Ernesto | ItToday’s guest blogger is my daughter, Alexa Brassard. She currently lives in Los Angeles and works on movie and TV sets as a costumer. She has recently started a Kundalini Yoga teacher training at Golden Bridge and has applied the many gifts of yoga to her life. Alexa grew up with Kundalini yoga and through her dedication to this teacher training has been able to apply the many gifts of the practice to her life and make it her own. In her fast-paced, globetrotting life, she stays centered and connected to the most important gift there is: the connection to inner self.  This blog is a beautiful example of gratitude, connection and awareness. Thank you for sharing this, Lex. You continually teach me about self care and love.

As a true Libra, I long for balance and often struggle with it. I spent the first weekend of November beginning my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. Despite the 15 hour days and rigorous yoga/meditation schedule, I felt completely filled up, energized, “blissed out”. I wanted to dive, head first, into this world that I had only seen a small glimpse of. The weeks following my training, I was restless. I practiced my required meditation for 11 minutes, but I felt like it wasn’t enough—that I wasn’t being “spiritual enough”. In one of our first lessons, my teacher Gurushabd read from our text, “Kundalini is the Yoga of Awareness”. These words resonated with me. I was struggling with finding peace outside of my meditation practice, in my everyday world. If I could practice becoming aware of every emotion I was feeling and every word I spoke, I would be constantly practicing Kundalini Yoga. “Awareness” is about as broad of a term as they come. What does it mean to be aware? In the next few days I struggled with this question.

Thanksgiving was right around the corner and it was the day of my flight. I hadn’t prepared much and saved packing until the last minute, along with all of my other errands. As I waited for my uber ride to the airport I received a phone call from my dad. I was too stressed to speak to him and hurried off the phone. Enter Ernesto, my uber driver. Ernesto was Cuban. He had an accent and a voice that could tame a lion.

At first, his kindness and ease bothered me. I didn’t want to talk to him. I wanted to focus on all of the things that were stressing me out about traveling home for Thanksgiving. It only took a minute or two for him to crack me. He told me he was an actor and spoke humbly about his beloved career. He recognized, rather than resented, that Hollywood was a cutthroat industry that certainly wasn’t always lucrative (hence, having a second job as an uber driver). He asked me what my holiday plans were, and he glowed with excitement for me when I told him I’d be spending it with family. When I asked Ernesto what his plans were he answered without hesitation, “For me, it is Thanksgiving every day.”

He wasn’t traveling home to spend the holiday with a family, he didn’t have plans to eat an extravagant Thanksgiving meal, he hadn’t yet landed a starring role on a new TV show… But, man, was this guy grateful.

The realization hit me like lightning: my first step towards applying awareness in my everyday life would start with gratitude. Gratitude for everything—the warm breeze I felt when opening my window in the morning, the sweet smile I exchanged with a stranger on the sidewalk, having a warm bed to sleep in every night. Gratitude even for the tough stuff—a difficult conversation with a loved one, losing a job, or breaking up with a boyfriend. In one 15 minute conversation with Ernesto, I figured out the answer to the question I had been asking myself for the last month, “How can I apply awareness in my everyday life to feel more connected with my spirit and my true self?” The answer was simple: Be grateful.

I tried to hide my tears as we approached LAX. I felt him glance at me in his rearview mirror. Ernesto reached back gesturing for me to take his hand. I held it and felt him squeeze it as our reflections made eye contact in the mirror. I was in the presence of an angel.