5 golden lessons from 2021

Therapeutic yoga

In the Dalia Lama’s book, ‘The Book of Joy’, he finishes as he began with a reminder that we cannot stop the suffering of natural disasters, but so much of the rest of our suffering we can. We chose whether to add to these situations with the suffering in our own minds and hearts. The more we chose to heal our own suffering, the more we can make a different choice, not only for ourselves but in the world.

This book, an interview between the two Noble Peace Prize Laureates, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was written well before Covid arrived globally. However their dialogue and inspirational thinking was so salient and such an encouraging read during tireless Melbourne lockdowns.

Australia is still restless, with widespread uncertainty, lack of predictability, insecure and unstable infrastructure, especially in Melbourne. There are the obvious as well as the subtle signs and symptoms, even if buried deep in our psyche. Perhaps these are beginning to surface now, maybe they have been knocking at your door for many years.

There are countless ways we can choose to view this pandemic – the statistics, health impacts, rules, lockdowns. It is a choice, like with any situation or life adversity that comes on our path. Is it a good thing, is it a bad thing, is it both, is it neither?

Here are 5 golden insights I’m choosing not to forget from 2021, in the city of the world’s longest lockdowns.

What to leave behind?

Judith Hanson Lasater, the guru of Restorative Yoga, reminds us that meaning does not come from an ‘advanced’ yoga pose or sitting in lotus position to meditate. It comes from being rested and restored and bringing this essence from our practice on the mat, into the day. A LOT of time and space on the mat provided awareness of not only which practices do not serve me, but what choices in business I can relinquish. What really resonates and is authentic in my teaching and for my clients? And in addition, which personal friendships actually nourish me?

Lesson – The more I had to leave behind, the more I discovered what I was relieved to leave behind. The more doors that closed, the more I saw a path ahead.

Did we actually miss anything? FOMO

Fear of missing out (FOMO) was added to our ‘fear of going out’ (FOGO) in 2020-21. From an overflowing inbox, inundating posts on social media, numerous scheduled/rescheduled social events and gatherings, many of us questioned if we actually wished all of this. Are we actually ‘missing’ anything? When you are fatigued, stressed, overwhelmed, the natural drug cabinet in your brain closes. Your natural hormones that promote wellness, happiness, are blocked. It is actually healing for your brain and mind to have space – this allows you to ‘see’ what is already here. Nothing is ever missing.

Lesson –  The power of relationship is never lost on me. But how often do I see what is in front of me? I am fortunate to have my husband here and this time nurtured our relationship. He’s always here – how often do I ‘see’ this? 

No more rushing

Busy-ness in the day, in business, feels like the norm. What are your profitable products? Is there a cost benefit to creating X? Uggg! And thankfully questions like:  ‘What’s planned for the weekend?’, ‘Did you have a busy weekend?’  became so irrelevant in Melbourne in 2020-21. Yes, it felt strange and sometimes annoying not to be able to plan anything for endless weekends – but there was also the lack of pressure, expectation, travel, cost…

Lesson – I deeply felt the sensation of NOT being busy, NOT rushing. It was amazing on so many levels. I still close my eyes and imagine I’m in lockdown to keep rewiring this state into my psyche.


Coming out again

Surfing on the waves literally has uncertainties – will the sun be on your back, is there a huge wave coming to dump you?! Navigating the rapidly changing situations in and out of lockdowns, curfew, was exhausting. What are the rules now? Do I need a mask? Oopps, I just drove more than 5km! Maintaining an outer and inner equilibrium through the ‘waves’ of uncertainty was a chance to realise that we are all unique. Completely different about how, when, where we come out, and chose to be in the world.

Lesson – The most important reason for me to ‘come out’ is about relationships – not events, places, activities, purchases. To meet a dear friend, to host an outside family event.

Changing our inner landscape

Yes, yes, we all know that the only person and experience we can change is our own. And wow was there an amazing stretch of time, simply to paint our own inner landscape. These lines from the poem, ‘As I began to love myself’, rang true:

As I began to love myself, I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this wisdom.

Reading uplifting books, joining immersive online sessions, longer periods for meditation, treating the mind and Self kindly, were invaluable steps in strengthening connection to my calmer inner space.

Lesson – The value of extended ‘quiet’ time is never wasted.

I’d love to hear your golden lessons, fill them in below!

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Caroline Giles Experience yoga studio melbourne

I’m Caroline Giles, a Yoga Therapist and Yoga Teacher, and the owner of Experience Yoga. I’m inspired to teach you practices of yoga for health, well-being and wholeness. My students are the everyday person like you and me. They come to create strength, vitality, inner peace and courage in their life through the practices of yoga.

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