Friday, July 26, 2013

Question: Where were you mentally and spiritually when you were 20 years old?


Question:
Where were you mentally and spiritually when you were 20 years old? Did you have any idea that you would become a yoga instructor? What were your goals, fears, and interests?
Response:

Well now; that’s a bit of a story.

Me at 20 years of age; I was living with a man 14 years my senior; engaged to be married (and we did marry soon after my 21st  birthday).  My life was pretty intense.  I was working as a legal secretary at a huge law firm in a big city far from my family; leaving my expensive but tiny apartment at 6:50 am to catch the 7:10 am train to work; working from 9 to 5 (and getting as much overtime as possible) and returning home around 7:00 pm each night.  On a good day.

This man I was in love with was not a very nice person.  He talked a good game and I fell in love with his idea of who he was and what he could potentially be.  The reality was he was an irresponsible bully, but I never saw that until years later.  He often quit or was fired from jobs; so I worked a lot of overtime to support us; that and his habit of taking our credit card and buying whatever he desired.

Weekends and my rare free time were filled with bicycle and motorcycle rides; learning how to cook; and trips to a muscle-head gym for free-weight lifting.  I also read a lot – he introduced me to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; Carlos Castaneda; Robert Heinlein.

I’m pretty sure I never heard of yoga.  I do recall a fellow secretary telling me once that the computer problems at the office were due to Mercury Retrograde.  I found that line hysterically funny and for many years made fun of that reference. 

If you know my current dedication to astrology you will find that little karmic payback amusing.

Must say I didn’t have much time to think about God or spirituality; at least not that I remember.  Survival was my first task; making enough money to pay the bills, cook, clean and try to appease my lover so that he wouldn’t go off into his frequent rages. 

Little did I know that this period was my soul’s karmic plan; as hard as it was it prepared me for what has come.  When an abused woman speaks, I can hear her.  When a person relates the experience of being down to their last five bucks, yes, me too. The hamster wheel of a full-time job with no space other than to keep your nose to that grindstone; of being far from family and feeling incredibly alone even in a relationship; yep, I get it.

I also learned how hard work pays off; that good people always meet other good people -- people who will look after you and offer you safe harbor.  I learned that you are only imprisoned by your own mind and actions.  I learned that if I want something bad enough, I can make it work.  I’m just a lot more wise about where I allot that fierce determination. 

I learned how to reinvent myself, and I’ve had to do that over and over and over.

Be patient with yourself on your journey; if you have found yoga at a young age you have tremendous positive karma.  Hold to the light; be true and honest with yourself; and just like in a yoga pose, when you feel your life tipping out of balance, gently bring things back to center. 

Pay attention to what people DO, not what they SAY.  Observe how they treat children, the elderly and animals.  When you love someone, love who they are; not their potential.  Don’t be afraid to work.  Don’t be afraid of change.  Be willing to help others but not willing to be walked upon.  Have strong boundaries.  Cultivate wisdom.  Live a life with as few regrets as possible.

You are a spiritual being having a human experience; never forget.

I hope this is helpful to you. 

Shanti,

Jill

1 comment:

  1. Life is perfect, particularly in hindsight. Shanti

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