New Year’s Day: A man came on to the beach from the waves in Playa del Carmen, revealing himself as a one arm and one leg amputee. He pulled himself along with his right arm. I was amazed that he had successfully met the challenges of swimming in the surf. I also noticed a tattoo of five Olympic rings on the inside of his biceps. Hmm. Paula looked at me and we shared a thought consistent with a line I read this morning, “The universe is constantly trying to reach us to say something or teach something” (Chogam Trungpa). I’m unsure of the something, yet it fit with the phrase I awoke to for BookOfJoymy annual theme, Yoga for Compassion (for 2017, that is nicely 17 letters). Compassion has been central in recent years and has been highlighted and prioritized by my recent reading of The Book of Joy (based on wonderful conversations between Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu). Compassion feels so timely and fitting personally and so necessary in the broader fear-filled milieu. Compassion is powerful and foundational.

“If with kind generosity
One merely has the wish to soothe
The aching heads of other beings,
Such merit knows no bounds” (Santideva)

Combining my message (mess+age; see previous blog), with my daily yoga practice, I see a delightful way to be “on the court” with this theme. In more serendipity (which tends to increase when on the right track), I also read this morning, “The main way to develop compassion is to generate good feelings toward others.” And following the idea I had shortly after arising of beginning practice with compassionate intention and closing with being of service, I also found these instructions:
“Arouse the mind of bodhicitta [wishing to attain enlightenment motivated by great compassion for all sentient beings] before every practice.
Dedicate its positive results to others” (intending their safety, health, happiness, & equanimity).

So I have begun and this theme will guide me as I teach and participate in more yoga teacher training this year. I’m including in my year’s motif the idea that the bigger the mess, the bigger the lesson and contribution to my message. With self-compassion, I’m more deeply exploring where I am out of alignment in ways that have been hidden to me.

I encourage you to join whatever parts of this theme hold promise for you. Or find your own theme that will focus and catalyze your exhilarated learning in 2017. I hope our paths will cross and our hearts will connect. May you share your great light as the world hungers for it. May you and your loved ones be filled with joy, peace, and great love. May you transform a challenge into an opportunity to be world-class.

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