The beginner's mind...
With the Thanksgiving holiday recently behind us, I have been thinking a lot about cultivating gratitude and how it relates to the concept of remaining present with a beginner's mind. Expectations and past experience take up a lot of head space. When we enter into situations with expectations (a result of human conditioning), we have little room left to place what is coming to us. We are partially blinded or filled by... the construct of how we think things should look or feel. With a beginner's mind, we tend to release expectations and our sense of knowing. Or more importantly, needing to know. This involves removing the need for a sense of control (ego involvement), which takes a lot of practice and acceptance. But isn't it worth it!? Being present connects us to our experience, to those around us, and keeps us from getting in our own way. This change in perspective allows us to fully experience what is coming our way and allows us to see beauty in the people or things that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Keep an open mind, create space, and practice gratitude... magic may be right in front of you - allow yourself to see it.
I live in Chicago with my partner Tim, our 34 year old turtle Freddie, and 7 year old dog Fagan. We just lost our 21 year old cat, sweet Belle, may she rest in peace until we meet again. We live in Lincoln Park and absolutely love living in the city. We enjoy taking Fagan to the park every day, living so close to the lake and the beach, the restaurants and the food, and the energy of the city... there is just so much to love. I love my job and enjoy a full-time career as an animal welfare research scientist, a role that I worked quite hard to establish. But this is just a part of my life, and I am a big believer in a balanced life. Not long ago, I was very much a hermit... I didn't get out much beyond work, didn't have a lot to identify with... My life has really opened itself to me in the past 5 years. Finding balance and connectedness was an inside job that required time. It's amazing how much happiness, connection and balance can bring. In our free time, Tim & I enjoy working our independent business, where we have met amazing people and formed lasting friendships. That, and we're excited to building supplemental and residual income! I also love everything music - see my Music and Yoga Playlists blog for more on that- but I enjoy both playing and listening to music. I also enjoy cooking, spending time with friends and family, and staying healthy by exercising and practicing yoga. I discovered yoga only a few years ago, during that moment in my life where I was seeking balance and connection. The timing was perfect, and yoga helped me to find peace in accepting that at any moment, life is as it should be. I immediately knew I wanted to become a teacher, to share with others the experience and practice that was so profound in my own life. I completed my 200-hour teacher training in 2014 with Alyson D'Souza at Village Yoga Chicago. As a yoga teacher, I appreciate the practice from a different perspective and am grateful to be able to share it with others, seeing the profound impact it has on the lives of those who practice.