Creating a positive framework…

I make a conscious choice to see things positively. Even if there are some shit things going on in my life, or with the people around me, I choose to move forward with a positive framework. How we choose to live our lives is based on how we think and feel, and then act in response to those thoughts and feelings. The biggest lesson I have learnt from my foundation course over the past 6 months, is that our view of the world is just a projection of our mind. My yoga practise, if anything, has taught me that perception can be mastered and controlled.

The way we look at ourselves and the world around us is not affected by outside forces. It is our mind. The way we perceive things to be. We choose whether to see things positively or negatively. No one can control our thoughts. We may be swayed or manipulated but ultimately it is us who make the final decision to think one way or another. We have the power to act in ways that create positive energy. We just have to be willing to let go a little and accept what we have. To not put pressure on ourselves when things don’t always go according to plan.

This is not to say I am an idealist or out of touch with reality and the awful things happening; it is more that I choose not to let those situations affect me. I acknowledge what is going on, I am aware of how things affect my life; I reflect on those moments and choose to accept them and move forward. I choose to focus on things that make me happy, whilst knowing that not all may be great.

I will let those thoughts arise and sit with them for a while but I never let them consume me, or determine my outlook on life.

I don’t let those thoughts guide my decisions or choices in life.

The more we choose to see things negatively, the harder it is to see what amazing things are happening right now. We miss out on so much because we are either complaining about this or getting angry about that. Or worrying too much about doing/not doing something because we are afraid of what will/won’t happen.

I am a believer in what we get out of life is what we feel we deserve. If I feel I deserve the best then I will give to the universe what I want to receive in return. And if there there are things that I want to change, I channel my energy into positive actions. Such as undertaking a 60 hour foundation course in yoga because I wanted to enrich my life. If I am constantly putting out negative thoughts and actions then all I’ll receive in return is exactly that because I’m already in that frame of mind.

Now, please don’t mistake this for being inconsiderate of those who are truly struggling with awful things in their lives, or those who live with mental health issues. I have many friends who live with depression and anxiety and I know how hard and determined they are in their lives to move with a positive attitude. I have also known people close to me who have experienced awful things in their lives, but have chosen not to let those moments affect them in the long term. The video I have shared at the end of this post demonstrates, even though you can experience adversity in your life, you can choose how you want to live your life. You can make a conscious effort to find the joy and happiness you deserve. And you do!

What I am commenting more on, are those people you encounter in life that just seem to suck the joy out of anything you experience. Nothing seems good enough. There never seems to be a moment where they are just content about what they have. Fun suckers lets call them. The person that always comments on how rubbish they are feeling but continues to make bad health choices. Or the person that always sees the ‘bad’ weather as something to complain about. The person always complaining about traffic and public transport, and how they can never get to work on time. Someone who complains about being broke but spends like a drunken sailor. Someone who is always complaining about not feeling well. Someone who always finds something to bring you down about. Someone who will complain about not doing something they like, even though they are with friends and can’t seem to just let go and enjoy themselves. If it is something you can control, like how you react to different situations then make that choice to not let it affect you negatively. We all have moments where we have a little moan, but ultimately the more we choose to redirect our attention to something positive, the more we will begin to create positive habits in our life.

Bad public transport is always going to be bad. The British weather is never going to be amazing. Yes we have a lot of taxes to pay. These things are not what’s important. Let’s build our mini bridges to get over those small life wobbles. I have a friend who recently wrote that life is too short to worry about silly things, and if we want to do something that brings us joy, then go ahead and just do it. Such a great message! Do the things that make you happy. The things that encourage you to view your life as more than a series of complaints and moans. If we are in a situation that truly brings us no joy, or happiness then why continue to feed that cycle.

Do something to change that. If you are in job that brings you no satisfaction think about why that is. What do you want out of a job? What are you values? It could be money, success, feeling appreciated, being in a team etc. The same goes for being in a relationship whether it is friendship or romantic. You can apply this idea to all aspects of your life. Take some time to think about what is dear to you. The values that warm your heart and soul. Put aside those niggly life hardships and focus on what brings you joy.

Ellen Degeneres recently said that the three most important things to her and what she wants out of life is respect, love and kindness. What wonderful values to uphold. The more I grow and think about what my life values are the more I know it has to do with love, kindness and compassion. To try and not let the small stuff irritate me.

So bringing us back to my original thoughts, having a positive framework and attitude towards life, is not about forgetting the negative things. It is about accepting what is happening in your life and finding a way to move forward with a positive mindset.

As mentioned above, I leave you with a video of a truly inspirational young man, who had a vision of what brings him joy and how he bought that to fruition. He made a list of all the things which make him happy in life, and to show us even through tough times, how important it is to focus on the stuff that makes us happy.

 

x

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Art of Brilliance…

Another post that has been brewing for a couple of months now…

Are you a 2%er? Are you someone who looks towards the positive and finds happiness wherever possible? Do you delight in the smaller pleasures and can let go of things that are not worth loosing sleep over? If the answer is yes more than no, then you are one of the fortunate few.

As the title of this blog alludes to finding true happiness is a constant, daily search for something that sits deep inside. Channelling energy into new ventures, small delights and moving forward into a brighter present is something we should all strive for. I recently went on a training day for work purposes; the Art of Being Brilliant was the tag line. It was an inspirational day. Full of ideas and concepts that hit me right at my centre. I’m already swayed towards these ideas, which are not to distant from my practise of yoga and my interests in Eastern philosophy. However, what was interesting was applying these ideas into your work like. Which, really if you think about it shouldn’t feel separate from your personal life. It’s just your life. Nothing more or nothing less. Everything should feel like it matters and is worth investing in.

How can we build a work-life balance that enables you to move through life with a happiness and joy that does not depend on things outside of ourselves? We touched upon ideas from ‘hygge’ – the danish concept of feeling at ease, taking pleasure in the everyday and relishing in the small moments of life. We discussed topics and concepts about our own lives. What makes us truly happy? What motivates us at work? How can we as leaders then inspire our team to feel joy and a passion to do more, not just professional but personally? Something we all came to realise was that we were all passionate about our work. We enjoyed going to work, and thrived on the privileged position we are in as early years educators and leaders. It was truly wonderful to be in a room with people who have similar ideas and passions. That you can rely on others to support you. We also left pondering the idea that rather than trying to inspire others, how can we inspire ourselves in our own lives that has a ripple effect on those around us?

Finding happiness and joy seems to be plagued by this big, overwhelming pressure of not finding happiness and joy. That we need to search for something monumental that will determine whether we have found happiness. There’s this notion that happiness is an object. That happiness is something concrete that we can hold and shape outside of ourselves. As I delve deeper into my yoga practise, I am realising that happiness is not so tricky to find, it’s just that we don’t want to look inward to find it. The idea that we’ve had the capability of being truly happy with our lives has been with us all along, but we’ve missed it because we’ve been too busy looking elsewhere is quite a sad thought. It takes a lot to stop and reflect. To question all that you are, if you even know who you are, and ask yourselves those difficult questions. Happiness is here, we just try to hold onto it rather letting move through us. Happiness comes from being present.

Be present with where you are now.

Be present with what you have now.

Be present with the people you surround yourself with.

Just be in your life.

I’ve embedded a small youtube clip about some of the ideas Andy Cope explores as a researcher of ‘Happiness”. How to be brilliant everyday, and find joy that is in us, but is masked by so much crap, basically. Take a look.

Being Brilliant everyday

I think it really encapsulates some of the thoughts and notions I try to explore here on this blog. I truly believe that we can all be working and living at a higher capacity if we choose to make choices that reflect who we want to be. If we act in a way that reflects our beliefs and aspirations for life.

My yoga teacher said to me, as we discussed our summer and where we found ourselves currently, that to get a grasp on our priorities we should make a list. A list of all the things that we feel are important to us and then scale them 1- 10 based on how important they are. This list could be values, beliefs, actions, jobs etc. It’s yours to create. However, the idea is that we begin to see what is a priority in our lives and if there are imbalances in those priorities. For example if your health is important but you priorities watching boxsets and dining out over your health then maybe something needs to readjusted. I think if you are having moments feeling like you are stuck, making this list will help realign your values and principles for life. Be honest with yourself when you do not create the time to focus on these values and priorities.

Be honest and true.

Don’t hide behind others, and become a part of this blame culture.

We are in charge of our own lives and to allow others to control your choices should not be the case. Others do not control you; you do. You make the choice to stay in a job that does not make you happy. You choose to say yes all the time and not say no when it really matters. You choose ultimately everything, even if there are some bad things that happen, how you react is always your choice. I make a choice everyday to by happy. To think and be grateful for what I have. To find simple pleasures in my day and not let negative thinking bring me down.

That is a choice we all have. We just need to feel empowered to make it.

x

 

 

 

Are you self aware?

This post again has been a long time in the making. I keep coming back to this question of self awareness. What does it mean? Does it matter? What impact can being self aware have on your daily ‘life’ actions?

Are you self aware? Are you able to look inside and be reflective? Can you question internally things that matter most, or even challenge your own actions and beliefs? Are you able to be honest enough to know when you’re not living a life that is full, open and a true representation of who you are (whatever that may be)?

Being self aware doesn’t necessarily mean being self-conscious. But more about knowing yourself. Knowing when things don’t feel quite right in your life, or knowing when life feels just as it should. I am learning through my yoga training that using different physical techniques such as asana practise, you are able to touch in with your body, your breath and begin to connect with how you are feeling. Is there any tension or stress in your body? Is your breathing tight and short, or is it long and shallow? Are you finding it hard to focus and find yourself easily distracted? Is finding balance a struggle and you find yourself wobbling?

Recently I have been thinking about what it means to be self aware in everyday life, not just in my yoga practise. I’ve always thought of myself as a reflective person. Someone who maybe painfully overthinks stuff, but then can also be inconsiderate or lack awareness of others. Never intentional let me just say. Sometimes I find that hard to admit to myself. This is what I mean by being self aware. Tuning into and being honest with who you are and not trying to hide things away. When you stumble upon something that troubles you or you don’t want to accept, then that’s when you need to stop, listen, accept and find a positive way of moving forward. I know I have a tendency to overshare and rattle on about things, not really picking up on conversational cues that tell me when I need to stop. Now, this is not me being self deprecating but rather about me accepting things about myself and knowing that, that’s okay. So when I catch myself rambling on, I pause and take a step back. It’s not about changing who you are but being aware of yourself in different situations.

Writing and yoga helps me do that. I am slowly taking an interest in meditative techniques to help me slow down and take care of my mind. Which I know can be on overdrive. A bit of self care is a great way to check in and see how things are going in your life. Are you holding onto negative thoughts? Are you not accepting something in your life that scares you? It could be anything, and taking the time to reflect and tune in is so important in a society that is so out there media wise.

Yoga teaches that we are so consumed with external dramas, we forget about the internal stuff. Focusing on the inner self; the self which is constant, we can begin to push aside all that confusing and messy stuff that holds so much influence on our lives. Where in your lives can you find time to stop, check in and reflect on your actions and thoughts? Maybe that can our next challenge. I know I will be continuing this journey of self awareness. Finding out more about myself, and how I can let that shine through without the negativity of self deprivation.

Finding a sense of my Self

Been a while I believe and whilst I am not trying to put limits and constraints on this blog, I don’t want to loose track of why I started this little space of mine.

So here we are. Another post. A brief one today. I am still processing all the information I received today on my yoga foundation course. However, I have decided that alongside my reflective life posts, I am going to post updates and reflections on my my training. What new insights I’m discovering or how my asana practice is developing whilst deepening my spiritual understanding of Yoga. 

Today really opened up my eyes as to how much yoga means to me. What it has given and continues to give me. You never stop learning and growing with yoga. There is always more to build upon. Today I gained an understanding of why I choose to practise. What motivates me to get on my mat. Listening to others stories helped me realise my own thoughts and beliefs about what yoga is. 

Initially it was to build strength in my body specifically my spine and core muscles. As time grew the philosophical aspects became of interest. Being naturally inclined to spiritual ideas and eastern philosophy more specifically, I have found that yoga helps me figure out who I am and who I want to be. More of that later I’m sure.

For now I am feeling lots of different things and need to time digest and mull over new ideas and concepts. I am certainly though more aware of how my body moves and the articulations of certain postures, which was extremely interesting to learn about. 

I feel very strongly that my decision to undertake a foundation course in yoga was the best decision I’ve made so far. Where its takes me over the next six months, we will find out!

X

P.s. if you want to know more about my course, head of to the British Wheel of Yoga to see what’s on offer. 

Balance? Well who has time for that?

Ironically, this post is about finding balance and this particular essay has been sat on my desktop for nearly a month. Not sure I’m best qualified to comment on this area, or am I? Maybe this is the perfect area to be exploring. So here we are, my, finally, thoughts on finding balance…

Finding balance is something we all aspire to achieve in our lives. Yet I do feel very few of us are truly able to acquire it (clearly me as I haven’t posted this essay or written in nearly a month). We may for fleeting moments find that even playing field but are then all too quickly thrown back into the ups and downs of day-day living.

It can be hard to find out what kind of balance we want or need in life. Is it the classic work / life balance? Or is it about more finding a balance with our digital selves? Taking time away and switching off from the sometimes-toxic world of social media. Is it about finding a balance with our bodies? Being more mindful of our eating habits, the way we treat our bodies from either over or under exercising.

Balance they say is key to staying grounded and focused.

To being content and happy.

Buddhist philosophy talks about the ‘Middle way’. A path that is neither too strict or too relaxed. A life that encompasses the things you want to put out into the world.

Love.

Compassion.

A commitment to improving your self from the inside out. Supporting your fellow man.

Speaking and acting out your Truth…whatever that may be.

Finding balance in life allows you the opportunity to focus on things that are important to you.

If we don’t have balance in our lives then we are not truly opening up to our full capabilities. How do we know when things are too one side? Too top heavy? We know the age old saying ‘feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders’. How do we go about readjusting our values and priorities so we can fall back into line?

I think we first have to figure out what our priorities are in life? Is it striving for a full-filling, busy, packed to the brim work life? A live to work mantra (if that’s what is important to you)? Or is it about making time for yourself? Giving into a bit of self-love. Tuning out from work and delving into more creative and inspiring outlets. Is it about prioritising time for others? Making a commitment to spending time with loved ones. For me meditating and journaling is great way to figure out these things. Writing stuff down no matter how trivial helps me sift through the messiness of my thoughts.

I know how easy it is to get caught up in the overwhelming demands and stresses of work (which for me is something I love and am passionate about). However, it is not the only thing that drives me. Sometimes I let it take over and begin to loose grip on things that I care about. Yoga, meditation, writing, photography and just being generally in my own little world.

When my balance is blurred and unsteady, I find myself feeling disjointed and disconnected from my environment. I get an itchy feeling to change and do something different to spark some inspiration in my life. I know I am working towards something greater. And I know, for me it’s about prioritizing my passions. Making that time to do things I enjoy rather than pushing them aside and not really doing much else instead.

I don’t want to suddenly get the feeling I’ve wasted moments of my life pushing things aside. I want to be more present and more in tune with the Now. Maybe that’s how I can find my balance. Accepting things as they are and making real commitments to doing things I enjoy as the feeling arises.

Truth

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Truth.

What does this mean?

What is my truth?

What does it mean to live truthfully? To act in a truthful way?

Is it about speaking honestly and simply not lying? Or is it more about realizing what matters most in life? Whether that’s actions and words directed to others, or even more importantly to yourself.

One of my last practices in this yoga revolution I talked about in my last post, was about finding your truth. Tapping into your breath, looking inside and finding out what you’re all about. What is my truth? And I struggled. Really struggled to figure out what my truth is. And the things I thought about, I really had to think about. Am I kind? I am good natured? Am I honest with myself, or do I hide things away? I couldn’t work out what it was.

This made me sad. I know I don’t always act in a way that is true to myself. Mostly because I find it hard to let people down. I hate not being able to make other people happy. I hate the feeling I’ve hurt someone. Usually it’s by trying to say yes to everything. I know I touched upon these ideas and feelings in a previous post. Check it out here.

However, I know there’s something going on inside right now that’s left me a little disjointed. A little unsettled. Not sure what is unsettled yet. But I’m struggling with myself. I feel I’ve lost my way a little.

I know deep inside I’m not speaking my truth. Through this regular practice and returning to my mat, to my breath, to my soul, I have realized some things need changing. Some things need to be reevaluated.

Through this ‘truth’ practice I found a lump in my throat. A tightening of the muscles. Now, anyone who knows me, knows chakras are a new interest of mine. And the throat chakra is probably one of the ones I am focusing on the most. I develop a tightening in my throat when I have conversations. I find it hard to get my words out clearly and concisely. And struggle to be understood in a way that I want people to understand me. I either offend someone unintentionally or just ramble through my words without saying much.

Over the past few weeks I have felt at odds with myself. I don’t know if it’s a natural thing to feel uneasy at this time of the year. It’s dreary, cold, damp. Lack of funds from the festive period always puts a downer on your social life. But those are all material things that can be fixed fairly easily. Wrap up warm, hot baths, comfort food, staying in with friends and watching films. Finding a little hygge in your life. How I’ve been feeling underneath that superficial stuff is what is causing my angst. My muddled thoughts. The tightening of my throat. I feel practising, or doing something regularly ultimately makes you think and feel differently. Whether it’s physical exercise or not. A constant regular ‘doing’ causes a change of events that trigger new ideas, lights a little fire and spark in your soul. Or if it doesn’t then that’s telling in itself.

I recently went to see La La Land. Twice may I just say and was lost in the film. It inspired me to figure out what matters to me. What my dreams are. The things that drive me. Having the courage to speak out even if it doesn’t sit well with others. Is this speaking our truth?

I know I have some more digging to do. I know something has shifted since beginning this regular, daily yoga practise. The language and ideas presented to me in each sequence has encouraged me to readdress key themes if our lives. I can tell this because the way I’m writing and connecting my thoughts together has changed.

Setting goals, or resolutions has never been my thing, but maybe this idea of speaking my ‘truth’ can be my inspiration. My inspired action for the year. To speak and act in a truthful and honest way. It may not be easy but life is too short to hide away who we are.

x

Thoughtful and fearless

 

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This may be a more rambled essay than usual. Still trying to make sense of it all. And by all, I mean ‘all’ of it. Whoa big concept there Emma, good job!

So, lets begin…What does it mean when one moves fearlessly through life? When one moves with thoughtfulness and care?

Through my 31 days of yoga (check it out over here on Youtube), each practice taps into a different idea or way of thinking. A different way of engaging with the world around us.

A different way of engaging with ourselves.

Two practices that stuck with me were firstly moving with care and with thought. Being aware of what is happening around us, and how we choose to interact with daily life.

Moving in a thoughtful way. The way we treat ourselves. Do we really stop and notice those small details? Do we tune into our own immediate environment and space? Are we careful in how we treat others? When moving through different physical asanas in 31 days of yoga, we are invited to slow down the process and move with this idea of ‘being connected’.

We are invited to move with thought about where we place our bodies in relation to the space that surrounds us. In conjunction with that we are invited to then notice our thoughts: are we being tough on ourselves?

Are we to eager to move quickly? Are we actually not aware of what s going at all? These can then be applied to your actions of the mat.

When you slow down, you have the space to connect to yourself and begin to be more considered in daily actions. Whether it’s going to make dinner, taking a bath, doing the washing up. Whatever it may be, it’s about becoming mindful of the way we interact with all that is in our lives.

Just being truly present.

Becoming mindful allows you to notice what’s really going on. Are you truly happy? Are you truly connected to others in your life? Are you committed to bringing about joy?

This brings me to the second practise that stuck with me. As we become thoughtful, we can soon become fearless. We can move in a way that does not hold us back. We can take those steps forward that we may not have felt able to before.

I don’t think being fearless is about jumping straight into something without thinking, and seeing what happens. I think it’s about knowing you can do something because you have faith in your capabilities that you have cultivated through careful, thoughtful actions.

You trust your path because you created it. You built your own foundations that hold you up. Foundations that keep you strong, if things don’t always work.

But how do we know we are being fearless? What does that feel like? For me it’s about knowing it’s okay to fall. If you take yoga for example, there’s always the possibility of falling, but that’s okay.

It’s taking the chance to challenge yourself. To meet your edge and push a little further. Not so far you will hurt yourself, but enough to see where this path may take you. Opening your mind a little more to what’s available.

To me that’s acting in a fearless way.

I have found over this past month, through cultivating a regular practice that I am tuning in more to myself. Through daily journaling and challenging myself to really look deep inside, I am becoming aware of what matters to me.

I am figuring out how to be truly mindful in the present moment.

Taking time to reflect for a brief second. Check in with my thoughts, feelings and mental faculties.What needs redirecting? What needs a bit of love and attention?

This is how we create a foundation that is solid, strong and capable. This is where we can become thoughtful and fearless in life.

I invite you to do the same.

x