35 Lessons from 35 Trips Around the Sun

Posted by Smita Kishore on

Every year on my birthday, I like to take some moments to reflect upon lessons learned from the previous year and set goals for the coming age. This year, as I begin my next trip around the sun, I felt called to reflect upon my journey thus far, and the wisdom gained collectively. Here’s what I uncovered.


1. Change can be a good thing. In fact, it’s always a good thing. We just don’t know it yet.

2. What we fear holds that which we seek. Dive deep into your fears and you will find everything you are searching for. They are there for a reason.

3. Pain can be our greatest friend if we let it. It’s human nature to want to avoid pain, to escape it, buffer it, or cover it up, but it helps break us open. And, I've found that what comes through the cracks is the most powerful Light of all.

4. Resistance is futile. It’s taken me decades to understand this, and it still gets the best of me! What we resist persists. There’s a reason things are unfolding the way they are. At some point, we have to let go and surrender to life's flow. Everything is fleeting—the good, the bad, the uncomfortable—so there's no point in fighting it. All we can do is try our best to stay grounded and maintain our center—or at least know how to find our way back.

5. Nature is truly the best medicine. It heals in magical and unexpected ways. No matter how you feel, getting outside at least once a day changes everything.

6. It’s okay to say no. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, including yourself.

7. Meditation, stillness, gratitude, stepping into Flow are worth practicing every single day—even if it’s only for a few minutes. It’s enough to set the tone of the day and remind us who we truly are. This doesn't just mean sitting in asana in silence with our eyes closed. Meditation can be anything that centers us, that allows us to be fully present and one with who we are and what we're doing.

8. You can do the right thing and still feel terrible about it. Sometimes the most difficult decisions are the right decisions but we can’t let that deter us from making them.

9. It’s okay to let things go. There is a natural rhythm and flow to life, a space and season for everything. Things come and go. Holding on to what’s no longer aligned keeps us from growing forward. By letting go, we open space in our hearts and lives for something new, something more in tune with who we are in the now. 

10. There are treasures in the darkness. Some of the greatest lessons and epiphanies of my life have blossomed from the most broken places, when I allowed myself to flow through them, for the only way out is through.

11. There is magic in the everyday if we’re willing to see it. A sunrise. A sunset. The amazing workings of our bodies. Nature. Trees. The Universe. Love. Serendipities. Miracles and magic surrounds us. All we have to do is look.

12. Life always flows. It’s us who get stuck. 

13. It’s okay to be different. In fact, it's a good thing. We are all here to share our unique perspectives with one another to help each other grow. Differences spark change; they spark conversations, reflection, and growth. I don't think any of us are born to fit in. We're born to be who we are.

14. There is wisdom and beauty in everything we experience. The people and situations in our life are a mirror for what’s inside us, for the things we need to learn. They are invitations to get to know ourselves on a deeper level. They are here to help us grow.

15. We can learn so much if we simply listen and approach things with a beginner's mind. Easier said then done, I know, but worth the practice. 

16. Faith and trust can get you through anything. It's so important to believe in something greater than ourselves, to have faith that things are unfolding for a reason, a divine Purpose beyond what we can know in this moment. It helps us surrender to all that we can't control, and comforts and frees our spirit in a way that can only be felt. Faith makes everything possible.

17. The answers we're searching for are already inside of us. There's nothing anyone can teach us about ourselves that we don't know on some innate level. They simply shine a light on what’s already there waiting to be seen.

18. You are what you think you are. You can if you think you can. You won't if you think you won't. What we think, and how we respond to life, determines everything.

19. Daydreaming is not a waste of time. Some of the best creative ideas I've had arose during an afternoon daydream. There are infinite possibilities to explore when we let our imagination soar. 

20. A heartfelt, deep cry is more cleansing than I can explain—especially when things are going well. There's nothing wrong with you. You're human. We were born to feel emotions and express them fully!

21. Stillness speaks. When you don’t know what to do, breathe and be still. Allow yourself to do nothing and see what unfolds once your body and mind relax.

22. It’s never too late to start over. It’s never too late to change. Look at me, I'm starting over at 35, again. And, everything before has been the greatest learning experience—the stepping stones to where I want to be. Just because you pivot doesn't mean you've failed. Life is dynamic and so are we. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is the freedom and space to grow, to change, to be whatever it is we want to be, how ever we want to be.

23. The past does not determine the future, the present does. Being present is truly a gift. It's the only place we can create from. Where we are now, what we think now, what we feel and believe in the present moment determines what our future nows will look like. 

24. Our emotions have a purpose. Let yourself feel them. Unhappiness, suffering, fear, anxiety, depression are all invitations to learn and uncover more about ourselves. When we invite them in, they become our allies in growth rather than insurmountable obstacles that keep us stuck.

25. Be curious rather than judgmental. It changes the way we see everything, especially when it comes to ourselves and those from other backgrounds. Ask why, wonder why, rather than judge and look down upon. The answers will inspire you!

26. Search the gray. We have so many more options than we think. Why limit ourselves to black-and-white thinking? 

27. Daily self-reflection is the key to lasting change. It's helped me see myself and my entire life clearly. It's helped align who I am with who I aspire to be. Learn to ask yourself the right questions and tune in to your inner guide.

28. Sometimes when toxic habits, feelings, or thoughts come up, it can feel like we’re getting stuck in old wounds; but we’re not reverting, we are transcending, and they are arising to be acknowledged and released. Don't be fooled by their intensity. Thank them and let them go with love and grace.

29. There is no love like self-love. Own who you are and what makes you happy, and surround yourself with people who love the you that you love. 

30. Everyone is on their own journeys. We are all exactly where we need to be for our soul’s growth. As much as we want to take away our loved ones pain and suffering, it’s important to hold space for them to feel what they feel, to honor their journey and allow them to live it, for experiencing it fully is what brings wisdom and growth. 

31. There are no accidents in this Universe. No matter how bad things may seem, I've come to find that the Universe always has our back. It just takes time and space to see why things had to be the way they are. I truly believe that life is unfolding in alignment with our greatest good—not necessarily our greatest joy—to help us be who we are here to be, and learn what we are here to learn. 

32. There is no wisdom like that of your inner voice. Learn to develop and trust your intuition. It is your best friend and greatest guide. 

33. Love, kindness, gratitude, and generosity can truly change the world around us. Pausing to ask ourselves, “What would love do?” in difficult situations is always the best response. Pausing to be grateful in every moment is even better. 

34. As Tolkien once said, not all those who wander are lost. Life isn’t supposed to be a straight line. It's more of a wild spiral. We often come full circle but that’s the point. While it may seem like we are where we were before, who we are has changed, and, thus, so has our perspective and experience. We continually come back to things and see deeper truths. What we once struggled with becomes our greatest strength. 

35. Perspective is everything. How we see things determines how we feel, and how we feel determines our lives. When life isn't going the way you want, take a moment to change your perspective, to change your thoughts, and the things around you will change.

Life is our teacher. It speaks to us in subtle ways. Each moment holds a gift for us, a token of wisdom, if we are open to receiving it. For my 36th trip around the sun, I intend to receive it all with open arms, an open mind, and an open heart. I intend to surrender to the flow of Life. And, I hope the same for all who seek it. 

Love + Light,

Smita :)

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