by Lourdes Paredes
Although I am a hard worker by nature, this year I had plenty of moments of wondering if I had taken on too much. Starting something new after 13 years of teaching, I felt like a novice again. So, I looked for inspiration everywhere: in artists of all kinds, the Olympics and other sports events, in my friends’ Facebook posts, in movies, poems and songs. And I found it! The world is never a dry desert of people who are out doing their best and doing good.
Whenever I am touched by someone’s masterpiece or performance, it makes me wonder what makes them do what they do and do it so well. What is it that allows a great actor to effortlessly create a story full of deep and complex emotions? What drives an athlete to spend hours on end practicing and how are they able to consistently score points and make big plays? How does a singer move thousands of people to their feet? What inspires a chef to create impeccable tastes and textures that command month-long waits for a seat in their restaurants?
Not only is it their love of what they do, but the fact that they have done it for a lot longer than a year or two. They no doubt worked hard and long hours for many years, or may have experienced a lot of rejection and obstacles along the way. They may have had many days, weeks, months or years of not looking so graceful and having things come so easily, and perhaps they may have had to totally reconceptualize what they had been working on for many years.
Any good thing, as far as I know, comes from practice. To refine something or develop a state of mastery takes consistent attention every day for many years. As Pattabhi Jois said, “Yoga is 99 percent practice, and 1 percent theory.”
This year I practiced more in every way. I intensified my meditation and did more inspirational reading because I really, seriously needed it. In order to take on more, I knew I needed to clear out more. I deepened my relationships and connections with my community, and I recruited a team of coaches who supported me to learn new skills.
Most of all, I kept showing up, and I did it for the love of it! Because I truly do love creating illumine, and I am proud that it is a beautiful magazine featuring my colleagues in the yoga community. It has been an honor and a pleasure to share good news about amazingly dedicated teachers, studio owners and writers.
In our first anniversary issue, we look at sādhanā, our practice of developing and refining who we are by what we do and how we do it: Whether it’s an artist like Antonia Contro, whose sketches of small wonders in nature recently became a larger- than-life, commissioned piece in Wicker Park, or yoga studio owners who opened their doors many years ago wondering if it would at all be worth it, each person just kept showing up, loving their work and finding inspiration everywhere.
Keep planting and watering your seeds, tending your inner fire, clearing out and creating good.
Thank you for welcoming illumine into your life!