Saturday, November 29, 2014

owning it

Right now I am sitting in a beautiful borrowed apartment in Cairo. Over the last few years, I have often sat in the eclectic homes of other people, surrounded by other people's things, other people's lives, simply enjoying it, little comparing my own life to theirs--which I realize is a big shift.

I am content. And happy--happy in a way I don't think I have ever felt. 

Truth is I have little property, mostly clothes and books and personal effects of sentimental value, some I carry with me, most are sitting in my family home in Manila, where I've spent the least amount of time in the last two years. I have a trunk in India, a collection of textiles and modest "India clothes" and a small but strange collection that includes a coffee maker, a salad spinner, a few bits and bobs that allow India to be home when I unpack them.

I don't have a plot of land or a space or a room all my own but wherever I find myself these days, I feel at home because my heart is simply there. I sleep well, and I can sleep practically anywhere, sharing a bed, couch surfing, laying a yoga mat on a floor--this, more than contorting myself into a pretzel-like position makes me feel truly flexible.

I don't have a car or a bicycle, but I have my own two feet and the courage to purchase one way online plane tickets which piece together these dots accross the world map, which is really my path, my life. 

do feel, more than ever, a strong sense of ownership. I own my life. I own my own heart and soul and that has given me plenty of room to grow, to be at home and at peace almost anywhere this crazy life has taken me. 

I own my principles, my good humor, my own yoga practice. I own my time, the hours I spend on the mat, how much I teach, how much I play; that the idea of fun and joy and responsibility exist simultaneously in so many actions. I own my struggles and my failures, as well as the great victories that come when I surpass such difficulties. I find a deep satisfaction in the little things: taking the hours before practice to drink a coffee or a tea as I write, self-practicing, attending talks, writing a blog post, spending time with friends and family, most of all, spending time with myself, singing to myself, cooking and feeding myself or walking myself down the road to do shopping or taking myself with my own two feet to work, taking that brief moment as I rest after an intense practice to simply say to myself, "hey, you, I'm still here, you are not alone, I love you deeply."

I own my choices. I have decreased the tendency to blame others or the universe for any misfortune, doing my best to take responsibility for my own actions and my own reactions. I choose where to go, where to work, what to eat (sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so good, sometimes it's chocolate), I choose how to pray. I choose how to live. I choose to be light and to be free and to be happy. 

I have no debts. But I owe a lot--to the strangers, friends and family who continue who to open their hearts and their homes to me; to the teachers and studio owners who entrust me with their spaces, students and visions; to the students who entrust me with their bodies, their emotional well being and their peace of mind, even if it's just for an hour and a half; to the meditation practice that has significantly quieted down my speed-driven brain; to the Ashtanga yoga practice that has taught me how to be in my body, how to balance strength and flexibility, how to be vulnerable and how to "be." I owe a lot to all those who love me unconditionally, who support me, mostly from untold distances. I owe a lot to my teachers and guides and guardian angels, all of whom come just at the right moment. I owe a lot to the great challenges and great challengers who have been among my greatest teachers. I owe a lot to God, which I also call the Universe, which I also call Love, which one day I would like to call Everyone, but, honestly, I think that will take a lot more yoga. And all of this owing actually creates this unbelievable surpluss, abundance. Every moment filled with potential, with opportunity, with openings. 

I am starting to wake up to a world where anything can happen, where there are infinite possibilities. That I can live anywhere, do anything. And I'm surprised because I'm not scared, surprised because for so long living, truly living on the limb actually frightened me to the point of paralysis. I feel excited--perhaps with a healthy amount of anxiety still, but mostly, I feel excited because I am realizing that I am wealthy beyond my imagination. 

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