Mindfully Free of Wanting People to Be a Certain Way

Mindfully Free of Wanting People to Be a Certain Way

Guest post by Leo Babauta

One of the biggest sources of difficulties for every single human being is the desire for people to be a certain way.

We can’t seem to help it: we want the world to be the way we want it. Unfortunately, reality always has different plans, and people behave in less-than-ideal ways.

The problem isn’t other people. It’s our ideals.

Yes, I think it would be great if people stopped killing animals for food and fashion, and became vegan instead. But that’s not the reality I’m faced with, and it’s not going to happen for quite some time, if ever.

Yes, I think it would be great if my kids behaved perfectly all the time, but that’s not the reality of kids. Or any human beings, for that matter.

Yes, it would be great if my wife always agreed with me, but that’s not going to happen.

So the problem is:

  • We have ideals about how people should act, or ways we’d like them to be.
  • People don’t act in those ideal ways, or aren’t the way we’d like them to be.
  • We get bothered by that reality. Frustrated, angry, sad, disappointed, stressed.
  • This makes us unhappy, and damages our relationships with others.

This is obviously not great.

We have a couple of options:

  1. Stick rigidly to the way we want people to be, and be upset when they don’t meet those ideals.
  2. Stick rigidly to the way we want people to be, and try really hard to make them be that way. (This pretty much never works.)
  3. Let go of the ideals and be happier and less frustrated.

When we think about it this way, it’s obvious that option 3 is the best route. We’ll talk about this option soon, but let’s talk about a couple of objections first.

Objections to Letting Go

When people are confronted with the idea of letting go of their ideals about other people, they usually have a few objections:

  • Objection: But then people get away with bad behavior. There’s a difference between wanting someone to behave a certain way (and getting upset when they don’t) … and accepting that a person is acting a certain way, and then compassionately finding an appropriate response. In the first case, you are angry at them for their behavior, and your response out of anger is likely to make things worse. In the second case, you aren’t bothered too much, but can see that their behavior is harmful and want to help them not harm. You can’t actually control them, but you can try to help. If you try to help but need them to accept your help, then it will be continued frustration. Help but let go of the ideal outcome you’d like from your offered help.
  • Objection: But what about abusive behavior? There’s a difference between being agonized about the abuse, and accepting that the person is abusive and taking appropriate action. Letting go of your ideals about how the abusive person should act doesn’t mean you let them abuse you. It just means you accept that they are an abuser, while taking the appropriate action of getting away from them, and reporting them or seeking help for them if it’s appropriate. Don’t leave yourself in a place where you’re being harmed, but that doesn’t mean you have to be afflicted by someone else’s actions.
  • Objection: But then we don’t make the world a better place. If people behave in less-than-ideal ways, you can agonize about it while trying to change them, or you can accept that the world is not ideal … but calmly and compassionately work to help others. In both cases, you’re trying to do good … but in the second case, you’re not agonizing about how things are.

So these objections are all about wanting to change people’s bad behavior. This article is about inner acceptance of “bad” behavior (or what I think of as “not ideal”) … but once you have inner acceptance, you can take appropriate external action. That might be helping, being compassionate, getting to safety, talking calmly and lovingly to someone, reporting abusive behavior, getting counseling, or many more appropriate actions that come from a place of love, compassion and understanding rather than frustration and anger.

Letting Go of Ideals

So how do you let go of wanting people to be a certain way?

First, reflect on how these ideals are harming you and others. This wanting your way, this wanting a specific version of reality … is making you frustrated, unhappy, angry. It’s harming your relationship. It’s likely making the other person unhappy as well. This is all caused by an attachment to expectations and ideals.

Next, reflect on wanting yourself and others to be happy. If the ideals and expectations are harming yourself and others … wouldn’t it be nice to stop harming yourself? Wouldn’t it be nice to be happy instead of frustrated? Think about the desire to have a better relationship with other people as well, and for them to be happier in their relationship with you. This is your intention, and it is one of love.

Third, notice the ideals and frustrations as they arise. See when someone else is frustrating you, and reflect on what ideal you’re holding for them. How do you want them to behave instead? Don’t get caught up in your story of why they should behave that way, but instead just take note of the ideal. See that this ideal is harming you. Decide that it’s not useful to you.

Also notice your mental pattern of resentment when someone doesn’t meet your expectations, and decide to try to catch it early. It’s a pattern you can be aware of and catch early, and decide to change your pattern.

Next, mindfully observe the tightness. Turn your attention to your body, the tightness that comes from holding on to this ideal. Pay attention to how it feels, the quality of the energy in your body, where it’s located, how it changes. In this moment of observing, you are awake, rather than being stuck in the daydream of your story about why this person should be behaving differently.

At this point, you can decide to try a different pattern.

A Different Way

So now, you can practice a different way of being.

Here are some ideas I’ve found useful:

  • Instead of fixing on one way this person (or situation) should be, be open to other possibilities. Open yourself to lots of different ways this person or situation can be.
  • Try to understand the person, rather than judging them based on limited information. Try to understand why they’d act this way — perhaps they are afraid. Perhaps they’re suffering in some way. Perhaps this is their strategy for protecting themselves.
  • Try to see the good-hearted nature of their actions, rather than one where they are a bad person. For example, you might see that they are tender-hearted and afraid, and so are acting out of fear. Or they just want to be happy, and this is their strategy for being happy. Or maybe they have good intentions and want to help, but are misguided. We all have a good heart deep down inside, but it might take several layers to see that. Anger can stem from jealousy which stems from insecurities and fear, which stems from a tender-hearted worry that we’re not good enough. The angry action isn’t justified, but there is still a good heart at the core.
  • See their suffering that causes their actions and know that you have suffered in the same way. Remember how that suffering feels, so you can see what they’re going through. Compassionately wish for an end to their suffering.
  • Tell yourself that you don’t know how people should act. Honestly, I don’t always know how I should act … I am fooling myself if I think I know how other people should act. Instead, I might be curious about their actions.
  • See the other person as a teacher. They are helping you practice mindfulness, and let go of your old patterns. They are teaching you about reality vs. ideals, about how humans act.
  • Relax. Seriously, see the tightness you’re holding, and just relax. Smile. Be happy in this present moment.
  • Practice see the goodness in the other person, in yourself, and in the present moment. There is always an underlying goodness in this moment, if you choose to notice. Trust in this goodness, and you’ll be afraid less and happier more.

These are some practices. Try them, practice them over and over. I think you’ll be happier for it, and every relationship will be better.

Do you need more mindful living in your life?  Check out the Head|Heart|Health Club.

4 Ways to Let Go of Your Past Mistakes

Coming to the close of a year is sometimes difficult for people.  Looking back over the year might bring regrets, or worry.  There could be lists of things you haven’t accomplished yet, or things you really wanted to do.  But the truth is, none of that matters except for the present moment.  I know.  It’s shocking.  All that worry for nothing.

We can’t go back and change anything.  Not a damn thing.  All we can do is move forward. 

Each year, I get a shiny new journal and I am ready to start my new goals.  I never say resolutions…nope.  My goals are constantly changing.  My past cannot change.  It really is what it is no matter what.

So how can I move forward even if I know I have made some mistakes or didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to?  Here are a few pointers for you on doing just that.

Let Go of Your Past Mistakes:

  1. Decide to let it go at this very minute.  You have to consciously MAKE this decision in the present moment.  Write it down on a piece of paper, say it to yourself in the mirror, but do it.
  2. It’s okay to express your regret as long as you know your responsibility in the matter.  Take responsibility for what you put out there.
  3. Don’t be the victim.  Please, please, please stop placing blame.  I was talking to someone earlier who might be related to me and was in the same story yet again because blame was being placed everywhere else.  **Sigh**  Here are 3 Tips for Turning Pity into Self-care.  For later…not now.
  4. Learn to focus on the present through mindfulness.  Mindfulness is the here and now.  When we are not here, we are trapped in a story of our past or future worry.  The true way to move forward is with mindfulness.  It is really powerful.

How Can You Be Mindful?

  1. Practice Mindful Breathing by putting your hand on your belly and breathing into your hand feeling it rise and fall.  In your mind just mentally repeat I am breathing in, I am breathing out.  Feel the air expand and contract.
  2. Become aware of your body.  I notice when I am not present or grounded.  My husband will tell me this entire story and I will mumble along.  Ha.  Then he never learns to look at my eyes and see if I am “here”.  I make sure if it’s important I ask him to stop and look at me.  You are most powerful when you are present, but we all zone out.  Learn to be powerful in your conversations by making eye contact and making sure the other person is present as well.
  3. Do a brief body scan and notice where you are holding tension.  Mine is always my jaw.  Ugh.  I clench and I know it.  I try to relax it throughout the day and give myself a break from working to stand up and stretch.
  4. Forgive yourself and stay in the present.  Don’t beat yourself up if you float into the clouds or are trying to practice that breathing exercise, and start to zone out.  Just bring yourself back to the present moment over and over and over.  It is a work in progress that gets more powerful and easier to do the longer you stick with it.

When you learn to be more conscious, you can learn to let go.  When you let go, it opens up new doors to the future you are truly ready to create.  ~Aimee

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How to Release Old Patterns of Thought

Time to changeIt is the first day of autumn officially where I live.  For me, this time always reflects change.  Letting go of things.  Making room for growth.  All before the end of the year.  I know that I have lofty goals, but there’s something about watching the trees shed their leaves that really reminds me of the work I have to do on the inside to stay healthy on the outside as well.

In order to find balance, we have to be ready to do the work.  We have been holding onto fears, worries and troubles from our past for far too long.

You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, ‘I release the need for this in my life’. ~Wayne Dyer

I have done quiet a bit of research on pain…both physical and mental pain.  I know that we carry quite a bit of pain around with us from past experiences if we have not yet released it and let it go.  This is evidenced by the fact that when preparing to speak on something once, I could not get through a certain part.  Everything else I could practice just fine, but this one part always got stuck in my throat and my eyes welled up with tears.  It was time for me to be okay with that part of my story.

How did I start releasing what was not serving me?

The first step was to continue speaking it out loud.  You don’t have to tell a room full of people; however, a trusted friend, therapist or counselor will work.  I had to put a name to the emotion I was feeling and that feeling was still grief.  After all these years.  It was time to let go just a little, and step into healing.  So as you begin to let go of this feeling, remember that whatever it was meant to teach you at the time, is long gone by now and we don’t have to stay in that place forever.

The second step for me is to write it down.  It can be in your journal, or as a letter to the universe.  It can be a prayer, or it can be on slips of paper you burn.  Whatever you feel called to do, but write the truth.  I know someone who once said to me that this was the hardest part of her healing journey.  So close your eyes and think of the people, events, setting, or whatever it is that you are trying to release.  Write down the feelings that are caught up in this thing.  Then let it go.  Don’t think on it any longer after you have gotten it out.  If you are afraid you will dwell on it, burn it!  You know, in a safe way that doesn’t catch anything on fire.

The last step is wiping the slate clean.  A nice clean chalkboard.  As a teacher, I would make sure there was not a hint of old chalk from yesterday as I wrote the next day’s lesson on the board.  I loved a clean board.  Visualize that whatever pain you had is truly released and washed away.  Here is where I want to point out that if you are blaming others for something, let it go.

My lesson is on releasing the people who I have clearly seen lying.  Apparently, I am really supposed to let this one go.  I learned people are definitely covering up for something when they lie, but it has nothing to do with me.  I decided to shift my perspective to one of gratitude.  I am thankful I don’t have to lie about who I am to feel satisfied in my life.  I am thankful I don’t have to lie to my husband, or my friends to feel liked.  I see no purpose in it, but clearly it is a defense mechanism for others.

By transforming old patterns of my mind, and bringing my attention to the present moment, I am letting go of things I don’t want to carry forward with me into the next season.

End Your Day With Mindfulness

This one is actually quite difficult for most people to do, but put the phones away.  Turn them off.  Hide them if you must.  Sit at the table and practice eating mindfully.  As we connect to slowing down from our day, take a moment to notice the food.  The taste.  The color.  The time it took to prepare.  Be present as you sit and eat; furthermore, see if you can engage the senses as you bite, smell, and savor the taste.  Be present in your thoughts as you end the day.  Let go of anything you don’t want to take with you for the next day.  Continue this practice daily and you will see an improvement in your mood as well.

release_leavesWant more ideas right where you can reach them?  See the Work With Me tab.

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Life After a Narcissistic Relationship Ends (How to Move Forward)

What is a narcissist exactly?  By definition it is someone who is overly self-involved, vain or selfish.  I happen to know quite a few of these people, and yes, was in a relationship with one once long ago.  Quite thankfully, I recognized what he was doing even back then as it could have been quite scary.  What exactly were the signs I recognized?

  • everything was on his time
  • wanted to party all the time
  • had to be in the center of attention by drawing people to him
  • put on an “act” like it was a circus show
  • lied to me…constantly
  • would do one good thing, to replace the 50 bad things he did

These are just some of the signs that I recognized and knew it was a ridiculous arrangement.  Read this article for more on When an Empath Loves a Narcissist.  So how does one move on after this?

How to Move Forward:

  1. Stop feeling guilty, judging yourself, or feeling used.  It is quite possible that this is what he or she wants.  It creates that isolating feeling that they love.  Now you have no one to call, and feel sorry for yourself.  It is normal.  You will be able to build up relationships once again that help you with your self-esteem, not drain it.
  2. Start your self-care routines again…which means focusing on you!  Consider this experience a lesson in how to take care of yourself and make yourself a priority once again.  Honestly, you can be stronger than the you that just came out of this relationship.  I know it sounds crazy, but it is true.  Start your wellness routine which includes fitness, nutrition, balance and self-care.  I talk about this in 4 Weeks to Wellness, but it is absolutely the best way to heal yourself completely.
  3. Journal the things you want to remove from your life and the things you want to attract.  Write down the qualities you would like to have in your next relationship, and compare your list to what just happened.  Chances are, the qualities were never there to begin with.  It was all smoke and mirrors.  Get in the habit of putting yourself first and thinking about your goals and dreams.
  4. Take stock of your feelings.  Sit with them a minute.  Write them down.  How are you feeling?  Now imagine the best version of you.  The you that is there, but is just hidden way below the surface right now.  What if you journaled each and every night on the best parts of your day, you, your family, your friends, and everything about your life that is great?  There is so much left to be thankful for and after all this, the relationship has shown you what you don’t want to be like.  That was not a relationship for your highest good and somewhere deep inside you knew it all along.  You are able to see much more clearly now that the fog has lifted.

You will be able to move forward.  Use yoga, journaling, meditation, walks in nature, alone time, massage and more as a way to get back to the you that you want to be.   We all have bad days, make bad decisions and date the wrong people.  But that doesn’t mean we have to stay in that place forever.  This has prepared us for what we no longer want in our lives.

move forwardNew!  See the tab Head|Heart|Health for more support on getting back to the real you.

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5 Signs You Are Over Thinking (And what to do about it)!

You have a choice to make.  A decision.  You listen to the chatter in your head for hours, days maybe and still can’t decide what to do.  Your heart knows the right answer.  But you keep listening to the chatter.  Did you know 73% of 25-35 year-olds identified as over thinkers?  More women (57%) find themselves over thinking than men (43%).

If you find yourself obsessing, over thinking, and not being able to stop, you need to change the thoughts immediately!!   

5 Signs You Are Over Thinking:

  1. You change clothes quite a few times before finally deciding on what to wear.  Solution:  Pick out your clothes the night before.  Everything, down to the accessories, and try it all on.  No matter what, stick with it.
  2. You are so busy running in a negative state of mind, that you can’t see past the situation.  The here and now.  Solution:  Get outside.  Change what you are doing right now.  Drop that thought and everything that comes with it.  Go on a bike ride, a walk, take a yoga class.  Move forward into the present.
  3. You don’t take time for yourself because you are too busy thinking about things that could go wrong.  You say no to new opportunities, new friends, and possibly new yoga classes because you might do something wrong.  Solution: Say yes.  Really, as soon as someone asks you to something that your body immediately thinks YES to, just say it without over thinking what could go wrong.  Your gut instinct and your heart are telling you to listen.  It’s your brain that is over thinking.  You have to change the pattern of the old ways by listening to your heart and gut feelings.  Here is what I like to do to get away:  Get outside and preserve my spirit. 
  4. You stay up all night thinking about the thing that happened.  The worst case scenario of that thing.  Maybe that pain was cancer?  You go from fine to spontaneously combusting in your head.  Solution:  Journaling all your thoughts out before you go to bed.  All the negatives in your head.  Then you write everything as you wish it will happen like in my manifesting journal article.  You write how it will go in the positive and believe it.
  5. The cycle of over thinking creates anger, jealousy, fear, betrayal, doubt, indecision and more in your real life.  Solution:  You have to take a step back and look at the process of letting go.  Get out of your head and let it all go.  Let go of the feeling that distract you from your higher purpose.  You can’t live your life in your head.  Start to come back to the body, the breath and this moment.  Slow down.  Be present and be real.  This is the only way to stop this process.  For me, it’s getting into my flow.  As you know that’s writing, yoga and reading a good book.  Gardening, hiking and more also fall on this list.  Time stops.  The world comes to a halt when I am in my flow.  Find that activity that makes your heart sing and stop the chatter.

Negative people

5 tips to Make Life Easier

I make it a habit to read and respond to everyone personally while I still can on my Facebook Fan Page.  There used to be 80 fans, and while I am approaching 80,000 on the page, this blog is where the meat is.  Someone said “If only it were that F-word easy” on one of my posters the other day.  Here is the interesting thing…it can be that F-word easy.  It can.

However, I have to tell you angry sister, I do understand you.  I would love for you to read my about me here or my early posts about going to the doctor’s every week, but I am personally not going back there right now.  I understand commenting from a place of pain.  I do.  I understand sitting on the couch with tears running down your face because the physical pain is wearing you down mentally.  And as hard as it is, let’s get up, out of our pajamas, as I tell you on my videos, and make a damn plan.  If you do the little things first and get them out-of-the-way, we can tackle the big things later.

5 Tips to Make Life Easier:

  1. Let go of yesterday’s pain.  Emotionally, you might have spoken from a place of pain or anger.  Make yourself a cup of tea, and if you can fix whatever happened, set about making it right.  If not, let go.  Light a candle, put on your favorite music, and sit down and visualize your best self.  It is somewhat like meditation, but I do this with my own pain.  I visualize that it is gone and in its place is the best version of me possible.  I have had help with this process, because I also journal the best version of myself and how I want to feel.  It does help me release the feelings that are residual from 18 years of pain.  I mean come on, I didn’t think it was ever going to be like pressing the easy button.
  2. Do not, in any way shape or form, revert to victim mentality if you can help it.  What I mean here is don’t feel sorry for yourself or blame others.  I am purely talking about taking back control from those you have given your power too.  I understand the suffering of pain.  As we search for a way to protect ourselves from it, we climb deeper inside and cling to it being something that has happened to us.  Instead of embracing it as something that is currently part of us.  Once we name this fear, pain, anger and recognize that it really is part of us right now, we can learn to shift away from it as a feeling we don’t want to feel right now.  That is what I did with my pain.  I used yoga to shift away even as I embraced the pain of the movements.  To further explain, here is what I did.  I could not hold down dog at first.  The pain in my wrists was so great that I would inwardly berate myself at first.  I focused on the pain.  As I learned to shift from that to the breath, I began to have a revelation.  The pain would lessen if only for a bit.  By the end of my 200 hour yoga teacher training, the pain was a dull ache in my lower back and shoulders, where it had been a raging inferno consuming me before my journey.
  3. Get stronger.  This can be mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Really, it can be done.  I had every uplifting book known to man.  I had CD’s.  I despised all those people.  Yup.  I did.  Until I realized that wasn’t going to change my situation.  They were not to blame because they were able to get over x, y, z that they wrote about (insert what is causing you to feel weak).  I decided that I needed to be stronger.  I wrote more in my journal about what i wanted to feel.  I continued my yoga practice, and I surrounded myself with the types of people I needed in my life.  The ones doing the exact same thing I was.  MOVING on.
  4. Find the right people to lift you up.  So this has to be next, because I have written about moving past the energy vampires before.  You can’t expect to move on without any energy.  If you have people taking, taking, taking, maybe a tiny give back to keep you there, but then taking, taking, taking again.  It’s time to create that distance I have spoken of.  Start getting to exercise class if it’s for you, or paint nights.  Meditation groups, yoga, or anything that does not include talking about your pain and suffering.  Leave that for your counselor.  Move on with your friends.  Does that mean you can’t ever talk about it?  No.  It doesn’t.  But look at what you are trying to become and step into it completely so you have a fighting chance. 
  5. Be consistent in your steps.  If at all possible, don’t revert back to “Woe is me.”  Do I do that sometimes?  Hell yes.  Then I call a friend and say “Slap me like in Moonstruck if I say…” then we go on about our day.  I also try to do that for my clients as well.  Ermm, not the slapping part.  But I tell them the truth.  The truth is so hard sometimes, but I say it anyway.  Always.  Because I want to be consistent in my steps and part of that is owning my truth and knowing when I have started slipping backwards.  It is important to continue on the journey forward with slow and steady steps if need be, but at least I am making progress.

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Dear friends, do you need more help?  Each month we work on raising our vibrations in the Head|Heart|Health Club.  I would love to have you join us!

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5 Signs You Have Outgrown a Friendship

I am feeling inclined to write to you about this which ultimately means that there is someone out there needing to hear this message today.  Yesterday I went to lunch with a girlfriend.  She said “Dude” because I love that word, anyway she said “I saw the most profound quote and I have to share it with you…but let me find it first.”  So I waited for her to find it and then I was like whoa.  Just whoa.  So I am going to place it here for you to read.

forget

We have both struggled in the last two years with outgrowing friends in our lives.  These friends came into our lives at a time when we really needed them, and so for both of us, it has been an interesting period of growth.  We saw what we needed to do a year ago, but we both found it difficult so we pressed on trying to repair the crack with duct tape and Kraggle (crazy glue).

For my situation, it comes down to one thing, and one thing only.  Honesty.  If I can’t trust a friend anymore, then there really is no friendship.  But of course, there were other signs along the way.

5 Signs You Have Outgrown A Friendship:

  1. You don’t feel like you trust them, so therefore you hold back from what you were really going to say.  This is a huge warning sign.  If they are your friend and you have seriously deep concerns about something they are doing that might be endangering their well-being, why can’t you voice it?  You should be able to voice your opinion, concern, fear, or whatever out of love.  Likewise, if you are really friends and family members of theirs are concerned, it should be okay to have that discussion out of concern for self-care.  It is as simple as that really.
  2. When you announce good news, success and new things coming up, you get the distinct feeling they are not happy for you because they make no comment or direct it back to what is happening in their lives at the moment.  So you shrink a little inside and stop telling them.  This is wrong.  You should be able to celebrate without fear of jealousy, envy, or shame at the fact that you did something worthwhile.
  3. Your only communication is via messenger or text.  Short texts are sent “Let’s get together soon.” or even worse, no mention of getting together happens because the person is having another crisis and can’t fit you into their plans at the moment.  Excuses are constantly made and you know they are lying to you.  They post photos with other friends, manage to find time to get together with them, and continue to hold you at arm’s length.  Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is not that full.
  4. Something feels completely and totally “off” every single time you talk to them.  You either have great intuition or perhaps you ignore it, but if it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t right.  Just to make sure, you try to get some clarity from mutual friends, but be careful here.  They might be the one causing the wedge to begin with.  Never say anything you wouldn’t say to that person.  There are way too many lies out there and you don’t need it in a friendship.  At least that is how I operate.
  5. They have a new love interest or fling…and that’s all they talk about.  At first, you are tolerant of it because you understand new.  But months, or years later, they are still taking this guy everywhere, or inviting you over and he shows up, or he wants to tag along on a “Girl’s Weekend” and not give you the space you asked for prior to the trip.  Warning!!!  Warning!!! Juvenile behavior ahead.  Who knows what she is telling him.  Who knows what she tells you that she tells him <<< see that shit right there.  High School.  All of a sudden you keep getting these very bad feelings about the whole thing and you know for a fact that it’s time to go.

This is the hardest part.  What comes next?  Suffering is Optional.  << Read that for more.

So back to the quote, I close with my conversation from “J”.  Forget with generosity…let’s let them go from our lives.  No hard feelings, no negative energy or regret.  Just let them go from our lives graciously.  Those who cannot love us: The word cannot is the key.  They were, for whatever reason unable to love us in the way that we need.  It could be because of personality, circumstances, different phases of life, whatever.  But they literally “could not” love us.  <<< that’s some good advice right there.

Letting those people go consciously and peacefully and without animosity gives us a certain freedom instead of hanging onto that anger, hurt and frustration.    <<< Look at my friend just Yogi the hell out of this for me.  I was like say what?  This is a blog post.

3 Tips on Learning to Release What Weighs You Down

let_goYesterday my friend from Inner Sanctuary: BE Inspired and I led the most amazing workshop called New Year|New Moon Let Go and Look Forward.  I planned the yoga session on releasing and unwinding while Lindsey planned the most amazing meditation and journaling session.  With just a few short phrases designed to make us think about what our worst moment of last year was and why we felt that way, I was able to see what I feared most about the situation.  I don’t mind telling you that the worst moment was actually learning that a friend’s cancer came back.  She asked us to think about the feelings surrounding that and write down a few words to describe it.  Previous to this, Lindsey asked us to write down our best moment and words to describe it.  My best moment was completing yoga teacher training.

So Lindsey asked us if we saw parallels…were the words on the opposite end of each other?  I immediately saw the connection for me.  As most of you know, I have battled invisible disease for a long time.  I know what it feels like to get bad news from a doctor and to think that there is no hope, even if it’s just that split second where they tell you the news.  So for that split second when D told me her news, I felt what she felt.  Okay, maybe longer than that because that is what I do…but after that, I was like no.  The opposite feeling is my best moment.  I felt strong and healthy.  I knew that was what I wanted for my friend and I knew that the feelings surrounding that were what my group of friends worked so hard on trying to create for D.

It was very powerful for me to see what exactly I want to create for my circle of friends as well as myself.  It was powerful for me to see why I had to let go of friendships that didn’t want the same for me last year as well as why I had to let go of any residual feelings surrounding feeling weak or hopeless.  I was now in the zone to create the opposite.  The circle of women yesterday were trying so hard to get past whatever was blocking them that I knew that’s why I had to let go of the past.  Whatever is meant to be in your life will find a way.  I believe that.

3 Tips on Learning to Release What Weighs You Down:

  1. Envision the BEST version of you and what that looks like and feels like.  Lindsey had us look into a mirror and see the worst version of ourselves and the best.  We forgave that worst version of ourselves and thanked her for getting us to the point where we are today.  It was empowering to forgive her.  We then embraced the best version possible of ourselves.  We allowed her to step fully into the light and move forward with us.
  2. Explore the feelings behind what is weighing you down.  Not the actual thing, but what is it about those feelings that is holding you back?  Why are you holding onto those things?  Do you think you can imagine a better outcome?  It is too late for that now, so release the feelings, but instead work towards the opposite of how that made you feel.  If you need to, thank that situation for whatever good it taught you and use it to move forward from that place of pain or unwanted emotion.
  3. Make a new plan for the best version of you.  This is the part where you really have to be diligent in what you allow into your space.  This is YOUR space and sometimes things are easier said than done.  I know this.  You might not be able to control the outside situation, but you can control your thoughts and how you react to things.  If you are about to react in a way that would not propel you forward, as I have said in the past, try hard to make a different plan.  An example would be one I use for my yoga students…come to the mat and the rest will take care of itself.  Don’t worry about what you CAN’T do.  Instead focus on what you CAN do!

I received a wonderful compliment yesterday after my yoga flow.  I wasn’t sure what the new student was going to say, but she said is that how you always teach yoga?  Me: Yes?  She then proceeded to tell me she loved how I integrated the entire mind/body connection into the class.  I truly believe that yoga is a very powerful healing tool and it teaches us to move in a flowing meditation right on our mats.  We learn NOT to be concerned about what the person is doing right near us.  Not to be concerned about body image, or our abilities.  I fully believe in focusing on what you can do and to take that knowledge and move forward into the best version of you for this coming year.  I know that you can do this!

For more on the mind/body connection, read about my 4 Weeks to Wellness course here.  NEW!  See the Head|Heart|Health tab for more help.

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How to Create Space to Breathe.

How to create space to breatheDanielle LaPorte says “Letting go makes way for something closer to your truth…which is always more beautiful. Always.”  Did you know that you can even let go of plans, appointments and commitments in your life?  Well you can.  I am giving you permission to say no to being over-programmed.  Your kids too.  Let’s begin this process shall we?

It’s Friday!!  Woo-hoo I am so excited to sit down and relax.  But wait, I have to pick up Johnny, then take him to a sleep over, then dry-cleaning was ready, but no, that doesn’t work because it’s not on the way…wait, crap!  Did I agree to meet someone for cocktails later?  I think I did.  I said I needed to relax.  When all I want to do is go home.  Let’s see.  I will relax tomorrow!  But wait, I have to take Mia shopping and then pick up Johnny, and then Mia has a soccer game.  Maybe tomorrow night, yes tomorrow night, I will rest.  Did someone ask me to play Bunco?  Okay, Sunday.  At least I have Sunday.  But I agreed to host family dinner didn’t I?

Clearly, I made all of this up based on imaginary mom thoughts…or did I?  Does this sound like your thoughts?

How can we create more space in our lives to just breathe?

  1. Just say no.  I know this is the most obvious, but it’s like a drug campaign and you need to repeat it.  Saying no to guilt about disappointing others is something I have already tried to teach my daughters.  It’s not easy.  It is practicing self-care, and that’s important to your mental health and well-being.  It really is.  What is the worst thing that will happen if you say no?  They won’t invite you?  Well good.  You just created much-needed space.
  2. Write down your perfect night.  This one might seem silly if you don’t journal, but it actually helps you to stay focused on what you want and not lose sight of it.  Sometimes, what other people want, sway our decisions.  We want to feel loved, popular, liked, maybe even honored to be invited to so many things.  But ultimately, we get caught up in the rush.  It’s okay to stay the course on your vision.  My Club practices this and they say it’s a real life saver for their weekends!!
  3. Pencil in a date…with you.  Yesterday, I had a list 2 miles long of things I am trying to complete in the next 2 weeks.  I might be launching some big program on here.  It’s totally fine.  I am not quite ready…but whatever.  Because here is what I know…IT will happen at the right time.  It will still be there when I am ready.  So I took some time and made a date with a friend because I wanted to see this new little bakery.  I enjoyed speaking to all the shop owners in this spot…and they told me what having a store front is like and living your dream.  It was a needed date with myself to reflect on where I am going with my business.  Plus I got time to chat with my friend face to face, which I am big on.
  4. Say YES to things that make you happy. If you are saying yes to things that actually don’t make you happy, examine why?  Is it because I am lonely and want more friends?  Do I not feel supported at home?  Do I not like down time, because I am unsure of myself?  Start thinking about activities that make you feel alive.  Jot down 3 things you would like to see happen in your life.  Make space for them.
  5. Just breathe.  I am breathing in.  I am breathing out.  Just focus on the breath.  Take a few moments wherever you are.  The desk.  The car.  At night.  But create that space in your life for the right things to show up.  Visualize your whole body relaxing.  Let go and make the way to something closer to your truth.  Not the truth of others.  It’s important to know your limits and boundaries.

Want to create more space for Gratitude in your life?  <<< Try this out.

Click to read more about letting go.

 

The process of letting go.

What does letting go look like?

The inner process of letting go is different for everyone.  Inside of us, we start to feel a change happen.  Attachment to things that we once felt were important might start to shift.  We start to realize that something we once held an attachment to is no longer serving us.  We have to be open to the process of releasing attachment to the outcome of certain situations, thoughts, patterns or even habits that no longer serve us.  This can also happen in relationships and jobs as well.  The whole process is scary, I know.

Two years ago, through a series of decisions about what was best for my health, I made the decision to walk away from a job that caused me great stress as well as compromised my weak immune system.  I was a classroom teacher and I loved it.  I loved the children, my class, the books, the decorations, and the feel of lesson planning.  However, there were many other parts to the job that caused me great stress.  I was always sick.  I always used up all of my leave every single year which meant I went into leave without pay.  It was time for me to reflect on what my future was going to look like if I continued getting worse off.  I knew the answer already.  There would be no future for me if my health continued to decline.  I was giving everything I had to the job, and very little remained for me to give to anyone else, including my family.

Signs that letting go is needed:

  1. Impatient and/or frustrated with something that used to bring you joy.  We find excuses instead of happiness with the “thing” we need to let go of.
  2. Sadness and/or anger begins to replace all the good feelings and thoughts you once had about this habit, relationship, or job.  The sadness of parting might lead the way to anger…especially if you feel that this is an unhealthy attachment.
  3. Future you has started forming in your head.  You start to imagine what the future looks like without this habit, relationship, job, etc. in your life.  You realize you are not only doing well in the future, but that you can actually be happy without this attachment.
  4. Contentment and relief begin to come over you one day when you realize you don’t have to hold on to your view, size of your house, or need to be right all the time.  You can actually let it go.  Who cares what anyone thinks?  You are doing what is best for you.

Need a bit more? 

Getting off the Emotional Roller Coaster

Mindfully Free of Wanting People to be a Certain Way

3 Key Tips to Moving Forward

While the process is different for everyone, ultimately, you know when it’s time to move on.  It is a continuous process and we must constantly refocus our thoughts on the present moment lest they go back to old ways, paths and habits that we are working to leave behind.  Forgive yourself when this happens, but be determined to keep moving forward.  If you struggle with this to the point of needing assistance, check out my group here >> The group with soul.  <<<

Letting go

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