Hello Elephant.

Via on May 2, 2010

I’m sitting in a small room on the third floor of my San Francisco apartment.

Sharing the ludicrously small desk I found on the street outside my house are my sewing machine and surger.

photo taken by Britt Nemeth
photo taken by Britt Nemeth

I have 400 feet of black, recycled irrigation tubing on the floor next to me, a closet full of sparkle tape in colors any artist would envy, and shelves of hand tools. The wall in front of me, painted a stark, headache white at the request of my new landlord, is now covered in vision boards – postcards, images, posters, tickets, scripture, reminders, stickers, patches and other similarly inspiring pieces of the life I’m attempting to co-create.

The two windows to my right behold a fantastic view of the rain dripping down the peeling, murky white siding of the house next to me – close enough to spit on. On the 2 remaining windowless walls I’ve rigged large hooks to hold the main source of my income here in the Bay – the somewhat pursued, somewhat stumbled upon career choice of my dreams, the very essence of a whole lot of heart-centered trust – hula hoops. That’s right, hula-hoops.

Rewind 3 years. It’s 2007 and I’m running down the corridors of the office my brand communications agency shares with the top PR firm in Colorado. I’ve been here since I graduated with a bachelors in Spanish Lit and International Affairs – after a short-lived, disastrous detour in outside sales. I’m a copywriter, but I hate that term because everyone confuses it with law (contemplated, then dodged that bullet), so instead let’s say creative writer for business. It’s fulfilling work for the most part. I’m challenged on the day-to-day. Because of the yoga calendar I kept in my office my boss threw me every ‘green’, ‘eco’ client that came in the door – much to my delight. I see the ladder and am lured by its height, bearing down with increased vigor to step up one more rung, then another. I can see myself 10 years down the line – highly successful, nice clothes, nice car, a whole lot of respect, managing a team of creatives that kick some real asana in the world of advertising.

The post-university whirlwind was abating to reveal settled dust, a steady paycheck, a clear future trajectory, and 2 weeks paid vacation. It took me years to realize the bad taste in my mouth was a result of the very thing that many seek – predictability. It’s just not in my blood.

One of my favorite yoga teachers back in my early yoga days had us returning to the shape of an egg after each vinyasa series – the cosmic egg – of which she’d describe as ‘infinite potential’.  Sitting upright, rocked slightly back, knees into the chest with my forehead tucked, I was really able to access that sense of limitlessness. With all our human limbs and movable parts the possibility of shape was a neuron-fire away. And more, reflecting inward to the heart, curled in my own protective embrace, fetus-like, I would imagine myself accomplishing anything and everything I could set my mind to. Call me a dreamer or an optimist. I won’t argue.

I’ve spent every year since I left the agency capitalizing on my passion for dance, writing, circus, yoga, craft, art and community. Testing the water of every hobby for that trace of sustainability. It’s been wild, thrilling, frustrating, difficult and transformational beyond my wildest dreams. My yoga on the day-to-day is trust. My promise is to never drop my dreams for a later date that may never come.

I moved to San Francisco last July – to the city of rainbow, bridge and botany. I still fall in love every day here. And it’s no surprise because this reckless chase of dreams and my deepest heart’s desires seems to be coming full circle. I sit in this workspace with an order queue of hoops to make. I teach a dance class later this week, and perform an act for the Wanderlust event at the Fillmore this weekend. In January I began my second yoga teacher training, this time of epic proportions.

I have a radical thought. That when we live our deepest truth, our true heart’s longing, our doing so will be another step toward making our culture whole, sustainable, viable and in alignment with the greater good. What that looks like is different for all of us. I’m not an authority on life, but I’d like to share my journey of self-discovery with you – vignettes of yoga training, hula-hoops, inspirational artist profiles and detail in the day-to-day. Partly because it feels good to externalize, but mostly because what little I’ve learned in my 27 years tells me that despite labels, titles, categorizations, comparisons and deductions, despite our surface unique-nesses, there is an incredible and divine force that pulls us into narrative – where we loose our sense of small self and gain the world.  To be able to see ourselves mirrored back to us in others, to be able to feel life so fully – simultaneously challenging and joyous, is a gift that called ‘meaningfulness.’

photo taken by Rich Porter
photo taken by Rich Porter

About Shakti Sunfire

Shakti Sunfire is an internationally celebrated empowerment educator through movement, mysticism, and mindfulness practices. A leader of the international hoopdance movement and a dedicated student, the firey Sagittarian has always pulled inspiration first from the Natural World and counts herself blessed to have the wise council of many teachers in her life. / You might have seen her dancing alongside the String Cheese Incident, on the Wanderlust Festival main stage, or on the cover of Yoga Journal. A true rolling stone, Shakti teaches workshops, leads retreats, and performs all over the world - some places you’re likely to find her are India, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Bali, and Barcelona. / The savvy business woman in her has founded Radiant Hoopdance, runs a successful online retail store, and gotten her published and featured in countless books, articles, images and DVDs. Her passion and playful spirit has won her a variety of awards and graced her with success in all fields of self expression from writing, visionary event planning, and powerful performance, to ignited teaching and leadership; which in her philosophy are all part of the same spiraling journey into the heart. / She calls The Center Collective San Francisco her home in the rare occasion she touches down.

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11 Responses to “Hello Elephant.”

  1. Jonah Kai says:

    Shakti! Wow! This beautiful and upliftingly frank and authentic writing does exactly what you intend it to do: it helps us "To be able to see ourselves mirrored back to us in others, to be able to feel life so fully".

    Well spoken, and great work allowing the muse to creatively flow through you in what is clearly such a natural home-like medium for you!

  2. Melony says:

    My favorite Ele article ever. Thank you for sharing you beauty and wisdom. Absolutely love this quote and feel like I need to read it everyday, " That when we live our deepest truth, our true heart’s longing, our doing so will be another step toward making our culture whole, sustainable, viable and in alignment with the greater good."

  3. Elize says:

    awesome, and so inspiring!!

  4. Erin Seavey says:

    I love this Shakti! I hear so so much growth and wisdom in your words…it makes me smile thinking of how only yesterday we were in a daze of dreams and wonder. :) What an amazing journey! xo

  5. samin says:

    beautiful, shakti! i can't wait to read more.

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  7. Dang Sering says:

    Wow, such an inspiring post…one that definitely resonated with me. :) Thank you for being so generous with your story and I wish you wonderful and positive vibes on your journey! :)

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  9. Lane Dobert says:

    Hands down, Apple's app store wins by a mile. It's a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I'm not sure I'd want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  10. Thank you Shakti for your narrative personal journey of expansive truth.
    Mahalo, for reflecting the infinite-self back at us through your writing and shared experience. You are truly a gift that sparkles as bright as the stars above reminding us of our true nature. With chills running down my spine, my fire is rekindled with the knowing that we share the same dream, a world that is fuelled by creative expression and you are living proof of this existence.

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