There are books that I take out and re-read every few years. I have found that as I get older, my experiences shift my understanding of how the world works, and that often gives me a new perspective on something I thought I already had a handle on. Often something in a book I’ve already read will suddenly jump out at me as if I had never seen it before, or take on a whole new meaning. Such is the case with the book: “Yoga And The Quest For The True Self,” by Stephen Cope.
For those of you who may not know, Stephen Cope is the Director of the Kripalu Institute For Extraordinary Living, and Senior Scholar in Residence at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Massachusetts. He left a promising psychotherapy practice to go on what was intended to be year’s sabbatical after the end of a long-standing personal relationship, at a time when, in his 40’s, he, like many other people at this stage of life – having achieved the career goals, the house, the lifestyle – start to ask the questions: Is this it? Is this all there is? If it is, why do I feel like there’s something missing? His sabbatical turned out to become a completely new life for him, and a mission to teach others what he had learned.
As I was reading through the book, a conversation between the author and a woman attending a weekend retreat jumped off the page and captured my attention. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t seen it when I’d read the book before, or that I didn’t understand or agree with what she was saying, quite the contrary. It stated, in no uncertain terms, the realizations and changes that have taken place in my own life:
“Just being in my body makes me happy. I don’t have to do anything or prove anything. What freedom!”
What freedom indeed! I have come to appreciate all of my senses and the workings of my body much more deeply because they allow me to experience the world around me, the real world around me, with a depth and clarity I did not have for most of my adult life. That I had them as a child, as we all did, somehow got lost in the process of growing up and spending our days trying to “be” someone, or to “prove” something. Those beliefs reside in the realm of fiction. There is a relief and a profound freedom in being ordinary, in not having to earn our worth through accomplishments as defined by others. When we honor our own voice and our own take on what is real, happiness becomes our natural state.
This week our writing assignment on the Home Page is going to give us a chance to use our senses as tools in creating our authentic lives. As always, have fun with it and remember to always, always, keep writing.
Peace and blessings.