How I Learned To Hang My Hat On My Heart

By Jaime Moreland
From the Laughing Lotus Blog


Love Calligraphy by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

I was sitting in a favorite neighborhood coffee shop, when my new 84-year old buddy, Nate, asked what I did for a living. Until recently, this question weighed heavily on my heart. For most of my life, I based my self worth on my job; I once believed that what I did for work was my identity. Today, thanks to my daily yoga and sitting meditation practice, my perspective is different, regardless of where I hang my hat. My identity and self worth are no longer intrinsically tied to anything outside of me. So, with pleasure, I told Nate that I am a yoga teacher, and I found peace in offering what is true for me in this moment.

The elusive moment—where we are meant to live, and this sacred space is where we find the highly coveted, happily ever after. The present moment is all we really have, and yet, more often than not, we push it away—reaching for another now, a better now, one that matches our ideal version of who we are in the world. We are receiving messages all the time, but we are either moving too fast to receive them, or we are trying to manipulate the situation to fit our expectations. When we let go of how it is supposed to look and feel, we are able to see with renewed clarity that each moment is full of opportunity and wisdom. Discovering the gift of now has taught me to be myself, knowing that underneath my resume is a radiant gem. Today, I have the great fortune of teaching others how to connect with this truth.

I made the shift from looking outward for fulfillment to diving inward by finding community where others walk the talk. I have immense gratitude for the teachers and members of The San Francisco Shambhala Center and Laughing Lotus Yoga Center. Practicing with these communities has enriched my life exponentially, sewing seeds of compassion, and inviting me to create space to feel through life’s winding roads. These centers have helped me gain a sense of clarity around being true to the creative inspiration emanating from within, relaxing into the cadence of integrity and that is peace.

Yoga and sitting meditation have been tremendously powerful catalysts in shifting my perspective. I am growing into a new human, one who is capable of engaging in life without pushing away the uncomfortable parts. Although the early stages of this process were terrifying, with practice and time, I continue to gain trust in myself, and my experience. Yoga and meditation help me to come clean, washing away the stories running through my monkey mind of the past and future, in order to arrive with curiosity into the present moment. Now it feels safe to slow down and listen to the messages my heart whispers.

In fact, if we slow down enough to experience the true now, we write the story rather than play out an old script. Learning to stay present and accept whatever arises is a dance that entails courage, and it takes dedicated practice. This is simple, but not easy. Yoga and meditation are the bedrock of my daily sadhana (practice). These ancient practices allow me to let go of a fixed idea of me and allow for a fluid expression to take shape and transform like the blowing breeze. Sounds pretty, right? Well getting here meant pulling the rug out from under me.

A yogi once told me that practicing yoga is like “making love to yourself.” To echo the words of Beck, a modern musical genius, ‘hell yes!’ I say, let’s practice letting the love flow together. That is where the real magic happens—in community. My direct experience has illustrated time and time again that when we include others, we can go deeper than if we were alone. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to be said for sinking into the proverbial mud and tasting it with your bones. Our shadow is the doorway, and I have intense respect and reverence for the experience of getting intimate with the dark caverns of the ego. Going into those dark places has helped me move through the shadow into a much brighter and peaceful space.

Peace is an experience we all long for, and although we do not have a rubric for measuring the felt experience, ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby. I think we can all attest that in our fondest memories, we do not always recall an exact conversation, instead, we remember the evocative sensation of the experience. Would you agree that the sweet taste of unconditional love delivers a warm wave of safety? Feelings are in the present and connecting to the juicy ones helps to cultivate more of the ones we want. This is how we create a life worth living, fully being in all the moments and practicing coming back to them.

As a little girl in New Jersey, I loved to dance and sing, learn and love and now I get to do this everyday when I teach. My practice has taught me to receive the gift of wholeness over and over again with each inhale and exhale. Sharing this with others awakens that same joy I knew back then. So, what do I do? I teach love.

Jaime Moreland With great honor, I am helping bridge Laughing Lotus Yoga Center and the San Francisco Shambhala Center with the intention of lighting the way for others to find their own internal center, that radiant gem. On November 7, we will have a launch party at The Shambhala Center to celebrate this new partnership. The Shambhala Center will offer regular donation based Lotus Flow yoga classes. Join us at the Center where we can practice being in the moment together, and inspire all beings to be at peace in their true self.

Jaime teaches community classes at Laughing Lotus and will be one of the celebrated yoga teachers at The San Francisco Shambhala Center.

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