Western culture is built upon comparison. I compare what I have to what you have. In that comparison comes a number a number of responses such as jealousy, greed, stress, anger, frustration and the list goes on. The possessions we do not have play so many tricks on us.
The “Thank You” game is fun to play. However, don’t dip into the past and resist being thankful for the future. Play the “Thank You” game in the Now. What do you find yourself thankful for right now as you read this? I am thankful for an open mind. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful for my love of helping others. Your response may be similar to mine or completely different. But I challenge you to stay in the present and play the game. The results are quite interesting …
True joy and gratitude doesn’t come from the next possession, but rather the level of contentment we have with our true self. When we let go of the image we believe others want to see and remove pettiness and smallness from our lives, there we will find true contentment with who we are. Our own unique true self. You’re beautiful.
Santosha – Gratitude
Let’s play the thank you game. I had no idea what the thank you game was, but I began to search hard for clues and cracks and pauses in which I could, with some kind of honesty, say thank you to life. What I discovered turned my world upside down. It wasn’t long before my step was lighter and slowly almost everything began to bring a smile to my face and words of gratitude to my heart. I was alive again, and my life was enchanting.
Practicing gratitude protects us from our own pettiness and smallness and keeps us centered in the joy and abundance of our own life. When stimulation pulls at us and disturbance beckons us, it is the gratitude uttered from our lips that keeps us strongly rooted in contentment.
Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele
Yoga isn’t a magic healer. It isn’t an ancient religion that combats Christianity. Yoga is about mindfulness. Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment.” Yoga is about becoming aware of how to navigate the mind and maintain the body in the present moment. Yoga simply aids your body and provides a system of internal and external ethics to aid your belief system. So let’s get those misconceptions out of the way.
In this present moment, I think we deserve to throw a little gratitude our own way. Life doesn’t stop … ever. And our minds run right along with it. Take a moment to be thankful that the present moment provides new and amazing opportunities. We might be angry, upset, frustrated, annoyed and any number of other emotions right now. Be thankful though that our mind is capable of handling the load. Be thankful that we have an opportunity right now to make our joy. Each new moment is an opportunity to be thankful to those around us. Each new moment is an opportunity to be thankful to ourselves. We are worth it. 100%.
Even in difficult situations, gratitude can be cultivated. First acknowledge the difficulty, then find the gift. An example would be “I am angry in this moment, and I am grateful I have a mind which knows this is so and can deal with it.”
Find the gift in the moment of sadness may not eradicate the sadness, but it may bring your emotional body back into balance. There are times when the pain was so acute I had to get down on the floor and cry, sometimes curling into myself and rocking like a child, sometimes lying still. Even in these deep releases of my grief, I consciously acknowledged by gratitude for my big heart and my enormous capacity to feel. Soon after acknowledging my gratitude, my grief abated and I could resume whatever activity the outpouring of emotion had interrupted. I felt emptied out, still sad, but also refreshed and awake to the gift of each moment, each breath.
BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintraub
We are all incompetent to some capacity. There are two ways to respond to our inadequacies, violence or love. I’ve learned to accept that there are just some poses in yoga that my body, anatomically, just isn’t prepared for yet. It’s really frustrating. My background in competitive sports often clicks in and I want to surpass what others are doing and even what I thought I could do myself. When recently working on flying pigeon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEsJMOW6RKc), I injured my right knee. Everything went fantastic on the left side, but I don’t have as much openness or flexibility in my right hip. The lack of flexibility here also puts strain on my right knee. So in a hurried state of thinking both sides should be equal, I heard a pop in my right knee. It seems to be healing pretty well so far, but all of that could have been avoided if I just decided to not be violent towards myself. There was no reason to throw myself into a pose that I know my body was not prepared for.
I tell the above recent reflection because I do not want you to be discouraged by your practice. Yoga is not a “on to the next level of poses and see what I can do one or two times.” It is a constant communication between your mind, body and the world within and around us. A practice filled with familiar poses and a positive acceptance of the state of your body can do wonders for you mentally and physically. You aren’t powerless … you are quite powerful when you display patience, acceptance and love. Don’t let the anger you hold towards yourself keep you from the beauty of the moment.
Dealing with Powerlessness
Mantra – I love who I am right now.
Whether we respond with anger, withdrawal, frustration, or resignation, there is a way in which our mind shuts down, as if we are riding a train through a dark tunnel and we can’t see anything but darkness and anxiety. Ahimsa, nonviolence, invites us to question the feeling of powerlessness rather than accept it.
There are three ways of thinking that can shift you out of a feeling of powerlessness: practicing gratitude, trust in the moment, and thinking about others. Any sense of powerlessness we are feeling can be traced back to the story we are telling ourselves in the moment about the situation. We all have the choice to tell a different story and grow ourselves up to take responsibility for our lives in a new and fresh way. With this attitude, feelings of powerlessness become opportunities to become competent rather than violent.
Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele