Last Friday Todd, the girls and I taught family yoga - I wasn't
super jazzed about it initially (it's Friday night, I have to wrap
presents, I have to get some sleep, blah, blah, blah) but I ended
up having a ball, mostly because of the awesome kids.
They were jazzed to be there and boy, were they ready
to shine. They walked into the yoga room full of energy and full of
questions and they laid their mats right in the front row, almost
on top of mine.
I teach adult yoga and more often than not students will place
their mats as far from the teacher as possible - everyone wants to
claim a spot in the back, everyone wants to blend in - so much so
that I often have to move my mat toward them.
But not the kids - they want the front row, they want to be a
part of the action, they want to claim their space, they want to
As adults we tend to be uncomfortable shining. We don't want
anyone to think that we think we are better than them, we don't
want to look foolish, and we don't want to stray from the norm.
So we do our best to blend in, to not rock the boat, to make
everyone else feel comfortable.
But that's such a disservice - to ourselves and to the world as
Shining doesn't mean we are bragging, and shining doesn't mean
we are trying to be better than anybody else - shining just means
being real. Shining means being yourself.
At some point in our childhood or teenage years we are taught
that if we shine people won't like us; so we learn to dim, we learn
to tone it down - we learn to fit in any way we can.
But through dimming we lose our voice, our ability to be
ourselves, and it may even hide the gifts we came here to
Everyone carries a gift or gifts, everybody has something to
share, and everybody has inherent shininess, but too often it's
covered up by years of pain, fear, or discomfort - so we opt for
the status quo, mostly because it seems easier.
But is it easier?
Personally, I find it a lot more difficult to pretend to agree
when I disagree, or to do work that I don't enjoy, or to take on a
parenting approach that just doesn't feel right.
I have done my share of dimming in my life; we tend to teach
what we need to learn. But I have also become better at "being."
Being honest and focusing on how I feel rather than what I "think"
everyone else is feeling.
Initially this made me super uncomfortable. As a life-long
people pleaser I would never want to appear self absorbed,
narcissistic, or lose my perspective on the world.
But I tend to experience the exact opposite - "being" produces
more love, less judgment, more compassion, less worry.
Being real eliminates the need to prove things to everybody and
it eliminates the need to win. I just want to be me and I just want
you to be you.
Self love and shininess = more love and understanding for
I would never claim to be completely free of the ego or the need
to please (I can't escape being human), but I definitely notice it,
I don't identify with it, and I often use it as an indicator that
it's time for some downtime or self care.
And on Friday night, a night where I was in the throes of
"musts" and "to-dos," those kids taught me yet again how cool it is
to shine - well really, kids don't have to "teach" us, they just
remind us of what we used to know.
They remind us of a time when we wanted to be in front of the
class and when we knew we had a place in the world.
A time when we knew exactly who we were supposed to be - a time
when we were present to the moment and we forgave in an instant - a
time when we took care of ourselves, spoke our mind, and treated
ourselves with kindness.
Because when you treat yourself with kindness you treat others
with kindness. When you love yourself people find it easy to love
you. And when you feel safe in your skin life becomes fun.
So as you embrace this new year, consider allowing yourself to
laugh a little more, speak your truth, do what you love, and truly
appreciate who you came here to be.
Or just be a kid in a yoga class - get jazzed, head to the front
row, roll out your mat and SHINE.
Click here to hear Cathy and Todd talk about the holidays and
"shining" on Zen
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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