So this.... is 40

Where I want my mojo to go

I’m definitely dealing with a little Peter Pan syndrome as I face the stigma of turning the big 4-0.  When my father turned forty, I remember buying old fart pills from Spencer’s at the mall, and giving him a card with a picture of an old man using a walker.  How cruel, because I certainly don’t feel OLD!  I have watched the movie "This is Forty" many times and deeply identify with Leslie Mann’s character when she says, “I don't wanna shop at old lady stores. I don't wanna go to J. Jill and Chico's and Ann Taylor Loft. I’m not ready yet."  I don’t want to admit the halo of gray hair encroaching on my roots. I don’t want to have to get mammograms and get sun spots removed. I don’t want to up my fish oil and glucosamine just to maintain my regular physical activity.  I don’t want to wear both readers and progressive lenses for driving. I don’t want to have to wear longer shirts over my yoga pants to cover the “wastelands” as my friend calls it. 

I have 13 and 10 year old daughters and like Mann’s character, had a surprise baby girl in my advanced maternal years who is now two.  I don’t want to admit my complete and utter exhaustion running a household with issues concerning both Tampax and Pull-ups and my desire toretire to bed at 9pm daily.

I turn 40 in a few weeks and have spent the greater part of 2015 trying to identify my “calling.” 

Apparently, I’m looking for a direct hit to the bulls-eye so that I can somehow leave a greater impact on this earth! (1 Peter 4:10) I admit that this constant striving and inevitably comparing sometimes with others, can get exhausting. 

I’m convicted of this every time a yoga teacher reminds me to be present.  Presence is an act of gratitude, and my cup overflows with things and people in which to be grateful. (Philippians 4:8-9) While my attitude may seem ungrateful, there are many things I am embracing about turning 40. 

I know myself and I like myself. 

I care less about trying to please others to have them like me more and feel more grounded and authentic in trying to be the very best version of me.  I think that’s all that the world can ask of each of us.  I have taught thousands of yoga classes over the past 12 years, and every January I encourage my students to write a sankalpa statement, which translates to “divinely inspired intention.” I wanted tohighlight my sankalpa statement for the next 40 years.

Have Courage (Joshua 1:9). 

Did anyone else ball their eyes out at Disney’s latest rendition of Cinderella? It’s one of my favs! This brave young woman was tested and ridiculed and stayed so deeply true to herself (and to her deceased mother’s advice to “Have Courage, and Be Kind”).

Marianne Williamson writes, “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I feel like applauding every time I read that quote.  Yet, I would admit that I have a history of shrinking (Psalm 34:4). I’m a yoga teacher and it is my deepest joy to get to encourage others with an inspiring theme or watch them hold a handstand after years of practice. I am the biggest cheerleader to everyone else’s dreams and have a history of shrinking when it comes to acknowledging my gifts and the power of my light. 

I can tell you that it’s freeing to identify with your God-given gifts

It makes you appreciate and not compete with the beautiful gifts that others have.  It’s like lighting a candle from another flame.  You don’t reduce the light by sharing it, you multiply it.

Be Kind. 

This is Part II of the Cinderella story. Staying true was Cinderella recognizing that the evil ways of her step-mother and step-sisters were merely a reflection of their own unhappiness, and enabled her to have empathy and to extend forgiveness to them in the end (Ephesians 4:32). We can spin over the assumption that people in our lives should know the impact of their unloving actions (Luke 23:34); however, we all know what they say about assuming.... I teach hundreds of students each week and have learned from watching people’s emotional reactions on the mat and having conversations before and after class that everyone is coming from somewhere. 

“Do not judge a book by it’s cover “ is an understatement. 

I’ve seen heavy set women float effortlessly into handstand and muscle men shake in plank.  I’ve experienced a woman weeping on her mat for an entire class and a not-so-gentle man yell out in a raging fit that my music was too loud.  I’ve learned that I can’t assume anything, but I can be kind.  We’ve grown up around different dinner tables, experienced different cultures and traditions, formed opinions from influences on our paths and have thoughts reflecting our own story.   In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge...”  This is what gets us in trouble. 

George Sand wrote, “Guard well within yourself that treasure. KINDNESS.  Know how to give without hesitation.  How to lose without regret. How to acquire without meanness.” 

Spare yourself the unnecessary mind toil and hurt, and ask questions to clear the air and get to know people. Choose to look people in the eyes with warmth and understanding that they are coming from somewhere too. Be kind.

Love One Another (John 13:34)

Childs pose is usually where I find my gravity again.  My life can feel like a spinning top, and the act of bowing my head and turning my palms upward helps me remember the many blessings in my life.  When we live in gratitude, things like competition with others, critical gossip, “poor me” syndrome, and insecurity fade away. 

Melody Beattie wrote, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” 

In other words, we get our heads out of our butts and are free to love one another.  Gratitude allows us to break free from the bondage of worldly judgement and cultivate a true love-interest in others- wherever they may be in life.  This freedom allows us to love our neighbor regardless of the diversity in our opinions, backgrounds and choices (Colossians 3:15-17). 

In my next 40 years, I want to live authentically and gratefully and hope that you would know my God by the way I love. (John 17:20-23) When preparing one year for my New Year’s Resolution (or sankalpa) yoga class, I found this beautiful translation of the Sanskrit chant, Om Namah Shivaya.  It said, 

“Salutations to the person I am becoming.” (Ephesians 4:15-16) 

With grace and mercy in the forefront, cheers to the humans we are becoming on and off the mat!  Cheers to 40!

~ Kristin

Amber JaworskyComment