Be Authentic. – There are so many influences in the world that subtly, or not so subtly, invite you to pretend to be someone that you’re not or to be some way that you’re not. The planet needs you to reflect your individual essence out into the world for the greater good. There’s no point in trying to be someone else because that job’s already being done. If you’re having a bad day, there’s no point in trying to pretend you’re not. Chances are there’s a really good learning to be had from the situation if you sit with it the way that it is and investigate the sensations and thought patterns. When you sit with them and allow them to take their course naturally, there is a cleansing, a healing and a teaching to be gleaned. Inevitably, one day you will be called upon to share your wisdom and if you’ve allowed yourself to truly experience your authentic emotions, you’ll have something valuable to impart.
Do what you know is right. – As your connection with your own heart deepens, there is a natural sense of the right thing to do in a given situation. Sometimes it can seem illogical or counter-culture but it is important to honour your heart’s signals. Public opinion is less important than personal integrity. You may surprised how well things turn out and you may also end up being a leader where one is most sorely needed. Social theorist Ken Wilbur has been quoted as saying something along the lines of, when 10% of us learn what it means to live from our hearts (rather than our minds or our egos), we will have reached the tipping point to make radical changes for the good in the world.
Rest. – Life can get very busy, particularly when you’re trying to be of service to the people around you. When you least feel that you can take a break, that is the very moment pausing for a deep breath will be the very best thing to do. Or better yet, try lying down in savasana for 5 or 10 or 30 minutes (set a timer so you can relax completely) and indulging in a full body scan and some rest, right in the middle of the day. Savasana is not just for the end of a yoga practice but anytime you need to let your heart and spirit catch up with what you’re demanding of your body and mind.
Practice small random acts of kindness. – The practice of yoga helps us to remember our own best selves and then as a natural extension of that, we can offer from that place of goodness, enhancing the lives of those around us. As we enhance the lives of others, our own lives are enhanced. Studies have shown that performing an act of kindness releases the bliss chemical serotonin in your brain. When you help someone else, you instantly and powerfully feel even better than you did before. Not only that, but anyone who happens to witness your kindness will get their own blast of serotonin just by noticing the kindness being offered. Pretty cool, aye? We have so much influence over one another, at the most subtle and unconscious levels. The more conscious we can become of how we influence people, the better able we are to choose behaviours that perpetuate the good in the world.
Stand in your light. – In many situations in life, the easy road is not the one that will be life-affirming for you or the people around you. Sometimes, someone will get under your skin and the urge to retaliate will be strong. When you retaliate though, you choose to forget your own good nature. Acting from a place of darkness in response to someone’s act of darkness is no way to increase the light in the world. The practice of yoga strengthens you to be able to find your way back to your own light, to stay there so that you can choose to act from that place. Every time you practice, you accumulate time and healing and strength. In so doing, you increase your capacity to serve people around you, to stand in your light and invite them to do the same, just by your presence.
Choose to forgive. – This is so hard. So hard. But it is absolutely crucial to your own wellbeing. Have you ever noticed that a mere thought of some transgression you’ve experienced and not forgiven can totally ruin an otherwise amazing day? Where do the sensations associated with this grudge live in your body? What contracts?
Using the skills you’ve developed on the yoga mat, tune into the sensations in your body so that you can let go of the story in your head at least for a little while. The longer you can stay with the sensations in your body, the more you notice they will change and move and dissipate. And then a layer of that grudge will go. So the next time the story comes up, you can sit with that layer of sensations and let them move through you.
Don’t get me wrong, in many situations it can take a very long time and some additional help to get to a place of authentic forgiveness. But it is crucial to your wellbeing and the wellbeing of the people around you.
I have struggled and continue to do this work myself. And I can tell you for sure that the more I allow the story to go and the sensations to shift, the greater the sense of forgiveness results. It’s an iterative, spiralling process that is totally worth it.
Practice gratitude. – As yogis we know that our path is what’s right in front of us. It can be difficult to see that everything unfolds in the perfect order when things don’t go the way that we want them to. Rather than getting mired in the inevitable muck that life sometimes offers and indulging in complaints, remember what you’re grateful for.
As a small practice today, think of some of the negative curveballs that have happened in your life in the past. Consider how eventually many of those things have led you to a better place even if there was difficulty along the way. Consider how much stronger you are as a result of those things. And cultivate a sense of gratitude for the path that has unfolded behind you and continues to unfold ahead of you. Even better, express a little gratitude and watch your energy expand! I have never been very good at expressing gratitude but the more often I consciously choose to do it, the easier it gets and the better I feel. It’s a great habit to foster.
Check back tomorrow for the next suggestion!
Offer your talent – What is it that you do best? What is effortless for you, yet useful to other people? Is there a way that you can offer this talent of yours to the people around you more freely for their benefit and for yours? The more time you spend doing the things you love, in a wide open space of ease and in service of others, the greater the sense of wellbeing that arises spontaneously. Yoga is a practice that expands our capacity to serve. In stepping up to that next level, you reap the benefit of life-affirming action and so do the people around you. Now that’s a win-win for sure!
Commit to sustainable evolution. – Competition with other people sucks the life out of me. And I’ve watched other people who are brilliant at whatever they do get completely bogged down by comparing themselves to others. I’ve watched people get hurt because they run someone else’s race, rather than concentrating on their own. Life is about remembering your true nature and fully expressing that out into the world. In order to do that, do what you can do consistently and watch your evolution flourish.
Stay open to possibilities. – Just because a situation or relationship hasn’t worked out the way you wanted it to in the past, try to stay open to opportunities that arise. As we’ve covered in previous posts, everything in life happens for a reason and can be used as a means for remembering yourself. If you stay open to what is being offered, you just might find things work out even better than you could ever dream.