Monday was my oldest son Zev's 9th birthday, so this week I celebrate him and also the day I became a mom. I love birthdays! I call birthdays “yes” days, because whatever the question is, the answer is yes. Can I have 2 donuts for breakfast - yes! Can I skip my homework and watch Sponge Bob for 4 hours straight - yes! Can I stay up until 10:00 - yes! It’s the most fun day to be a parent.
Now, I have to be honest. The days after my kids’ birthdays are my least favorite days in the year, because of course all that excess and overdoing it isn't sustainable and they can't manage the sugar crash and let down of the day after. But there is a happy medium here. As a parent, I find that I have to say no more often than I'd like to for one reason or another. I've also noticed that my initial reaction in my life in general is often no, even when it doesn’t necessarily have to be. When we practice Anusara yoga, we say yes first (Open to Grace), then we refine by creating boundaries (Muscular Energy). It's a subtle difference, but can have a profound shift. Sometimes ultimately it ends up as a no, but a no as a refinement of a yes is different than a hard no from the start.
Here’s how it might play out off the mat: My 6-year-old son asks if he can ride his bike around the block with a friend. I say no - case closed. OR I say yes, but.... I have to do it with you once first and you have to follow all the rules. If I see that happen, you can go by yourselves the next time one time around staying together. So even though I'm freaking out a little, everyone wins and everyone feels safe and we all expand and grow, me as a parent and he as an independent individual.
On the mat it looks like this: the teacher demos some crazy arm balance pose. I immediately say to myself, “no, not me I'm too _____________ “ (plug in your word...old, inflexible, scared, injured, etc.) - case closed, you go do viparita karani (legs up the wall). OR I say yes, but... My teacher gives some good warm ups, some alignment points to work on that will help get me into the pose. So I do those. And then when it comes time to do the pose, I just keep doing the prep rather than just taking yourself out of the running completely from the start. I might not do the pose that day, but I am mindfully working on the prep and the alignment so even if I never get into the full final form it doesn't matter, I am still getting stronger, expanding my boundaries safely, and growing physically and emotionally by staying in the game.
The Universe is like a birthday parent. Whatever you ask the answer is yes - always and unconditionally. Your Source wants for you what you want for yourself.
So if you say “I want to live fully, joyfully, love-fully!” the Universe says “YES!”
if you say “My life is so hard, everything is such a challenge.” the Universe says “YES!”
if you say “I live in abundance and wholeness.” the Universe says “YES!”
if you say “I’ll never have enough time, money, love…” the Universe says “YES!”
Birthdays are a day to unabashedly receive. To receive what is up to you. Every breath, our embodiment itself with all that it brings is a gift, but what do we do with that? What do you want for your life? What do you desire? Since the Universe is always affirming what we affirm for ourselves, take a moment to ask yourself what is your "mantra" (the thing(s) you say to yourself over and over again, day in day out)? Does it affirm your highest aspirations for yourself? It’s like that famous Henry Ford quote one of my students reminded me of in class this week: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right." Every day (really every moment) has the opportunity to be a re-birth day, an opportunity to become an open vessel for grace, love, creativity and blessings and receive the beauty of the world and of your life.
Come to your mat and your life this week and be open to receive. The great poet Rumi said “That which you are seeking is also seeking you.” so set your highest intention and I guarantee the Universe will affirm it. Say YES to your life: your challenges, your blessings, your poses, your body, your job, your family, your friends and watch the transformation begin. Happy re-birth day!