What Sustains Us

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This week has felt like an eternity. It’s hard to believe it’s finally over. After working from home most days for months, having a full week at the office with a packed schedule was insanely exhausting. And it looks like I won’t have any less work to do next week either. I consider myself someone who is very easily overwhelmed. So it’s a miracle I’ve been able to keep it together so well this week. It’s been a struggle though.

I’ve been trying really hard to keep the promise to myself I made last week, to use whatever comes my way. Growth is always uncomfortable. And I’m trying to look at this week and the next as chances for growth. Even though it’s been stressful, I must admit there is something satisfying about making it though tough times. It seems like we are always somehow more capable than we think.

As I reflect back on the past few days I feel only gratitude. One of the things I’ve noticed is that when we find ourselves struggling just to keep our head above water, it gets easier to find gratitude for the smallest things. Things I’ve taken for granted for the last few months were the very things that meant everything to me this week. When you are home every day it can be easy to forget just how wonderful it is to be there. To light a candle, to burrow into soft, warm blankets while sharing the body heat of loved ones, to rest your head on a plump pillow at night once the time to rest has finally come, to lovingly prepare a hot meal, to enjoy a cup of tea. All of these things often blur into the background of life. But when it comes down to it, these are the moments that really matter. These are the experiences that sustain us, that make it all worth it.

If given the choice I imagine we’d all prefer for things to always be easy, but it’s actually the difficult times that provide the context that allows us to truly enjoy those easy moments. It always feels extra amazing to rest after you’ve been working hard, to shower after working up a sweat, to eat when you are really hungry, to drink ice cold water after a long run on a summer day. This week has reminded me of that. So as this week finally comes to a close, I am grateful. Not only for the chance to rest and recharge, but for the struggle that will make this time spent resting feel truly divine and well deserved.

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Finding Joy in the Smallest Things

This post is to remind me that today is a beautiful day. I am grateful to have it laid before me. Why should I waste these precious moments of life worrying about the distant or even not so distant future? I am here now. I want to enjoy it.

I got to stay home and sleep in on a cold, snowy Friday. What a perfect start to the day. My silly little pup got out of her collar and had a run around the neighbors yard this morning, which gave me a laugh. It also always warms my heart when she so loyally returns to me upon my call. I also decided to finally try some chocolate flavored coffee grounds I got myself for Christmas. They make a delicious cup of coffee as expected.

All of these small joys are usually forgotten as soon as they happen. Over the years I have trained my mind to overlook such simple moments of bliss. It makes sense. The brain is focused on keeping us alive. It is hard-wired to hone in on threats and danger so that we may avoid it and live to see another day. It is up to me to work on that wiring. I must teach my brain that we are safe. We don’t have to waste our energy on fear-filled vigilance. We can focus on the good in this life instead.

Even a lot of the things that I become anxious about, don’t have to be negative experiences. I can choose to focus on overcoming the fear rather than the fear itself. For example, I have to make some phone calls for work today, which always gives me a lot of anxiety. But rather than concentrate on how afraid I am, I can focus on how wonderful it is going to feel once I’ve accomplished this quick, simple task. How proud I will feel. How relieved. How glad I will be that I did my job well for an organization that I dearly love.

Even as I write these words, I realize that directing the mind toward positive things is much easier said that done. A small voice in the back of my head always scoffs at these hippy-dippy positivity posts. But I have let that part of my mind have full reign for long enough. I am ready to wrestle with it from now on if that is what it takes to steal away some small moments of happiness. I won’t give up. This is my life. And even if it isn’t always easy, I am going to keep fighting for the freedom to enjoy it. I will keep nursing these pools of love and gratitude within my heart until they are as vast as oceans. I will let their rhythmic tide carry me.

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Holding Space for the Small Victories

It is hard for me not to let my mind spiral into endless worrying every day. The more I allow myself to let that happen, the more natural it will become. Even though it’s hard right now, I want to keep trying to redirect my thoughts toward the good things. If something as small as a less than perfect home can bring me so much consistent anxiety, why can’t I spend at least an equal amount of time celebrating the little things that bring me joy?

We all deserve to give ourselves more credit. Don’t discredit the silly moments in this life that may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Nothing at all matters in that sense. We get to decide what matters. We get to decide what we give value. I won’t give up trying to train my mind to focus on the positive as automatically as it has unconsciously learned to focus on the negative. This reality I have made for myself is only a tiny sliver of the ones that are possible.

I’m going to keep working to build a new world within myself. A world where I can be happy, where my heart is light, where I can be the light. I know I can do it. It’s there inside me even now. I just have to water those seeds everyday. Even after they’ve sprouted once only to be suffocated by frost. I can grow them again. And again. As many times as I need to. Because we are all magnificent creatures who have been gifted with a consciousness capable of love, joy, peace, bliss, and gratitude. These are the things we are truly made of, and we deserve to nourish our spirits as we allow them to become our entire reality.

Today I did something small. But something that has been weighing on my mind for a long time now. Even though it may seem like the least I could do, I am going to give myself so much love and acknowledgement for doing it. It was hard for me, and I finally did it. That is truly something to celebrate. My heart is full. My mind is calm. My cup is overflowing.

Tomorrow when I meet the eyes of my students before we begin our morning yoga practice, I will share that bountiful, beautiful, healing energy with them all. And I will accept whatever is shared with me in return humbly and with immense gratitude. I won’t be distracted by the fog of uncertainty and fear. Because I know I have truth within me. I know what this life is for. This life is for breathing out all that I have, all that I am, with a full heart. This life is for breathing in all that I’m given, all that there is, with a curious mind and a joyous smile.