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The Magical Act of Discernment

The Magical Act of Discernment

More than a snap judgment, discernment means, “going past the mere perception of something, to making detailed judgments about that thing. As a virtue, a discerning individual is considered to possess wisdom, and be of good judgment; especially so with regard to subject matter often overlooked by others” (

Last month, I had the unexpected opportunity to help a friend of my husband’s out with yoga for her Life Beyond Limits fitness retreat. One of the things we did over the weekend was a vision board. I had not updated mine for several years and took the unexpected moment to reflect on where I had been since then and where I am going now.

My last vision board a few years ago came out a surprise. When I put everything down and looked at it at arm’s length, I was horrified to discover I had inadvertently made a pie chart. A PIE CHART!  What a crappy vision, I thought. But a gem emerged. All of the different sections of my life were united in a quote in the center about authenticity.

"Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?"  ~Fanny Brice

That quote was really the only thing that needed to be on that board. At that time, I was stuck in a place where I thought I had to do what I thought I was supposed to, and be who I thought I was supposed to be. I didn’t have much internal capacity to discern what was actually me, and my life was as compartmentalized as my board. Rather than look at things in my life that may be in conflict, I just kept it all separate, which reinforced everything I “needed” to do and everywhere I “needed” to be.  In fact, each time I “completed” a piece of the board, I would actually cut it out and throw it away.  That should give you come clue as to how I was living my life…

When I stepped back and looked closer, I realized this:
In my efforts to be everywhere all the time, I was completely unable to be anywhere at all in any given moment.
My vision became to unite the different aspects of my life so they could come into alignment. A hard process of looking at every piece to see what worked and what didn’t. It was a painful and less than perfect process much of the time, but also very freeing. When I had a chance to sit down and make a new vision board last month, I felt like I had something to say about my future.
I cut out a ton of stuff that struck me and felt overwhelmed when I went to put it onto a 16×20 board – much smaller than what I had to work with last time!  I thought about taking it all home and making a bigger one, but then I thought some more that maybe I could be a bit more targeted and a little less, uh, everywhere, and my board quickly evolved into two clear sides.

One side of the board is united by love, confidence, sustainability and growth in the areas of life most important to me – my yoga business, my garden and my relationships. There are phrases that overlap all areas like “the hard work was worth it” and “yumminess”. There is a space for travel and friendship. There are phrases that inspire me to be strong but still soft, stable but flexible, to know when to strike and when to walk away – the process of discernment I have been working so hard on.

On the back are the questions that are left – what will I celebrate this year?  These are questions I am still working through in my mind and heart. Whatever it is, I want it to be what is natural – to evolve from the spirit of everything on the other side of the board – if I do all that, I am confident I will find my way in the questions that I still have left.

Now, when I catch myself trying to be everywhere, I stop, take a step back, and ask myself if I have space and if I want to fill it in that way.  I am still in many places – my work on this part of me is not yet done. However, when I decided to take 2 weeks off this December, something magical happened. I subbed out my classes, blocked the time out on my calendar as time with my family and for travel, and felt not one ounce of guilt. Now that’s what I call getting somewhere.
I offer you this, which was helpful for me:

 • Make a list of all the places you ARE
 • Write down HOW MUCH TIME you spend on each
 • Write down what return you get, and whether that be emotional, physical, or financial fulfillment.

 • Make a list of your goals, the places you WANT to be, short-term and long-term
 • Include time and activities to nurture that which INSPIRES you
 • Ask Yourself:  Are you investing your time in the places that serve your goals?



By Sarah Wolfgram


Sarah Wolfgram carves space for growth as an activist, teacher, seeker, leader and co-creator of inspired transformations through the practice of yoga. Co-founder of Yoga for the People and serving as its current director, Sarah blends more than 15 years of nonprofit management experience with her love of yoga. Deeply passionate about making the practice available to everyone, Sarah believes that yoga has the power to change lives and transform communities, and can’t imagine a better gift to share. Read more about Sarah at

Classes from Sarah Wolfgram coming soon to Yogadownload!  




Try these classes to get you motivated for your vision board! :

Twisting Out Negativity and Doubt – Nancy Nielsen
The Fearless Heart  – Michelle Berman Marchildon
Living in the Present Moment  – Salvatore Zambito


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