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

It may be little, but it’s very powerful if you find it

I did it. I gave in and got myself a cotton mat to use in the mornings. I’m getting frustrated with how often I slip off my Manduka mat. Nothing to do with my mat itself. It’s just the pools of sweat below which cause me to lose my grip. I haven’t trained with a cotton mat before so this should be a new experience! (I’m not sure how I’m going to carry all the luggage I have back home - but I shall worry about that when the time comes). Also, our asana classes have been upped to 2 hours for the rest of our course, beginning with tonights class. So from tomorrow morning we are starting 30 minutes earlier. Hello 3.30am alarm! We will also do another Surya Namaskara marathon before the completion of the course, so I want to try and stay on my mat for this. My goodness that is going to be an intense morning!

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Today I was chatting with the owner of Depth N Green again. He is such a lovely man and always gives me tea - green with ginger, brewed for about 10 minutes and served in the cutest metal cups. Looking sharp and trendy as always in his salmon polo shirt, jeans and raybans, he sat by the entrance of the restaurant where he would virtually yell across the room to speak with me, trying to compete with the outside noise. We talked about many things to do with feeling calm and present in your life, being able to find inner peace rather than looking outside for it. All that sort of stuff. But he also shared with me a story which had a big impact on me and I hope may inspire others also. It goes something like this..

“When I was in my 20’s I wanted to visit Varanasi, so I took a bus from Delhi to go there. That is a looong way. Unfortunately the bus didn’t go the whole way. It stopped in *town name* where I then needed to catch another bus which would take a big detour to get there. I was annoyed. Really frustrated about this.

On the bus I met a monk. An American woman. A big woman. I found her to be a really inspiring person, who helped me to be a little calmer,  and we’re still in touch today (this is about 20 years ago now). While we were stopped for some food, at about 11.00pm at night, the monk and the rest of the group went inside but I decided to wait outside. I was just really annoyed at how long this was taking. I started looking up at the sky. It was a clear night and the sky was black. But I found a single star amongst the dark. I sat there for about 25, maybe 30 minutes, and starred at that star. That experience changed my life. What I realised is - no matter how dark things may get, if you can see just the tiniest bit of light amongst it, it will change you forever. If you can see something positive in everything you do, you will live such a happy life. No matter how bad something may seem, always look for the little bit of positive, because it will be there if you allow yourself to see.”

Wow. I just loved this honest, personal story he shared. Of course I’m consciously trying to be a positive person, but the way he explained this idea, although very simple, was also very powerful.

I guess the question to oneself could be: “Am I looking for the little light in the darkness ? If not, start looking”

Namaste xx


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