Refine to Align.
“Monday. That’s the day when I will change my life. When I stop eating...(insert diet here)... and start doing...(insert evolutionary activity here)... Then I’ll arrive.”
How many times have I found myself in this same rhetoric, building an imaginary transformation in my head that solves multiple frustrations all at once? Sometimes it happens, of course. I would not be where I am today had I not shed many layers of myself, remade myself time and time again, each time coming closer to the highest version of Julia that I feel within. And yet, I wonder. Does progression always have to be so dramatic?
There was the time when this version of me started… (perhaps, for who ever knows when things truly begin?) That moment when I left my life in England, my success and my community and my things, and shed everything at once in my freedom flight across the Atlantic. The feeling of the new world settling with the dust around me, the bewilderment and the wonder, the slow migration of my spirit towards its center.
There were all those times when I finally let go of loved ones, where the resistance outweighed the romance and breaking free became a raw and necessary thing. And let’s not forget all of those transitions, oh, the many, many transitions, from country to country to house to apartment to tent to hammock to retreat center, hundreds of shifts across land into new spaces with new energies, every one of them revealing a new me, of sorts. Routine, diet, community, consciousness; big shifts supported by familiar faces and landscapes and habits that would reappear as a comforting backdrop to the evolutionary journey that I’m on.
Underlying every shift is the same, strong, pure intention: to live to my fullest potential. To do everything I came here to do. To align with my highest version of myself and go as far as I can go in this life (whatever that may mean).
But now I find myself in an oasis of calm. After almost ten years of transition, never staying in one place longer than ten consecutive weeks, never letting up on this passionate journey of transformation, I have reached a point of stillness. Arriving in Bali earlier this year, I was offered a powerful vision of my life, and all of the rich aspects that make up this co-creation I’ve danced with the Universe. I’m deeply fulfilled by this path, and now is not the time for dramatic change. I don’t need to remodel my body or my diet or my life in any major way; as they say: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Seeing all the beautiful things that I have called in and all the ways in which I’ve stepped into myself in this birds-eye view filled me with gratitude and love. And yet, when I really looked, and compared my current state of being to the shining, highly evolved being I see within myself, I realised there was more to excavate from my current situation. Underneath, the question is always there - how can I live to my fullest potential?
In this case, it means taking a few months out of zooming around the world and helping other people to focus on my own health and creative projects. It means taking my daily practice and aligning it even further to the whispers of my body, letting go of certain exercises and bringing in others. It means getting really clear on the best times to eat, and the best ways to combine the foods I’ve already recognised as the most helpful for me. I see myself spending less time on “stuff” - the activities and people and in-between moments that bring resistance, and more time tuning in deeply to the feelings of resonance and dissonance, expansion and contraction, committing to full alignment of this earthly presence with the highest version of me.
I am left with a lingering and yet powerful teaching… that evolution is not always about big change. At some point, it becomes more about refinement. To refine is to shave off the rough edges. To sift away the lumps of what already exists to produce a higher quality product. It involves change, of course. But rather than taking the whole thing and shaking it up til it looks different, refinement is about acknowledging what is already established and getting really clear on the small steps needed to make it better. The Japanese call this Kaizen; continual small steps to improvement. Checking in, over and over again, to that inner vision, and responding in a regular and conscious way.
So now it’s time for me to retreat. Time to get really clear with my vision and my desires and make the subtle shifts in my daily activity to align with that. I don’t need to wait until things start to fall apart or become uncomfortable to make change. Instead, I choose to stay super present and in touch with myself, and respond immediately to the feedback I receive.
If our current state is a sum of our choices, then what would it feel like to refine our choices in a way that feels manageable and exciting? A choice becomes an action, an action becomes a habit, a habit becomes an identity and an identity becomes a lifetime. What would it feel like to liberate ourselves step by step, by aligning our actions with our deepest intentions, over and over again, a constant recalibration of our habits to match up with the potential that we are consistently tuning in to?
Jiya is a deeply connected leader who roots her teaching in the healing energy of nature. Her teaching invites students to explore their own, unique unfolding, through profound awareness and trust in the wisdom of the Self. Through her studies with teachers and shamans across the world, Jiya has developed a powerful sense of energetic connection and a strong set of philosophical and intuitive teachings, which she shares through creative hatha and yin yoga, sacred fire and medicine ceremonies, and healing therapies. Jiya is also a talented musician and sound healer, who seeks out native chants and medicine songs from around the world to complement her work.
Jiya is YA-certified at the ERYT-300 level and has facilitated both intensive and module-format teacher trainings at RYT-200 and RYT-300 levels for several years, through Kula Collective, Holistic Yoga School, International and SchoolYoga Institute. Following her degree in Physics at Imperial College, London, Julia worked as an Energy Consultant and part time writer in London, UK, before moving to Central America in 2009 to pursue a life centered on yoga and holistic health. British by birth, Jiya is now based in Guatemala and teaches in Thailand, Australia, Mexico, Greece, USA, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Peru.