It’s the eve of my 32nd birthday, and my mind is simply boggled when I look back at all the changes 2014 has brought me.  This year, I finished my yoga teacher training, moved across the country, changed careers, and fell into this kind of crazy whirlwind of a life.  I am amazed sometimes at how easily things have worked out.  With all of these big changes, I was fully expecting spending some time in the gutter trying to put everything back together into something that resembled a just okay existence.  It’s almost as I moved and life itself was like, “Oh you want a job?  Here ya go.  Oh, how about another one?  Here’s some friendly people that will be nice to you.  Here you go, Lauren.”

When I really think about it though, these things weren’t exactly “handed” to me.  The opportunities were there sure, but I made a distinct change within myself.  I decided to start showing up.  I learned how to be vulnerable and stop apologizing for it.  I started living a more sincere, honest life.  I felt afraid of things, and I did what I wanted to anyway.  I stopped believing everything I thought about myself.  My relationships are better.  My stress level is better.  My body feels better.  Everything got better.  It didn’t take years of trudging through mud.  It was a decision.  I stopped, and I changed.  When I changed, everything else did too.  The world just got a tad kinder.

This week’s icing on the cake was when chose to feature me on their blog.  Then I got some incredible props and shares from some communities I respect like:  Yoga and Body Image Coalition and My Real Yoga Body.  I didn’t set out to inspire the masses.  I just wanted to be honest about my experience in hopes to maybe help one or two other people.  When hundreds started liking it, to be honest, I kind felt like vomiting everywhere.  There’s that part of every one of us that says, “Oh you shouldn’t have told everyone about yourself.  Now everyone knows all of your secrets.”  It’s the same voice that pushes us back into the closet.  It’s the voice that tells you to put on that fake smile.  It’s the voice that is only trying to protect us.  Unfortunately, listening to it also keeps us from living authentically, courageously, and compassionately.

On the eve of my birthday, I want to express my gratitude to my husband, my friends, my family, all the beautiful people I’ve met through YogaGypsy, Seacoast Power Yoga, and YogaHope, and to any person who has read anything I have to say and found it at least slightly relevant.  All of you matter.  All of you have something to contribute to this life.  I wish you (and myself) many more years of honesty, compassion, and living your heart’s desire.  You all inspire me, and have made me a better teacher, yogi, woman, and human being.  Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you.