Blizzards of Abundance!
We spent yesterday camped out in the house. After our morning practices and some time filming (more on this later!!), we cooked a HUGE pot of bean soup, and played some math card games & connect the dots (this is a new pastime for us, Ellessia and I found it amusing to see what shapes emerged!). That's my kind of day! This was the day of the "crippling storm of the century". I don't know about you, but the sensationalism of the weather gives me quite a laugh. We ended up with about a foot of snow. A fair amount, but not exactly crippling. Now I can't speak for the entire range of the weather, some areas were harder hit. However, no matter what the snow fall, there is no need to hold the space for expectations of "crippling" weather. The storm is of course a metaphor for anything in our lives that creates upheaval and is a disruption to our routine. Our family has personally weathered several major "life storms". None of them were easy, and a few required some time to process to move forward. I have found that my daily practice helps me to weather these times more easily, and I look at them through a different paradigm. Looking for the abundance in any moment, what can I be grateful for, even though the skies are grey. We can look at any time of seeming stress or intensity and keep our center with a few daily practices:
1- Connect with your physical body EVERY DAY
This is up to your interpretation, but it means some kind of physical activity. Yoga is great, and is ONE of my own preferences, but you may the person who saves this for a weekly class, that's ok. Maybe you stretch a little bit, or you go for a daily walk (this is my other daily preference). Maybe you like to dance, hula hoop, or vacuum the house! Whatever it is, move your body and make it an intentional action and you will feel more alive. This will lower Cortisol levels- your stress hormones, and help you to manage stormy times.
Basic but essential. Take a few minutes out of your day to recognize the wonderful things you do have. I have joked in classes that having your spine and breathing mean life is good! But some days, that may be all there seems to be for you. That's ok! What is important is that you recognize the good. Maybe you wish your significant other did more for you, or that your kids tried harder or helped out more. Instead of nagging them and making a negative situation all around, what if you did the opposite? This is called "pratipaksha Bhavana" in yoga. Cultivating the opposite. You may want to nag and complain, but what if you took a mindful moment to say "thank you" for some small thing they did instead. What if you appreciate that spine, that breath, or some other personal goodie. Create a more positive space for yourself and your loved ones.
3- Repeat a Mantram
Daily repetition of an intentional phrase can make miracles. Mantra is a tool for the mind. It takes the wild paths the mind likes to go on, and reigns them in. Repetition is KEY. Whenever the mind wants to stray, pull it back by coming to your mantram. Eknath Easwaren says that taking a fast walk while repeating your mantram can be life saving. I agree.
Some sample Mantrams:
Om Om Om- Connecting to the source
Om Tat Sat- I am that- Source
Sat Nam- Truth is my name
So Hum- Oneness
Om Gam Ganapatayea Namaha- Remove my obstacles
Pick one and make it yours. Make it your best friend, your daily prescription. There are NO SIDE EFFECTS of Mantram! Test it out, and let me know how it makes you feel!
And ultimately, if times get you down, and even if your daily practices of health and wellness don't seem to aid in pulling you through. See if you can "FAKE IT UNTIL YOU BECOME IT." Sometimes you have to trick the mind to bring yourself to a place of wholeness. Put your all into feeling and being well. One of my departed love teachers, Jyoti Haansa used to tell me "Do something CRAZY". It works! It helps to rework negative patterns. You may have to fake through it, but it just may turn into truth for yourself. So turn up the music loud and dance like no one is watching. Do a cartwheel, eat something wild. Build a snow man- plenty of white stuff out there to do that with! Make a fort out of your couch cushions. JUST DO CRAZY (healthy and well, of course). And become your change.