I am a spoken word poet, which is terrifying every time, with amazing highs and incredible lows. It's just like teaching yoga.
Take a "spring cleaning" approach to your life and relationships with these questions.
Spring is the perfect time to effect positive change in our lives because warmth and light are powerful cues for new growth.
Consider the story of Joanne: Although older than most of her peers at nursing school, Joanne looked like any other nursing student. Her personal journey, however, had been more difficult than most. Her parents had been emotionally and often physically absent, and she had largely fended for herself. From ages 10 to 12, she was sexually abused by an uncle. At 17, she was driving drunk on an icy road when she lost control of her car and killed her best friend, who was riding with her. As a young adult, she was diagnosed with lupus.
I've been practicing yoga on and off since I was 12 years old, but when I really, deeply started to get into it, it was during my Master's degree in English Literature. See, I can be a bit of a workaholic, and yoga gave me a loophole for taking a break from my work to practice. It was this: Yoga made me smarter, more focused, and more efficient. Not only was the work done faster, it was better. It was more creative, more expansive, and more fun to do. I found creative ways to write the most technical essays, and I understood the poetry on levels that I hadn't before thought possible. Yoga time folded so neatly into work time that I never had to feel guilty for taking time off writing to practice!
Unfortunately for my academic career, I found the yoga so fascinating that it swept me up, and now instead of teaching student conferences on literary theory, I get groups of people together to move and flow and listen to poetry and write and sometimes even cry. In a nice way, though.
Actually, in a pretty magical way. This past weekend, I taught another Creative Flow workshop (at Highgate YYOGA) where we explore the intersections between yoga and creativity through writing.
We go on a journey that starts with a good soak in poetry. These two poems, for example, set the tone for our practice:
Transform Your Life, Transform the World: A Sedona Method Movie
This is part two of a series featuring the Five Essential Life Skills. My last post featured the first of the skills, Remembering Who You Really Are.
The second essential life skill of self-observation may well be the most important. It seems so obvious and so simple and yet we are extremely unskilled and unpracticed at paying attention to our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. We tend to operate on “automatic pilot,” as if we have no control. The reality is that unless we know what we are doing, we have little chance of changing it—and often the simple act of becoming aware causes us to do something differently.
When we practice self-observation—noticing what we are thinking, feeling, doing, and imagining—it allows us to become self-aware. When we are aware of what we are doing, we realize that we have choices and choices are what make us powerful.
The very act of noticing how we are feeling can allow us to release or let go of a stuck or stagnant feeling or a self-sabotaging habit. I once worked with a student who denied everything she was accused of by friends, teachers, and her parents. One day I said, “I want you to simply observe yourself and just notice that you deny what you do.” Of course, her immediate response was, “I do not.” To which I laughed and said, “Notice what you just did!” I assured her that this was not an assignment to change what she did or even judge what she did, but rather to simply notice what she did. Her task was to become conscious so that she was aware of and choosing her behavior rather than operating unconsciously. I cannot say what she did away from me but from that day on, I never heard her deny her behavior again. Just the act of awareness released her from the habit.
Author Mel Robbins has brought to this book her 15 years of experience in helping people make more of their lives; it finally puts a stop to all our excuses about why we can’t have the life we really want.
These days, we are hungry for a new definition of the “good life.” So what does it really mean to be happy and, far more than that, to flourish?
Life Lessons in Work, Prayer and Dirt
By Kyle T. Kramer