It’s not a matter of faith. It’s a matter of practice.

On June 8th, I gratefully finish up half a century and head into my next 50 years!

For years I have imagined that I'd celebrate my 50th birthday with some exciting travel ... or a big dance party... for sure I'd be "raising the roof" a bit.

But the truth is that over the past couple of months I've had a hard time really envisioning my "50th" celebration. While I am happy to mark this occasion, I have actually been feeling more quiet and introspective than I had expected.  I have mainly just been counting my blessings - most specifically the blessings of my family, friends, and teachers - those who have supported me and loved me through my day-to-day moments, transitions, celebrations and challenges... those who have helped me to grow and create a deeper connection to myself and to the experience of being alive.

And, believe it or not, you are one of my great blessings... Yes, you.

I have been practicing yoga now for more than half my life and writing this newsletter, Yogalicious, for almost 20 years! I am grateful that some of you have been reading since issue one in 1999.

My practice, understanding, personal evolution and teaching have been profoundly nurtured and fostered by the opportunity to articulate and share with you through my writings here - in this space. 

This also led me to publishing my first book last year, Deep Listening. Deep Listening is truly the summary of my life's work to date. It is my current understanding of how the path of yoga, its tools, techniques and teachings, can help me to live more wholly and to experience life more fully. This has been one of my greatest life gifts. It has allowed me to receive and participate more fully in this beautiful life and to appreciate the aliveness of being here  - together - on the planet.

In the last chapter of Deep Listening I sum up the fruit of my practice like this:

This yoga - this Deep Listening - is a lifelong practice. There is no magical moment when we’re “done.”

We wake up each day, welcome ourselves, and begin again.

Throughout our life, throughout our year, throughout our day, throughout the next hour—we will forget that, like our breath, everything rises and falls. We will forget that our thoughts, our feelings, and our circumstances all rise and fall. We will forget that the nature of everything is to change.

That we, too, are meant to change. We will forget that we can be here, right now, simply relaxing with what is.

We will get stressed again. We will trip out again. We will feel separate and alone again. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. We will get lost again. But we can come back.

We are learning to remember that we can come back. We are practicing how to welcome ourselves back.

How to pause and begin again.

We practice meeting ourselves softly, kindly, and curiously, over and over, one breath at a time and ask:

“How can I care for myself?”

“How can I accept and love myself, right here and right now, so I can respond to what’s going on in front of me in a way that nourishes my life?"

“How can I listen softly, deeply, and bravely to what my heart is saying, so that my authentic self can shine through?”

“How can I show up in a more caring way for the people I love?”

Our practice allows us to set an intention every day to connect with our true self—for comfort, for guidance, for love.

Gently and compassionately, we welcome ourselves back to ourselves. Again and again and again.

And when we’re done doing all that, we get up the next day and do it again.

As Thich Nhat Hanh teaches:

"We can only take care of the future by taking care of the present moment, because the future is made out of only one substance: the present.... It’s not a matter of faith. It’s a matter of practice...."

So today, on June 8, and everyday, may I remember to come back, begin again, and connect with my gratitude and the experience of being fully alive.

May each of us receive these gifts of this practice.

With love and deep gratitude, Jillian

As part of my 50th celebration I'm giving away 5 Free Copies of Deep Listening. To enter to win - post on Facebook or Instagram something that represents you 'celebrating' your own practice and life and TAG @JillianPransky and hashtag #DeepListening #JillianPransky.  Winner will be chosen from a random drawing and announced on my Facebook Page on June 12. Celebration drawing closes June 10.