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The Teacher as Learner

“a year that has never been lived before…”

I recently celebrated my 60th birthday. Well, celebrated may be the wrong description, as this birthday came around with much emotional anguish. I, who teach people to “live in the present moment,” not anticipating the future or regretting the past, have spent the better part of this month wallowing in the fact that I would now be 60 years old.

All of the usual suspects were present. I was reliving lost opportunities and second, third and fourth guessing momentous decisions from the past. Most of all, I was projecting every bit of this miasma into a future of ever more of the same, perpetuating into eternity.

Then one of my longstanding and most loyal clients gave me a beautiful birthday gift accompanied with a Hallmark card which read: “a year that has never been lived before - fill it with all that brings you joy.” Boom! This card humbled me and brought my struggle into full focus. I was doing EVERYTHING which I urged my clients not to do.

This is a year which has never been lived before. What a gorgeous reminder. We have no clue what this year holds! Sure, we can analyze the past and then project the future to fit our past patterns. This sums up our most deeply rooted samskaras or habitual patterns

of mind and behavior.

Yoga and Meditation teach that our life is occurring in the present moment. I have the opportunity, in this moment, to create my own present.

“Now is the only time. How we relate to it creates the future…the future is the result of what we do right now.” ~ Pema Chodron

I have been reading this quote in my yoga classes for the past several weeks. I have been urging my clients to stay with this breath, in this moment. In my own transition, I unfortunately often forgot to practice this teaching. And that is the nature of being human. We must constantly redirect our awareness. It is a “practice.” Again, and again, and again, remembering that I am not my past. I have the power to create my own future, beginning with this moment. This breath. This thought. This remembrance. This coming home to my true self.

“The most deeply grooved pathways in our mind are those that lead us away from the present moment. By intentionally redirecting our mind to what is happening right now, mindfulness deconditions these pathways and awakens us to a fresh and intimate sense of being alive. Just as a clear pond reflects the sky, mindfulness allows us to see the truth of our experience.” ~Tara Brach

I am eternally grateful for my all of my teachers. I am eternally grateful for all of my clients. We all learn from each other. I resolve to remind myself, over and over again, that my path forward lies in the present moment. Please remind me when I forget. This is the path.


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