As I have mentioned in previous posts, I commute via the train to and from work. During my travels, I spend lots of time reading and am especially drawn to self-improvement books. I have just finished the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson and now I am currently reading the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. These are two books that I would highly recommend to everyone for carving a path towards a healthier, peaceful lifestyle. If you enjoy a read that will leave you curious about yourself and others, these two authors are definitely for you! Both of these books have helped me to grow, learn and gain insight on how to view life from a healthier perspective.
In the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson, the author has assisted me in understanding obstacles and problems as a part of life. He claims that when we change our relationship to them, we can see our problems as a source of awakening opportunity, and a learning experience. I realize that life is going to consist of pain and pleasure, success and failure, joy and sorrow, births and deaths — but inner peace is having the strength to accept and understand these inconsistencies of life. When I look back at the experiences in my life thus far, it is easy to see how this concept comes into play. For instance, the times I have felt weak, I gained a greater sense of strength. The times I felt fear, I developed a greater sense of faith. The times that I have felt my heart aching, I learned how to be courageous and deal with discomfort. When I look back on these experiences from this perspective, I realize I was not grateful at the time, but I most definitely am now.
In relation to this concept of being able to view life from all angles, I realize that it is important that we view ourselves from all angles. In the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown, she speaks on how we all experience shame and it can have an effect on our lives if we are not aware of it. The author states that “We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light, inside of us. But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us- that we’re bad, flawed, not good enough- and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs. If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame.” This statement stood out to me because it is so common to act as if we are not flawed or experience struggle to display an image of perfection. It is easier to show that we are perfect when really perfection is just an illusion. It is extremely common that society only sees what a person wants to be seen.
From these two books, I have come to term with seeing everything as whole- and still being okay with it. The inconsistencies of life, the struggles, the mistakes, or our flaws. Not allowing these moments to define us and being open to these imperfections. Speaking as a perfectionist, I have realized that perfectionism leads to a stressful and unhealthy lifestyle. I am focusing my attention and awareness on importance of blemishes and being okay with these. To me, this is inner peace.
→Take a moment to look at your life as a whole- see the light, the dark- see it all…
…and realize that you are still here, you are breathing, you are okay. ←
A mantra for daily living:
“this very moment.”
Lately I have become aware that I have been clinging to the past and eager to jump forward towards the future. This has made it difficult for me to truly see what is in front of my eyes at each given moment. It is easy to become absorbed in our thoughts, start reminiscing on past memories, creating “what ifs” or allowing fear to take control. Once I allowed myself to take a step back, I realized that I will never move forward if I am still clinging to the past and I will never fully live in joy if I am in fear of the future. As hard as it may be at times, I intend to acknowledge the past and trust in my faith for the future. I realize that “this very moment” is all I have control of right now.
By saying to myself the mantra “this very moment” it assists me to become more present to what is happening in the present moment. When you feel you are absorbed in a scattered or active state of mind, try repeating this mantra to yourself.
“I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.”
This morning I revisited how incredible it feels to do absolutely nothing (might sound crazy but for me, so true!). I absolutely love finding a comfortable place to lay down and simply do nothing at all. I take this time to notice thoughts, feelings, and how my body is feeling physically. This enables me to become fully present and realize that I am “enough” in that very moment. It allows me to realize that I do not need to hustle for my worth or need someone else with me to fulfil a feeling of wholeness or worthiness. This is coming from someone who is extremely fast paced so I feel that it is exceptionally important for me to incorporate this into my schedule daily or weekly. I share this because once I learned to integrate this into my lifestyle, it has opened my eyes to an entirely new perspective. It is easy to feel that we are not “enough” without doing something or being with someone else.
→Allow yourself to take 5, 10, 15 minutes out of your day and do nothing. YOU are enough.
“I believe that perception does not shape your life; it is your life.” -Judith Lassiter
During a recent treatment session with a patient, the news was playing on her TV in the background. We were not paying much attention to the news, although both of us noticed the various problems the reporter was expressing about our country. This extremely wise patient expressed that she wished that the news would focus more on the things that were serving our country rather than constantly focusing on the difficulties and negatives we are facing. I agreed with her on this statement and it got me thinking. My curious mind began to question, “do I focus enough on the experiences in my life that I can appreciate or am I constantly too focused on thinking of the difficulties I am be facing?”
After thinking about this for the rest of the evening, I began to realize that I tend to let the negatives in my life outweigh the positives. I realize the irrationality of this because there are significantly more aspects of my life that I can be positive about versus those that create stress or strain. It’s as if the positive, simpler experiences going on in my life didn’t need as much attention as the more difficult experiences.
Thinking deeper on this matter, I realize that this is definitely a part of my humanness. Perspective certainly has a lot to do with this way of thinking. When life appears harder than at times, it is easy to focus our attention on all of the “bad” happening. I write bad with quotations because I realize that nothing in life is either bad, good, right or wrong, it all simply just happening. I am aware that this is all constructed from our perspective on the factors that surface throughout our lives. It becomes so common and easy to create labels and overlook the positivity.
With the intention to focus more on the positives in life, I aim to become mindful of all experiences. I believe that this will lead to greater wholeness and contentment on a daily basis. I realize that wholeness is noticing all experiences, even if they may not serve us. I am choosing to recognize when I am overthinking difficult experiences or thoughts that are not serving me. Noticing these experiences or thoughts do not define my life or myself as a person.
I am mindful that positive perspective is key, with this, I have faith we can overcome anything. So it is up to us to choose what kind of perspective we want when we wake up today, tomorrow, the next day and so on…
“Comparison kills creativity and joy” -quote from the book “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown
From experience, I can say that the quote above is most always a true statement. For instance, I consider my yoga practice as my happy place, my safe haven, my therapy, my meditation and my exercise. However, when I have my focus on someone else’s yoga practice, all of this is taken away from me. I begin to create comparison or competition. When I focus on someone else’s yoga practice it definitely does eliminate the joy of my own.
Along with yoga, this can apply to any situation in life when creating comparison between individuals. I have recently become aware of how important it is to spend time focusing on our own lives in order to become the best version of ourselves. This requires releasing the need to allow ourselves to feel “less than” by comparing ourselves to others. I continue to remind myself, what works for someone else, does not mean that it works for you.
→Next time you catch yourself creating a comparison between you and someone else, turn that comparison into happiness for that person and focus your attention back to your own life. We can choose and create our own happiness so why choose the hard route? ←