January 13, 2013

Party Like It’s 2012! ~ Shanan Harrell

Don’t Close the Door on 2012 Just Yet!

The invitation was a complete surprise, slipped under my door, like a love note from a secret admirer. The golden letters on the ivory envelope spelled my name with a fun exclamation:

To Shanan!

I opened the mysterious note and read its contents:

Your Glorious Teachers
request the honor of your presence for a
Lessons of 2012 Reunion
Date: Now
Time: Now
Place: Here

I tilted my head in confusion. What is going on here? Then the doorbell rang; I found my Teachers from 2012 assembled on the porch.

“Surprise!” they shouted. “We just wanted to make a quick stop on our way out. We didn’t want you to forget us.”

“Forget you guys? No way!” I replied with confidence.

“Really?” asked Tolerance, as she pushed by me and led the others into my living room, “Because, ya know, this is not our first rodeo with you. Some of us have made recurring appearances. Especially Patience and she’s starting to, well, you know…”

“You’re trying the patience of Patience,” snorted Joy. (Joy adores wordplay. She cracks herself up.)

My Teachers piled onto the couch, draped themselves along the overstuffed chair and sprawled across my floor. The living room went electric as I gazed into the faces of Patience, Joy, Balance, Heartbreak, Community and Awe. (Not everyone could make it. Humility and Compassion had been called to handle an emergency in Bakersfield.)

Their good-natured chatter hushed as an air of seriousness crept over the room and all eyes came to rest on me.

Balance spoke first. “Dear One,” she said as she took my face into her hands, “You are always so busy being busy! Remember how I compelled you to Big Sur’s glorious Esalen retreat center for the yoga/writer’s workshop last year? It’s essential that you withdraw from the external world occasionally to reconnect with your divine heart and wisdom. Retreat is an indispensable component of a balanced life. Without Balance, all the other lessons are worthless.”

(There was an awkward murmur among the other Lessons at this proclamation.)

Awe jumped to her feet. “I made a rather dramatic appearance! With Nena and Paul and the miraculous birth of your godchild, Serena. Wasn’t that fantastic? I outdo myself in the birthing department. It’s just too easy,” bragged Awe. (Her sister Reverence nodded in agreement.)

“The birth of Serena was truly Awe-some,” I agreed as a gentle smile made its way across my heart.

The whole group exhaled a tender sigh in honor of Serena’s birth.

The fraternal twins Gratitude and Generosity spoke next, looking a bit weary. “We were crazy busy during 2012. We’re particularly proud of the Summer Fundraiser that your friends hosted for the Yoga House. Could you ever have imagined such an overt display of my qualities?” queried Generosity. And in the midst of that heart-bursting experience, Gratitude surged in equal force to meet the power of Generosity.

“We just naturally follow one another,” the twins said in unison.

“You two were all over my 2012,” I grinned.

“See ya in 2013,” they grinned back.

I eventually found the courage to face my fiercest Teacher. “Please don’t take this personally,” I began, “but I do not long for your company again anytime soon. “

Heartbreak looked into my eyes. “I know,” she said. “Few are happy to see me coming their way. But my message is undeniably valuable. Each time your heart cracks open, it creates a greater capacity for Love.”

“But why did you have to enlist your partner Death? And why my beautiful friend David Hubbard? He was such a loving, kind, intelligent, compassionate, precious….” my voice trailed off into silence.

“Losing David was a hard lesson, I know. The profound sadness can seem overwhelming. But can you sense a new compassion for others who have lost a loved one? You have cultivated a greater zest for living because you recognize the inevitable nearness of Death,” shared Heartbreak.

Before I could answer, Equanimity and Frustration burst through the back door. “Help! We need you guys in Washington DC! There’s no time to lose!”

My Teachers quickly gathered to encircle me; I turned to face each one and offered my thanks for their invaluable contributions.

“I won’t forget your lessons,” I promised.

“Bless your heart,” they smiled; I think I saw Patience roll her eyes. “We’ll see you soon.”

I watched them spill into the night, heading east.

That is, all but one.

“I’m not leaving quite yet,” commented Judgment as she settled in on the couch. “We’ve still got work to do.”

See ya in 2013.



Shanan Harrell is a fusion of Iyengar-based asana instructor blended with a powerful streak of Buddhist warrior and seriously devoted gong player. Shanan has been practicing yoga since 1996 and teaching since 1999. Shanan’s column Yoga 101 appears regularly in the Loop Newspaper. She is also a contributing writer to Tehachapi Lifestyle Magazine. Her book, Stumbling Towards Enlightenment: a Yoga 101 Collection is a compilation of her thoughtful and entertaining columns. Buy it now. Buy it often.








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Assistant Ed: Christa Angelo

Ed: Bryonie Wise




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