for the searching souls

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[insert your name here],

I just left your car and walked into my house, subconsciously thinking my dog would greet me at the door. It broke my heart to realize that the expectation is still there, and she is not.

I have a yoga teacher who said her favorite emotion is experiencing happiness and sadness at the same time. What a beautiful challenge it is to sit in a space and hold both the joys and sorrows of living close to your heart.

She also said, "dogs are just people in dog suits," so I trust her insight.

With such sadness in the world - not just with the political climate and so much hate to go around, but even just seeing the world change, my dog die, and my parents age all while I still haven't quite figured out my path yet- life is getting more and more real.

It's difficult to sit with the grief of living, and I think we're all running away from something in one way or another- be it the change of seasons or the habits we hate about ourselves. I can't blame anyone for wanting to hone in and push onward: to be reminded of newness rather than reflect on time passing and the impending realness that awaits just around the corner. I can't blame anyone for wanting the sweet without the bitter; sitting with the unknown is much harder, but also more telling of a seasoned soul.

I've come to find that growing up isn't about having your shit together, getting married, or having a job. I've come to realize that the process of growing is learning to watch the passing of the seasons, to see all the shit you're carrying around, and loving yourself anyway. It's acknowledging that some days, you're a pretty terrible friend and you've done things you can't undo, but on other days, you're damn near the greatest. It's realizing that it isn't your job to be perfect and stop making mistakes; growing up is just about getting better at fucking up - realizing missteps when they happen, the lesson rooted in them, and moving on. And hopefully learning to forgive yourself, somewhere along the way.

You're a far cry from perfect, and thank god. That's what I love about you. But for someone who values being real so much, you sure do hold yourself to unrealistic heights of perfection.

Yoga means to yolk, or to unite; hatha means sun and moon. Yoga is about uniting opposites. It is about strength and flexibility, effort and ease, being and doing. It is about holding deep and raw sadness alongside life-altering joy in your pocket together at the same time.

Do all of humanity a favor and be kinder to yourself. Our world has so much hate already, and its only hope of finding peace begins with us first finding it within ourselves. Continue to carry that fierce love and hope and passion of yours alongside your heaviness. Find your own yoga, that which keeps you whole and grounded when everything in life falls apart. Let yourself hurt and heal, and take the time you need to do so.

This is not to discredit your feelings of fear or self-doubt; they have every right to be there if you want them to be. Hate yourself as much as you need to, but then love yourself more.

I see your greatness even - especially - when you don't. I know deep in my heart that once you see it yourself, nothing, and I mean nothing, will stop you.

All my love,

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