The “why” is such an important question to ask yourself. “Why” is much more important than the “what”. If you have the “why” right, then the “what” will fall into place. Whenever you are struggling with a choice or a decision, ask yourself why. If the choice would be made because of fear, insecurity, ego, pride, or anger, then this is probably not the right decision. If the why is based on love, hope, integrity, determination, then the choice is probably the right one. When we make a choice out of fear, we give fear power over us and our lives. I believe that fear is never a good reason to make a choice, and thus when I realize that fear is dictating my anxiety, or driving my decision, I am able to step back and re-evaluate. What do you want to fill your life with? Make decisions based upon the intentions for your life. Be motivated by these positive intentions, and the “what” that results from this motivation, will most likely be positive as well. Happy weekend : )
Everything starts with you, within. This is a lesson I’ve only recently learned. Before, I always believed in waiting for the external to fall into place before I could be truly happy. Now, I realize that the external is often, determined by what we think, how we act, how we react, and what we believe. Wayne Dyer says “we don’t attract what we want, we attract what we are”. Therefore, if you work on the internal, on the self, on your thoughts, and your beliefs, everything around you will change as well. Peace and happiness come from within, from a life well-lived. Happy Weekend.
Sometimes our failure to grow and blossom is a source of great pain. During times of adversity, often we adapt to survive. These adaptations can be neurosis, rigidity, panic attacks, eating disorders. Every behavior that we do has served us in some way at some time. Children growing up in unsafe homes, may suffer from panic attacks later in life because of their body’s increased sense of arousal (this arousal may have been the child’s way of staying alert to danger). Often, however we hold onto these adaptations long after they have stopped serving us, and they, in turn, cause us pain. If you watch Mad Men (Matt and I are Mad Men junkies) you will know that in the final episode of the last season, Don Draper finally began changing. He could no longer stay the same because it was too painful, he had to begin talking about his real past. This quote applies to this situation perfectly. What is causing you pain? Are you too controlling, are you stressed out, do you take on too much work and are thus constantly busy? What isn’t serving you? What is causing you pain? And can you let go and blossom? Happy Weekend : )
I was recently watching Kris Carr (author of “Crazy Sexy Diet” and “Crazy Sexy Kitchen”) talk about vacations. On her website she posts information about health and wellness from a variety of professionals. Kris met with a well-known holistic oncologist for a personal check-up, and also to discuss his potential contributions to her website. During her visit, this doctor prescribed her more vacations, and emphasized the importance of taking vacations regularly. He recommended at least one day/week and 1 week of vacation every 6 weeks. These “vacations times” are times when everything is turned off (e.g. email, television, cell phones) and I would bet that almost none of us get this recommended dose of vacations/year. Kris Carr emphasized the importance of “creating space” and it got me thinking.
In yoga, we try to create space in asanas, moving our shoulders away from our ears to create and open space in our shoulders, performing back-bends and chest openers to create space in the front of our bodies. When we are tired, or depressed our tendency, physically, is to scrunch and shrink…to diminish space in a sense. When we are feeling powerful we often stand up straight, open our shoulders and assume a stance that occupies more space. So, what is the importance of space, and what is the link between creating space and the way that we feel?
In today’s American culture, a sense of busy-ness and constant cognitive stimulation is common. You can browse the internet while you watch the morning news, simultaneously eating your AM oatmeal and checking your emails on your smartphone. It’s also not uncommon to have your entire week planned out, weekend activities included. Current technologies provide us with entertainment at our fingertips, but also make it harder to create space and downtime from being “tuned-in”. The trend of busy-ness has almost (if not already) become an expectation. Email and cellphones allow employers to feel entitled to contact employees anytime. One didn’t have to worry about getting called into work while grocery shopping, or receiving a work related email on a Saturday morning and the boundaries between personal time and “official business” were much more clear cut before these technologies were created.
Certain things, special things can only happen during open space. Inspiration, creativity, emotional connection, clarity, and introspection can only happen in an environment free of distractions and pressures. I remember reading a book called “The Psychology of Romantic Love” written by Nathaniel Brandon a psychologist specializing in couples counseling. He explained that one thing he prescribes his couples is an entire day spent in the same room with one another completely unplugged. He described that when couples spend an entire day in the same room together, absent of distractions, they begin talking about things they never talked about with one another before. They open up. They connect. The thing is, you can’t plan for these things to occur. You can’t pencil in “inspiration” to your daily planner and yet current cultural values don’t necessarily support the notion of making oneself “unavailable”. So what would happen if you rebelled against this notion and asserted, your right to free space, open space. What if you set aside weekends for you and the people you loved just once every 6-weeks….set an automatic email that let people know you were unavailable until Monday, updated your Facebook, Instagram, twitter of your temporary absence and then unplugged? What could be created in this space? You’ll never know unless you try.
The universe is expressing itself through you. I think Eckhart Tolle has another quote that goes something like “Life is the dancer and you are the dance” which has a similar meaning to this particular quote. We are all connected to something deeper and we are all equally an expression of the universe. Therefore, all of the possibilities of the universe reside within each of us and connect us.
I think this quote speaks to something that Gandhi said which was that “the means must match the end”. He used this quote to explain the necessity for non-violence; that you can’t expect a peaceful end if the means by which you achieve this is not also peaceful. If you don’t follow your heart, and follow what makes you feel alive along the journey, you can’t expect to end up in a place where your heart is fulfilled. There are certain things that we feel drawn to such as people, places, hobbies….things that inspire us, or make us feel more alive. These feelings are part of our visceral compass; our internal guide that is also in-tune with the rest of the universe. Let yourself be silently drawn by that which you really love. It will not lead you astray.
Our lives can change in an instant. In the moment, many changes appear to be negative but you never know what these changes are making way for in the future. When Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, he was humiliated and devastated, but he never would have started Pixar or Next if this hadn’t happened and….in the end he returned to Apple anyways. If you’re feeling hopeless remember this concept and hopefully the negative change is actually a precursor to something positive that is coming your way in the future.
If you haven’t checked out Eckhart Tolle’s book ” A New Earth”, you should seriously consider it. This is one of the books that changed my life, changed the way I experienced life and the way I looked at everything. Happy Weekend!
Discomfort, failure, and adversity are all ways in which the universe helps us to grow. A traveling yoga teacher once said “If you feel discomfort, this is good. This means that you are changing your body. If you feel sharp pain…back off”. This is true, not only for yoga, but also for life. If you’ve ever stretched, or exercised you know that there is a certain level of discomfort needed in order to change your body.
Now, I strive for this discomfort in life because I know it means I’m growing, learning, and becoming polished : ) I was watching an interview with Jay-Z one day (he’s actually very intelligent) and he said “I haven’t figured out how to learn from success yet. I know how to learn from failure.” How we think about failure, adversity, and discomfort is very important because, often in our society, we view failure as negative. Failure isn’t a bad thing, or it doesn’t have to be. Often times “failure” is the catalyst that propels us to the next level. If you are afraid to fail, you will never do anything innovative or creative. You can’t be afraid to make mistakes. Kindergarteners typically test at genius level for divergent thinking, however just a few years later their aptitude for divergent thinking greatly declines. This is because when we are small, we haven’t learned to be afraid of failure, of making mistakes yet, but as we grow, we learn that there is one right answer (which is not true at all).
Don’t be afraid of failure, or of making mistakes, because failures and mistakes are signs that we have learned something, that we have tried something, and that we have grown. Don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone. In fact, strive for discomfort. If you look at discomfort as a positive thing, it won’t be so uncomfortable.
If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?