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Finding energy through non-attachment

When comes the time to carry the load of life through death’s door, One can take neither relatives, friends, servants, nor possessions. Attached mind is instinctual mind: Abandon attachment.

Seventh Dalai Lama Kelsang Gyatso (1708-1757)

Dear students and friends in yoga,

I always feel excited around this time of year, as the buzz of new beginnings seems to boost my energy and creativity, despite the shortening days of late summer.

After nearly a month spent helping my mother settle in to her new home, I have been reminded of how much energy is created by getting rid of STUFF!

In preparation for selling her house, we had already spent weeks last summer giving away countless pieces of furniture, glasses, plates, books and nick nacks that had been accumulating over decades. Somehow, it still wasn’t enough clearing, and we continued the process with renewed vigour this summer, from her new place.

Getting my mother to release her iron grip on her stuff was no easy task, so I bought her a copy of “The life-changing magic of tidying up”, by Marie Kondo, a book I have been recommending for the last few months to anyone who will listen! (If you haven’t got time to read the book, you can get the gist of it in this Guardian article)

Although her book has no spiritual pretensions at all, aside from acknowledging her Shinto influence, it is a compelling and pragmatic appeal to find peace, energy and well-being by throwing away unnecessary stuff and de-cluttering your space, and it would make a zen master smile.

One of her central messages is that our co-dependent relationship to our stuff is a reflection of whether we are living in the past, or anxious about the future. How’s that for good mindfulness training?! We could substitute “thoughts” for “stuff” and realise the same point – we are not fully living in the present!

We really can’t take it with us, so why are we hanging on to it? Simplicity is a direct and easy path to finding peace and discovering joy in simple things, which is why aparigraha – often translated as non-stealing, or taking no more than you truly need – is one of the guiding principles of living life in yoga, and similar variants exist in every spiritual tradition around the world.

Best of luck with your path to lightening your load, in whatever form it takes!

As I prepare to leave Toronto and return to Brussels – with a short detour to Amsterdam for Yoga Therapy training – I also wanted to share with you some of the classes and workshops that we are happy to propose to you in the weeks ahead.

Take a look at our new class schedule and see if there is something that interests you there. I look forward to seeing you again soon!

With much love and light as always,
Susan