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As we approach the long anticipated and speculated about date of 12.21.12 many of us are wondering about the state of affairs in our lives, our communities, our country, and the world. We spend more and more time trying to hang onto what we have and we resist the changes that are inevitable.  We go kicking and screaming into the future, or at the very least, trembling with fear and uncertainty.

Those of us who use PRACTICE (yoga or meditation) as one of our tools in managing our mutable lives may find may find that we are clinging like the ‘hang in there baby’ cat, to this practice.  But, if we truly apply the principals of the ways of yoga and if we look with soft eyes at our lives and our practice, we can see ourselves objectively.

Recently, I was invited to attend a yoga retreat center in Vermont for yoga studio owners.  The first night there I was consumed with the worry that I did not pick the quietest room so I could continue with my steady meditation practice.  I had mentally committed to as much quiet contemplation time as I could get and even felt I didn’t need to do any of the yoga.  I know you can see where I’m headed, but I couldn’t at the time.

I skipped the first morning yoga class and joined everyone for breakfast wondering if I would fit in. When the owner mentioned snowshoeing in freshly fallen powder, even though it was only 7°F, I was all in. We set out under a crystalline blue sky with Annie, the horse, and Chrissy, the dog, leading the way.  After a couple of hours, and nearly 3 miles of trudging up ski trails and bushing-whacking up the sides of small mountains, past one breathtaking view after another, we had all exchanged stories and bonded.

After the hike I sat in my room at the center, my face flushed with the cold, exertion and joy, I realized I had been hiding behind my meditation practice.  As I tentatively let down that carefully placed boundary, it became clear to me that the weekend wasn’t about me getting inspiration for my next writing project, it was about connecting with others. From that moment on, I participated in everything and had more fun than I have in a while. My heart filled with the presence of others, generosity of the retreat center owner, the beauty of the land, and my own life.

While the energy of 12.21.12 is indeed about change and pealing away the layers covering our brilliance, it is also about grabbing at the lowing hanging fruit in our lives.  What beautiful gift is hanging unnoticed right in front of your face? I can tell you that one of those gifts is the spectacular light of your own essence, just waiting for you to allow it to come out and play.