Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what happens when two seemingly distinct worlds collide. Sometimes the answers come easily, kind of like doing a Monday crossword puzzle. While sometimes a little more thought is required, like say your typical Thursday or Friday puzzle. Then inevitably at some point in our lives we all experience our own version of a Sunday crossword from the New York Times. Upon first glance it appears seemingly unsolvable, but as you remain diligent putting forth both effort and time (for what sometimes seems like an eternity), the answers slowly begin to unfold. Patterns develop. Themes become apparent. The secret is our receptivity, or better yet, our attunement to all of the subtleties as they are revealed. Just like in life. When you feel as if you are being asked to make a choice between two things you hold very important, how receptive or open can you be to all of the possibilities that could lie ahead? Are you skillful enough to pick up on the subtle clues that inevitably surround you helping guide your way? Are you patient enough and willing to sacrifice the necessary amount of time it might take to figure out what you really want? Or do you simply retreat, thus forcing a solution prematurely (even knowing full well that in doing so you are risking the chance of experiencing the sweetness of what could be out of fear or maybe even just plain laziness)? Of course we all know the old adage: patience is a virtue. And a virtue it absolutely is, which is all well and good, but patience alone ain’t quite enough to push you forward when you’re feeling stuck. In order to truly experience the fullness and beauty that could be, then in addition to cultivating both patience and receptivity, we must put forth effort in the form of dedication, steadfastness, and raw, gritty, fierce, sometimes even painfully challenging work.
So let’s first be really clear about our questions: when we come to these challenges or forks in the road, how do we navigate? In other words, how do we use our inner GPS to tell us the “right” path to choose? And do we even really have to choose one over the other or can we find a way to make our seemingly separate worlds collide (and I mean that in a good way)?
In order to even begin to find the answer(s), I default to what I know best (and what I know works – at least for me), and that is my yoga. If I were in a difficult yoga pose the very first thing I would remind myself to do is breath (note: this is actually true for any pose, but it undoubtedly requires more skill to remember your breath through the tough positions). This is what we call in the Anusara tradition, being “open to grace” (OTG), and it is the first of our five Universal Principles of Alignment™. For me, this applies both on and off the mat, so when times get tough and situations are trying, I simply pause and come back to my breath. I soften. Allowing the space for a greater sense of openness, attunement and receptivity to all those subtle clues that surround and offer insight as to how to proceed. Some visible right away, and others still cloaked that are to be revealed in time. OTG is both the patience and the receptivity. And once we are able to tap in to that, we are then able to add on. Next comes the work part and by no coincidence is this the second of our Universal Principles, which we call muscular energy. Muscular energy simply translates to grounding oneself and cultivating the strength, courage and steadfastness in whatever situation (or pose as it may be) that we may find ourselves in. WE need to put forth the effort. WE must be active co-participants in the shaping and design of our lives. Next in the sequence comes the expressive part (which is our third Universal Principal a.k.a. organic energy) reminding us that once we are grounded, we have the freedom to shine our brightest and fullest. Expressing our true potential outwardly in the highest way possible. These Universal Principles keep building on one another, always looping back the beginning (OTG) simply to start the process over again. Infinitely. To me, the process is both beautiful and methodical, offering the remembrance that there is never not something that we could be doing.
I could go on forever about the connectedness between yoga inside and outside the classroom/studio, but I promised this week to get to kitchens, so bear with me just a little bit longer. If you hadn’t picked up by now, my two worlds that have collided are design and yoga. I love each one dearly, but until just recently, I had felt like I needed to choose one or the other (in terms of a career path). I had resisted following my heart and enrolling in Teacher Training for years, because I thought it meant giving up my dream of being a kitchen designer. I now know that I wasn’t truly taking my teachings to heart. I heard them. I believed them. I could spit them back out as though I truly got it. But I wasn’t actually living it. I couldn’t even get past our first principle (OTG), so how could I ever expect to experience the beauty that potentially lies ahead? I completely was selling myself short. So I’ve made the conscious decision not to choose. Why should I feel I have to? I want it all. And will settle for nothing less. So here I am. Officially enrolled in Teacher Training. And what’s more? I am more inspired than ever before in my design. Who knew?!?!
Now comes the fun part (note: this is the part where I attempt to bring it all full circle). Curious to know how I interpret our theme of world’s colliding and translate it into beautiful kitchen design? Wanna see what’s inspiring me these days? Check out these pics of two kitchens done by the amazingly talented Donna Venegas.
LOVE LOVE LOVE how she blends traditional styles with more modern styles so seamlessly. And I’m especially loving the contrasting yet complimentary finishes she chose (like the white high-gloss poly with the more rustic and earthy walnut).
So just like that. Two styles collide creating a fullness of beauty that wouldn’t otherwise be achieved were it simply one or the other.