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5 Ways To Love The Present

5 Ways To Love The Present

The present is certainly fleeting and wonderful, but it can also be a little terrifying sometimes. There are often situations we are faced with that we do not have the tools to deal with. Liz Arch from Mind Body Green is here to share five ways to love the present no matter how scared you are:

Recently, a small black mole appeared on my ankle. I had a sinking feeling when I saw it. A biopsy and a personal call from the doctor confirmed that the spot was indeed cause for concern and I would need surgery to remove a larger section of the surrounding tissue.

I got the news the day before I left to lead a weeklong yoga retreat in Maui. I wouldn’t be able to practice yoga for at least three weeks after the procedure, so the doc told me to enjoy my vacation and we would schedule surgery when I got back. Enjoy my vacation? Obviously, the doctor didn’t know me well enough to know that you can’t say the words melanoma and enjoy Maui in the same sentence.

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My mind instantly started spinning. One moment I was blissfully packing for a trip to paradise and the next, I was packing for what might be the last trip of my life. My thoughts dragged me down a slippery slope of what ifs. What if it’s cancer? What if the surgery doesn’t remove it all? What if I need chemotherapy and lose all my hair? What if I need to have my foot amputated?

Each thought was feeding on the negativity of the last, sending me down a deep, dark rabbit hole. The fact that my mom died last year from cancer only made the rabbit hole deeper and darker. As I boarded the plane to Maui, I asked myself the most important what if. What if I released my fears and allowed myself to be fully present? My retreaters deserved my full presence and so did I. The truth was, I felt great. I could still spread my toes on my yoga mat, stretch my arms up to the sky and breathe in gratitude for the blessing of this moment.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali tells us “Heyam duhkham anagatam.” Pain that has not yet come is avoidable. If we allow our present to be filled with the fear of future suffering, we suffer twice.

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As author and activist Corrie ten Boom beautifully put it, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” There is no more powerful medicine than making peace with the unknown of tomorrow and saving our strength for today.

As I sit here writing this, the dull ache in my ankle from the surgery I had upon my return, reminds me that I am still alive and more whole than ever before. And that rabbit hole? It no longer exists, because this time, the call from the doctor came back all clear.

Here are 5 ways to let go of your fears and embrace the peace of the present:

1. Practice yoga.

Yoga provides a physical outlet for the release of emotional anxiety. The mind has a hard time wandering when you’re firmly anchored to the presence of your body and your breath.

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2. Meditate.

Find a quiet space to sit still and just be. Be present to the sound and sensation of your breath. Observe your thoughts and let them come and go without attachment or judgment. If you feel yourself starting to identify with a thought, simply draw your awareness back to your breath to ground you in the present.

3. Every day, write down three things for which you are grateful.

As Eckhart Tolle says “Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.” Eradicate your fears by inviting gratitude and joy into your life.

4. Acknowledge & accept.

That which we resist, persists. Sometimes the simple act of acknowledging what we fear is the most powerful way to release us from its hold. If your fears are rational, like a serious illness, first accept whatever the situation is. (Note that acceptance does not mean giving up or giving in!) Use this acceptance as a way to move into positive action.

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5. Try light visualization.

Darkness cannot survive in the presence of light. When you feel dark thoughts creeping in, visualize yourself as light. See a tiny ember of white light glowing in your belly. Fan this ember with slow, rhythmic breaths and watch the ember grow into radiant white light. Let this light radiate out from your center, flooding your entire body in a brilliant bath of healing light.

Liz Arch is the creator of Primal Yoga®, a dynamic yoga/martial arts fusion class that merges Vinyasa yoga with the artistry of Kung Fu and the grace of Tai Chi into a creative and mindful flow. She is an athlete for Respect Your Universe and has over ten years of experience in various yoga and martial arts styles, including Power Yoga, traditional Northern-style Kung Fu and Yang-style Tai Chi. She teaches free yoga to women who are survivors of domestic violence and is a proud advocate for A Window Between Worlds, the only national non-profit organization that uses art as a healing tool for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. Connect with her online at www.lizarch.com, via Facebook or Instagram.

5 Ways To Love The Present No Matter How Scared You Are | Mind Body Green

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

4. What are my goals in life?

Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

6. What do I not like to do?

An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

“What do I want to do with my life?”

So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

Reference

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