See the positive side to everything and you'll live a richer life.
Look on the brighter side.
Keep your face to the sunshine and you can not see a shadow.
There is always something good coming.
Keep your head up.
Everything will be okay.
I am sure that you too have at one time or another encountered one of these phrases. Kind and friendly reminders often said to us by our family and friends, teachers and coaches advising us to stay bright in spirit in times of difficulty. But how often do we actually take their advice? And what do we do with our mind and body when life does become problematic and the light at the end of the tunnel is hard to see. How do we heal, resolve, release and let go of our struggles?
Often, when we feel pain, we want to do something about it. Tell someone off, throw something, curl up in a ball and cry. We want to nurture our sufferings, yet we don't know how to do it in a healthy way. In addition, we may be ignoring the very fact that our inconveniences could be the very circumstances needed in order for change to occur. The kind of change that is responsible for our growth, that gives us the strength to move forward in life while showing us what true happiness and peace is.
The truth is that our contentment is based on our perspective. The way we see, observe and justify our own reality has an absolute effect on our state of being. If we see everything as a blessing, it is difficult to think or speak poorly about anything or anyone. On the other hand, if we see everything as a curse and have a negative attitude toward every situation, then it becomes more challenging for us to see the good in anything which makes it harder for us to heal.
"Cultivate a positive attitude and all problems will heal overtime."
Easier said than done, right?
Only in the beginning.
Like any new hobby, job, relationship or home, we are automatically turned off by qualities that make our experience a bit uncomfortable. When we are shown a way other than the way that we are used to, we have a tendency to put up our guard. Protect ourselves from change before ever stepping foot into water.
I remember several incidents when training with a new Yoga teacher, how resistant I was to trying things their way. Something inside of me would hold on so tightly to my old ways, in fear that their technique was wrong or that their new way would go against my own practice.
"I am happy with my practice. I am happy with my life. Why would I need to change anything"?
I would mumble to myself.
Resisting these new ways had nothing to do with my teacher being wrong or right but rather with my own stubborn attitude. After several journal entries, I was finally able to identify that in my attempt to protect my own identity I created an inner battle protesting any new influences or anything that signified change.
But overtime, as I continued to practice, my resistance to change slowly began to melt away. I became a better listener and observer, I grew more patient as a student and more wiser as a teacher.
All of life seeks some form of balance, including ourselves. In the same way that the sun and moon share the twenty-four hours, we too must create harmony between the mind, body and soul. Yoga, with patience and practice can help us generate a state of equilibrium. Having a home practice or training with a teacher is a great way to keep it cool during the holiday season - or any other time of the year.
Sometimes making the time for our mat can be difficult so here are some easy quick and easy techniques to cultivate a positive attitude during the busy season:
See the good in more things and people, including yourself.
Be open to change and remember that life is all a matter of perspective.
The energy that you invest into your life is the very same energy you receive back, so choose wisely.
Believe that you are enough as you are.
Embrace every moment; staying present is the best way to calm the mind.
First, love yourself completely. Then share that love with others.
Keep it simple, don't make things more difficult than they need to be.
Smile more. Smiling naturally creates positive vibes and relaxes the muscles in our face.
And Remember: practice and all will come.
Images in text: Jennifer Arndt Photography