Indian tibetan monk sadhu

In case you missed it, last Saturday was Guru Purnima, a day of reverence and celebration for yogis.

If your eyes glazed over at “Guru”, bear with me for a moment…

Guru Purnima is a festival to celebrate teachers and spiritual guides. A quick Wikipedia search will tell you “Guru” can be translated as one who removes the darkness of ignorance – “gu” being ignorance and “ru” being remover.

I’m not a Sanskrit scholar so I can’t claim a unique interpretation, but I can say that I’m a lot happier than I used to be and a few key people have helped me on that journey.

I believe every experience helps clarify who you are and what you want:

The person who passed me on the highway today and then slowed down after pulling in front of me – he reminded me how much I enjoy consistency.

The grocery teller who apologized 17 times for a delay out of her control – she reminded me not to take responsibility for what’s not mine to own.

Regardless of the lesson, or if you believe in lessons at all, these interactions – plus a zillion others – have led to this exact moment. And this moment is powerful. In this moment, you make choices.

Each of your decisions is shaped and guided by those who’ve influenced you before.

Let’s be real – there’s a ridiculous amount of information to sort through in the world. You could spend days researching and still not know how to apply what you learn to you business and life, or if you should bother at all.

In fact, I did that instead of launching my business for two years – I researched blogging techniques, marketing, website design… I even went to a conference to learn the best blogging tips and tricks three years before I finally launched my website. I was so overwhelmed by the volume of information I learned, I didn’t know how to apply it or sift the chaff from the wheat.

Luckily, in my business, I found Marie Forleo and, in my life, I found Swami Shantimurti Saraswati. They gave me boundaries, parameters, and a framework to create order out of the chaos of overwhelm.

That’s the difference between teachers and gurus in my book:

  • Teachers illuminate your choices and show you the possibilities.
  • Gurus help you narrow down your options and take action.

Gurus help you see yourself as you are, point you towards the end of the right tunnel and shine a light – not on the whole path – but just on the very next step.

When you’re confused, most of us don’t mind seeking clarity and help. But when you’re feeling on top of the world – now that’s a different story. We get cocky. We think we have it figured out.

But that’s precisely when having a guide matter most.

When you’re out on the edge, expanding, deciding, taking action – you either move into the flow or block it:

What if you didn’t know what was possible?

What if you didn’t have a vision for who you could be?

What if you hadn’t learned step-by-step to trust yourself and to build yourself up for that very moment when it’s all on the line?

I’m currently in a process of releasing – of shedding a skin. But instead removing an outer later, I’m shedding a deep, unneeded layer of inner gunk and muck. Luckily I know what’s safe to release because I learned from my guides what’s me, what’s important, and what’s not.

Your guru helps you learn to love yourself. Using their tools honed by years of experience, you learn what’s inherent to you and what can be discarded – how to stay whole and be even more whole, while releasing and surrendering the beliefs and habits that block you.

To succeed in business and life – to be happy and love fully – you clarify your vision of yourself and your life and then commit to it wholeheartedly.

It’s impossible to fiercely commit and stand in the power of “I’m not sure”.

Jack Canfield tells the story of the golden Buddha in Thailand. Cast hundreds of years ago, the solid gold statue was covered in clay in the 1700s, possibly as an attempt to save it from invaders. Although the story of the re-discovery of its golden inner contents may differ from how Jack Canfield describes it, I like his story as an analogy:

  • The rain is like your teachers and daily interactions. Each drop removes another piece of what distorts your inner brilliance and helps you clarify and remember who you are.
  • Your guru stands by with a mirror and a multi-nozzle hose, ready with any number of tools and settings to help you see clearly and maintain that knowingness.

But to unpack yourself, you have to open to receiving knowledge – open to receiving another’s influence and guidance.

It’s not easy to admit you don’t know it all or  that you know too much and confused yourself. So you make a choice.

You choose to surrender with faith and hope that the answers lie deep within and you’ll find the right guides to help you discover them.

This year for Guru Purnima, I thank my spirituals guides. I thank my teachers. And I commit to the guru within.

I commit to letting the rain wash over me and melt away the obstructions to my light, drop by drop.

I commit to the path shone before me by my guides and surrender to the journey.

What will you commit to?