Canopy of tree limbs and leaves

As I set up my calendar for the month, I select a quote I’ve found that speaks to me. I write it in my planner and leave space below it to capture phrases I hear or read that speak to me and relate to the quote. I found this practice centers me throughout the month, and helps me be more present in my conversations, meetings, and readings. For May 2024 my quote was simply a word, “Align.”

I chose align partly because of its simplicity. One word. To get things in a row, organized. While there was a bit of organization that needed to be done after a year focused on caregiving, it was more than that. I felt out of alignment, like parts of me didn’t fit like they used to. A bit like a shirt shrunk in the wash or going back to college or your hometown and seeing how much you’d changed and grew since you were there but yet, still the same. Upon reflection, what I sought was inner congruence—alignment of, as one definition wrote, “your genuine essence, our deepest passions, and your unique talents.”  As I sought to align, or realign, here are the quotes, lyrics, and phrases that that caught my attention throughout the month:

  • To perceive the world in binary is to forgo knowledge of the divine
  • And then, I realized what you do with an idea—you change the world
  • The work, it seems, for us is to draw sustenance from that central, eternal space without denying the experience of the storm—so to find the center and spread our battered wings is to feel the God within
  • Sticky bits
  • You are here to enrich the world
  • Joy is a birthright
  • Each of us are tiny waives on the vast ocean of bliss
  • We try to prove our self-worth by what we get done, which means we always have to do more
  • You are here to enrich the world
  • Make it a place to play and not a final destination
  • Strength and ease
  • Remember who you are
  • In the end, we’ll all become stories

I began my month trying some physical alignment:  yoga. I did yoga for about a year in my early twenties. Not sure what called me back to it, but the call was strong and persistent. I bought an unlimited pass for two weeks and jumped in. While there was much misalignment on the mat as I faced upside down trying to remember my right from my left, my brain was singular. Quiet and still. Yoga is the one place I cannot think of anything else. I can only do the pose and breath (and usually my breath takes reminding). This quieted brain was what my being had begged for. I bought a year-long membership.

The next opportunity to align arose at work. I suddenly had several calls on my calendar from younger co-workers I didn’t know. These calls were connectional in nature rather than about a project or task. Simply two people getting to know each other. We shared the basics – background, career journey, location, loved ones – and then shifted to personal. What they sought. Lessons I’d learned. Curious questions. Admitted secrets. Bold moves. Emotional decisions. We were not different. We were connected by a life thread – a continuum of humanness. I left these calls refreshed and smiling, reminded that wherever we are on our journey, we are all connected so it’s important to pause and simply be and align with others where the are.

Nature became my next source of alignment. After a 6-month renovation effort on my condo building, I finally got access to my back porch, OK, it’s more of a nook with a fire escape – but it’s outside. I got a small table with two chairs. I worked here in the coolness of the mornings. I read here on sunny weekend afternoons. I called my mom from here as dinner cooked. But the alignment came when I sat here. That’s it. I just sat here. I sat here as light rain fell. I sat here as the sun danced through the leaves of my neighbor’s three-story magnolia tree. I sat here in a steady breeze that rustled the leaves. I sat here and listened to and watched the birds, squirrels, and bunnies. As I sat in a stillness that extended from my bones to the soul, I recalled one of my mother’s favorite Bible verses, Matthew 6:26-27: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you worrying add a single hour to your life?”

This month reminded me that alignment begins within, and it is a muscle that needs to be worked, stretched, and soothed.

I realized that what I needed was less out there and more in here. That taking care of and replenishing me, my being, would enable me to be more of me in the world – and that, that was what I truly sought.

Not alignment to the world, but to align to myself within it.

May 2024 Quote: Align

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One thought on “May 2024 Quote: Align

  1. I love this Emily! Your monthly theme, your coming back to yoga and how your June theme ALIGNS with our Monday am yoga theme! It is all connected. What a treat to have you in class on Mondays. Thank you for sharing your blog.

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