Where Do I Go from Here?

Have you ever been at the place in your life where you sense a crossroad?  There is something unmistakable about it.  Anxiety is wrapped up in that statement. You know that in the next few days, weeks, or even months, things will drastically change.  I think I’m there.

God seems to be leading me to a  place where Prayerful Breath Yoga will either grow or fade.  When I began, I didn’t really have a master plan.  I forced myself to focus only on the next step and let it take me where it would.  That seems to have worked for the first year.  But now, the path seems to fork.  One direction takes the yoga (I hate to call it a business, but it is…) down the safe path of small location, small classes, small influence.  The other direction looks like more risk, but exponential growth potential as well.  The entrepreneur in me gets really excited.  The Jesus follower in me gets really excited.  But the introverted part of me gets a bit freaked out.  That’s were my yoga really has to kick in.  It’s time to lean into the Lord, breathe through the uncomfortable, hold it for a few more breaths and see what opens up.

So, I have started down the path that leads us to an additional studio location in Kalihi.  So many of the friends I met at the HIM Conference last March have been asking for classes in town.  God has provided a beautiful space at the Prisma Dance studio on North King street.  Nicole Lam, the director of the dance school is a beautiful Jesus lover, who not only walks and dances her talk, but has a missionary’s heart.  See her story here.   I know this is the beginning of a wonderful studio relationship.

So, whenever I find myself asking the Lord, “Where do I go from here?”  The answer may change, but the promise remains.

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

It really doesn’t matter where He leads.  When He beckons me, I will come. I know He is with me.  In His presence is fullness of joy.  The anxiety slips away.  I can rest in the strong, secure arms of Jesus.  Let’s do this!

It was only water…

I had such an amazing time at the Hawaiian Island Ministries (HIM) Conference in March. Everyone was so welcoming and open to the idea of Christ-centered yoga. The positive response to my seminar was overwhelming. Thank you to all of you who came out to support Prayerful Breath Yoga’s debut into the larger Christian community.

Ever since that event, I have been pondering what it was exactly that made such a difference in people’s lives that weekend. I keep feeling that I really didn’t do anything that spectacular. And yet it boggles my mind how something so simple can make a profound impact.  My conclusion is that it really isn’t anything that I did in myself, but the faithfulness of God to come and turn my meager efforts into something He used in peoples lives.

I immediately thought of the story in the gospel of John, chapter 2, where Jesus attends a wedding.  A huge social faux pas has happened;  they have run out of wine.  Mary, Jesus’ mother, steps in and in typical Jewish-mother fashion, urges Jesus to do something about it.  Jesus instructs the servants to fill six, large capacity jars with water.  They obey, and then Jesus instructs them to draw some water out and bring it to the master of the banquet.  I’ve always wished the gospel writer would have included the conversation those servants must have had among themselves.  They must have wondered what the master was going to say when he was served water instead of wine.  Would they incur his anger?  To their surprise, by the time it reaches the master, the water has turned into the best wine the master has ever tasted.  A miracle happened and only Jesus, Mary, the servants and the disciples knew.  One minute it was water, the next it was wine.

I totally identify with those servants.  When preparing for the conference, I did my best to obey Jesus’ instruction to fill my jars with water.  I didn’t know what to expect.  Whenever I’ve attended a HIM conference, I’ve always been served “wine” and not “water.”  I wanted to bring an offering that was in keeping with the excellence of this conference.  All I had was water…  But Jesus was at this conference, and He took my offering and turned it into something that was a blessing to those who shared in it.

And now, ever since that weekend, I see this water-to-wine miracle happening again and again.  The lesson for me is that my job is not to bring the best wine ever.  My job is to obey the Lord and bring the water.  Jesus is the one who takes my simple offering and turns it into something that brings life and joy.

What an honor to be among the servants who know that a miracle has taken place.  There’s no other role I’d rather have.

The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

We are in the midst of Lent.  It’s a 40-day season of the Church year traditionally spent on three things: reflection, repentance, and prayer.  The word “lent” comes from the old English word for spring, and the Germanic word for lengthen.  It was a term to describe the lengthening of days during this time of year.   Lengthening is a word that I focus on quite a bit in my yoga practice and teaching.  It’s a goal of mine in almost every posture; finding length.  And now, it’s a season I’m in. Interesting.

Quite often during Lent you might hear the question, “What are you giving up for Lent?”  Part of the tradition involves a self-sacrifice of some kind, something to put you more in touch with the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus before His crucifixion.   Growing up with this tradition, I come upon it each year as an opportunity to deepen my spiritual journey.  This year is no different.  So, what am I giving up for Lent?

This year, I am using these 40 days to simplify many areas of my life.  In the lengthening of days, assuming the activity of my life follows the sun, I have a choice.  I can cram the day with more activity, or I can use the lengthening of the days to add intentional practices to my day.  I not only want to simplify, I want to replace mindless with the mindful.  Here is a sample of what I am focusing on this Lent.  It can be summed up in these areas:  simplifying routine, refocusing intentions, and slowing my pace.

First, I am simplifying my routines.  That means simpler meals.  I am focusing on eating three meals a day, but “fasting” from variety.  Simple meals mean less time shopping and preparing.  Even cleaning up is simpler.  I also am simplifying my schedule, my yoga practice, and my clothing.

Secondly, I am refocusing my intentions.  How do I spend these lengthening days?  By intentionally doing the most important things first, then my days open up.  I suddenly have space in the day for my practice/meditation, making hard stops for prayer, service to my family and community, time for getting outdoors and doing other creative things I love.

Lastly, I will spend these lengthened days slowing the pace.  By simplifying and refocusing, I have less to do and can do it more slowly.  I mindfully engage in one activity at a time.  When was the last time you enjoyed your meal, one bite at a time without doing anything else?  It’s amazing and it breeds gratitude.  By intentionally not adding any new activities to my life during this time, I fill that length with “white space.”

Something I find myself saying over and over in my yoga classes, “Inhale and find length, then exhale into that space.”  I can do that with my days as well.  Slowing the pace gives me space to breathe in my day.

Jesus says it this way,  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  Matthew 11:28-30

That’s the way I’m planning on spending these 40 days of Lent, in the unforced rhythms of God’s grace.  Perhaps it will lay a foundation for many more days ahead.  Breathing in to lengthen, and breathing out, moving into that space.  I think it’s something I can get used to.

Shalom, shalom



Growing up in my family, I was the youngest of three girls.  I was very shy and timid.  I loved to dance and sing, cared for little creatures like my pet mice, and I lived in my roller skates.  Overall, I’d say I was a pretty good kid.  I was never called to the principal’s office, never put my gum under the table, and never talked back to adults.  This is not to say that I was perfect.  There was that time when I hid behind my backyard fence and sprayed the ice cream man with the hose…  Or the day when I threw my neighbors shoes on their roof.  (In Hawaii, we take off our shoes and leave them at the front door…)  I was duly punished and turned from the error of my ways.

Ephesians 1:4 says this,

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

The part in this verse that stuck out for me this week is, “without fault in his eyes.”  It amazes me that God can see me as holy and without fault.  Even before the world began, God’s plan was to make me the child who could do no wrong.  Was I innocent?  No.  Was I without sin?  No.  But God’s plan included the sacrifice that Jesus made, and that by faith I could be holy.  That is love.

And it goes on,

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Eph. 1:5)

He did it because He wanted to and it gave him great pleasure.  This humbles me.  God chooses me, redeems me, and adopts me ~ all for His pleasure.  And yet I am the one who benefits.  It doesn’t make earthly sense.  But I am also reminded that His ways are higher than my ways.  This sacred romance continues as I am swept off my feet once again.

Digging Deeper

I shared a story in class last night about a doctor who loved to plant trees.  He lived on a 10-acre property and his goal was to create a forest.  But he did not treat his new trees the way I would have.  I would have hand watered them each day, put a wire cage around them for protection, and babied them until they were strong.  Not the doctor.  He refused to water the new trees. When asked why, he said that watering the trees spoiled them and trees who are not helped to find water grow deeper roots.  If you watered the trees, each successive generation of trees would grow weaker and weaker. He would even hit the trees with a rolled up newspaper just to “get their attention.”   What was the result of such treatment?  Twenty-five years later, when the doctor was long gone, the forest of trees he planted stood strong and tall.  Those oaks could withstand every storm without a problem.  Their roots were deep into the earth, giving them a solid foundation.

So what does this have to do with me?  Well, life has a way of sending trials.  Storms come to each life whether we like it or not.  But a life that is rooted deeply into the things that last will be able to withstand the storms of life.  When I look to the easy fix of comfort and ease, I may feel like I’m putting down roots that will sustain me.  But shallow roots are a fair-weather solution. When the scorching sun comes, the surface water that I depended on will dry up and it will be too late to grow a tap root.  And when the strong winds come, I will be toppled over, not able to keep a firm foundation.

So how do I grow deep roots?  Here are a few things to consider:

1.  Seek out the deep truths.  In the days of internet social media, it’s easy to take a quick sip of meme wisdom.  That kind of wisdom doesn’t last. (Go ahead, try to remember the last 3 you read, even today!)   I need to look to the sources of ancient wisdom; the Bible and classical writings.  Draw from the wisdom that lasts to get roots that will hold firm.

2.  Commit these truths to memory.  What I memorize is mine to keep.  When times get tough, the last thing I want to do is search for the wisdom that brings peace.  It’s too late at that point.  I need to be able to draw out that wisdom instantly.

3.  Live out the deeper truths.  When I put into practice all that I have learned, I prove to myself that it really is true.  My life is sustained by the deep truths.  The work of living it out makes my root grow deep and strong.

4.  Share these truths.  The test that proves what I know is to teach.  The more I share wisdom, the deeper it sinks into my spirit.  Teaching a truth puts legs on it.  I have to make that wisdom practical, not just theory.

The result?  A firm foundation that lasts the storms and trials of life;  a rich and satisfying source of peace.  Freedom from fear in the face of whatever life brings.  I am prepared.  I can also be a shelter for others.  That’s priceless.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.  They are like trees planted along the riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.  Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8