Nicolae Tanase: Jessica, what is the meaning of life?
Jessica Walden: To be honest, I don’t really know what to say. For me, it’s a feeling, a knowing, a truth that doesn’t really translate well into words. It’s simple. It’s moving. It’s funny. It’s light. And it’s something that is with me all the time. Life excites me because there is something new to discover every day; observing a new expression on the face of my child, witnessing the colors of the sky or the wildlife outside my window, being touched by the smile or words from a friend or stranger, eating fresh fruit (I love fruit!), even having a daily bowel movement (sorry, but you know it’s true!)…. and the list goes on. I am not exactly sure what gets me out of bed in the mornings and why I feel excited by what the day will bring? I am as open as a child, discovering new things every day. I am also as strong and fearless as a mountain when crisis strikes.
For me, the starting place is love, curiosity, humor and awareness. I love the saying “God Loves Laughter” and believe this is true. I have traveled a lot in my life and been to many countries for yoga and for organic inspection work. In every instance where I have met people who live entirely different lives than me, I have seen that we have one huge thing in common. We have humor. We know how to laugh. And when we laugh together, we are the same, we are family. At work, of course I have to be professional. However, my favorite part of my job is to see those that I work with outside of work, dancing, celebrating life, and laughing.
We try to be serious and focused in life and we can be anything we want to be. We can play as many roles as we feel we need to. We can have strong beliefs because of our upbringing or our experience. But at the end of it all, it is connection, love, laughter, peace and celebration that gives meaning to this life. It is also remaining humble and amazed by all aspects of nature. I may have plans for my future or the future of my children, but I know that life will ultimately make the decisions. I know that I never know how the story will end, and so I remain excited and ready to find out what life has in store for me. It’s a beautiful mystery and I want to be awake for it.
~Jessica Walden is a long time Ashtanga yoga practitioner, teacher, and mother. She also has worked in organic food production for 20 years. 4 years ago, Jessica suffered a major spinal injury and was diagnosed with a severe spinal condition. While initially this injury caused a lot of fear and pain, Jessica used it to inform how she would not only practice yoga from that day forward but how she would approach life. With an awareness of what is happening on the inside and an observance of how to access the subtle energies deep within, she has cultivated a gentle strength, grace, flexibility and relationship with her practice and with life.
Jessica’s approach to her teaching is to use humor, stories, and techniques for students that help them to find their own strength, grace, and effortlessness in their practice.
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