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The BEST gift ever

Hello lovely, happy December! I don’t know about you, but these holiday sales and decor around town have gotten me thinking about gifts, gifts, and more gifts…and that’s precisely what’s inspired this month’s newsletter

Although I do love me some shopping, that’s not what I’m going to talk about here. Instead, I want to focus on a much more important gift I’d like you to consider giving yourself this holiday season – the life you already have, wrapped in shiny perspective.

Ok, ok, before you decide that’s a lame idea, let’s back up.

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Philadelphia to see my family. The air was crisp, the trees were shamelessly showing off their glorious new colors, and even the Starbucks pumpkin lattes I drank tasted better there. I spent 4 days surrounded by people who are too special for words….and I started crying like a 5 year old when it came time to say goodbye. I felt so frustrated. Why couldn’t I just live closer to my family? Why couldn’t Houston be more like the Northeast? And why weren’t the baristas near my house as dedicated to the art of the pumpkin latte as those in Philly? 

A few weeks later, I had a student drop by for a few classes while visiting Houston. We started chatting and I found out she had taken a whole year off to just travel and roam around the world without any responsibility. Once again, I felt frustration (mixed with a healthy does of jealousy) creep up inside me…why couldn’t I just take off for a year? Why on Earth had I chosen to tie myself down to a business? And to a new house? And to a baby, for goodness sake?

(Ha, and you thought I had just eaten one too many pieces of pie this Thanksgiving. Nope, Baby Vennie is arriving April, 2017!)

The answer to all of these questions is quite simple. I couldn’t have those things because I – me, myself, and I –  chose other things instead. Sure, I could live closer to my family, but if I did, I’d be missing out on all the amazingness that starting a life with mi amor, David Vennie, in a new city has meant. I could also technically drop everything and backpack around the world if I wanted to…but that would mean giving up Yogaleena, which has been my dream for about a million years. Had I chosen that path, I wouldn’t have connected with so many of you who have totally changed my life and brought me so much joy. And if I didn’t have Baby Vennie in my belly right now? You better believe I’d be praying every night that I could.

My point is that the grass is greener anywhere but underneath our own feet at least a dozen times per day. It’s human nature to want what we don’t have, to reject the status quo and constantly seek change, improvement, perfection. Especially at the cusp of a new year, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to exchange everything we already have for that shiny and new “other” life. 

As many of you may know, my darling 3-legged Golden Retriever, JJ, passed away last week. I have not fully digested this incredibly painful loss, but I have spent quite a bit of time reflecting on his life and what he taught me during our years of friendship. Before he passed, I often wondered why he had to lose his leg so young, why he had to be so big (and therefore have a harder time carrying himself on 3 legs), why he had to develop cancer,  and why things couldn’t just be easier for him. While I worried about all that, I don’t think JJ ever needed a single thing to be different to be happy. He loved spending time with us on the couch and on our bed, he absolutely LOVED his stroller rides around the neighborhood, and he savored every piece of chicken and pizza (his favorite food, of course) he ever got. JJ embraced his imperfect life wholeheartedly, and I believe he felt like the luckiest dog on the planet.

This month, I invite you to practice yoga with the intention of seeing your own reality through the lens of gratefulness, acceptance, curiosity, compassion, adventure, and joy. Above all, I hope you can channel JJ’s spirit and embrace your life, perfect or not, as the gift that it already is.

Sending so much love your way this holiday season, 

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