The guest teacher post for February is written by friend, yogi and chief kula member – Lindsey Spencer Dirats.
I also met Lindsey on my YTT (we connected after she asked to sit with me at lunch and told me my vegan bacon looked and smelt like dog treats…) and she was one of the first people I ever taught a yoga class to. I feel totally blessed and grateful to the universe to have her and everything she brings in my life.
If you want to learn more about her you can follow her on the links below:
Facebook: Lindsey Spencer Dirats • Soul Teacher
What if you COULD?
Holding ourselves accountable to realizing dreams
By Lindsey Spencer Dirats – Spence the Soul Teacher
One of my favourite questions to ask people is, “what’s the dream?” I love to poke and prod and invite any and every person I encounter to speak their goals aloud, and it took me a long time to realize why I find this (somewhat invasive social practice) appealing. I wondered, “am I nosy? Do I actually care about other people’s goals?” With some confusion, and admittedly some guilt, I decided, “no, I’m not nosy, and for better or for worse, I actually don’t care that much what this stranger is trying to do with her life.” Does that make me a bad person? Apathetic? Disinterested? And the question remains – why do I like to ask people about their dreams and schemes? The answer arrived to me suddenly mid-Instagram story rant a few weeks ago.
I first started asking people about their goals during my semester abroad. I think the question was born of boredom with the small talk I’d had with hundreds of strangers about where we were from, what we were studying, how well we spoke the language, etc. The practice continued even when I was home among people I knew well. Since it was no longer about getting to know a stranger, I concluded that I liked the question because it was a break from the conversational norm, had some intrigue, and seemed to me to lead to more meaningful conversation. Those reasons alone, I believe, are enough to justify asking someone about their dreams and schemes. In the yoga world, we often talk about speaking truth, truly hearing people, and developing more meaningful connection with those around us. But I still felt that I hadn’t gotten to the bottom of it – until it occurred to me that I didn’t really care so much what people thought, more so that they were thinking. It struck me as a nice thought that the impact I might be having was to encourage people to be more thoughtful about themselves and their own purpose. I took that idea and ran with it for quite some time, believing that one of my personal missions was to invite people into the conversation of intentional living. I still believe that to be true, but I recently stumbled upon another layer.
During our whirlwind month-long teacher training at Kripalu, at some point, someone posed a question that I interpreted as, “what if you could?” Immediately I was hooked on it. Now, there are two questions: What’s the dream? What if you could? So often, when I ask people about their ideal life, they say, “it would be amazing if…but I just can’t.” I’m a firm believer in the Henry Ford quote: Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. Saying “I can’t” closes you off to any and every possibility of you someday actually being able to do whatever the thing is. When you say, “I can,” or even when you say, “I could, maybe,” it opens the door to that big beautiful WHAT IF where there exists a chance that you do whatever the thing is. Language is a powerful tool, and the way we speak can shape the way that we are. I don’t want to be the kind of person that defaults to “I can’t,” and I don’t want to live in a world of “can’t” either. I have WHAT IF YOU COULD? written across the top of my bathroom mirror as a daily reminder to remain open to the possibilities. It’s one of the most empowering questions I’ve ever encountered.
Why do I ask strangers: What’s the dream? What if you could? I sometimes go on little rambles on my Instagram story, and recently I was going on about accountability, when I realized mid-ramble what it was that I was actually trying to say. I want to hear you say what you want out of life. I want to hear what’s important to you. I want to hear about your dreams and schemes and your goals to make the world a better place or your goals to grow into a better version of yourself. I want you to look me in the eyes and tell me and then, when we see each other again down the road someday, I want you to be reminded of that thing you were working towards. I want to help hold you accountable. Because imagine – just imagine with me for a second – what if we lived in a world where everyone believed that their dream was achievable, and so worked actively towards it? Even if we don’t make it all the way “there,” isn’t every little step working in that direction worth it? I ask these questions not only because I hope for us all to be working together, but also because I hope for you that you are able to act in accordance with your beliefs. If you speak aloud what is on your mind, and then you work to reflect that thought, then your words, thoughts, beliefs, and actions are all in alignment. Mahatma Gandhi is credited for saying, “happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony,” and that is my hope for you.
Ask yourself – what are my wildest dreams? And before you get the chance to talk yourself out of them, ask yourself – what if I could? Speak it aloud to the mirror, to a friend, to your dog, to the wind, to me – and then make it so.
I wish you skillful action, wild love, and profound peace. Jai!
— Spence ॐ