By Craig Ruvere, CGI Holistic Fitness and Spa
I’m often deeply inspired by the profound readings and teachings of those who continually strive to live the most useful, purposeful life possible. I suppose I’m drawn to them because of my inner desire to find such an existence myself – though I’ve yet to achieve it.
The other day while flipping through a few books and magazines at a local retailer, I came across the following passage by life coach Ros Bott.
“I, too, have goals in life that have not happened yet. Life would be dull without having something to aim for! Self-development and setting goals is an ongoing process, and I too need coaching and support in achieving the next steps in my life. Success is nothing to do with reaching those goals, it is to do with who you are being while you are working towards them, and living a life of integrity and passion and joy.”
“Who you are being” – that sentiment struck a chord with me and seemed to linger on my mind for the remainder of the day. After all it’s a rarity to find a quiet moment during the chaos in our lives to look within and truly understand the people we are each and every day.
That evening as I struggled to drift off to sleep, I found myself asking the question, “who was I being?” And soon I realized there’s no greater challenge in life than looking deep within one’s self and admitting your failings. For so many of us our inherent defensiveness often keeps us from acknowledging our shortcomings - especially to ourselves. But I think we all reach a point in our lives when the person we believe ourselves to be often falls short of the person we actually are.
A commanding king in Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s book The Little Prince proclaims, “Then you shall pass judgment on yourself. That is the hardest thing of all. It is much harder to judge yourself than to judge others.”
Unknowingly to me I had allowed anger, jealousy and the burdens of life to harden me – blind me from what was truly important and the many blessings I had already received.
But as long as we’re living and breathing here on this earth, we all possess the ability to alter who we are - to look beyond one’s own defensiveness and denial to recognize and accept that none of us are perfect and each of us could stand to improve some part of ourselves.
And so I began my journey for personal growth by enrolling in a Yoga class. I’ll admit I was somewhat skeptical about the benefits of Yoga - especially after discovering some of the interesting and challenging poses practiced throughout the class. I worried my body would not be limber enough (or shall I say coordinated enough) to master the positions. Not to mention I assumed I’d be unable to control my laughter as my body twisted and contorted into the shape of a pretzel.
The word Yoga actually stems from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means to join or unite. This joining encompasses all aspects of an individual from body with mind to mind with body – creating a more spiritual, more valuable life. It has been described as a “scientific system of physical and mental practices,” which originated some three thousand years ago in India in order to bring out one’s highest potential.
The more I learned about this ancient practice, the more I realized how much my life could benefit from its teachings. And after several months of diligence both physically and mentally, I’m beginning to see that we can control the people we are in life; unfortunately it takes humility and a great deal of patience.
But as I said above it’s a journey with no definitive end. I still experience anger, jealousy and a plethora of other emotions every human being faces on a daily basis – we’ll never fully escape that. However it’s what you choose to do with those feelings that matters most. Right now I’m understanding that while you can acknowledge their presence, letting them control your life is futile.
Pop and classical singer Josh Groban sings the lyrics, “I am not a hero. I am not an angel. I am just a man.” What I’m doing is nothing extraordinary or beyond the reach of every living, breathing human being walking this earth – regardless of their age. What I am is just a man who’s coming to understand that sometimes to attain the most useful, purposeful life possible you must first accept who you are being. Only then can you find yourself “living a life of integrity and passion and joy.”
For more information on practicing Yoga, visit www.cgifitness.com.