Today is going to be the best day of my life!

 
 

Like the well-known saying, “you are what you eat”, I believe the same to be true for our mind. That is, “We are what we think”. If we think life is wonderful, then it will be wonderful. If we wake up with the mindset “today is going to suck”, then my friends, that too will be the case. Our minds, our thoughts, shape our lives. They determine who we are, what we do and how we stand in the world. I’m pretty ruthless in my opinion about this. I believe we live in a world that has become so mollycoddled with messages of what we would like to hear rather than what we need to hear. Let’s just say, my students absolutely know this of me. There is nothing fluffy about my classes. I’m direct. I challenge my students. Why? Because this is where the strength of the mind develops. Not by me babbling meaningless words to people in an attempt to sound more spiritual. Spirituality comes through being strict with our mind, a whole other topic I shall discuss another time.

In my previous career, I’ve worked with countless clients who blamed the world for their lives not shaping up to what they expected. Everyone but themselves were at fault. Rarely did people stop and consider, “hey, I have the power to change my situation. No one else can do it for me.” It was shocking and (quite frankly) terribly sad to see clients’ years later still complaining about an incident from 5 years prior, blaming it for a ruined life. They’ve chosen to stay in the past, rather than move on.

Our ability to choose is one of the greatest gifts we possess. Our outlook, our perspective, shapes how we feel in any given moment. If we choose to look at a grey, windy, cold day as horrible – then it will be so. Or, if we look at rainy days as cosy, exciting and snug, suddenly it doesn’t look so awful. It’s all about perspective.

How often do you hear someone complain about the weather? It’s either too cold, or it’s too hot. It (the weather) can’t win! It’s never good enough. We always seem to find a negative way to look at the weather. It’s a simple example, and deliberately so. Just placing this amount of negative energy into our mind is enough to drag us down. We need to be careful about what we feed our mind. Observe that it’s cold. Sure. But don’t complain about it. It’s in the complaints that negativity breeds and becomes all-consuming. This is where we need to actively choose to think differently. It’s all the little, what appear to be insignificant comments/thoughts, that lead to a dissatisfied day. A dissatisfied week. A dissatisfied life.

I don’t proclaim to have my shit together. Because believe me I don’t. I’m human too! But what I actively, mindfully do, every day, is look for the good in everything. Even crappy experiences - what was the good or the lesson from it? Because there is always something good! Ask yourself, what could be done differently next time? You see, we cannot control what goes on out there. But we can control what goes on in here (pointing to my head referring to my mind). We can choose a mind full of happy stories or horror stories. Considering there are enough horror stories out there, why not choose happiness? At the end of the day, it takes less energy to smile than it does to cry or being angry.

A positive mindset is a commitment. As it can take work (especially on those days that push every button!) there are daily activities you can do to maintain this mindset. From journaling, to smiling deliberately, to meditating, there are many things we can do to cultivate a positive mind. For me, I’ve found the practice of gratitude to be the most profound. Before bed and every morning before practice I write what I’m grateful for. It could be as simple as waking up to a new day, making the perfect cup of tea or enjoying a conversation with my partner. I find this sets the tone for my day and helps my mind to relax at night. Gratitude is a powerful tool to creating happier, more fulfilling lives.  So with that said, I challenge you to find your tool that helps you remain positive and use that tool daily. Challenge the negativity of yourself and others. These are habits we can choose to let go of. Through the practice of gratitude, meditation etc you will quickly notice as they (negative thoughts) become less and less. And life will begin to appear much brighter – at all times of the year.

Sending hugs,

Jessica xx

In pursuit of a kinder world

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga
 

Kindness. What does it mean to be kind? What does it mean to be kind to ourselves? What does kindness look like when bestowed upon others? These are important questions I believe we could all take a moment to sit and reflect upon.

Many people have asked why I’ve chosen to open a studio that operates solely on the generosity of the students who come to practice there. Who come to be a part of this community. My answer, is a “dream for a kinder world.” I’ve always liked to believe people are innately good. Whilst some say this is a naïve belief, I like to think it is true. My career in Rehabilitation introduced me to a very negative, angry world, an experience I am truly grateful for as it has very much contributed to the person I am today. I found through my work, that judging others for poor behavior, harmful words or actions was never going to lead to a successful result for the client or myself as their Consultant. Instead I sought to understand. I wanted to look beyond the behavior or words to learn why someone was behaving in such a harmful way (to themselves mostly). When I took the time to get to know people and learn of the difficulties in their lives, I saw the human. The soul. The heart that had been covered in stress, worry and pain. This is who they truly were/are – not their words or poor actions.

Now, to be clear here, seeking to understand a person’s underlying motives does not excuse bad behavior, but this attitude to my work helped me to connect with people as I was genuinely empathetic to their situation.

I found people often just needed a soft place to land. When life is stressful, we can act out. We become defensive, aggressive and feel hopeless. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes a mere flicker if it exists at all. But when someone is there to remind us of the possibilities we are capable of, to encourage us to get up every time we fall, to help us feel we are enough when everything in our being makes us feel worthless – then I believe a kinder, more compassionate world can exist.

My mission with Jessica Dewar Yoga is to make the studio this soft place for people to land, especially when they are facing challenging times in their lives. I want people to feel like it is OK not to have their shit together. To feel accepted and enough, just as they are. We are so hard on ourselves nowadays, always feeling like we’re not doing a good enough job – parents feeling like they’re terrible parents, students worry their grades are not good enough, business owners fear taking a coffee break will see their business collapse. We all need to have space to take a step back, breathe deeply and just slow down – and for that to be ok.

At the end of the day, we are all fighting the same battle. Life is tough. But life is also beautiful. Through cultivating a community committed to supporting one another along this journey, regardless of how vastly different it may look from one person to the next, then I believe that kinder world will exist – purely through increased awareness, a more relaxed state of mind and healthier outlook upon self-love. Happiness is not a destination. It is a state of mind and if I can do anything to help others feel that little bit happier in their lives, then I consider my work, my cause to be a success.

Do you feel life is just that little bit too much at times? What do you do to try and manage the daily stressors of life? I would love to hear from you and by sharing your story your healing others to realize they too are not alone. We’re in this together.

Sending huge hugs and love,

Jessica