“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
This has been a guiding quote for my life. It asks the big question: What am I doing here?
What if you live your days without really exploring what makes you come alive? There are lots of people out there who don’t bother to really explore this question, people who settle for doing things in life that they are not really passionate about. To me, this is a huge disrespect to the Life Force, to Consciousness.
If you practice yoga earnestly and take to heart its teachings, your yoga, at some point, will force this question upon you, and you’ll begin to listen and explore the answers. It’s pretty much inevitable and it’s powerful thing.
Maybe it starts with the breath. Via yoga, you get to know your breath and get curious about prana, the life force, surging within you. As you breathe more fully, you begin to more fully inhabit your body, and more fully experience yourself physically, emotionally and psychologically. You discover your strengths and confront your vulnerabilities. You encounter your growing edge and the places you feel a little afraid to inhabit, but that you’re curious to check out. All of your senses become enlivened. You feel more alive.
Alive and curious. Curious about who you are and your life path. As yoga heightens your capacity to sense, feel and listen, you gradually you begin to hear the yearnings of your own heart. Deep in your heart lie the questions and answers about your dharma, your unique life work. As you practice, you get stronger, steadier, and more confident in body, mind and heart so that you can hear the questions more clearly and explore the answers.
Elizabeth Swanson, Great Heart Yoga graduate and Olympia yoga teacher writes about how she experienced this:
Yoga has helped me cultivate a way of listening that I have never utilized before. It's as if the signs and cues of my dharma were there, but I was listening at a different frequency. This practice helped me to dial in, to become more aware of the signs that were there all along. I just needed to hear them in a different way.”
When people begin to listen to their own hearts and dial into their dharma, and act from that place, it is an amazing thing.
In my work as a yoga teacher and as a yoga teacher trainer, I have the huge privilege of seeing people awaken to their passion and purpose in life. When people connect to their heart’s yearnings, they start to act differently and make different choices. Time and time again I see how yoga helps people courageously confront and release old, negative patterns, habits and addictions and adopt new life-affirming ways of living. When the old patterns are cleared away, new ways of living open up. People awaken to talents and skills that were inside them all along but were not noticeable up until this point. Following this aliveness and stepping into one’s dharma wholeheartedly and offering it up to the world becomes the only way to live.
“What the world needs is people who have come alive.”
So, please ask the big questions. Please take the time to ponder them, write about them, and chat about them.
What makes you come alive?
How does your yoga serve to enliven your senses and incite your curiosity?
What will it look like in the world (and in your community) when you fully step into your passion and purpose?
With love and respect,