There are numerous persons in my life whose message has touched my very being. There is no doubt that their knowledge and insight has inspired me. In this post, I acknowledge what I have learned from other people – family, friends and acquaintances. I am full of gratitude for every relationship regardless of its size or scope. I have chosen to magnify their importance here by writing three positive affirmations inspired by each person’s quote. Continue reading “Cultivating Healthy Relationships”
In my teaching, I often utilize a theme for each class. Themes vary from “heart opening,” which refers to the types of asanas I’m using in the sequence, to a quality such as “mindfulness,” to aspects of the yogic philosophy. In doing so, I set a purpose for why I am teaching the class, and I give students a possible reminder as to why they decided to practice.
The practice of yoga extends beyond the mat, but the mat is a powerful tool in cultivating a yogic mindset. Using asanas and moving with the breath bring the practitioner into a mindful meditation. Linking, or yoking, the body and the mind is the spiritual practice of yoga. While this can be done just by concentrating on the breath, it is sometimes more effective if the whole body is engaged in a stretching posture, or asana.
Although many people approach yoga as a physical exercise, the true teaching of yoga is as a spiritual practice. There are many ways to teach a student how to yoke the body and the mind through asanas. An experienced teacher can develop sequences from scratch. As a new teacher, I like to use a theme to guide the class and to serve as a reminder for why we practice yoga.
I am really excited to be teaching again, this time in a slightly more formal manner at a religious center near me. The practice of Buddhism dwells nicely beside the practice of yoga, and so I feel that by introducing a moving meditation class, I am showing practitioners just a new way of cultivating loving kindness towards all sentient beings.
I want to explore the use of goal setting and writing my own positive affirmations to get what I want out of life. I also want to help this blog evolve and create patterns in my posts so that readers can know what to expect and what they can look forward to. Here are some examples:
“My blog is the engine of my day. Each day, I feel inspired to write and inspired and fulfilled by my post.”
“I create a level of predictability in my blog posting, so that readers know what to expect when they visit my blog.”
“I write on topics that are interesting and meaningful to me. I allow this space to be a creative platform, even while sharing my heart with others.”
“I let this platform help channel my creative genius and manifest my desire to be a writer. Every time I put in the effort to create a post, I become closer to living out my dream.”
“Organization on my blog enhances the readability of my blog. Readers easily find what they are looking for on my website and make connections with the topics and stories in my posts.”
I feel like five is a good number to start with. I learned one technique of combining affirmations with meditation. So, for example, I write down one affirmation on a slip of paper. I read it before I go to bed, and place it under my pillow when I sleep. I read it to myself again in the morning, reminding myself of what I set out to do even as I go about my day. This is a technique from Miranda Kerr’s book, Treasure Yourself: Power Thoughts for My Generation.
I like to set goals, visionary ones, when I’m feeling bad. It helps reset my direction and assert my purpose in this life. I started a life goals brain dump on one of my blank pages in my bullet journal this year. It comes right near the beginning of my notebook, helping to set a purpose for my journal.
Every day, week and month, I have a space for making notes and setting goals. (On my daily spreads it’s literally a box titled “Brain Dump”.) At the end of every week I write down everything I accomplished. It’s a nice way to reflect on the changes and progress that I’ve made over a period of time.
Since it’s been about a month since I brain dumped all my aspirations, goals, and visions, I thought I’d use my blog here to press the imaginary refresh button and record any big or small changes in what I want my life to be.
I don’t have a time limit on any of these yet. Rather I’m still in the phase of putting ideas on the table, spending time sifting through them in order to see what patterns or themes emerge. Hopefully after a year, I’ll develop a more organized system for goal setting. As with all big projects, it has to start with an initial brainstorm.
Here are my current visionary life goals, big and small:
- be an actress
- be on TV
- be in the media
- be famous
- be popular
- be a humanitarian
- be an activist
- coordinate a campaign for women
- advocate for girls’ education
- advocate for women’s health
- advocate for women’s rights
- live simply
- travel often
- spend time to make home feel homey
- create comfortable spaces for others
- be a writer
- write articles on various topics
- be a visual artist
- make handmade cards
- write letters
- write love letters
- be a lover
- feel deserving of love
- feel deserving of God’s unconditional love
- be practical
- be strategic
- fine tune my ability to analyze problems and create solutions
- be able to sit with feelings of all kinds
- be compassionate to all sentient beings
- feel like I am adequate/enough
- be a minimalist
- create a capsule wardrobe
- love my colleagues
- love my friends
- love my family
- love strangers
- do a podcast
- blog regularly
- make music
- expand without feeling overworked or stretched thin
- set healthy boundaries
- get married when I’m ready for it
- go to therapy often
- have children with the partner of my dreams
- raise healthy children to be healthy adults
- let go of the past
- live in the present
- welcome the future
- be unafraid of change
- dream big
- be happy: stable, present, and engaged
- learn from others
- learn from life experience
- unlearn what I learned in school
- be vulnerable
- make donations to charity (money, time, energy)
- be an entrepreneur
- keep listening to music
- run a 10k this year
- run a half marathon this year
- heal from injury
- make sacrifices willingly
- keep practicing meditation
- keep practicing yoga
- cherish my body
- cherish my belongings
- thank God
- be myself
- be ridiculous
- be friendly
- learn new words and use them correctly
- brush my teeth more often
- floss more often
- eat mostly vegan
- laugh easily
- make new friends and keep the old
This is about 80 visionary goals, the same amount that I wrote down in my journal at the beginning of January. My plan is to complete this task monthly, or every couple of months until the year is over. Some of these goals are the same, but many are different, or at least are phrased differently. After typing all these up I can print, cut out and categorize them into different areas of my life, similar to level 10 life.
For now I like to keep my goals big and visionary until I can break them down into more concrete definitions, steps, or tasks. In this way, I will be able to tell which goals are really true to me and which are just entertaining me.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and it has me thinking about why I tend to dwell on memories and thoughts of certain people with whom I’ve shared warm and fuzzy feelings. The truth is, I’m single now because those relationships were not meant to be. While I can intellectually accept the idea that those relationships weren’t meant to last, it’s harder to feel emotionally stable, especially when I’m spending time alone and would rather have someone to share the moments with.
After discussing these memories with my awesome art therapist, I realized I was trying to recall the feelings of romantic love and attraction. I realized I wanted to feel those feelings, and not necessarily be with those people again. That prompted me to come up with a strategy for dealing with those feelings when they arise attached to memories and thoughts of people no longer in my life.
Here are the steps:
STEP 1: Consciously separate the feelings of romantic love and attraction from thoughts and memories of specific people. Quietly meditate on what you feel in your body, while letting thoughts come and go. Recognize the reality that you felt those feelings at one point in your life, and now you are recalling them again. Let go of the memory and focus on the feelings generated by the memory.
STEP 2: Recognize that the feelings come with body sensations and, therefore, energy. Notice how the feelings manifest in your body. Try to relax as you sit with the feelings. Does it make you want to smile? to cry? maybe both? There is no right way to feel. If you feel like crying, allow yourself to release the energy that way. It’s okay to cry, and you are releasing toxins in the process!
STEP 3: Put that energy out into the universe.
You can . . .
-Do a loving kindness meditation to surround yourself with good thoughts and extend those affirmations to others in your life.
-Do some visual art to express what the feelings mean to you in forms, images, or colors.
-Do exercise such as yoga to show respect and love for your own body.
-Make a gift for someone you love, such as valentines for your family and friends.
STEP 4: Talk about the feelings with someone you trust, such as a therapist or close friend. Processing feelings, thoughts, and body sensations outwardly can lead to more clarity. Try not to suppress how you are feeling, as that will only lead to anxiety. Open your heart to a person you trust and gain understanding and compassion in return.
STEP 5: Feel loving vibrations coming back to you from all directions! Write down what you have to be grateful for. Recognize all the people and animals in your life who care about you. Remember that God loves you, guides you, and helps create the path you were meant to walk.
I’m really proud that I came up with this strategy because it makes me feel resilient and happy to be single. I’m also happy to share it with you because I think a lot of people can benefit from taking these steps, not just around Valentine’s Day, but anytime they are dealing with the feelings of loss or loneliness and wanting to feel romantic love and attraction as a way to make themselves feel better. This is what I’ve experienced, and I hope my strategy works for you too, anytime you’re looking to feel more gratitude and joy for being single.
Lately I’ve been thinking about going back to school. I’ve been considering a wide range of options, from law, to public health and social work. My latest idea is nursing, and that would mean going back for a second bachelor’s degree instead of a masters. This idea is actually sticking with me since I didn’t perform very well in my first bachelor’s. It feels like a second chance, and I like the idea of starting over. I’m not sure what it’s like to be a nurse, but I definitely can talk to some people around me about that. I feel excited to start with the prerequisites and work along the track that is laid out for nursing students. While it is a big commitment, I feel it will have a big pay off in the long run.