help spread all of what yoga is. Then, I would like to train others to be teachers to help spread the message.

I have doubts regarding what it’s going to be like when I return to the United States. I have been dreading this change so much that I am making plans to come back and just travel. I feel like I still have a lot of soul searching to do. I am completely a different person than I was three years ago but have fear that leaving here and being put back into my old environment is going to trigger the old feelings of wanting to die and sheer helplessness.

These feelings persist and are observed like they are happening to someone else but that someone else is still me. I can’t imagine going back to St. Joseph and working where there is no where to go and progression to be made. This is opposite of where I have come from. The captain of that ship is travelling full speed ahead but not telling anyone where they are going. He actually finds this humorous because for the first time in his life he has power and control over people. I hate even talking this way but thinking about this life ending is triggering all of these emotions.

I have so much fear of everything going back to the way it was. I have so much anger that nothing has changed to where I dread going back to that place. It is like you have found where you belong and you don’t get to stay there. The person that I have been trying to make plans with has a sick mother in the states and his attention is, rightly, more focused on that. I have already stated that I am not going to move back to St Joseph but I find myself following someone and doing just that.

This is such a negative entry, for this, I apologize. This weekend was full of silent thoughts of negativity about my life not moving in the direction that I want it to. There are moments where I feel like I am right back in the fall of 2005 and there other moments that I know that I am way better than that. I feel like no matter the opportunity that comes my way that I am not good enough or the opportunity is not good enough. I have idea how to explain that.

Day 191: Day by Day

Today, I sat and realized how much stress I have rid myself of. I have reduced my circle of friends to only a handful and no longer chase people. I have never cared less about people liking me or not. This may come across as negative but there is no negativity in this process. I have even started to let the relationships in my family to dissolve or get stronger depend on the efforts that both of us put in.

My brother has had a lot of drama in his life and I used to be the person that he called when everything hit the fan. I asked him in person during a visit home recently if he was ever tired of being in crisis mode and he stopped calling. He either deleted his Facebook profile or unfriended me because I got a notification request for friendship. I am letting it sit there with the rest of the people that don’t affect me neither positively or negatively. I just don’t want their spectating, digital friendship.

I guess I could be mad that my dad hasn’t made the effort in almost three years to come visit but I have more empathized with him recently than feeling resentment. He has said on numerous occasions that I may not be the son that he wanted so I no longer chase this relationship for fear that if it isn’t all ok that I am a horrible person. He is more of an employer than a father and I think that he is just fine with it being that way. I am done spending my energy where it is wasted so I have accepted that he doesn’t want me as a son but as a good employee that does what he is told and makes myself valuable.

My sister messages me maybe once a month and tries to Facetime me at 3am in the morning even though I have explained numerous times that I am 11.5/10.5 hours ahead of time. Sometimes I wonder if she does that so that my nephews think that I don’t want to talk them. Her husband is the same personality as her first husband, a control freak that has to have everything his way. He also told my nephew that a necklace that we made together while I was teaching them about the chakras would make him a ‘faggot.’ If you don’t think that hate is taught at home you are grossly mistaken.

The only person in my family that I speak to everyday is my mom. Even if it is a text message saying, ‘good morning’ or an emoji, we communicate everyday. She keeps say that she misses me and can’t wait for me to be home. I don’t share the same sentiment. I’m not excited to be home at all. I dread going back to St. Joseph like I dread death. I have done everything but be absorbed in political relationship in that town and I have no plans on doing so. So, I’m taking it day-by-day for the next couple of months because that is all I can do.

Day 190: Rules

We live by codes, standards and societal constraints from the very day we are conceived in our mother’s womb. You mother possibly had some shame in being pregnant at a young age that very possibly was carried onto you through the umbilical cord. Your mother and father may have fought a lot while your mother was carrying for 9 months. Then, when you were everything was supposed to change.

The change last only a short while and your family would go through this cycle of a huge blowup, small temporary changes were made and then, after some time, another blowup happened. You may have made a rule at a very young age that you would either fight or shut down when things get heated or confrontational. You might be a person that has no idea how to handle conflict at all so you avoid it all together through your quiet and meek personality.

You made a rule at some point to react to things in a certain way because you either saw what violence and torment can come out of being an aggressive person. On the other hand, you may have seen someone in your life stroll along with no problem because they avoided conflict altogether. I admire the ladder because this is almost an avoidance of growth but I am not judging the lifestyle of others. You may have went through something very traumatic in life and avoid conflict because you are freightened. I’m sorry that whatever happened to you happened.

The trust is that we all have something from our past that has shaped who we are today. We do certain things and don’t do other curtains because somewhere along the way we made it a rule. If this happens, then I do this. If someone treats me this way, I react like this. Somewhere along the line it was even an unspoken rule that men are to open doors for women. We’ve come a long, long way from that mentality.

If we have all these rules, how is it possible to live in the present. The simple answer is that it is not. We are all like robots that have been trained to act in certain ways and respond to situations systematically. This is cultural and societal. We have created unspoken rules.

Day 189: It's Today or Never

I finally feel like I have the strength to truly help people again. This feeling of being too much an egoist and too much of an optimist has subsided. When I have these thoughts of doubt, I am only trying to sabotage myself. I have reread my entire 188 days of writing on this blog and it makes me feel like I am writing to provide some sort of validity and approval. I need to stop asking others for permission and start granting it on my own.

With this said, I have so much going on all the time to prove that I am busy and to prove my worth. I stay busy to avoid making personal relationships with people for fear of being hurt of taken advantage of. I even doubt my close relationships at times. I even doubt the relationships that should matter the most, my family. As I distance myself and detach from the world around me, the light shines brighter on moments and situations that I need to take a lesson from.

I am trying to relate all of this to the recent discovery of my soul. As my soul doesn’t question who is good or bad. My soul doesn’t daydream about being painless. The soul is painless and free. The soul has a way of being unchanged or bother by things that the ego can and will obsess about.

When I am gone from this world, the soul will still be here not remembering my name or the body that it was contained in. However, my ego has to associate with my name and deeds. My ego has to relate who I am with my actions and my certifications. My ego decides who is good and who is bad.

Today is the day I live in the moment without judgement or preference to how things go. Today is the day that I look at things as the happen as just a witness. Today is the day that I live as a projector screen allowing the movie of life play across me without being involved. Today is the day that I experience this because it’s today or never.

Day 187: Benevolent Indifference

Often, there are times of comfort and times of pain. We react differently to both. Some people trust when things are running smoothly and others get terrified for fear that something is going to happen. Someone lays awake at the end of the day thinking about death being completely frightened and another person lays in bed at the exact same time saying that it’s time to let go. This is benevolent indifference.

I have recently had this happen with my feelings. It feels like I am separate from my feelings. I react to joy and sadness in the same way. I feel as though life is happening as it should. Happiness comes and goes. Wealth comes and goes. Sadness comes and goes. I feel separate.

I had a teacher say that we are only the protector screen in the movie. We are not the actors, the director or the very projector that the movie comes from. How beautiful is that. People are always shielding themselves from pain by acting out or creating walls. Wouldn’t it be pointless to go to a movie and where a blindfold? Perhaps you’ve been in a movie theatre where a very tall person sat in front of you. How did that feel?

To be the projector screen is to simply let the movie just play. I am feeling like I am losing the desire to interact with people socially. I just want to teach them the tools to make positive change in their life and then I’m out. Just like the tornado on my back, it touches down and creates some destruction, or change, and then goes back into the clouds.

What if a tornado did good things when it touched down on the ground? Would we fear the tornado that made the world a little brighter? Yes. People fear me because I am that change. This is my purpose. I am put on this earth not to destroy but to make catastrophic change for good.

Day 185: The Truth About My Soul

I have sat in lectures talking about the Purusha and Prakriti that we are made of or all that we are. Until recently, I didn’t quite understand what that all meant. I didn’t have a spirituality not let alone a God or spiritual path. I didn’t understand fully that we are all God’s within.

This has changed the way that I look at people, good and bad. People are not bad. They make horrible choices and hurt people but this is not who they are. It was explained to me once in class that even the murderer is not bad. The murderer even has a soul. When you look at it this way, your enemies are not bad.

They don’t deserve any more negativity that they are not creating themselves. The negativity that they create themselves will torture them daily, nightly and may even torture them for lifetimes ahead. Why bother yourself with something that you have no business or control of? Distance yourself from the person doing bad and let them fall into their own pit of misery and despair.

You can free yourself from an abuser by leaving. You can free yourself from others’ gossip and rumors by knowing your own truth. You can free yourself from negative people by choosing not to associate with them. There is so much freedom that we forget we have when we feel trapped by circumstance, situation and environment.

The truth about my soul is that it is free from all of my experience and all that I even think that I am. The soul doesn’t change profession or emotions. It doesn’t experience sadness or happiness. It treats all of the emotions, experiences and people the same. The truth about my soul leaves me free from everything in this life.

Day 184: Peace

I don’t have to worry about people screwing me over because I no longer need their validation, certification or accreditation because I did what I should have done all along. I did it all myself. I have several huge projects coming up in the next 6 months that I’m extremely excited about.

I am going to be the Course Developer for a University in creating a yoga certification program to spread the knowledge of yoga globally. Without going into too much detail, I get to create videos, modules and the entire course curriculum for people all over the world to enjoy. Being nice to people all the time has more benefits than let downs. This is all possible through a connection I made in college that I have stayed in touch with. After traveling to India over the last 3 years, we finally met and this opportunity came about.

I am conducting yoga workshops in the United States in October. I will be teaching classes as well. Sometimes, I can’t believe that this all happening and so fast. I started traveling almost three years ago with so little to offer the world and now I am returning back to the United States full of life and ready to share my knowledge with the west. I get to keep my ties to India with possibly returning to India in February and March to continue my yoga journey with The Yoga Institute.

The point of all of this is to show that you can go through horrible times and feel hopeless. You can seek justice and realize that justice is not up to you. You can encounter horrible people with bad motives and they will make you out to the be in the wrong. My best advice to you is to stay true to your heart because when you do that, the world will eventually repay you tenfold.

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Day 183: What Am I Afraid Of?

Looking at the emotion of fear lately has had me thinking about what I am really fearful of? When I acknowledge these fears, I am allowing myself to process these fears and move on. When you conquer or move on from your even fundamental fears you are freeing up space in your mind for other things. This things can be positive as conquering a fear is a huge accomplishment and should be celebrated adequately.

The thing that terrifies me the most is death. I won’t bungee jump or jump from an airplane because there is a chance to die. Just the other day, I wouldn’t inhale helium because it doesn’t belong in my body. My fear of dying actually quite cliche. I have so much to accomplished, I don’t want to be forgotten and I don’t want to die all alone. These things keep me awake at night sometimes because I constantly worry about not getting something done or working hard enough.

I used to be absolutely afraid of the dark. Even as an adult, I would like going outside. I still catch myself running inside from my car at night or running up the stairs from the basement. Aren’t all basements just creepy at night?

I don’t like deep water where I can’t touch my toes. The last time I was in Sri Lanka, I walked pretty far out into the ocean and had a fantastic time but there were several times that something would rub against my legs or toes. I would, literally, want to jump on the top of the water and run all the way to the shore. During my days in San Francisco, my friend Holly said that I needed to conquer this fear. She took my to the ocean at night. Now, I am not afraid of the water and the dark but am afraid of them separately.

Fear is a nervous system response. When your nerves are disturbed so is your mind. You can’t make solid decisions, properly digest food or get sufficient rest when your nerves are disturbed. I have been working on conquering these fears slowly and getting rid of the one-by-one.

Day 182: Giving Thanks

Showing gratitude has many forms. Some say that it is a surrender to God’s will. Some say that is letting go of ego. Some say it is bowing down to the Devine. I think it is all of these.

Today, I give thanks to Yogendraji, all of his disciples who then found other disciples and then for all of them for becoming teachers and filling me full of wisdom and seeds of knowledge. I had a conversation with a lady from France that said she doesn’t believe in God. With this, I think most people get confused about religion because of the imagery and the way that religion has become unchangeable and non-diversified.

Religion has changed time and time again over the centuries and is still changing. If you look at what Jesus would have really looked like, he wouldn’t be a white man with pale skin. He would be completely the opposite. Mary would look more like an Indian woman than a white nun. How do we find thanks in this?

Let people believe what they want to. Stop joining churches because your families and friends go there and form some basis of religion on your own. People don’t want to think for themselves and use church as a matter of appearance more than for spiritual healing and growth. I have learned more about my spirituality in the practice of yoga than I have in any church. With that said, I’m not saying that your way of worship or your beliefs are wrong. I’m simply stating that you keep your beliefs and if I’m still trying to figure it would, let me Do it on my own time.

Giving complete gratitude is surrendering to the God inside of you. You are the image of God. If there is nothing that sparks inspiration there, you can always go outside and take a deep breath. If that’s not a reason to be grateful, then I don’t know what is.