Reflections

Jean McGuire, Celestial, Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches ©2014
Jean McGuire, Celestial, Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches ©2014

With the passing of New Years there are lots of articles and discussions about resolutions. But resolutions are notorious for only lasting, at best, a month or two before old habits take back over and we revert to our previous patterns. As an employee at a gym, especially as one who has taught in gyms for so long, I can guarantee that fitness centers all over the country will swell with the increased numbers of people with good intentions. I hope everyone who makes a resolution embraces that resolution and maintains their better habits for life.

I don’t believe in making resolutions for the New Year. I personally believe that our birthday is the start of our individual New Year. However, I do think that a milestone like January 1st is a good opportunity to look back over the past year and look forward to the year ahead.

 What I learned in 2014

Every time I start to feel concerned about my future and what it may hold, I remember December of last year. A year ago I had no idea what to do or what direction to go in. I knew I had to leave my job. I knew I had to let go of the man I’d been seeing off and on for over 4 years. I knew I had to be able to find the thing or things that made me happy and life worth living.

I thought I had enough in savings to last me about six to eight months, which would give me some breathing room while I decided what I wanted to do. I had my fitness classes and a part-time job at the YMCA to help stretch the savings. So, with a deep breath, I quit my job in January still having no idea what I was going to do.

I spent the first two months working random shifts at the Y and spending all my free time meditating and writing lists of what I love. “Words” was always at the top of the list. I love to hear how different people put their words together to paint a verbal or written picture. I had done some writing in the past, but I never really focused on writing being a part of my daily practice.

Yoga was also on every list I made. I’ve been teaching yoga for 14 years now and what I learn and get back is far more than the effort I put out. Yoga has helped my asthma by teaching me how to breathe deeply and focus on the breath. I have been able to maintain a high degree of flexibility and balance as a result of my yoga and I love sharing the benefits of this ancient practice with anyone who will hold still long enough for me to share it with them.

With these two passions showing up time after time, I started trying to visualize how it would look if I focused on these two things. I knew from experience that while I love teaching yoga, it’s a difficult way to make a living. I remembered that students of mine had asked me if I’d make videos of my classes so they could practice yoga even when I was out of town. I started thinking of ways to make yoga videos as a way of sharing my love of yoga.

I hadn’t thought of writing for years, but I knew I could turn a phrase pretty well and it made sense to start working with the words I loved so much. Eventually, creating yoga videos on YouTube and writing a blog began to make sense as ways to surround myself with the things I love.

In August I launched my YouTube channel, Jasmine Petals Yoga. On the same day I launched this website along with a Twitter account and a Facebook page. Both the YouTube channel and this site were pretty rough when I launched them, but I knew I had to break a life-long habit of not finishing projects because it took me so long to get them exactly how I wanted them.  I knew neither site was exactly the way I wanted them, but I accepted that I had made a start and took pride in having done so.

With the help of Chris Reis of Mile Hill Studios the new yoga videos we’re releasing are exactly what I had in mind. After months of trial and error and learning as fast as I could, I have found my way around the world of WordPress and feel good about the look and content on this site. I’m proud of the work my dreams and hard work have produced.

In October I started taking painting classes. I believe in the Universe giving us signs and the sign to return to painting couldn’t have been any clearer. As I was emailing with a friend I’ve known for 50 years (yes, 50) we were discussing what type of painting we would return to if we ever painted again. When I closed the email from her saying she’d go back to oil painting, there in my inbox was an invitation from Michael Molick (http://www.michaelmolick.com/) to start taking oil painting classes. Okay, message received. Art was my first love as a child and the act of returning to my first love was one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself.

What I want for 2015

Personally, I don’t make resolutions with the new year. I try to evaluate where I am and where I’d like to go every day. However, since this month is the anniversary of my big leap, I have definitely spent a lot of time lately looking back over the last year with all of its changes and an equal or greater amount of time looking forward to what I want from 2015.  I am fortunate in having surrounded myself with highly creative people over the last year and I look forward to even more creativity in the coming year.

I feel like I am continually honing the craft of my writing and I like where it’s going. There are multiple books that are being discussed at this stage. I have one book I’ve already written that my good friend from Kindergarten has agreed to illustrate. I definitely hope to self-publish that one this year.

Much to my surprise, my painting is taking off and is starting to have a flow to it that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced. There are talks in the works about some exhibits. I hope those exhibits manifest in 2015 and lead to sales.

My yoga practice continues to grow and Chris and I are talking about lots of ways of expanding the videos and possibly even creating at least one new channel in 2015 that has a different twist that I hope you all find entertaining and beneficial.

I am not sure what all this creativity will look like in the coming year, but I am excited and happy with the things that have happened in the last year. I hope to be able to support myself with my creative endeavors and I hope that I am able to provide value to the world with my yoga, my writing and my painting. I would REALLY love for you to keep reading and watching and sharing my creativity with anyone who you think would find benefit or entertainment in the things I’m doing. Thank you to all of you for supporting me in my year of the leap.

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