“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.” – Pearl S. Buck

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“A man is whole only when he takes into account his shadow.” – Djuna Barnes

Many of us spend our entire lifetimes trying to run from our shadow self.  The deep, dark secrets we wish to keep from the world and ourselves.  The parts of ourselves that were shamed as children by our parents, classmates, teachers, and society.  Parts of us that we have been trained to feel ashamed of.  But most of these parts of our shadow selves are part of the normal human experience.  Embrace them; be kind to yourself and others; and don’t be afraid to look into the dark sides of what makes you, you.  Find a way to passionately use that to better this life for others.  Love and accept yourself fully.

In the end, we just need to integrate that shit.

Exuberance

It all started with an idea implanted in my mind
Once it was there, it spread to each and every cell
Intoxicating light breaking through the darkness
I took a leap of faith and found my tribe
Now more than ever my soul is shining bright
Curiosity, transformation, expansion
Acceptance, empowerment, love
I am fully alive
I am hopeful
I am connected
I am exuberant

How Do You Define Spirituality?

Yoga teacher training wraps up in under a month, and now is the time to put into words and practice everything we’ve learned in the last five months.  We have to complete a test, and one of the questions was “How do you define spirituality?”  This was my answer, and thought some of you might enjoy this perspective:

I used to think spirituality had to be connected to a religion. I interpreted religion as basically being a doctrine authoritatively pushed upon the individual.  To me, religion was a way to control people’s behaviors by instilling fear and shame and guilt into their lives if they did not follow the beliefs put forth.  As I have grown and been open to learning, I’ve realized that spirituality is more of a willingness towards inner-study and connection to a higher power, whatever that may be.  Spirituality is not a destination but a continual journey throughout life to understand yourself from a Divine truth perspective and serve others to bring kindness and love to this physical realm we reside in.

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There is freedom in a spiritual practice.  It does not have to be restricted and hindered by fear of a higher power.  It can bring a deeper level of purpose to one’s life – if you let it.