“The quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life “
I have had the amazing good fortune of having a number of the country’s most informed and talented yoga teachers staying at my home over the past couple of weeks. Initially the idea was a tad daunting given that it is August and I am s t r e t c h e d to the limit in terms of what I can stay on top of. And then, as always, the reality was incredible and I am soooo grateful for the experience both for myself and my son. They’re gone now and we miss them!
Anyway – I had some terrific conversations while they were here and one in particular spoke to something that I’ve been really working on and seeing the benefits of – taking less.
Those of you whom frequent my yoga classes are no doubt familiar with my fave analogy of The Buffet Table – urging my students to take from the buffet table of what’s offered in yoga class mindfully, not taking too much, and making it relevant to where they are in the moment, in the class. This has been something I have FINALLY got a handle on myself, and this year has found me taking less from my practice at times, not pushing myself in the same way as I have spent my entire life doing and as a result feeling a maturing of my practice and my relationship with myself that I am absolutely loving. What precedes this is acceptance. Which I could say is really more the emphasis, at least it has been for me. Radical acceptance.
Accepting where we are means accepting who we are and how we are showing up physically, mentally and energetically. When we accept things as they currently are, we are then able to listen to ourselves and move forward congruently (assuming our actions are aligned with what we hear (from our body, our energies, our mind, our intuition). To be clear, accepting doesn’t
necessarily mean we want things to continue they way they are, but it does set the most favourable tone that supports change. It is practicing cooperation with ourselves, proceeding in harmony with ourselves. Which is why I often remind students that this practice is a peace-keeping mission of sorts (or a peace-restoring one).
Not accepting where we are is basically a rejection of self, and sets up a divisive, resistant and combative tone that is intrinsically tense and is inversely proportionate to what we will receive from whatever it is we are engaged in. And it makes it much much harder, if not impossible, for us to enact meaningful change that will take us in the direction of our dreams. How can you possibly change things for the better when you are critically pitted against yourself? Negativity breeds negativity after all, and what we are talking about is digging in to keep it positive (the times when it’s the most difficult to do this are, of course, the times when the benefits of doing so are greatest).
Take less. Receive more.
And of course, this relates to all areas of life. A great pointer is if you feel you are swimming upstream in any area of your life. Lean in and take a closer look. What are you fighting against? Yourself? Unrealistic expections? Circumstances that cannot be readily changed? Radically accepting, self-honesty – calling yourself out (or a mindful smack to quote a dear friend). Self observation without criticism from which you can then proceed with less resistance. And if circumstances dictate no immediate change is possible, then how can you change your perspective? What small shifts can you make internally to have more acceptance around whatever it is? Change your mind, change your life.
I have found personally that my life has opened up in even more wonderful ways and I am more accepting of myself than I have ever been prior. And I’m just doing what I need to do with much more ease and spaciousness. There is a much greater sense of unity within myself – I feel tremendous congruence. Who knew?! Give it a try. Start with something small …. Pay close attention and watch what happens. It’s pretty addicting so watch out!