Good things make us similar, great things make us unique
We talk about this idea in yoga that your body is a vehicle you’ve been given to navigate Earth. Sure it’s what others first see and make initial judgements about, but your physical appearance was given to you by the powers that be. It is completely possible to alter certain features like building muscle or going from blond to brunette, but the body’s journey is generally determined from birth.
Now, what about your mind? Whether you realize it, that little voice in your head is speaking to you every moment of the day. Even now, you’re reading this in your inner voice. I am always intrigued what language multi-lingual people think in. Even with my little bit of French a je ne sais pas crosses my thoughts (I don’t know – I say that more than I’d like to admit).
While the body rests and rejuvenates during sleep, what does your imagination do? It runs wild! Remember those moments when a vivid dream makes you question if it was in fact real, an incredible feeling that still leaves me awestruck.
Your mind has the ability to learn, grow and evolve. Having the ability to imagine and visualize is what sets us apart from our animal counterparts, so take advantage of that! Here are a few ways to get started:
1. Read a book that can take you far and wide! Not only does your voca bulary get a boost, but words can take you across the world and to the future. While the body is bound by time and space, your mind certainly is not.
2. Listen to some tunes that are different from your normal routine. We are creatures of habit, so it’s completely logical that we have a set of stations programed. I have found that listening to different styles of music sparks my curiosity about life even more. I personally love Bollywood jams – try them out!
3. Watch a television program that discusses a topic you aren’t familiar with. My absolute favorite program is One Strange Rock on National Geographic, a documentary about Earth and Space, narrated by Will Smith. I kid you not – I shed at least one tear during every show.
Remember how special you are. It’s no coincidence you are living and breathing, I promise you.
Love and Light,
The Power of Gratitude
The notion of gratitude has taken on many meanings, changing according to the situation. Thanking a stranger for holding the door; saying an internal thanks as a homeless man passes on the street; receiving a promotion that’s be anxiously on the horizon. For certain each of these scenarios warrants appreciation, but there is one element they all have in common: reaction.
As children, we’re taught the process of causality. For every cause, there is an effect – for every action, there is a reaction. If you throw rocks at cars passing on the street as a ‘fun game,’ you’ll end up spending summer afternoons cutting grass and trimming hedges for days on end. Oh wait – that was just me? My grandfather had a knack for teaching lessons and getting work done, I tell ya.
Adulthood proves to be an endless string of doing (or not doing) things that have lasting impacts on our quality of life. Responsibility and accountability are born out of balancing work, bills, relationships – all of the grown-up stuff. It becomes a web where a chink in one link can make the whole system go haywire.
Operating on causality shifts our focus to outcomes and expectations. Our minds are so geared to thinking about what’s coming next that we have a hard time focusing on what already is. The smallest miracles happen every day, but because they do not directly contribute to the desired outcome they’re seen as trivial.
But man oh man! Life is a giant puzzle. Every single piece is a fragment of a bigger work of art. I’m not talking flowery esoteric stuff here, I promise. Natural things we take for granted like breathing freely, seeing colors, and feeling drips of water on the skin enhance our overall life experience here on earth. And nature gifts them all to us for free.
So I invite you to make an investment into your most valuable asset: your mind. Start by writing a Gratitude List. This comprehensive Gratitude List should start with the basics that nature gifts you like breathable air and light from the sun. As it evolves, think of moving outward from your personal experience to your relationships. Love from people around you, a kind gesture once shown to you, a hearty laugh you felt deep in your belly. Lastly move to the outcomes of your hard work and responsibility.
I write Gratitude Lists about twice a week, usually when I’m journaling, and surprisingly new things come to me that make my heart smile. Let me tell you, I have seen mindfulness and gratitude working in many areas of my life. I used to wake up with incredible anxiety – rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and thinking about what bad things could happen that day. It was awful. Over time, I shifted my focus to be present in the moment: feeling the soft pillow beneath my head; sleeping on a comfortable bed with clean sheets; waking up in a place where I felt safe. Starting my day with a clear mind set the tone for positivity. I am not special – you have the tools to make this work for you. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Love and Light,