Going in to my Wanderlust weekend, a fair amount of anxiety rested for me around something that to most people might sound a little odd – not having a mantra. The whole theme, if you will, of the Wanderlust Festival this year is “Find your true north” which perhaps I simply misread because it clearly says “find” not “have cemented in place before you come” which is what I felt I was lacking when we left for CO. Thankfully with time and space and a wee bit (read: ton) of yoga, I came to see the tagline with fresh eyes, understanding, eventually, that not only was it OK if I did not have One. Set. Mantra. coming into the weekend, it was also OK if I decided never to have One. Set. Mantra for all my days.
You see, that’s where the finding – the always seeking, always growing, forever learning comes into play in that phrase. Find it. And if you find it but then lose it, look again. Keep discovering and unfolding and exploring all the days you are blessed to do so
And the true north? That’s up for discussion on the daily, too. What guides you? What moves you? It might be a core value, an essential part of your soul, like a desire to seek out love or peace. Or it might be an ever-evolving goal or new teachers or different formats/venues in which to learn. What is true to us in our 30s might be different from what moved us in our 20s or will touch us in our 50s. And that is OK. That is life. That is progress. And I am so glad to have walked away from Wanderlust with a clear understanding that not everything has to be clear on any given day. If my true north gets fuzzy, it means it is time for me to reevaluate. Time to come back to center, back to focus, back to the breath. Only in doing that can I make sure that the alignment of my heart is in check with the trajectory of my life and my actions.
And, oh my. That little line, back to the breath? If you have been in class with me since my return, or talked to me about my trip already, you’ve heard me say that the biggest takeaway I got from ALL of my classes was SLOW DOWN and BREATHE. There really aren’t enough things I can do to that font to show the emphasis that was the breath during my first ever festival experience. I swear every teacher I took classes from sat down together beforehand and planned it out – it was that prevalent.
Clearly it was exactly what I needed to hear, and will continue to be for some time, as other workshops I have been to recently and books I am reading right now all speak to the exact same thing. Slow down. Breathe. Don’t worry about the asana – the physical practice. Go beyond it. Breathe. Slow down the breath. I mean, I know all of these things, but this summer seems to be a signal that I need to move in that direction, bringing focus to the breath both for myself and my classes.
So I am. I’m working on breathing techniques in my own body and in every single class because I know the breath is where it’s at.And by it, I mean everything. Slowing down the breath is the way to slowing down the mind and the door into a meditation practice which I am again, forever, always dabbling with welcoming into my daily routines. It’s how we quiet the mental chatter. The physical chatter. The emotional chatter. And it is just dang time.
Keep breathing. Slow it down. Begin again. Inhale. Exhale. Respond rather than react. Find your true north.
All of this is my yoga. All of this is my life’s work. All of this is me and also what I can give back to my family and my community and the world at large. It’s a never ending process in which progress not perfection remains the marker, not if I have it all figured out, all set in stone today.
Quite honestly, Type A as I am, I prefer that life is like this – always with a chance to learn, do, and love more. Forever finding.