• Hanlie Gordon

Do. Undo. Redo. How this simple philosophy anchors both my journey and vision for HanHan.

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

It’s been 51 years on planet Earth and counting…

If I had to summarise my life in three words, it is “Do. Undo. Redo”. Sounds simple enough? To be honest it is. Seemingly obvious life lessons develop over time, with experience and the benefit of hindsight.

To provide you with some context to my motto, I would like to share a couple of major life events which made me stop and think. These seemingly random periods of pause made me take stock, review what had happened and consciously choose the next step or action.

My early childhood years could be characterised by the phrase “ignorance is bliss”. Growing up in a Pretoria suburb during the apartheid-era we benefited from living in an institutionalised society where similarity, blending-in and abdicating personal accountability was the name of the game. The movie Truman Show starring Jim Carrey jumps to mind.

Then one day something changed. My parents were neither political activists nor conformists, but I recall the day my 10-year old younger brother asked my Dad, in front of the whole family and our domestic worker, why she had to sit on the floor while all of us sat on comfortable sofas. This was a defining moment for a people-pleaser as I instantly recognised that questioning the status quo did not necessarily mean one has to be a rebel. To me it was an integral step towards living a more inquisitive life.

Another key defining moment for me was when I gave myself permission to distance myself from organised religion, which in my opinion used fear-based sermonising to control members. It was a courageous move by a young woman hailing from a strict Afrikaans religious upbringing and I would be lying if I said the loss from being part of the church community did not hit hard. However, the sense of freedom I gained from not feeling shame or guilt provided me with much needed energy to explore and study what other religions and spiritual teachings had to offer. Once I had a better understanding of the various systems, I was able to formulate a spiritual goal which resonated deeply within me. To act from a locus of kindness and respect was and remains my spiritual objective.

By the age of 47, experiencing the loss associated with death had become part of my journey. By then I had lost three close family members: my Mom, Dad and eldest brother. In a society where the topic of death is still largely avoided, I have become quite familiar with the complexity of the mourning process. Does it matter where we go once our time on earth has run out? Not to me. What is significant is to pay attention to the impermanence of life and the importance of living in the moment, here and now.

Circling back to my childhood and the vivid dreams I had of traveling to places far and wide, I was always eager to swop the safety and comfort of familiarity for the risks associated with exploring the unknown. Trusting that I was equipped to handle whatever came my way provided me with the confidence during my late twenties to move away from my hometown further afield in South Africa. This was followed by a gutsy move to Europe where I stayed for 7 years and then another move to Asia for 6 years, before returning to my beloved Cape Town. Uprooting and settling down became a fine balance between embracing the unfamiliar and putting in place familiar coping strategies. Do. Undo. Redo. Repeat.

Through my journey I learned that prioritising my own wellbeing was vital to me navigating life in a peaceful manner. My daily self-care routine, which helps me to remain grounded includes: practicing yoga, physical exercise, immersion in nature, listening to music, creating time and space to become quiet, tune-in and to connect with the higher energy and or life force. Parallel to this is the significance of connecting with people and establishing a community of support who you can depend on for help, have fun with, learn from and share in the abundance of life.

Not only have I adopted these practices in my personal life, but I strive to replicate this philosophy when interacting with clients and running my business. My goal is to create a safe space for individuals to stop, reflect, accept where they are and then make a conscious decision about the next step. The physical journey is just the starting point.

As ever, I am extremely grateful for my journey so far and am as excited about the future as that 5-year old girl dreaming of going on her first trip beyond her neighborhood.

I look forward to taking this journey with you and leave you with this thought: Take risks, fail, try again, laugh, curse and then show up for yourself on the mat and in life once more.

#Yoga #PersonalTraining #Breathwork #DoUndoRedo

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