Jenny Blake Yoga (Teardrop Forearm Stand) — Inscope Arch at Central Park NYC
Jenny Blake Yoga (Teardrop Forearm Stand) — Inscope Arch at Central Park NYC

TGI30!Adam and I had fun creating this "thank goodness I'm 30" animated gif for my birthday today — it's been a crazy year of ups and downs and highs and lows — all in the name of wisdom, health, awareness and alignment. (The animation is set to stop after three rounds so as not to drive you crazy, but you can click the photo to re-watch.)The pictures show a wild turkey forearm stand press-up into a forearm stand "teardrop," taken at Inscope Arch at Central Park with a fisheye lens on Adam's iPhone. Huge thanks to Adam for this set of photos and so many others I have been proud to share this year. Not to mention this whole website (!) which he worked tirelessly to get ready before my 30th. Take a listen to his podcast with Srini of BlogcastFM on Creating a Visual Voice for your Brand, which was released today in fortuitous timing!

Big thanks to my teachers Phillip and Ivy for inspiring these pictures, for teaching me how to do these inversions, and for providing such an amazing yoga anchor for me this year. I'm still learning, but practicing and failing is half the fun.

I wish I had something more profound to share today . . . 30 things I've learned in 30 years! But really, I'm grateful just to be here.

I am am beyond grateful for my incredible family: Mom, Dad, Tom & Gil, Grandma. I am so thankful for my friends, who are there for me through thick and thin. And when I think of what I am most proud of as I turn the corner of this decade, I think about all of you who are reading. Thank you for providing community, support, great conversation and the foundation of my work. You are the best muse I could ask for.

Growing, Shedding, Learning

I knew it was a growth year, a transition year, and yet those words sound so simple. Peaceful even. Polite,graceful. It was anything but.

It felt like the emotional equivalent of every cell in my body prying itself from it’s too-small walls, then toiling for countless grueling hours to build new ones. For much of it, I felt like an outsider in my own life, and so pre-occupied by my own thoughts that I didn’t have much space for anyone or anything else.

It was at times excruciating, at others exhausting, and at others deeply rewarding.

In a video post for my 26th birthday a few years ago, I talked about the moulting process, in which snakes shed their skin to grow a new layer. From Wikipedia:

“This is usually achieved by the snake rubbing its head against a hard object, such as a rock (or between two rocks) or piece of wood, causing the already stretched skin to split. At this point, the snake continues to rub its skin on objects, causing the end nearest the head to peel back on itself, until the snake is able to crawl out of its skin, effectively turning the moulted skin inside-out.”

Yep, that’s about right. Crawling out of my skin? Check. Proverbially hitting my head against hard objects? Check. Turning myself inside out, feeling completely exposed to the world? Check, check, check.

At yet, despite all the internal growing pains I’ve described, at the same time much of it felt deeply right.

Painful, no doubt, but it was a clean pain. I stopped drinking alcohol. I started meditating every day. Yoga, pilates, sunshine and vibrant walks through New York City were further cemented as non-negotiables. I traveled a lot. Much to my glee, speaking engagements became my primary source of income.

I felt more grounded, more clear on my own values, tenaciously committed to my health, to my business, to my deep desire to help others, and highly invested in understanding and practicing the keys to my own happiness — or at the very least, my own acceptance, peace, strength, grace and equanimity.

And maybe if I were lucky, unearthing some insights that I could share with you throughout all of this. Those are still marinating, but there will be more to follow, as I have nearly 100,000 not-yet-public words tucked into various digital crevices of my computer :)

There are no words that can adequately express my deep gratitude to you, to my friends and family, and to all the blessings of my life.

Thank you.

Now it's time to celebrate! I'm off to take a trapeze class :)