i’m celebrating my 40th year today — reflecting on the journey of the past decade and more recent season of discernment that have beckoned me to live into the deep and urgent call to be an instrument of love and reconciliation.
as many of you land on my site today, i invite you to amplify the good and spread love wherever you see/feel its lack in your circle of connections.
birthday wish: for those near and far — support my efforts to cultivate and abide in the energy of compassion, skillful understanding, and connection by following, sharing, and joining the 3 Jewels Yoga community.
my sundays are extra sweet because of the sacred time i spend in the full embrace of sangha.
the nourishment i receive from “listening to each other listen” sustains me at the cellular level. today, we contemplated the practice of Beginning Anew to honor the lunar new year as well as the seasonal mid-winter shift which heralds the return of the sun. we basked in that energizing and healing light and began to see ourselves clearly — our tender places and tight knots (samyojana) to which we offered loving and patient awareness and the spaciousness of breath so that those gnarly fetters may loosen, unfold, and be transformed. we watered flowers by celebrating our commitment to showing up, paying attention, telling the truth, learning to abide in the process rather than being attached to outcome, and trusting our capacity to begin anew again and again.
“self-love is the foundation for your capacity to love the other person.”
this day is all the more precious for my family because we celebrated my husband’s birthday with gifts from heart and hand: a card, my first attempt at scratch-made brownies (so yummy i had to get them out of the house and share them with the rest of our family), a trip to the local sledding hill (where, by the way, we both played as children), and an amazing dinner (i won’t taunt you, as i did my sisters, with that mouth-watering plate!) that i whipped up.
as thây’s quote above reminds us, tending to our well-being is crucial. when we practice cultivating love and kindness for ourselves, it fortifies us to be present and available for our beloveds…not just on “valentine’s day” or special occasions but each and every day.
“…from childhood into adulthood we are often taught misguided and false assumptions about the nature of love. Perhaps the most common false assumption about love is that love means we will not be challenged or changed.”
Sixteen years and six days have passed since this conversation between bell hooks and Thich Nhat Hanh was published. It recently resurfaced in my social media network and incredibly — in ways both unfortunate and impressive — the message is so timely, it seems as if it was written today.
Thây and hooks have both figured prominently in my journey of spiritual awakening and self-understanding. Though I only held a cursory knowledge of their connection to one another, I am following the magical-mystical thread that connects us all (and merits its own reflection). This is the interbeing they speak of, what we Buddhists touch through our practice of looking and listen deeply in order to understand, to heal, to embrace, to love.