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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Lee

Composing a Life of Meaning and Joy

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." ~ Abraham Lincoln

I am packing and moving - not an apartment, but a decade, and what's more, a half a century. And I am filled with gratitude for my first half-century, and in joyful anticipation of what's to come. What better gift to receive than gratitude and joy. Even what was once "a box full of darkness" received, as the poet Mary Oliver puts it, had also been a gift. I am truly grateful for all the people who have crossed my path in big and small ways, and that includes each of you. I thank you for showing up in my classes, joining me on retreats, reading these newsletters, staying in touch, and being a friend. I appreciate your support of my endeavors in sharing yoga as a path of self-study and transformation.

16 years and 3 months ago, I left my corporate career because I wanted to break the cycle of chasing after achievement and approval that kept me depleted. What appeared on the outside like a successful climb up the corporate ladder felt on the inside like I was a hamster on a hamster wheel. Cautious voices fearing risk and change smothered my true voice. It took 10 years back then for me to sift through those fearful voices to hear another voice that I recognized as my own - to stop. I stopped at that time because I wanted to dance to the music I heard, live life by a conscious endeavor, and strive in my own small way to serve others. I didn't want to live a life I would regret. I didn't know what form that would take at that time. And it eventually led me to teaching yoga.

It has been 10 years of teaching yoga now. And this inner voice that has kept me company through this journey is again asking me to stop. But this time, it's not in search of something else. Teaching yoga is my path, and it's an honor, and as such, a great responsibility. My true responsibility is not in nurturing the label as a yoga teacher, but in keeping the teaching vital and authentic. I am privileged to take June to September off from teaching to visit my home country Korea, reconnect with relatives, visit sacred sites, and then travel to other parts of the world to study with my root teacher as well as with a teacher I will meet for the first time. This journey will restore, grow, and enrich the person and a teacher in me, who can then share from a place of fullness and joy upon return.

I will stay connected with you via my newsletters during my time away. Please stay in touch. I will briefly return to the East Coast in August to teach a 4-Day Practitioner's Retreat in the Hudson Valley, and may offer a couple of workshops in town, so please be on the lookout for them.

In my January newsletter, I shared these words of Mary Catherine Bateson, a writer and anthropologist:

"I like to think of men and women as artists of their own lives, working with what comes to hand through accident or talent, to compose and recompose a pattern in time that expresses who they are and what they believe in, making meaning even as they are studying and working and raising children, creating and recreating themselves."

It's never too late to recreate ourselves to align with our deeper purpose. With almost a half-century behind me, I feel more alive, stronger, I hope a little wiser, and in joyful anticipation of continuous learning, growing and evolving.

Composing a fluid life that brings meaning and joy - I wish that for you and me!

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