Christmas is a time for reflection and family. A time for counting our blessings. There are events or people in all of our lives who have had a huge positive influence on us or been the catalyst for change. For myself, meeting Peter Sanson and then through him, Guruji, Sharath and Saraswathi changed my life in a majorly positive way. Meeting Victoria at around the same time proved to be a turning point in my life.

It is also interesting how with time, your view of how events or people have affected your life changes. For a decade or so of my late teens and twenties I thought that my father had the most negative influence on me. Then I came to realise that everything he did was out of his love for me and his desire to be a good parent. He has especially been a huge positive influence on my own parenting. Any time is a good time to give thanks to these people or events, but especially at Christmas.

I also want to offer a piece of advice as a Christmas present to all my students. This has been inspired by one person in particular, but I think is a good message to give to everyone. What I want to remind you all is that in those Asana that you particularly are struggling with I do not have the key to unlock them for you. Nor does Nick, nor Julia, nor Stewart. We can point out things that you can try or areas where you need to focus, but in the end it is you who holds the key.

And here is my Christmas present: this is also true of your own happiness. None of us, nor Sharath, nor Saraswathi, nor that mythical perfect man or woman, nor any system of belief, nor any God has the key to your happiness. In fact, you cannot have a healthy relationship with any person or entity that you abdicate responsibility for your happiness to.

The key to your happiness lies within you and only you can do the work required to uncover it and to unlock the door. The work does not stop either, because in every moment you have to decide to use that key. You are the one who decides to be happy or not, not anyone else.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Arohanui,

Mike.