Keep Moving Forward

It is easy to feel powerless in this unpredictable world.  After an especially hard day at work, even the simplest misstep can feel like a catastrophic failure. From car trouble to  balancing the budget and trying a tough yoga pose to new food choices, chances are we have all felt that sense of uncertain ineffectiveness. We have all been the guest of honor at a pity party for one, and we have all noticed that this mindset is a little too easy to access.

Image courtesy of the gals at oh happy day... and also my brain, occasionally.

not feelin' myself

It's when we just aren't feeling ourselves. Something inside feels dissatisfied and our thoughts spiral into a negative space... a dark space. I think it's helpful to think of this as a phase, like the moon. That way we remain unattached to the feeling, freeing ourselves to move forward when the time is right for us to shine again. But sometimes it's not that easy. Every now and then we get pulled into a really heavy slump. So how do we encourage ourselves in these dark phases? Perhaps during this time we can reflect on our habits and consumption to notice what is feeding us. As we give ourselves space to dance in the shadows, we also give ourselves permission to boost our self love back to Level 10: Feelin' Myself.

feelin' myself

Don't you love those times when we really are feeling ourselves? Not just in a catchy pop song we jam on the way to work type of way, but an authentic, knowing thyself type of way.  We are doing the things we love, spending time with people who nourish us, and engaging in meaningful work. It is when we are feeling satisfied, productive, and joyful that our light is shining brightest. So brightly that it is probably noticeable to others. A beacon, if you will. They can tell that you are feelin' yourself.  They might say "Wow, you look radiant!" And you'd glow even more because that is the best compliment.  Someone noticed you shining out light, and now they are infected by it too! That's what happens when you embrace your radiance, and all of the shadows that come along with it.

Clever shadow doodle by artist Vincent Bal... Peace out!

if not you, who?

We are so fortunate to get to share our energy with the world as we expand outward. Yet we are also incredibly vulnerable as we open and invite it from others, contracting inward. This reciprocal nature of giving and receiving energy is conceptualized in the meaning of Namaste: The divine light within me honors and sees the divine light within you. When we notice light in ourselves, and when we can see that light in others, our exchange stokes the light. This inner light is tended by all of our interactions: family, coworkers, friends, strangers, animals, nature. And by ourselves, the fire ranger on duty. 

What kind of fire ranger are you? Do we blow up our fire at the first hint of confrontation? Or do we diminish our light so that others are more at ease?  If we can maintain our balance we can shine in our own unwavering bliss, regardless of the circumstances. The yoga pose won't cease to exist because we are challenged by it, so why sweat it? Instead, cultivate  a state of mind so strong that even when things seem to be going awry, we're able to stand in our power with radiant focus.

So what's the trick? How do we snap out of our mid class funk after a peak pose that was challenging? How do we come back to balance after an unpleasant interaction with another person? Keep moving forward! It takes R.E.A.L. effort to dance ourselves back into a state of bliss. Four efforts, specifically. And boy do I love an acronym. It is one of my favorite tools to create patterns for learning. So let's get R.E.A.L. with these 4 tools to extend our energy, stay present, and maintain radiant focus on or off of the yoga mat:

Remember to breathe

INHALE radiance, EXHALE criticism! Remember the basics. Remember what you already know. Remember your resources. Move your breath beyond auto pilot. Breathe intentionally & sharpen your focus.

Engage your core

On the yoga mat? Draw your naval up and in, towards your lower ribs. Feel the core hug tight and notice the support this yields to your limbs. Apply this off the yoga mat when feeling frazzled and out of control. Hug towards your center and acknowledge its source of generative power. Charge up each limb to radiate as it interacts with the world.

Allow for rest

To protect your energy, it's okay to say No. To a pose, to a person, to a situation. Listen to your body. Allow yourself not to answer a call or a text. Give yourself permission to be alone. Let yourself take Child's Pose.

Laugh it off

really is the best medicine. When we can stop taking ourselves so seriously, we
have more freedom. Freedom to try again, freedom from labeling ourselves, and
freedom to make light of a sticky situation.

The next time you're in a situation that has you feeling powerless, tell yourself to get R.E.A.L. and keep moving forward (and for a lighthearted pick me up movie night, see Meet the Robinsons asap)! With this R.E.A.L. approach to a yoga practice and to a light-filled life, we have permission to embrace wherever we are in our journey. Remember that while many share the road, we are the only ones who can walk our path. Some days the sun is shining and some days the road is dark. It might be long and winding, it might go on forever while the party never ends, and it might be made of yellow brick. Embrace your journey, wherever you are in this moment. Whether today we take giant leaps or baby steps, may we be fueled by the source of our radiant power.

Please feel free to email me with input or questions towards this discussion. You could also share your comment below… maybe you’ll inspire a fellow reader.  Speaking of readers, thank you for being one. It is a fantastic and fortunate habit to have. Namaste, friends!

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