By Laura Mills
I recently had the pleasure of a vacation. As comfortable as one can be at home, itís rejuvenating to take a break from the day-to-day routine of work, errands, chores, and other obligations. Whether one's vacation involves campfire cooking outside a tent in the midst of a majestic wilderness, or gourmet meals at a restaurant across the street from an exquisite hotel, we plan our vacations according to what we believe will interest and entertain us. No wonder we look forward to them so much!
But I don't think it's the fun or simply the change in routine that rejuvenates us while on vacation. I think itís the fact that vacations place us outside our element.The unfamiliar, no matter how entertaining or interesting, still unsettles us at least a little bit. Our vacations may involve sights we haven't seen before or at least not for a while, languages we don't speak, activities we haven't tried before, and food we've never eaten or perhaps never even heard of. We are no longer experts, no longer able to just go through the motions of day-to-day existence. And suddenly, at least at some level, we then look forward to returning to the opportunities we have at home to go to a familiar workplace, eat food we know we like, and talk to people we love. Suddenly, those opportunities seem just a little more special.
I had a great time on my vacation, for sure. But while I cherish the time I had there, itís REALLY good to be home.
By Laura Mills
With regards to the passage of time, in my experience two categories of people exist: those who dread it, and those who welcome it. I’ve known people who refuse to discuss “next month” or “next year” for fear of what the future may bring, people who view the world as an inherently dangerous place in which nothing ever goes right. On the other hand, I’ve known people who anticipate the future as an opportunity for further fullness of life, people whose “What if…?” questions end with positive words, hopeful smiles and playful laughs.
The most interesting thing to me, here, is that in one way or another both categories of people believe anything is possible. We all consider the unknown ahead and sense that it’s loaded with possibilities; at some level, we all have that openness that allows practices like yoga to change our lives. But if we automatically dread those possibilities, I think we close doors that just might present us with the path we’ve been looking for all along.
As we continue to move forward through days, months and years, none of us will succeed at keeping all doors always open. But we are capable of considering the unknown ahead one day at a time, breathing, and remembering we at least always have a choice.
Small but Mighty
By Laura Mills
“Every breath is another opportunity.” It’s one of my favorite things to remind my yoga students; it’s one of my favorite things to remind myself. The words are not mine, at least I don’t think so-I honestly don’t know where they came from, whether I heard them somewhere or read them in something. But one day they rose from the reaches of my memory to the front of my mind, and I said them to my students just before Savasana.
The more I think about the expression, the more I like it. Of course, it applies to the tiniest pieces of a yoga practice: we inhale to lift arms, exhale to bow, inhale to lift half-way, exhale to fold…. But we also inhale and exhale as we roll our mats, find our shoes and leave the studio; we inhale and exhale as we enter our cars, leave the parking lot and turn out at the light into the rest of our day. Every inhale and exhale is an additional moment of choice and possibility—even with regards to the smallest, most seemingly-insignificant things—and as long as we’re breathing, it’s never too late….
Your next breath may be your best yet.