“Self-love”. “Love yourself”. It’s all the rage nowadays. Yeah, easier said than done for some of us though, am I right? Especially empaths. Those of us who can feel the way another is feeling from across the room, without speaking or sometimes without even seeing. It can be frustratingly easy to let others’ vibes and feelings influence our own, making it difficult to decipher what’s me and not me. Sometimes self-love doesn't have to look like mirror work, affirmations, yoga, massages and lengthy bath sessions; sometimes it can be as simple as disregarding those around you. For example, my mind can sometimes dwell on how somebody else took something I said for hours, days even. “I hope they didn't take it that way” or whatever. So in those instances, what I’m working on is not letting those thoughts have more than 3 seconds in my mind before I shut them down with some common sense “who the fck cares!” advice. Because really, who cares? Just your monkey mind cares, and monkeys are crazy. Usually, we are all much more concerned about ourselves and our actions than anyone else is.
As I’ve said before, I think everything depends on intention. If you know you have the right intentions towards yourself, the people and world around you, then no matter how things come out of your mouth it doesn't matter. If someone takes something the “wrong way” or too personally, that’s their experience and it doesn't change who you are or what you stand for. Now, because we’re human, this introspection can serve as a lesson on intention. If you feel weird about an interaction with someone, and you’re trying to justify yourself; just check in. Hmm… what was my intention in saying x, y or z? It’s been my experience that sometimes my intentions were not pure, sometimes I just wanted to be right or wanted validation for something I knew was off on my end, or sometimes I was triggered by something silly and I maaaaaybe I wanted to jab at someone. In those moments you don’t beat yourself up, you make things right. You apologize, forgive yourself, and appreciate that you just taught yourself a lesson. You’re evolving and learning on your own, bravo! Pat yourself on the back and get the F on with it, eh? There’s for sure another lesson lingering around the corner. XO
breath before action
The past few months I’ve been feeling like a lunatic. One minute I’m pulling my hair out kicking and screaming to the gods “WHYY!?” The next I’ve completely withdrawn and could relate to some form of turtle. Weird examples, but you get the picture. Really confusing, really frustrating, really just pinch me because is this all real? BUT, after a few moments of that I-need-a-drink what-the-hell-is-happening panic settles, I realize as a yogi I have no other choice but to ACCEPT, ADAPT, ACCOMMODATE (words from my teacher Anand).
SO, first thing I do is…you guessed it..BREATHE. And if I could give one tidbit of advice to anyone, it would be to master the simple tool of awareness of breath. Where does the air go in your body when you inhale? Where do you feel it? How deep can you go? What is the feeling upon fully releasing all the air on an exhale? Can you slow it down, the in breath and out breath? Can you take more air in, filling the belly first and then up to the collar bones? Can you let it out slowly, feeling that gentle tug of your low belly in towards your spine as you squeeze every last bit of air out? You only need a minute of this really aware breathing to snap you out of whatever mind-fck you’ve been experiencing; and from there, from that space you can move forward with more intention, clarity, mindfulness and realization that no matter what happens you have control over your reality and therefore your life. I find that whenever I’m in a stressful situation, the key is never to react but to take a moment for yourself; clear some space in your brain by breathing with intention and awareness, and then respond. Less reaction, more response. We need to counter the storm of the world and the storm of our minds with individual acts of loving kindness and thoughtful awareness towards ourselves and our human brothers and sisters; one breath at a time. XO
What does yoga mean to me:
Yoga is a way of life. As my yoga journey began it was more about the physical, but as time went on things changed and I discovered a whole new depth of myself and my surroundings through my yoga practice. I strive to live my yoga in each moment. "Where am I fighting? Where can I bring more ease? Why am I reacting in this way?” Constantly surveying my field of awareness and noticing where I need to "bring it" and where I need to back off. Most importantly, never judging myself. This is the practice. On the mat it’s the same, off the mat its the same. Yoga is to evolve, to transcend my own weaknesses and strive to be a better human version of myself than the day before. The practice never stops!
To someone trying yoga for the first time:
Number one rule, don’t judge yourself. And if you do, notice you are doing it and knock it off! The thing beyond flexibility and strength you will gain is more awareness, and with this you may start to see yourself differently. You’ll notice your irritabilities, weaknesses, ego, strength and stamina so much more when you really allow yourself to slow down. This gift, while sometimes showing us more than we care to see at times, is a real tool in self-evolution. Be patient, don’t judge, and enjoy the journey. If you really allow yourself to open up and be receptive to the practice, you’ll be amazed at the results, not just with your body but your whole life!
thoughts on challenge
Where does the mind go when challenge arises. My knee jerk reaction? It goes to panic, worry, self-victimization, need for validation and justification. All these things draining energy. Suffocating the prana. It’s stifling. It’s heavy.
The more I practice (mindfulness, meditation, being still, moving with intention, breathing, turning inward..all forms of yoga) the more I begin from a place of stillness and emptiness, the more I notice just how debilitating these reactions are. The havoc they wreak on my mind, body and soul feels almost palpable.
I instead work towards lesson. When I feel challenged, there is something to discover. It’s like a meal that needs that bit of something else to make it complete, whether that’s letting go, putting in more effort, accepting and allowing, changing perspective. Sticking with the analogy, growing from a cook of the mind to a master chef of the mind. Knowing the ingredients I’m working with (thoughts, feelings, emotions) and how to use them to up my quality of life experiences. I choose each experience I have. I may not choose the things that happen around me, but I have complete ownership of the way I handle what comes at me…and it’s FOR SURE not always perfect, and that’s fine, but there’s no room for blame anymore. Growing up isn’t getting older, it’s accepting that where you are right now, physically, mentally and emotionally is because of YOU. There is deep freedom in that acceptance, and the realization that you can cook up WHATEVER deliciousness you like :)