What Must I Do Before I Die?

images-40At this exact moment, that seems like a loaded question to ask myself. I have been teaching yoga for five years and one of my very first students, Bill, just passed away. In a time of reflection I have realized that you really don’t know how much impact someone has on your life as well as you on someone else’s.

I remember the first time that Bill attended my Yoga class. He was new to Yoga; new as in it was his first class ever. However, I was also new because I at that time had just graduated from doing my Yoga Teacher Training, we were new together.

He had an amazing witty sense of humor. In fact, I use to call him The Troublemaker. He would show up and say, ‘What have you got for us today?’  The other students in the class would laugh because as you do in my classes, everyone gets to know one another, and at times it seems like more of a social gathering than Yoga.

images-29Bill was a family man who loved his daughters very much. He would show up to class with his daughter and then off they’d go for their frequent father/daughter dates. I always thought to myself how cool, how special it was that a father and daughter would come to practice together. What a unique bond. He was so very kind, always with a smile on his face.  Bill was a man full of life, who soaked up every moment. I thank him for being my student, and for trusting me when I had no idea what I was doing.

A week later I found out that my dear friend lost his husband unexpectedly. He was a wonderful, charismatic beautiful man. I hope that he is dancing in the stars, kissing the sun, and hugging the moon wherever he is.

images-43So what is the answer to this question as I tell you about the loss of two great people who impacted my life?

I am reminded that life is short. That no matter how much control we think we have; we don’t. Life is unpredictable. What can I control? I can be responsible for myself as a human being.  I can choose to act with integrity in an authentic way leaving petty emotions where they belong, which is in nothingness. I can choose to find my happiness. Instead of saying I want to do this or I wish I could. I am going to do it. Whether it is telling my parents that I love them or traveling to India like I’ve been saying I’m going to do for years. There are so many things that I want to do in my life. I want to make an imprint. I want to make a difference.

images-15I’ve learned that we should all live the life that we want to be in love with now. Love the people, your people who you refer to as your righteous posse. Your path is for you. Get on it and design your story because no one can do it like you. There is, no other you.

images-24Written By

Jessica Hinkson

Hope, Love, & Forgiveness

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime. Therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; Therefore we are saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone. Therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own; Therefore we are saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves. People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.

~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Transformation

Artists May You Have Your Wits About You Always

Sam Haskins“A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said, ‘ I love your pictures – they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove.”

Sam Haskins– Sam Haskins

Sam Haskins

 

Being An Artist

Being an artist means not numbering and counting but ripening like a tree, which does not force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of Spring, not afraid that afterward Summer may not come. It does come. But, it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life. Learn it with pain. I am grateful for patience is everything.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 

 

Fear Is Like A Wilderland

Daylight falls upon the path, the forest falls behind
Today I am not prey to dark uncertainty
The shadow trembles in its wrath, I’ve robbed its blackness blind
And tasted sunlight as my fear came clear to me

I think I understand
Fear is like a wilderland
Stepping stones or sinking sand

Now the way leads to the hills, above the steeple’s chime
Below me sleepy rooftops round the harbor
It’s there I’ll take my thirsty fill of friendship over wine
Forgetting fear but never disregarding her

Oh, I think I understand
Fear is like a wilderland
Stepping stones and sinking sand

Sometimes voices in the night will call me back again
Back along the pathway of a troubled mind
When forests rise to block the light that keeps a traveler sane
I’ll challenge them with flashes from a brighter time

Oh, I think I understand
Fear is like a wilderland
Stepping stones or sinking sand

~ Joni Mitchell

Trust Joni to get right to the heart of your soul. Her beautiful poetic songs have been filling the rooms in my house once again. I seem to go through phases when I listen to Joni a lot. Each lyric I choke back with a breath wondering where I am going next, what else does my path hold for me? To say that these last few months has been lovely would be a untruth. There have been moments of great uncertainty, and of waking up with fear deep in my belly. Life doesn’t work out the way we plan, I have learned this repeatedly. Sometimes I laugh at the mystery of the world and in other times I find it hard to find my breath. I find it hard to find the ground, to feel my feet in the earth. People get taken away from us to early; unexpectedly. There are friends of whom we hold so near only to be faced with the possibility of them not being here nor there. There is heartbreak among the tragedy. There is hope that is lost. Through the dark of the nights, of whom is it that we can call upon, when we can’t find sleep or peace in our dreams. Once again, we are reminded to go to ourselves. To go deeper inside, to keep searching, to regain hope. For as far as we each may fall at times, the rise is that much greater. So, as Joni so wonderfully says, ” I think I understand. Fear is like a wilderland. Stepping Stones or sinking sand.” Need I say more?

Be safe. Be beautiful. Be bold. Breathe.

xxoo Jess

You Need To See Things More Clearly

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year! I get to make yummy hearty soups, TIFF just finished, Nuit Blanche is around the corner, not to mention open fires, getting cozy, and surrounding yourself with love. Whether it be that you re-commit to your yoga practice, dive in to a friendship that seems to have fallen by the wayside, or giving yourself a time out to read that book you have been wanting to read since last January. Now is a great time to re-evaluate. To ask yourself what else it is that you need to do to make your journey a content one. It is an amazing time of year to get outside for long walks. Walking in times of stress, anxiety, or restlessness has always been something that has brought me a sense of calm. I take my golden retriever, who lives for long walks, and I breathe. Sometimes I play a game with myself when I feel like I have no control over what is happening in my life. It is a game that I made up for myself years a go, back, when I had attended the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York.

During my first year at the Playhouse one of my teachers had asked me to look at a desk and tell him what I saw. Besides the desk, I told him I saw a pen, some paper, and that was about all. He patiently  pointed out to me that there was a shadow that was mirroring the pen on the desk. There were particles of dust both on the desk, and floating through the air due to the ray of sunlight shining through on to the desk. The surface of the desk also had a color, it was smooth, it was old. Not to mention the paper- I could go on and on. The point was, as he said, ‘You need to see things more clearly.‘ It was true.

I realized that it is scary to really look at something or someone. To really take someone in. It is scary to see them but most importantly to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to be seen. So over the years when I walk, I ask myself, ‘How much can I see?‘ I ignite my five senses. What colors do I see? What are the sounds that I hear? What does the surface of what I’m walking on feel like? Is it hot? Is it cold? What does the air taste like? What do I smell? I get as specific as I can. Why do I do this? I do this because it takes me out of my head. You know that noise upstairs, the thoughts that should technically be leaving and entering, seem to enter but not leave. By walking, my breath moves down towards my pelvis. By walking, I get my heart rate up. By walking, I am moving blocked energy. By walking, I find my feet again. My mind becomes quiet. My breath steady. I am grounded. I see clearly. I am present.

Written By

Jessica Hinkson