Recap 2013

January 3, 2014

Although I’m a little late to the 2013 recap party, late is better than never and while a part of me resists posting a year in review, another part looks back at everything that happened in a short 365 days and realized that it’s worthwhile to recapitulate those experiences and reflect on how each one has changed us for better or worse.  Ultimately, all of the experiences we have matter in one way or another, although they may or may not have the epic importance we often assign to them.  Either way, each event becomes metabolized and integrated into our mind and body, transforming biography into biology.  We become our experiences and to paraphrase the Vedas, if you want to understand your health and body now, look at your past experiences; if you want to know what your body will be like in the future, look at what you are experiencing now.  So, as with many of my posts, awareness is a recurring theme.  Putting your attention on your past experiences can reveal a great deal about what brought you to where you are as well as inform the choices you make going forward.

In that spirit, I’d like to take a high level, quick pass through some of the more memorable experiences of my 2013: Having a front row seat to a Magic Kingdom Flag retreat ceremony honoring my brother-in-law, Mike Hall, a returning Army Veteran; Celebrating 20 years as a Walt Disney World Cast Member and enjoying a pretty epic Cast Service Award Celebration; Aligning myself with the Jeet Kune Do Athletic Association, an amazing group of folks dedicated to perpetuating Bruce Lee’s philosophy and lifestyle and wading back into the comfortable waters of martial arts instruction through teaching my first Damini Project Self Defense Program; Attending a super-memorable Seduction of Spirit meditation workshop at the Chopra Center for Well Being with my wife Dana and good friends Sujata and Nick; Re-upping my JKD training at the JKDAA East Coast Retreat in May; Taking an incredibly road trip from San Francisco to Seattle, seeing old friends and family, tasting wine and encouraging Dana’s amateur studies in Volcanology; hitting the one-year mark for exclusive training in Action Strength and feeling stronger than ever (see a previous post); Celebrating 7 years married to my wonderful wife; Continuing to teach some incredible yoga and meditation students including 20 or so WDW Executives for a special event; Deepened my own understanding of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda and made some new friends during the Chopra Center’s Perfect Health Program; and wrapped up the year by participating in a 31 Day Gama Challenge (15500 Hindu Push-ups and 31,000 Hindu Squats).

Some experiences have been less than ideal, especially situations in which I’ve had to watch those that are close to me experiencing health challenges or simply struggle to cope with the reality of existential suffering (impermanence, sickness, old age, death).  I’ve also experienced the loss of friends and family, (some close, some I knew only long ago) and felt grief, sadness as well as the twinge of my own mortality, an ever present reminder of the impermanence of physical existence.

No matter what happened this year however, I’ve tried to remain grounded in gratitude.  Each event, each experience, each beginning or ending relationship is an opportunity to learn and grow, to expand rather than contract.  Life is a continuum of experiences and the way we not only live, but interpret our experiences determines how those perceptions will affect us.  Living in mindful gratitude helps us to experience our lives, the good and the bad with grace and fulfillment, happiness and equanimity.

So, as I say goodbye to 2013, I want to thank my family, friends, students, and teachers who served as companions and guides over the past year.  Without you, I would have nothing.  You have my heartfelt thanks for making 2013 a year to remember.  You have also inspired me to make 2014 the best I can make it.

May the New Year lead you to all the peace, happiness, and fulfillment you could ever desire.



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