Move to Myself

The slap that landed on the right side of my face came strong and fast.  The sting and pain that remained in its wake lasted much shorter than the long drawn out emotional confusion, mis understanding of myself and how to navigate inter personal relationships.

It was Christmas day more than 20 years ago.  I had tested the boundaries for it.  In my early teenage years, I was a bundle of anger, rage, hurt, fear and frustration.  The physical impact of hurt and abuse was not something I ran from in that moment.  I went right towards it.

I did not understand then why I stood in the direct line of impact, all I knew in that moment was that I deserved it and it was the only way to feel something, anything, that could take me out of the deluge of mental suffering and inexplicable reality that we were all part of.  It took me years to feel any sense of love for what I was trying to do, and who I was trying to be.

Growing up as a child of an alcoholic and in a home that was soaked to the bones in it brought a cacophony of unhealthy developmental mechanisms.  That Christmas day was not one filled with cuddles and teddies, laughing and love.

Everything I felt in my youth was out of my control.  What mood we needed to be in, what mood we were to expect.  How the day would unfold, would it be filled with tension waiting for the volcano to erupt or would be spending the day running from the hot heat?

I cannot remember what proceeded the slap that day, I remember vividly that moment.

I did not deserve to be treated that way, but I did not know that at the time, nor did I for many Christmas days after.

Winter and the season around Christmas can be hard for many of us, with memories, pressure, expectations and stress making a perfect cocktail for inner and outer turbulence.  The reasons or uniqueness of our own particular situations can vary but in the dark days of winter there can be a resistance to oneself and others.

Following the pain of loss, maltreatment, neglect, abuse or conflict, I know what it is like to place those events in a place I would rather not look at again.  

Our make up and navigation through life and ourselves is so complex and vast.  I spent years looking outwards, perfecting all in my life or striving towards perfection with enthusiasm and passion.  I used to dislike the winter a lot.  The sense of turning in towards oneself did not bring heart warming feelings or a sense of joy.  There were elements I was so ashamed of and believed were mine forever to be held secret.

I am not scared of the dark any longer, for in there I know there is growth.  It is so hard to acknowledge memories like that Christmas Day, and have a sense that it is not something that I need to carry any longer as my burden to why I am not enough, do not deserve more or cannot be at ease.  That is only one memory, I could list many more.  Memories that built up over years and years, imprinting themselves bit by bit on my psyche.

There is no meaning in those memories, there is no figuring out why they happened.  They are raw, most certainly un glamorous and not ones for sharing around the dinner table.

Where there is meaning however, is in how we find ourselves in all of our memories, our past and our present.  Can we look those memories right in the eye, and find a way to accept, understand, forgive or let go?

I needed to release the stigma, the knots I held in my stomach for years that I would be judged, or seen in some way negatively for the actions of someone else.  It is not my fault my Father was an alcoholic and it is not something I need to hide down in the dark any longer.  This is not easy.

Approaching this years Winter Solstice, I have at this stage of my life come to embrace the dark and shine a light in there.

Over the last number of days, I have shared on social media some fun and beneficial ways to move physically that can help us in our bodies.  These moves are great for sure and provide great benefits but the real moves we need to make in life may need to be some move towards ourselves deep down and getting to know who we really are.

This does not have to be tragic or full of woes.  For me it certainly has been hard over the years, trying to develop and gain a healthy sense of myself.  An important part of this process is going right in where I think it is darkest.

I believe that doing this is possible and that no matter what, we can find ourselves and find a connection to others in ways that help.  It takes work, the same way developing physically does.  We have to put in the effort and believe in the outcomes. 

Where we fear so much may hold the keys to us truly finding freedom in ourselves, where there is really only love and potential.


A Big Virtual Hug to Yoga Teachers and Students:-)

Over the last month I have seen more than a few things online that have caused me to feel uncomfortable, no more than anyone else I'm sure! But what bothers me the most is not what is global or on everyone's mind and spoken about at dinner conversations over the past few weeks.....what effects me the most is things I can relate to right in my own life and the lives of others I am surrounded by all the time.

What I really feel uncomfortable with is ill speaking, is negative name calling, is unreflective and unhelpful comments, is statements that offer no lesson learnt or positive insight.

Over the past month I have come across more than a few threads on the Yoga scene that have involved conversations about 'what is bad about a yoga teacher or a yoga class, or what is annoying about yoga students?'

However inclusive these questions are intentioned to be, I'm not sure the results of what is said is that inclusive.

When I was growing up as the daughter of a teacher, I always felt really uncomfortable when kids at school would mock, make fun of or tell stories about teachers.  I felt uncomfortable because I would think, 'Oh god, what if kids are doing that about my Mum?' I felt a sense of shame and also protection.  Now as an adult and a teacher, I feel not so much shame, not so much a sense of protection but a sense of discomfort because I feel the conversations are not productive, they are not necessarily providing the best example and are not helping anyone learn.  I feel discomfort because I feel there is no inspiration or warmth that I can take away.  I feel discomfort because I feel for the teachers out there who are trying their best and turning up every day, for all the students who are also trying and want to be seen and valued and appreciated.

Everyone is allowed to have any conversation they wish and I acknowledge that some discomfort for me is also valuable and a teaching tool for my own growth.  What I do not think is valuable though is conversation at the expense of someone else who has feelings, who has a story, who is doing their thing and getting out there.  And what I think is lost is the real gold for all of us as teachers and students is that if you give an opinion, if you are mad or frustrated, upset, or angry, offer us an insight to what you think would help, offer us a way you think would be better, offer us some self reflection as to why you formed that opinion, offer us something to contemplate for ourselves, offer us a way you feel you can change the situation for the better.

Knowing a lot of teachers and having trained teachers, I know how much effort it takes for those individuals to train and show up everyday.  Likewise for all the students I meet, they all have their own things going on, they all want a safe space to go to, to enjoy themselves, to connect and feel good.  To all those teachers and students, here is a big virtual hug:-)  Here is an acknowledgement that yes, sometimes we do not always get it right, sometimes we do not please everyone, sometimes we say the wrong things at the wrong times, sometimes we are silly and make mistakes and forget.  

Sometimes we are all just HUMAN!

There is a false illusion online that all the happy people are all fit and perfect and strong, and in Yoga can do all these amazing physical poses...but it is an illusion.  Happiness does not come as a result of those things and certainly does not come form judging others or seeing others as less than or not good enough.

As teachers, as individuals in our families, in our communities and in Yoga, it is our duty to speak truthfully, to take time to reflect and share.  We do not need more opinions, we do not need more reactivity, we do not need more harsh comments.  We need compassion, acceptance, kindness and most of all a good example to show us how.

Take yourself a step higher, spread a message of value to us, and again...to everyone out there doing it, GO YOU! 

 

 

Pursuits and Perspective

If you are involved in any sports or activities and particularly if you have been for a number of years, you’ll be aware that you can go through phases.  Phases of high intensity, high motivation, high performance and similarly low motivation, low intensity and low performance.

What is significant here is that these changes are a natural ebb and flow.  Changes in circumstances, life duties, family, friends, work and finances can all influence your participation.

Acknowledging this you can begin to recognise that sports or your activities are a big part of your life, a big part that can have a huge influence on you, create opportunities, offer success and become a part of how you see and identify yourself in the world.

But…they are not your whole life.  yes, you cannot imagine life without them or you feel low when deprived of them but they are one segment of your whole life.

This is not in any way meant negatively or to diminish the importance of your chosen pursuits, in fact quite the opposite.

If you took a few moments to establish and connect with your priorities in life, how many would you list?  As we grow older and life events open our eyes, we get afforded opportunities to establish what is important to us.  It may be your lifestyle or your family, your partner or your friends.  It may be your career or your service to others.  It may be to be healthy, o be injury free and to be able to enjoy life.  Whatever is on your list can help you connect to the any things that make up your happiness, give you a senseof grounding in yourself and life.

Your Psychological Needs

In our lives we have to address our psychological needs as well as everything else.  In our pursuits this concept is as valid.  Addressing just physical needs for example may leave you feeling out of sorts and not fully content.

The psychologist Glasser stated that we have 4 Basic Psychological needs, Love and to be loved, Power, Freedom and Fun.  When these needs are met, we can enjoy a sense of stability and psychological well being.  If some of these needs are not met or are lacking, there can be a sense of being out of sync, feeling disconnected.  Our psychological needs are no different to our other needs-Its like if you had not had a good meal in a few days , you may feel slightly lacking in nourishment, a part of you would be craving and signalling to you to source a healthy meal.

Obviously at certain points in your life sacrifices will need to be made and some areas may not get addressed as well as others but in the overall ‘big picture’ it would be important that you feel you cater for everything well.  

Can you see how your pursuits serve these psychological needs or how you can address them in other aspects of your life around your pursuits?  This perspective can remind you of your original motivations in your pursuits, you original intentions and help you to make better serving choices and decisions.

Clarity

Having this clarity, this sense of knowing why you are involved in your pursuits can help feed back into your efforts.  It can help you see past specific set backs, obstacles, losses or failures to remind you of that ‘big picture’ concept.

To do specific sports or activities for a lifetime there must be an acknowledgement of the internal rewards you receive, the aspects of growth you feel, the positive effect on your psychological well being, your view of yourself, confidence etcWhen you can see all of this, no matter what the results are on paper, your endeavours are worthwhile and integral part of you.  If you are solely chasing numbers, it can be fun, but it can be short lived an unsustainable.

Standing back from the details of winning or succeeding helps you to see why you might continue something indefinitely and how that can be possible and with that sense of ease you will actually have more energy and enthusiasm without pressure and you'll find your performance improves.

'I've yet to see a guy lose his card/status or form from under practice.  they all lose it from over practice, making golf the most important thing in their lives, losing perspective....the simplicity and joy from the game is lost and its a straight downhill from there.'- Paul McGinley

Heart and Mind

Our pursuits, sports or activities can be passionate fuelled endeavours.  By their nature they pull on our heat strings and this can be a great thing.  We love our chosen activities.

There is an importance in being smart, in not getting ruled by our hearts.  We may love chocolate or cake but eat it all day everyday and we can feel sick!

Recognising the value of your mindset can help you make smarter choices for training, it can help you assess, evaluate and plan more clearly.  It can also help you to walk away or re focus when needs be.  Listening to your heart is important for sure, and it brings us great joy in life, its just a matter of not being ruled by the heart to the detriment of everything else.

Remember to play

At the end of the day, we need to play and have fun in our lives.  We need to feel power which can come through succeeding and achievements and we need to feel a sense of belonging which can come from our teams or communities.  When we address all these needs we will feel at most ourselves, settled and content.  

When you find the ego gnawing away at you with negative feedback, when you feel pressurised to perform despite your better judgement.  When you feel at unease with yourself or situations it is time to reassess, to remind yourself of what is important.  

When you are most grounded in yourself and your choices, your pursuits and your whole life will flow with greater ease and success.

Anger is ok.....

This week we are looking at Anger.  Even the word probably summons up an initial feeling of resistance and fear.  Anger can often be seen as bad and unproductive but if you listen and pay attention to anger it can often lead you to where you want to go and stay aligned to the person you want to be.

However we need to look at anger differently.  We need to stop resisting anger as something that needs to be driven away or diminished and embrace it as something we will always have to live with and consider the positive and productive outcomes to anger.

Anger can be felt through wanting change, wanting justice/fairness/equality.  The need to felt heard or validated can cause anger and anger can be felt from a desire to be independent, to feel strong or to feel like your individuality matters.  These ideals in and of themselves are warranted and needed in the world and for you and others.  I'm pretty sure we have all felt all or some version of the above list in circumstances in our lives.

What we need to do with these inner ideals and basic values is to recognise the egotistical tendency to get consumed by the need to be right, the need for external control or power, the need for external validation or recognition.

You may not believe it about a super calm Yogi! But I have had my fair share of interactions, debates, and clashes with my own inner anger for my whole life.  In my childhood and teens this anger was highly expressive and as I got older the anger remained as I learned to function a little more effectively in the world.  As an adult I became aware that expressing anger was not always useful or beneficial but it didn't get rid of the anger I had inside.  So what have I learned to do?

The original causes or thoughts that lead to your anger need to be addressed.  Your anger needs to be listened to.  Why is it there?

When you feel anger, it is important to know why is it there so you can address that issue.  In the heat of anger you do not necessarily have the best judgement for long term outcomes so it is better for you to return to a sense of calm before decision making or plans of action.  In the short term, getting out of situations, getting fresh air, cooling down is important.  In the long term meditation can be a hugely powerful tool.  Being able to sit and notice that thoughts are just thoughts, being able to remain anchored and steady in the rhythm of your breath, finding yourself in the present and immediate moment and recognising that you are ok.  Being able to establish a sense of self and appreciation for yourself from within.

With anger it is your job as an adult to become more finely tuned and refined about your relationship with it and the effect it has on you.  Anger is not something to get rid of, it is not bad.  What anger can do is take over and lead a domino effect of destructive and harmful thoughts and spiral out of control.  For your own mental health, take time to become more aware of anger, when it sparks, what thoughts it leads to, what effects it has on you and others.  Start to ask yourself how anger can benefit you more and help you manage and deal with situations in a better way.

Meditation

Find your seated position.  This week your Meditation duration will be 15 minutes.  Set your timer and attempt at least 3 seated meditations this week.

As you begin, make sure your body is comfortable, notice any sensations, any tension or discomfort and adjust or often accordingly.

let your awareness come to your inhale and exhale and it remains here for the time.  As you notice thoughts, that you have been thinking or your mind has wandered, bring your awareness back to your breathing.  You may have to do this once or 1000 times, it is all ok.

Reflective Journalling

Write down 3 occasions, situations or interactions with people where you felt angry.

Why did you feel angry?

What happened when you felt angry or how did you express it?

What feelings or emotions did you feel afterwards?

Acknowledging the reasons for your anger, can you write 3 positive words to describe your anger.

Can you write 3 perspective on the situations or issues above besides your own?

Can you think of ways you would like to now move forward and deal with the above or similar issues in ways that benefit you, that you feel calm and collected about and where there are positive outcomes.

Why stick with or choose Yoga in the first place!

Every so often the thought strikes me as I dedicate hours upon hours to Yoga, should I be doing something else?  Should I listen to those who say this new exercise or training method is better or amazing or the next big thing!  Overtime I hear myself asking these questions, I take a moment to pause and connect to what it is I truly want from myself and life, it doesn't usually take very long before I remember what it is Yoga gives me and helps me achieve.  

A dilemma but not really!

There are so many fitness regimes, recommendations, activities and groups to be part of at the moment.  As adults this is great because we have so many avenues to find fun, to move, to be part of a community and to keep ourselves fit and healthy.  With this broad range of choice, why would one choose Yoga and what does Yoga have to offer amongst everything else?

Too much choice!

With so much information being given to us and all these options it can feel really hard to choose or to commit but as one of my teachers once said, ‘At some point to cross the water you are going to have to choose one boat to sit in’.  Of course it is great to sample lots of things but really and truly to learn about yourself, to really test yourself, to challenge your tendency to resist the uncomfortable, you have to commit to that journey, you have to choose a boat!  

Trust those who have gone before you

Yoga is an ancient practice, that does not mean its methods are outdated or they don't have anything to offer us anymore.  Yogis spent their whole lives testing and re testing theories, practices and holistic approaches to health, that time and the results they produced deserves respect and trust.  They toiled unwaivered in a mission to help individuals live a life of wellness and connection between mind, body and spirit.  

In modern times we also benefit from amazing teachers now who have created huge amounts of research to the anatomical validity of the postures and movements, the ways in which to create better alignment, improve flexibility and strength etc and science has researched the validity and benefits of meditation and mindfulness.

The work that teachers and researchers can put in now is largely supported by those that went before and all those historical texts and practices.

It is great to hear and study new ways to look at things, new approaches, new methods and as a teacher or a participant, it is always nice to freshen things up and re inspire your journey but again we want to make sure that in this search for ‘new’ or in this desire for the next thing that we don't lose sight of the principles or the foundations, the connection to the fundamentals and ourselves.

You know Best!

Ultimately you know best.  With all the information overload and distraction it can be easy to lose the connection to yourself and your own inner knowing and wisdom.  

We can hop from one teacher to the next and one method to the next and it can feel so easy to say as soon as things don't seem to go our way, or we have a bad day or we dislike what one coach or teacher had to say to pack that option in and hop to the next.  We can google any teacher/coach/information from around the world and pick and choose as it suits us which we prefer. 

In all this hopping and changing, its like watching 4 movies at once and flicking between them all over an hour, you never really get to grips with the story or characters in any of them! So like that if you are continually changing, one you are sort of staying in this nice comfortable zone where you never really have to test yourself and two you need really get to know yourself past this nice comfortable zone.  You never really get the chance to address your own weaknesses, fears, doubts, you never spend time really sitting with them, acknowledging them and learning how to move forward addressing them.  Until you can see all sides of yourself, you will never really know yourself and how you can progress and truly learn.

‘The world is your best teacher. There is a lesson in everything. There is a lesson in each experience. Learn it and become wise. Every failure is a stepping stone to success. Every difficulty or disappointment is a trial of your faith. Every unpleasant incident or temptation is a test of your inner strength. March forward hero!’ Swami Sivanada Saraswati

Yoga

Of course there will be different teachers who help create the right experience or style for you but what Yoga can offer is this real sense of connection to yourself.  You roll out your mat, you might meditate, you might move slowly and gently or with flow and strength.  You connect to your breath, you move in sync with a connection to something more than thoughts or distractions.  You free your body and mind from tension and for moments you feel completely present and immersed.

Forgetting all the latest trends and fads and images online, forgetting all the hype of whats ‘in’ right now the proof is in your own experience.  Commit yourself, really test yourself before you write off a theory or practice- feel what happens for you.

Continue, and continue, practice and practice. The journey will never end and you will allow yourself to move with ease, with stability from tight spots, to vast expanses of freedom, openness and possibilities.

And yes it doesn't have to be Yoga!

But with any question of Why there is always the Why not?!

Of course the boat you pick doesn't have to be boring or uninteresting to you, you can chose a boat filled with people or not, filled with fun and adventure.  But don't choose the cruise ship with all your meals served and your every desire catered for, you just have to sit back and enjoy the ride!  Choose a boat that might take a little bit of work, that makes you stand up and get involved, that is going to be an epic adventure!  

Let there be twists and turns and diversions from the plan.  

Let it all interest you, let the learning and the journey be your purpose and your goal.  Forget about this achievement or that or getting there the fastest! At the end of your journey be able to say that you invested all your awareness in each and every moment.  

At the end of the day, achievements and results in and of themselves are irrelevant and almost boring, what matters is how well you know yourself, how well you have truly loved yourself and others.  Yoga for me reminds of this constantly and I certainly am going to stick with it!

 

New Years Resolutions-Getting to know yourself....

This week as we approach the end of the calendar year and the beginning of a New 2016, we are granted with an amazing opportunity to connect, reflect and look forward.

This concept of connecting is in the sense of 'self connecting'-taking time between the Christmas period and before you go into the New Year and regular routine again to switch off your computer, switch off your phone and taking time to yourself.  It might sound a little alien if you have a lot on or people to be around but even taking an hour can be extremely beneficial.  

Between the hustle and bustle and comings and goings of family and friends or even if you have spent some time alone,  you can now give yourself the gift of quality time, of consciously choosing to mark out some time for yourself.  Being online or around others is great, sharing and discussing is definitely beneficial but there needs to be value in your 'me' time, in its importance.  

Around this time of year as I mentioned you have a great opportunity to connect, recalibrate and align with your values, to set goals and targets and plans to reach them.  (To be honest doing this many times a year is super important!)  In this process, you can ask yourself what works, what is not working, you can be completely honest on what your strengths are and where you need to work a little more or need more skills or support.  

What can be difficult at this time of year in particular are all the voices!  There will be online and around you an onslaught of ideas/options/offers for the next greatest thing that will make you feel more amazing and love your life and achieve happiness.  The rest of society and the people around you are all talking about goals and plans, and this can be helpful but when overloaded it can get confusing, overwhelming and you can end up feeling burnt out and lack the energy and enthusiasm to even plan tomorrow!

So over the next few days make an effort to sit, to switch off your devices, to reflect, to meditate and to tune in.  Become aware of the concept that you have everything you already need.  That you have the strength and courage and ability to be the best version of yourself daily.  That you have the knowledge to serve your needs and those around you.  That you know what to do and even though thoughts and ego may often tell you how hard it is or impossible a task-you know how to reach your true potential.  You have all this in spades-it is just about checking in and remembering.  

This is truly the spiritual journey-'How can I be the best version of myself and how can I best serve others?'

Forget all the hype, the fads, the opinions, the talk, that will always be there in different voices and volumes.

Once you check in, once you connect to yourself and get to know yourself, you will most definitely feel more open to listening to others too, you will realise skills that you can work on and traits that others have that you can benefit from.  

Meditation


Find an upright posture for your spine and where legs are crossed and comfortable.  Set your timer for 15-20 minutes.

You can have your eyes open or closed.  Begin with a body scan, from your toes all the way around the body, observe completely how everything is feeling.  Then notice your thoughts, what is coming in and out.  Then notice your emotions, what is present?  Then turn your awareness to your breath, observing and feeling your inhale and exhale, not changing, not judging, just becoming observant.  

As you notice thoughts or become distracted bring your awareness back to your breath.  Let your breath be your anchor point for your awareness.  Each time you notice a thought or become distracted, smile and bring lightness to your observation, remind yourself with ease to re focus back on your breath.

Remain like this for the entire duration of the Meditation.  If it feels hard, persevere.

 

Reflective Journalling


In your reflections this week you are really paying attention to your needs, wants, desires and goals.  You are unique and you will have a unique set of needs to serve.  It is up to you to pave the way towards your own happiness from inside first-ultimately you know best.

Thinking of new beginnings and the start of the New Year consider the following questions and write on each, set your timer for 5 minutes for each question so you can really reflect and take time to consider them.......

**Goals: Align yourself with the concept of your true values and purpose in life regardless of the outcomes what do you want to do?

**Goals do not have to be huge external achievements, you may have a goal to be more loving, or patient for example.


-When stripped down from 5 to 3 to 1, what are your main goals going forward with the last 1 being the most important to you.

-What are your reasons for choosing the goals above?

- What tendencies do you already have that will help you achieve your goals?  What positive influences from your environment or those around you will support your goals?

-What tendencies do you have that may hinder your progress towards your goals?

-What influences from your environment or those around you may hinder your progress or may be of negative impact?

- In any of your goals and the considerations above, can you recognise how to enhance your beneficial qualities and let go of your 'un-beneficial' tendencies?  What could work for you going forwards?  

-What do you need from your environment, from yourself and those around you to keep you connected and on track to what you want most in life? 

**Remember: Learning occurs in optimal discomfort-in anything you wish to achieve for the year ahead, embrace a sense of discomfort and rise to the challenge as you learn and grow and combat perceived limitations and barriers.  If something doesn't work, adapt and change and repeat the process above.

On this journey you have undertaken you may have felt already or begin to feel a connection to something deeper within yourself.  Beyond your body and your mind there is a space.  In all our lives we must strike the balance of serving the needs of our bodies, of enjoying all our bodies can do and achieve, likewise with our thoughts and our minds-asking ourselves 'what do I need and what can I let go of?'.  Once served, once in harmony, you can connect to this space, beyond body and mind, to a sense of flow, peace and true joy.  It is certainly not easy, and we are all walking a tight rope keeping balance.  The principles are simple however, and possible!  
 

Relationships and What is happening right now?

When we so often get consumed in how we feel during particular situations or within our relationships with others, it is easy to lose sight of what is happening right at that particular time. We can become lost in our own perceptions, lost in our own thoughts and ways that we are used to feeling.

It is very easy now to get all sorts of information and advice.  There are endless opportunities for learning.  We receive all sorts of quotes, analogies, life lessons and often short tips on how to make the most of our lives.  What interests and fascinates me is the way in which we take this information in.  I feel that you can take in theory all day everyday, but unless you actually experience it, unless you feel the effects on your life and the lives of those around you, the information is somewhat redundant and inapplicable.

So how do we use it?  How do we apply it?  What we all want to know is how do we really make our lives better, run smoother and share more positive and beneficial relationships with others?....well at least thats what I have felt, maybe you already know the answers and need not read on!

So for this post think of it as a reflection on experiential learning to improve your response to and interaction in relationships and see what is happening right now.

Firstly....You cannot control anybody else EVER! You have no control over how they feel, how they react, how they choose to behave. How they interpret life and choose to be is entirely up to them.

Secondly...You cannot stop bad shit from occurring (excuse my french!) but it just does happen and that is life.  We are all human, we all make mistakes, no matter how much you try to perfect yourself and be the best, there are people in your life that you will meet that you will not click with, you may argue with, not see eye to eye, they may be unfair, you may be unfair.....it all just happens.

So what can you do?

Learn to deal with and learn from all the 'stuff' that has happened

That we have had a difficulty with a particular interaction or we feel betrayed/let down/hurt etc does not mean forever more we must shut ourselves off from these things, or never expecting any better.  What we can do is see these things for what they were and gain an understanding of the reality of what happened outside of just your own perspective.  You may feel unfairly treated by your parents for example, but look at it from the outside without emotion and think where they may have been coming from, or what may have been their reasoning or understanding at the time.  You may be able to look at situations and see how can I learn from this now in a positive way.  Sometimes people say things or act in a certain way, and sometimes it hurts or sticks but how you choose to move on is entirely up to you.

****Think of a time someone said something or behaved in a way that you felt hurt.  Think of 5 things that may have been going on for them at the time.  You may start to understand the situation and the other person a little differently.  we may not condone their actions but understanding them means less internalisation for you.

Start letting go of habitual patterns and reactions

Once we begin to understand others a bit better from the points above...you can then understand hat because one person may have acted a certain way, this does not now mean that everyone you interact with has the same agenda.  Within all your relationships the main common factor is you, so if you see patterns repeat themselves, most likely it is your response or interpretation that is the common denominator.

Question the reality of the situation you are in

Once you can understand how you tend to feel, or tend to react or respond, ask yourself then, what is actually happening right now?  If you can't see things from the other persons point of view, ask them.  Communicate.  Figure out what feelings you have because of this particular situation, and is it because of how you tend to feel or is it because of what is actually happening right now?

Reflecting on all the points I have written above, the most amazing part is the idea that you can start this all by yourself..what do I mean?  I mean that you can start looking at the relationship you have with yourself.  

Maybe take your body for example,

- you cannot control it, (e.g. we can work with our bodies/move etc but we cannot control ageing for example or genetics)

- bad shit will happen, (e.g. at some time or another you may get injured or feel set backs)

- you can learn from stuff that has happened in your body,

- you can start letting go of habitual patterns, ways that you see your body, ways that you feel about it, what you believe is impossible or unattainable or that you are not able to do.

- you can look at the reality of the situation that you are in, ask yourself what it is you want to do or achieve and then without emotion or attachment to the outcome, take the steps towards your goals.

Revelation!!!!  How we are with ourselves is how we can be with all our other relationships.  We can begin with ourselves, in our bodies and take all those lessons and moments of clarity out into the world.......Super!  This is what Yoga can do for us, or sports, or exercise, or movement in general.  Taking time to cultivate more positive interactions and grounds for growth and awareness.

We all have stories, we all tell them way too much!  We all began our stories in different ways, and our beginnings may have caused confusion or doubt or fears....but as you grow up, what you do with these stories is as I have said entirely up to you.  You can let go of and hold onto whatever it is you choose.  Growing up is as a result of becoming who you are now and taking what is now, rather than hanging on to what once was.

Start bringing awareness to the stories that you tell, the dramas that you get caught up in, the thoughts that meander, begin to see what is simply not useful to you anymore and not helping you in a positive way.

Then.....when we can let go of all the unhelpful stuff and embrace more of the positive, we may begin to see more positive in ourselves and others that we never saw before.....Happy days!

 

Personal Servicing

I had this thought at the weekend.  This concept of consistency and personal servicing.  I feel like we tend to drift so quickly now to the next new thing, or somehow we think there is always a new better way to make ourselves feel new and better.  Its this idea of needing to add something to ourselves, having to gain something else to make ourselves the best possible version.

But what if we start with a right now kind of view?  What if we begin to see all the things we can do on a regular basis?

So when we have a car we are familiar with the idea of getting our car serviced, general upkeep and maintenance etc.  If we don't, things start to go wrong or the car does not work as efficiently or it generally begins to get worn down.  So can we do the same for ourselves?  Can you see your physical training/exercise/activities as something that need to be done on a regular basis and consistently?  How about your thoughts and your mindset-Can you clean out old thoughts and habits and 'refresh' on a regular basis?  If you have your body and mind everyday, how do you want it to feel and operate everyday?

Most of us can get our heads around the idea that the food we consume everyday will affect how we feel, our functioning etc.  Similarly with our physical endeavours.  More than the specifics, I have come to the belief that its the consistency that makes the difference.  How often are you eating well, how often are you active/training and in the right manner...this is what adds up to healthy progressions.  

So as with our diet and our activities, can you see how you think everyday will affect how you feel and approach things?  Are there ways in which you can think more positively about yourself and your abilities?  Are there negative perceptions or outlooks that do not necessarily benefit you anymore?  Can you regularly check in and question what thoughts are there and in that way perform your own mindset service checks and ensure optimal performance and living.

You do not always need something new or different, continually checking in with yourself and being more of yourself is just what you and everyone else needs.

Are you "getting" older or "growing" older?

As I'm celebrating another wonderful year of life, I'm reflecting on how I'm using these years best and what wisdom I am gaining and how I feel about different aspects of my life.

What does it mean to you to grow older? Are you gaining wisdom? Are you learning lessons? Are you making smarter choices and decisions?  Do you feel content and happy, and are you contributing to others happiness and contentment?

or........

Are there places/parts of your life where you feel stuck or in a fixed mindset??  Changing your mindset to a growth mindset allows new opportunities and possibilities to happen.  You will feel happier and more productive.  

Think about this, if stuff in your life feels like it sucks or it is not the best way you would like it to be, how can either that be changed or your perspective of it so you start to feel good.

You are in charge, as you 'grow' older, its about taking ownership, about standing up for yourself and not settling for less!

Whether it is in your work or your sports, or in your relationships or your lifestyle, a few simple changes can help give you a new perspective and greater chances for success and fulfilment.

Offer words of appreciation. Let people know how much you value them.  Your performance and happiness will increase in direct proportion to the appreciation that you show others. 

Choose to see opportunity. The next time you are faced with an obstacle, flip it around and consider it an opportunity. Face the challenge with optimism.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly problems dissolve and how soon optimism becomes your default mechanism.

Remind yourself that there is more than enough. There is enough pie to go around, so break that nasty habit of comparing yourself to others. Repeat everyday!: There is plenty for everyone. Say the sentence often enough, and it’ll become second nature.

Carefully select the company you keep. Mindsets are contagious. Think about it!

Spend time in reflection. Learn to acknowledge and appreciate all the positives in your life and work. Gratitude is a powerful aspect of an abundant mindset. A grateful heart is at the center of an abundant life. In his book, Life, the Truth, and Being Free, coach and speaker Steve Maraboli comments that, “Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.”

Give more of what you want. Although it may sound counterintuitive, one of the best ways to increase your abundance is to give. Don’t feel like you have enough time? Slip away from your obligations, even if just for an hour, to help someone in need. Don’t feel like you have enough money? Give to someone less fortunate. In other words, be a river, not a reservoir. Giving is sure to put you in a more abundant and appreciative frame of mind.

A few little changes can take you from 'getting' older to 'growing' older and theres a world of difference there about how you feel about life***

Choice

We find ourselves towards the end of January,  a great time, well it can only start getting better! Spring is on its way!

My last two blog posts to begin this year, have been on the concepts of Intention and Commitment.  Bringing yourself into 2015 and creating a strong vision, then creating actions and sticking to them to fulfil your vision.

I posted a video on Facebook about daring to dream last week which encompasses these ideas well. Considering how to really remind ourselves why we are doing what we are doing and what it is we would like to achieve.

Todays blog is then with regard to Choice…..

With all our intention and all our commitment, we are often faced with choices.  How do we choose???

Then, there are all those occasions where you think you have no choice…..I would go so far as to say You always have a choice.  If a family member is sick and you need to be there for them, you are still choosing, if you have a deadline in work that needs to be done, you are still choosing.  You are always making a choice!  There may be things you would rather do, or would find more enjoyable but in light of the factors taken into consideration and after weighing things up, you will have made a choice.

There is always a CHOICE.

Acknowledging this not only creates a sense of empowerment but more importantly I feel it creates Freedom.

Why is this sense of freedom important?  It is important because in the space of feeling freedom, you have space to choose what serves you best, you have space to be your best self, you have space to acknowledge the person you are and aspire to be.  In this space, you can find that even when you think there is no choice or there are only two opposites, that there may be an array of options, there may be choices you didn't even know existed or had not considered.

I recently watched the movie Wild, in this movie there is a constant referral to the theme of choice and self empowerment.  The lead character at a point is regretting many of the choices she has made and when she meets a man on her travels she asks if he would change things he has done or if he has regrets (video below at 1.29).  But to him, he didn’t have a choice. “Never been a time in my life when there’s been a fork in my road,” he says.  It seems to him that by feeling like he had no choice, he in reflecting can have no regrets.  However in this way, one would sort of live never knowing what could have been, never feeling their own strength, never feeling like the steps taken can be chosen and paved from your choices.

Sometimes we don't want to make choices because we are afraid of making the wrong ones.  Sometimes the fear of an unwanted result or outcome or the unknown prevents us from taking the lead in the choice making.  In wanting to stay safe as such, we avoid choices or acknowledging choices.

But…by taking a back seat, by being the passenger in choices as opposed to the driver, we risk never seeing or feeling our true potential.  We risk never truly knowing ourselves. Even our perceived ‘bad’ choices provide us with valuable lessons and maybe even more life learning than our perceived ‘good’ choices. 

Sometimes we have become so used to others making choices or being told which choice to make that we have forgotten how to decide for ourselves.

All choices are your own, OWN them, own yourself, learn from everything. 

As always, challenge yourself and grow…….

In moving forward into this year, create your vision, make your choices and Commit!