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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.