When I lead retreats in India, the first thing I like to tell people is: “Notice the beauty in everything first.” I learned this in my first yoga teacher training from Janet Stone. At the end of our training, she said one of the most important things you can do as a teacher, as you are teaching, is to notice the beauty in everyone first. Still to this day, it is one of the most important lessons I have ever learned. As a new teacher, it was overwhelming to be teaching and looking around the room and observing all the people in different poses and maybe not doing it exactly as I was taught. So to look around a room and see the beauty first was almost a relief. It was not about making sure everyone had the asanas perfect. It was about the practice of Yoga. Unity. We are all One. We are all at our core, love and beauty. I took this advice into the yoga room and to India with me, but started to realize I was not using this in my everyday life. Then when I started to, things started to shift. There really is beauty to be seen in all things. During the quarantine, I was able to slow down a bit more and remind myself of this lesson and then after having surgery at the end of 2020, I found myself slowing down even more. I was unable to exercise and really not able to do much for 6 weeks. I have never slowed down to that pace in my life. It was so easy to see the beauty in everything when things slowed down for me. I would take a walk in nature and everything captured my attention. Everything was beautiful; it was as if I could feel the beauty pouring out of everyone and everything. I could feel the love from everyone. It was magical. And then things started to pick up. I was busy working again, exercising more, teaching more, hanging out with more people. The busier I got, the more I found I was not seeing the beauty as easily. It was not intentional and I did not even really notice at first. This week, I flew into California and as we were driving through Yosemite National Park, my first thoughts were, "Wow! There are so many burnt down trees. Wow…everything is so dry here, wow … the river is so low…" All of these things are true, and yes California is in a drought and needs water for sure. But I also could not help but think that focusing on the negative was not helpful for me or for Mother Earth ~ and honestly not for anyone or anything. I remembered Janet Stone saying, "see the beauty first." And that is what I started doing. I started noticing the beauty everywhere. The trees started to get greener, the views more powerful, and then we came across the most beautiful quartz vein (see photo below). A massive circle of these beautiful quartz rocks. We sat in the middle and meditated for just a few minutes. The power of these healing rocks was overwhelming. It was such a beautiful reminder of how important it is to slow down, notice the beauty and stay centered and grounded. So much clarity was coming to me from this place. And then it even started to rain! This experience reminded me that I can still take action to be better to the environment, to make my footprint smaller on the planet when it comes to consumption. But just looking and focusing on the negative was not serving me or anyone else. I invite you to spend the next few days, noticing the beauty in everything and everyone. Then tune in to the shifts you notice. Feel free to report back. I love hearing about the beauty in all of your lives!
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