31 Things I Learned (and re-learned) this Year

I turned 31 this week. My dear friend, Emily, called it "thirty-one-derful" and my birthday was exactly that.    It was a day of counting blessings and reflecting on the most recent year gone by. When I started to cycle through my biggest takeaways from the year, it became clear to me that the ability to continuously learn and grow comes as a result of great teachers. I am infinitely grateful for all the radical people in my life who teach me every single day. 

Note: This list is sort of a stream of consciousness and in no particular order.

  1. Be up front always and from the beginning, especially when establishing new relationships
  2. Energetic influence is real, measurable and most readily perceived by intuition. Let your energetic vibration be one that elevates.
  3. Assumption is an obstacle to clear communication.
  4. Define yourself by what you love, it will unite you more powerfully with others.
  5. Tell the people you care about how much you love them, often.
  6. Death is a tricky thing because there’s only one way to find out for certain what happens when we go.  Those of us left behind grieve, heal and remember in different ways. And that's ok.
  7. Asana doesn’t have to hurt. “No pain, no gain” does not apply in this practice.
  8. It’s impossible to accomplish anything you don’t try.  “You can fail at something you don't want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.” –Jim Carrey
  9. The desire to belong is a universal quality, but you must give yourself permission first.
  10. Pranayama is an expansion of, not control or mastery over, the breath. It’s an attempt to align and create space.
  11. A recent study at Stanford University showed that an experience of awe can increase your capacity for altruism and give you greater levels of happiness. “Blow your mind regularly, it makes you a nicer person.” – Jason Silva. 
  12. Never stop learning about your partner, there will always be something new because humans are always evolving.
  13. “Busy” does not carry an inherently positive vibration, eliminate busy work and create time for what you really want to be doing. (The same goes for “have to”.)
  14. The internet is a rabbit hole, use it wisely and only for good not for evil.
  15. In meditation, follow your thoughts back to where they start and eventually you will begin to notice them sooner.  This leads to greater clarity.
  16. Every difficult situation is an opportunity for OM. Look for that which unites, not that which separates. 
  17. Science and spirit are not at odds. It is possible to nerd-out about both.
  18. When Chuck Miller was in Tokyo he said, “there is no plan(et) B.  Good planets are hard to find.” Do what you can to care for this one.
  19. Creativity is cyclical, sometimes we dream and sometimes we do.  Embrace whichever stage of the process you are in.
  20. Social media can connect, but it’s imperative to take responsibility for what you put out there. Let the profile match the practice.
  21. Sometimes you just have to hit send. Over-editing can change the essence of any piece of writing.
  22. Always be available to new information, it’s ok to change your mind. “The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.” ― Albert Einstein
  23. Don’t be afraid to make new friendships work. Distance, time, age, etc. do not stand in the way of real human connection.
  24. Apologize often, but only when you mean it.
  25. Take a walk and at least 100 breaths. This goes for responding to emotionally charged situations and creative work.
  26. If your intentions are true and clear, they may still be misunderstood. Stay open and keep trying.
  27. Whatever you choose, in the case of any major decision, make it right. Don’t devote energy to questioning once you have committed one way or the other. Side note: decisions made out of fear generally don’t inspire.
  28. Weird is wonderful.
  29. Fear is excitement without the breath. Re-frame situations that scare you and remember why you’re in them in the first place. And breathe dear human!
  30. Goals need wiggle room. You must give the universe a little white space so that it has infinite options for how to make your dreams come true. 
  31. Not everything in life can be broken down into a 10 (or 31) item list. However, when you take the time to reflect and simplify the big picture, it can be a way to connect quickly with others and share a little piece of your heart.