I ask myself daily: ‘What is worth my time, attention, prana, love?’ The insight that comes from this inquiry is like a torch leading me through the dark. -Sean Johnson
This quote from New Orleans based yoga teacher and kirtan artist Sean Johnson was published in the February issue of Yoga Journal. I keep it posted on my fridge where it serves as gentle daily reminder. I often read this quote while sipping on my morning brew. It encourages me to begin my day with intention. It offers me an opportunity to pause and check in - Where is my head, heart, attention and awareness today? Is it focused on the things I value most in my life? Or, am I allowing myself to get caught up in trivial, fleeting matters?
Sean Johnson’s choice of words here is so powerful, so let’s break it down:
· Time. Time is such an important concept in our current lifestyle. Our lives are ruled by our schedules and appointments. In many cases, our job and livelihood depends on us adhering to these schedules and appointments. But, what is going on between those appointments? Where is our energy directed at those times? Is it being drained through worry and stress? Or, is it being used to engage in thoughts and activities that serve to fuel the soul? We are a culture that is driven by our work, to the point that we often lose sight of the other things that have value in our lives – family, friends, and community, the sharing of love, connection and positivity. How often are you checking in with yourself and your loved ones?
· Attention. Okay, so we’ve set aside time for the things we value most, but where is our attention? Have you ever experienced doing something, but your mind is somewhere else completely? I think many, if not all, of us have experienced this (perhaps even many times throughout a single day). When this occurs, it means that even though we have carved out time, we have not yet given our full attention. This is especially important in the age of constant distraction, technology overload, and smartphones. Often we are so focused on our phones that we do not even speak with the people who are in the same room as us! I dare say that my phone may be smart, but the person standing next me holds far greater value deserving of my attention.
· Prana. I love this one! Prana is our vital life-force energy. It runs through all of us, through energy channels called nadi’s. It can be increased or decreased through our breath, food, and thoughts. When it is flowing freely, we are happy, healthy, and radiating love. When its flow is blocked, we are anxious, fearful, and experience physical ailments. So, what is worth my prana? What is so important today that I am going to let it affect my prana? Am I going to allow myself to dwell in negative thoughts that will drain my vital life-force energy and lead to disease? No! I am going to eat healthy food, take calm and relaxed breaths, and engage in positive thoughts and actions. So powerful, just so powerful.
· Love. Many of us spend our lives trying to cover up our love, trying to hide it from others due to fear of appearing vulnerable or getting hurt. I have learned that trying to cover up or deny love takes a whole lot more energy than letting love simply flow through us and into all of our actions. Love is our natural state; it is a harmonious energy that flows naturally. It is infinite. There is no such thing as giving away too much love. Let us remain open to love, allowing it to guide our actions.
So, I invite you to consider this question: ‘What is worth my time, attention, prana, love?’ What do these words mean to you? Perhaps post this question on your fridge or bathroom mirror where you can read it daily. Notice any shifts that you may experience in your perspective, thoughts, and actions as you simply begin to pose this question to yourself on a regular basis.
May you experience the bounteous peace and love that resides within your heart.