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8 Life Lessons For This Moment

8 Life Lessons For This Moment

Change is an interesting concept. When we view a change as good, we welcome it, even strive to achieve it – but when we view it as bad, we turn around, run away, and do our very best to resist it.

We live in a world that bombards us with change: ‘Change this so you can do this’ or ‘Change this so this will not happen.’ ‘Change this to be happy’ or ‘Change this so you will not be sad.’ It is hard.

These mini life lessons are not major changes to make, they are simple things to be aware of for those of us seeking more connection to right NOW.

1. Give more hugs

This should be an easy one right? But then why isn’t it? We all know that moment. We run into an old friend, but then we wonder how good of friends we really were, but we only have five seconds to decide if we should hug them. It can be awkward.

Well let’s take the awkward out of it. Just be the person who goes in for the hug. We can hug the people we see everyday (okay, maybe not our bosses) and hug the people we haven’t seen in years. Be the hugger.

Take time to hug yourself. Literally. Wrap your arms around yourself and show yourself some love.

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Human beings need five hugs a day- at least! So go out and get started!

2. Don’t label, just love

This is a hard one. Go ahead and reflect on the last time a label has really served anyone, including ourselves. Labels put people in boxes. Nobody wants to live in a box, but, unfortunately, we label others and ourselves all the time.

As a yoga teacher, I find myself often thinking “okay, what would a ‘yogi’ or a ‘spiritual person’ do in this situation?” I am trapping myself inside a box of labels. I ask myself how I should handle the situation based on the label I have given myself rather than my truest self which is rooted in love.

The question to ask is: “What would love do?”

The truth is we are all a lot of things that we think we can describe with words, but we are all also a lot of things that words cannot do justice. Lets promise ourselves to be aware of how we use our words and the boxes we put ourselves and others into with our labels.

3. Surrender

Sometimes I feel sad and I don’t know why. Then I feel sad, because I feel sad. Then I feel anxious because I do not know what I will stop feeling sad. So in the process of all this I have created multiple emotions for myself to deal with rather than just one.

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Here is the promise: promise our hearts that when they feel joy- we will welcome it, but when they feel sorrow- we will also welcome that too. The battle between what our mind wants and what our heart feels is a tough one, but it is also a very important one.

Let’s surrender to our hearts. Give ourselves permission to feel what we do not want to feel. Sometimes we have to sink down a little, in order to rise up even higher. There is suffering in life, and that is okay.

4. Enjoy the space in between

Life is not about waiting for the next relationship after a break up, or a new job after the last one did not work out. Just like yoga is not simply about the postures, but more importantly the space in between the postures.

Rather than waiting for something in the future, enjoy where we are right now.

5. Listen to our bodies

Our bodies are always talking to us, we just have to learn how to listen.

My junior year of college I began to suffer from anxiety. I would wake up Sunday morning, after three nights of binge drinking, and feel like I could not breath. Getting out of bed was not an option, but staying in bed I would spiral down into a hole of self pity. I felt trapped.

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The way I was living my life was clearly unsustainable. My body was begging me to please stop pouring poison into it. It took me about three years to learn to listen.

As I have listened I have become in tune to other things. How does my body feel after spending time with certain people- drained or renewed?

I have not become an expert listener, but the more I listen, the more I find I am happy with the choices I make.

Listening to our bodies does not mean we have to make sacrifices. It just means we are becoming more in tune to our needs and our truest self.

Our bodies are always ease dropping on our minds, and therefore they hold a lot more answers than we may expect.

6. Be our best selves

This one seems pretty simple; try your hardest, be kind, be authentic.

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Not so fast- this one comes with a bit of a challenge: being our best selves means accepting that our best selves may look different everyday.

Sometimes my best self wants to eat a salad for dinner, and other times I really just want a couple slices of pizza. Sometimes my best self makes it to 6 am yoga class, and sometimes I hit the snooze button for half an hour instead. As human beings we show up differently everyday- and that is beautiful.

We make decisions we are proud of and we make decisions that make us want to hide in a corner. Ask yourself- did I do my best? That is really all that matters.

7. Put yourself in time out

As children, being sent to sit in a quiet room for five minutes alone was a punishment.

Now, to many adults, it probably sounds like heaven.

So next time we need a little break (and if we are listening to our bodies, they will tell us)- just put yourself in time out. Go sit in your car for five minutes (No phone!), and breathe. Go hide in the bathroom for five minutes- do what you have to do! Take a time out.

8. Trust

Trust is the magic. Trust is what allows us to enjoy the space in between. Trust is all about the little things in life. Trust.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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