Gratitude and Love

I am grateful, and I am learning through life experience that a practice of gratitude does wonders.  Look for something to be grateful for every day, every moment, and you will find that life gets better and better, easier and easier.

And one day, or moment, you might forget gratitude.  You might forget joy, or trust, or well-being. You might think a path of gratitude is not helping after all.

But then, remember.  Remember to reach for gratitude.  Can you tell yourself this?  Can you tell yourself that thoughts of gratitude will return? That this is just a hiccup in your positive momentum?

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You are doing great.  You are truly, honestly, beautifully doing your best.  You are beautiful simply because of your humanness.  You are absolutely precious, unique, and wonderful.

Creating YOU Time in a Busy Life

I have often said, “If you are too busy for yoga (or massage), you are TOO busy.” I mean that not as an excuse for skipping self-care, but more as a statement to empower you to slow down and make time for yourself.

 

I know firsthand that when we are busy and stressed, the last thing we think we have is more time. Many of us will put our needs on the back burner to take care of our children, spouses, elderly parents, or pressing work assignments. This way of living is not sustainable. An over-giving, overworked, frazzled version of you is not the most effective, nor the most fun to be around.

 

Yogi Bhajan, the master of yoga who brought Kundalini Yoga to North America in the late 60’s would always say, “Happiness is your birthright.” It truly is. When you have taken steps to ensure your own happiness, all your loving and giving comes flowing from you quite effortlessly. It’s like when you get on an airplane and they go over the safety procedures. If the oxygen masks drop down, you are instructed to put on your own first, before helping others. They don’t instruct you to hold your breath while putting someone else’s on, and hope you still have strength to put yours on afterwards, because that just does not make sense.

 

What should we do about the perceived lack of time? Schedule in your self-care anyway! I went through a hiatus from my yoga practice for a while following my divorce, and gradually I became more stressed and negative. When I came to realize that I needed my daily yoga to feel good and to be able to show up for my family and clients prepared to do my best, I made time. I resolved to set my alarm an hour earlier in the morning, even though sometimes I would have insomnia, even though giving up an hour of sleep seemed crazy and risky and counterintuitive. I woke up early, I sipped my green tea, I listened to meditation music or guided meditations, and I gently reintroduced my yoga and meditation practice. The good news is that when we take time in the morning to do our yoga, meditation, a morning walk, breath work, or spend time on our creative expression, we set ourselves up to have a better day. We fill our own cup, so to speak. We have taken time to love ourselves, to align ourselves, to soothe ourselves. Now we have something to give.

 

I have noticed that I feel better now that yoga is part of my morning routine again. I prioritize myself, and I end up making myself feel loved and seen and appreciated. Does that sound funny? It’s true. I am less likely to feel unappreciated by people around me, because I am filling that need for myself. I dare say that when I feel unappreciated by others, it is a symptom that I am slacking on self-care, and am not treating myself how I want to be treated, how I deserve to be treated. It appears this is a common symptom for other humans as well. Let’s be quicker to heed it’s warning.

 

Another thing Yogi Bhajan used to say was, “Keep up and you’ll be kept up”. He was saying to do the daily yoga practice (keep up), and things will flow naturally for you (be kept up). When we do yoga, we align our spirit with our body. When we do yoga, we are bringing the part of ourselves that knows our highest desires for ourselves into alignment, so we can follow our own inner guidance more effectively, and just generally feel great. For you, it might be yoga, massage, tai chi, painting, dance or kayaking that aligns you. Learn what works for you, and then make sure you do it for yourself every day. Tell yourself, “This is the most important things I do all day,” and then do it. Watch how your life transforms!

Nurturing Ourselves

You give and give and give, but who takes care of you?  Who fills your cup?  We must fill our own cups, build ourselves up and make ourselves strong and centered and secure.  Not in a bolstering or protecting way, but more of a grounding, empowering way.  We must love ourselves.  It’s kind of like on passenger airplanes when the stewardess explains that you put your oxygen mask on before helping your child.  When you are taken care of, you will more effectively serve others. 

As a self-employed professional in the health care field for 15 years, I have observed that my business is affected directly by how I treat myself.  When I work like a dog and push and push myself without stopping to take care of me, clients start dropping off like flies, no call/no showing, canceling, etc.  And the work I do at those times seems to involve a lot of effort and not as much income.  In a way, it seems like the universe may be having my clients cancel so I’ll rest, since I don’t have enough sense to take time for me without such prompting. 

On the other hand, when I get a weekly massage or at least every other week, take soothing baths, do yoga, meditate, eat right, dance, make music, goof off with friends and family, take naps, it seems I attract business and income.  Things flow to me.  Here, it’s as if I am saying to the universe that I am worth it, I deserve good things, and then the universe mirrors that and provides more income with less struggle.  Hmmm.  As a massage therapist and yoga teacher, I think this is great, because I need to be walking the walk and not just talking the talk of wellness.  This phenomenon keeps me in integrity with my intention to live and set an example of health and balance.  And the side benefit is that I feel good!