Our time anticipating uncertainty seems as if we have experienced the ebb and flow of every possible human emotion. There is no wrong way to feel and it is important that we acknowledge our attachment to our fears. Our anxiety can only create stagnation in our mind as we become fixated on ideas and behaviors, becoming a cozy home for fear and anxiety to thrive in.
The uncertainty leaves us in suspense because we cannot know for sure how an event will turn out. We may play every possible scenario in our head but our understanding that we do not know for sure what will happening in the future can allow us to let go of our attachment to uncertainty. When we live solely focused on what the future may or may not bring, we are more likely to live in fear. This is because of our natural reaction to protect ourselves. Our mind would not resort automatically to the joy the future may bring, but instead the possible instability of the next moment. If we remind ourselves that the future is always unsure we can find comfort in knowing that it is out of our control. This can motivate us to engross into the present moment, for this could help us ground and view our thoughts unattached. If we allow the space to find a proper perspective then we will realize ease will encompass us in the warmth of its arms.
I once had someone explain to me that fear can be looked at as the acronym, “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Fears of being separated from what we feel we need for our security comes from a delusion-a distorted way of understanding ourselves and the world around us. When we understand that these thought processes are only representations of the energy we put to work then we realize we have the ability to shift our attention to a more productive place.
The only thing that is concrete in life is the present moment. While it is natural response to wander beyond the now about what the future will bring, it will always just be a conjecture. The more we acknowledge what we can and cannot control, the more clear our path becomes to accept the uncertainty. Our fears transform to shadows that slowly disintegrate when we focus our light on our fears . We can choose instead to direct our thoughts and creative power to things of great value as we learn to practice gratitude in the midst of the unknown. Our ability to access these energies are always available to us when we place ourselves confidently in the ebb and flow of life.
When our focus is largely external, it becomes difficult to determine where our world begins and ends when our inner and outer worlds often infuse. It becomes important to acknowledge a boundary must be set despite how much we adore the idea of being soft and overly resilient to our outer world. We must be confident knowing we are in control of how we respond to the world.
We begin to learn the validity of saying, “no” and that saying yes when we want to say no can only lead to resentment. Fear can challenge us when we decide to set boundaries. We may worry that saying no will be seen as lazy or passive but to do so requires a great amount of awareness and presence. When we are nonjudgementally aware of our own needs and build the appropriate boundaries, we become better able to compassionately handle the emotional needs of others, becoming strong yet soft.
But setting boundaries can require practice just like anything else in life. We may have difficulty accepting where our limits are or may feel sensitive to how people react when we present a new boundary. Once we establish what our limits are, it becomes comforting knowing how much freedom we truly possess.
I often find myself at the lake front in awe of the amount of people that detach from the work day to spend a few moments in solitude with the people they appreciate most. This is shown through walks, snuggles, a picnic, a bike ride, field games, and the list can go on. Witnessing so many examples at once brings me so much happiness to see two or more happy people here on this earth because so often we compare ourselves to other’s happiness.
It is human nature to want to see how we measure up in comparison to others — especially if we think that they are better than us or have more of something that we want. Yet the truth is that it is not a good use of time to compare ourselves with others because there is no one like us and this makes us incomparable. It is sometimes almost easier to look externally and feel like we are deficient in comparison to other people rather than taking responsibility for our own progress in a sense of fulfillment of our life purpose.
Instead, if we can accept ourselves, appreciate the qualities that we alone possess, and realize that each of us is going through certain kinds of experiences for a reason, we are less likely focus so much on what other people have or are doing. Realizing and honoring that enables us to bring out the best in ourselves so we can get on with living rather than preoccupying ourselves with meaningless comparisons. If we avoid the urge to compare, it will come clear to what light we bring to the world.
I had dragged myself to the lakefront right before sunset yesterday to continue my new summer tradition of practicing at sunrise. Without of doubt I would rather still be laying in bed but it was in this very moment I was reminded why these brief moments of ultimate peace has such an everlasting impact on the way we view life.
Somewhere along the pastel, glass skies that made me feel like I was in a parallel universe, the cool temperature with the right amount of warmth felt on my skin and the stillness and quiet of such a large city humbled me to appreciate the little things that occur. This presence that occurred during this realization made me acknowledge that life, in all of its fullness, is happening right now.
While our thoughts are sometimes elsewhere, beautiful opportunities and moments are being passed over and lost to the flow of time. And though we cannot possibly fully experience each beautiful moment, sometimes we get so attached to reaching our goals that we don’t pay attention to all that is around us. This way, we live in a world that exists only in our heads. There is so much to be enjoyed and appreciated that it is vital to remember to pay attention to the present moment, because it is the only space in which we can experience being alive.
Life must be tended to, and if we are mindful, we can enjoy it, too. We can begin again in the now by taking a deep breath and simply looking around. In doing so, we refocus our attention to our location in the real world. In balancing ourselves between the present moment and eternity, we can experience the reality available to us.
Early this week I decided to get grocery shopping done after a 12 hour shift at the hospital. As I was walking into the grocery store along with the hustle and bustle of other after work errand-goers, I saw a homeless woman who I had seen before, malnourished and lonely. She simply was asking those entering the store if she could have something to eat or drink. Unfortunately not one person acknowledged her. I had been upset for some time in the way I have seen people treating each other, acts of violence, so much anger. I had asked the woman what she wanted and she excitedly shared, “chips and a soda pop!”. I continued with my grocery shopping and got her chips, soda and a case of water. When I returned outside to give her the items she was happily overwhelmed but humbled in shyness and embarrassment. I was in awe that this woman was able to remain soft and still so kind towards others despite the lack of thoughtfulness in people that we see.
Kindness in a way acts as the oil that makes our world move more smoothly and with less friction. We can still get where we are going but the journey is more pleasant, and those around us can share in the ideal world that we help to create. We are all fortunate that kindness is limitless in its supply and available to everyone.
Whether giving way to someone in traffic or letting someone go ahead of us in line, donating clothes or sharing our homes in a crisis, we put action in creating a universe of kindness and giving with every choice we make. The smallest gesture can bring light to a shadow of an unpleasant situation or remove tension from a difficult task, but it’s effects can echo and extend far beyond the moment. We can be sure that we will receive a kindness in return, but giving is its own reward. Kindness expands the light we hold and reaches out to touch the light in others as well, giving us all a glimpse of the glow that has the power to enhance our world.
There was a moment this week on my mat while practicing that I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my practice and how it has evolved specifically for my needs. I adored the fact that overtime I have gained confidence in my ability to add movements outside of a class sequence that will allow me to feel even more whole and how it has adapted me to clearly acknowledge what my needs are on and off the mat to ultimately live my truth.
Many of us tuck away our authentic inner selves, afraid or embarrassed to seek out our innermost desires in fear that it may hinder us in our success. We may find ourselves conforming to society while embracing secret passions when alone. We may withhold certain opinions, though it doesn’t change the fact that we possess them. It is important, however, to never stray too far from that youthful inner child and self-interest as they are qualities that help make us who we are. Our authentic self is our true self and, in living authentically, we live our truth, making time for the things you love and projecting who we really are. The simplest way to live our truth is to leave the expectations of other behind and live the way you feel most worthwhile.
So for the times we feel unsure of who our authentic self really is, we can look inward and ask ourself what your purpose, values, and needs are. From there we can honor what is and the state we are in if we avoid being guided by what others expect from us. At this time we may explore neglected passions by trying new things, and sticking to the ones that piece our soul together. As we infuse more passion and purpose into our life, we live more satisfied and whole all because we lived authentically.
Most of us have adapted to seeing the big picture because we have adopted the same unnecessary frenzied pace of the world. We feel compelled to immediately distinguish what is important from what is not. We tend to admire this “daily grind” — everything relating to success seems significant and everything else seems questionable in terms of purpose. But what is most precious in this life often are the least momentous. They are these pure moments in which we are simply in awe by what is in present time. However our perception of these moments may be blocked by external influences so to experience them fully, we must learn to open ourselves to their existence.
These moments are not measured by the composition of an experience but rather by our reaction to it. Do you ever notice how in memory, we recall how this memory made us feel rather than the small, crisp visuals of that moment? Since such moments come and go quickly, they should be consciously savored and noted. They stick with us only when we recognize the impact they have had on our mental and emotional bodies.
In a mere moment, we may find we are suddenly and blissfully aware that we have evolved or that those around us have changed in some positive way or we may witness incidents of innocent kindness and compassion that do not directly involve us yet touch our heart space immensely. When we cherish these occurrences, we condition ourselves to take acknowledgement of them when they happen and allow their value to deepen the sense of fulfillment to our life.
On my days off I have been waking up to go practice at the yoga studio followed by going across the street to grab a coffee and there is this brief moment in waking up that there is a sigh of relief that the day can be slow, the destination i am going to is a space of gentleness and somewhere along the commute between my apartment and yoga studio there will be a sunrise to watch between the skyscrapers that will remind me that the world will continue to buzz, reality will settle into the days tone but i still have a firm grasp on this sense of stillness.
Each day we experience a magical twilight between our dreams and waking state. During this brief period of time, our minds still remember that all things are possible. We can smoothly transition into our physical world without losing a sense of hope when we check in with our heart center first,. Our heart center is the link between body and spirit, instinct and inspiration. In a mere moment we can review all that we want to accomplish, value, desire. When we get into the habit of beginning our day from the heart, all of our activities glow with the infusion of conscious intent and all interactions are done with compassion.
We can restart our day right now by imagining how love and inspiration feel. noticing that radiance, any feelings of stress or frustration become small. Now, we see each person we encounter as fellow travelers in this life, and every activity becomes part of a spiritual ritual and this can be contagious to other conscious participants.
In the intersection where our body and soul meet, our physical heart beats in time with the rhythm of the universe. It does the physical work of supplying our body with life force without our awareness, but for its spiritual work, we need to be conscious. When we concentrate on its rhythm and radiance we are practicing gratitude for where we are now.
My first in studio practice after quarantine I noticed I was too anxious to rest my arms next to my sides in savasana. It felt too vulnerable, too exposed, too unsafe. It felt as if my body kept wanting to retract into a little ball of fear despite my practice being eager to show my body that it was okay, that the practice would help. Although guidance from a teacher is inspiring, the energy from other students is uplifting and there’s no thought sequence to create, sometimes the language used by us teachers to introduce a posture or expression can feel forced instead of invited despite their intention is meant to be purely for the good. It is important we remind ourselves that our practice is entirely ours. We decide what we take from guidance.
So I began a home practice as a chance to connect back to my body so that maybe it would not feel so much of a stranger but instead a familiarly of returning home to a space that provided strength, comfort and ultimately safety.
Home does not necessarily have to be a physical location. It has many connotations. To some, home is merely a place where basic needs are addressed. To others, home is the foundation from which they draw their strength and tranquility. Still, others view home as a place linked to family. Yet all these definitions of home imply somewhere we can be ourselves and are totally accepted. My home practice offered no time limit, no judgement, no expectation, no comparison, no specific style.
When we strip away these attachments, we reveal what needs of ours need tending, nourishment and the more patience we give ourself, the more my body became open to practicing, open to expansion, open to growth.
I noticed myself feeling more inspired, energized, confident, ultimately safe. Free and in control of my body. At some point along the way we will finally have a glimpse into what it feels like to be home in our body.
As we move through life we may come to realize that the people we decide to surround ourselves with are sacred to the quality of our well being. If we allow ourselves the opportunity to truthfully reflect what relationships and connections we possess, it comes clear which of these relationships are draining our energy or are filling our cup.
Our light people will present themselves in times of distress when we signal that we are requesting their support and continue to radiate the love and support consistently. They will hold space for us when do not have the time, energy, or opportunity to center ourself and provide guidance that originates from a variety of perspectives based off their individual experiences.
Whether the support they provide comes in the form of guidance or wisdom, their combined presence will give us a sense of security that strengthens us and reminds us that we are unconditionally loved.