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January 2022

2022: To Plan or to Be ? 

John Lennon (along with The Beatles) was my idol for a big chunk of my life (I am 42 years old today). I had this sentence written on my wall in front of my desk during my entire childhood and I used to stare at it while doing my homework as a teenager. Then, when I began university, I took down the board where it was written and forgot about it. In all events, wether during my school years or later during my studies, and for most of my adult life, I never applied John’s rule. In fact I did quite the opposite. As far as I can remember, at least. Perhaps I wasn’t planning in my very early ears of life, years which I can no long recall. 

I used to love the meaning of this sentence, but never applied it. Does this ring a bell? To me, reaching this rule was one of my objectives; meaning that one day, I would live by that rule. But how could I? As my entire life was based on my plans (5-year plans, actually), when was I going to live it, with a capital L? When was I going to be in this very moment, instead of in my future plans which were anything but real as they only existed in my head?

My first plan was to be an actress on the stage. In New York or in Paris. Acting and feeling things on the stage (not in real life, as it were). Later, my plan was to be Secretary-General of the United Nations because I could save the situation. Me. I could do that, couldn’t I? The ego, you know? And then, my plan was to be happy, with the man I had fallen in love with, to create life (have children)  and all that while saving the world as Secretary-General of the UN… Yes, I know…. Then, as the years went by, all turned out somewhat differently, when comparing to my initial plans – you’re still following?

After 12 years of working in conflict zones in the world, married and with two children, I began intensifying my yoga practice and slowly realised that reality and the essence of being was not (or never had been) part of my plans. Indeed, my plans were about doing, saving and helping. Being the best mother and UN staff but never just being. But, the essence of joy and of being is now. NOW. Whatever that means. Well, the now means struggles, a sick mother, financial problems, brining up coming-of-age children and dealing with insecurity about what I really wanted to do and be in this world. So be it. This is was my now. This is my now.

As I feel that I have reached the middle of my life (at the best, perhaps), I have decided to accept the now. This is my life. I am this life. No more plans. No more anxiety and no more regrets. It is what it is. And I am proud of what it is. With its pains, its deceptions and its achievements. I have come a long way, since that frightened and worried little 5-year-old girl to who I am now: a woman who still (yes, still after seeing death, fears and torture) believes in the good, in saving lives, in the woman who speaks to politicians and brought up 2 children. To the woman who speaks her mind but who now listens, not because she is shy, but because she wants to learn and understand through the heart. I am proud of who I am, with my faults and weaknesses. The woman who provokes army generals but also gives hope to her yoga students on their spiritual path. Success and failure does not matter any more to me, as long as I share energy with others. I just feel grateful for the path I have led and that I am leading.

Today and the next days, when you come to your mat, I urge you to just be, regardless of what you did, what you thought or what you worry about. Just be here, and embrace THIS moment where you have the opportunity to thrive; through your breath and through your awareness. Because, as John Lennon said, « Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans ». Life is you. Life is now. Not in your plans for 2022 or later. It’s NOW.

Yoga Sha