It's September and the world around us is swinging back into action from its summer lull. As this happens, we too are shifting gears – most of us from low(er) to high(er). You would be far from alone if your reaction to the suggestion that you add a mindfulness practice to your days right now is a resounding, “No way. That is crazy. I don't have time for that.” But I will tell you, quite insistently, that there is no better time for you to practice than when you don’t feel like you have the time to practice.
Why is being emotional seen as a weakness? When we experience our emotions freely – without judgment or attachment – they will flow fluidly through us without impacting our health. It’s the feelings that we don’t feel, the ones we repress or “stuff,” that can cause the most havoc. These unfelt feelings can actually make us sick. All of which is to invite you to allow yourself the freedom to be emotional. Your feelings are a part of how you respond to life. While you may not choose to act on every feeling you feel, give yourself the space to feel them. Letting your feelings flow through you leaves you free to receive and to respond to each moment as it comes. Go ahead. Feel all the feels. It's good for you!
If you are navigating a change in life, this one's for you! A trip to visit a beloved old home made clear to me the wealth of options for happiness that we each have in life. There is more than one path to fulfillment for each of us. I do not believe it is possible to miss out on the life that we’re meant to live. The spirit of life is just too creative and loving for that to happen.
You and I are human beings. As long as we live and breathe, we are going to experience reactions. We are not practicing yoga to eliminate reactions. We are practicing to weaken or (maybe … one day …) even eliminate the power our reactions have to dictate our responses to life.
We have been shouldering a weight of worry and stress for more than a year now and it has taken a toll on each of us. As the world begins to re-open, we are faced with even more change. In addition to understanding why we are feeling anxious, we can also commit to practices for self-care to help us downshift from the long-term anxiety and stress of the pandemic.
Many of us get stuck "fixin' to" do something. "Fixin' to" does not create results. Results come from practicing and doing. Preparing is a good thing unless you get stuck there. A yoga practice is a powerful way to train yourself to slide gracefully and courageously from the "fixin' to" stage into rich, illuminating, growth-filled action.
Too often enlightenment is deemed something for barefoot sages on mountaintops. This isn't true. Enlightenment is possible for YOU. All you need is practice so that the next time you snuggle a puppy, or walk in the falling snow, or watch your dad help your mom into the car, you will be so overwhelmed with noticing that noticing is all you are doing. These moments are enlightenment. And each one you notice is enough to inspire a lifetime of practice.
When we tack "yet" to any statement beginning with "I can't," we are embracing our potential. When we say “yet,” what we are saying is that we believe that we are always, from the moment of our birth to the moment we take our last breath, becoming the person we were created to be. It makes me smile that such a tiny word indicates our immeasurable power to change and grow. This is a state of mind or perspective that makes us almost unstoppable.
Unhappiness can be a season of growth and change, but we must engage with it. While unhappiness is uncomfortable, unexamined unhappiness is frightening. Sadness that is investigated, considered, and processed is something we can learn from. When we give our sadness the space to become a known thing, we can simply be with it, and, eventually, we can work with it.