It’s in our nature to ebb and flow in life - to experience both pleasant and unpleasant times.
Of course, everything feels so wonderful when things are going our way in life - when we’re ‘in flow’. Yet during the ebbs - when things may not feel like they’re going our way anymore, our experience with life feels a little more tense and constricted.
We become unclear, uncertain. Perhaps even overwhelmed, anxious and full of emotionally reactivity...
We get confused about what our next best step in life is.
If we don't catch it, the downward spiral continues. When we resist life and tense up, access to our inner Knowing constricts. The more we don't know what to do, the more we tense up and resist life. Our wise intuition further constricts...and so on it goes.
While it’s natural for us to want to avoid life’s unpleasant moments, it comes down to our relationship with these moments that determines how fast we’re able to turn unpleasant moments into pleasant ones again.
In fact, it’s in our discomfort that the jewels of our own clarity get birthed.
One of the gazillion benefits of yoga (yes I'm positive there are that many, ha!) is that instead of striving for and forcing out answers to life's problems, we ignite the power that already exists in our body, breath and mind, to make way for wisdom to drop in.
We lean in a little closer to any areas of discomfort, and layer by layer unveil what’s true for us again. We get clear on what we need to do in this human life to live in alignment with our own soul.
This is about DOING less, and BEING more.
Yes it’s true...those wise answers that you’re looking for will drop in without you having to DO anything!
Well, ok. There are a few things to put in place. But they’re super practical and EVERY body can do this.
Here, I’ve written them down for you below:
1. Move your body in some way everyday with presence.
Ten minutes of yoga on the mat EVERY day is better than two hour-long classes a week. It’s the consistency of the practice that will reap you the most rewards.
The moment we begin to place the mind’s attention onto the body, we very quickly become aware of areas of tension. We say hello to hunched shoulders, stiff back, and tight hamstrings. No judgement, instead with an acknowledgement that they exist in this moment. Then watch them release gradually in their own with time anyway, now that you're aware of the tension.
Here, you're already tapping into a deeper wisdom (spacious awareness) that notices your physical state. Now you have the power to direct energy there and create a different outcome.
2. Be aware that you're breathing in and out.
Without having to do anything with the breath or control it in any way, just place your bare awareness on it’s natural rhythm. This is a super fast-track way to step your state of being out of striving and seeking, and into a much more relaxed state of allowing life to unfold with ease and grace.
Do this with your breath, and you’ll be well-versed to give other areas of your life the same approach.
3. Observe your thoughts and emotions.
Bringing movement into the body and noticing the breath is a great foundation to transform our entire state of being, including the nature of the mind.
Notice constriction in your body and breath, and you’ll naturally start to become aware of constrictive thoughts full of judgement and opinion (some of these may be valid, yet it’s guaranteed more than 90% won’t be).
When we come to this place of watching over or observing our thoughts we are tapping into our wisdom body, and creating fertile space in the mind for seeds of clarity to be planted. This is our inner Knowing, which has all the answers for us on how to skilfully act in life next.
4. Live with intention.
Knowing the meaningful values that you want to live with, supports you to navigate life with integrity and clarity.
In yoga, the Sanskrit word for intention is sankalpa which translates to ‘vow of highest truth’. We can use our sankalpa to guide us as we make decisions and take the next steps.
Have an intention of kindness?
Ask, how can my next move be born out of kindness?
Have an intention of peace?
Ask, what would the next peaceful step in this scenario look like?
Sometimes answers don’t come straight away and sometimes they do. What's important is to know the difference between patiently waiting for and surrendering to the answer to drop in with trust, versus avoidance.
Sometimes the answer is confronting and means creating a big change or shift in your life, that may affect others. So it can actually feel easier to rest in indecisiveness, uncertainty and confusion instead.
We might feel worried about how others are going to react if we speak up and take action on our Truth, so we avoid it and suppress it.
Or perhaps you're feeling the pull towards a decision, yet you're unsure of what the other side of your decision looks like, so you'd rather stay in your current situation.
Both ways point to suffering, and the longer you hold out on your soul's Truth, the more painful it becomes for you and others around you.
The longer we avoid or suppress our soul's truth, the louder the knocks of life tend to become in an attempt to get us back in alignment.
You'll experience the Truth as a felt sense of a 'yes' or 'no'. That felt sense comes through being body, breath and mind-aware (hello yoga!).
We carry our body and breath around with us each and every moment that we're here and alive - it's time to start honouring these tools and listening to their wise messages.
What does a big YES feel like in your body? Where do you feel it coming from?
What does a big NO feel like?
Position yourself to see the ‘bigger picture’
While yoga on the mat comes highly recommended from me (of course!), another great strategy for loosening confusion and making way for clarity is to take yourself into nature where you can see something expansive.
Then just notice the natural rhythm of the breath. That’s all.
Go somewhere you can watch over the big sky. Watch over the broader landscape from a mountaintop. Sit by the rivers edge. Visit the shoreline of the ocean and feel into its scale.
All you need to do is be with the greatness of nature, and breath in and out.
Without having to do anything, you will be shown where you’re holding onto unnecessary tension in your body, breath and mind.
Constrictive thoughts and emotions will rise to the surface of your inner world. It’s like the inner storm before the calm and the clearing - your inner nature recalibrating with the outer, expansive nature.
From a practical perspective, perhaps you may need to make room between you and another for a while, until you can see things clearly again.
Maybe you need to take a short break from that work project.
Try clearing out old clothes from your wardrobe, and items from the kitchen and linen cupboards no longer in use. Consider the objects you keep in your home and question if they’re there just to fill the space, or if they bring purpose and meaning to the space in between the objects.
Notice what you say yes to when you really feel like saying no. For just one day document every task you undertake and how much time you’ve invested in it, and then reflect on what’s really worthwhile and what’s not.
Getting clear now
Begin to notice confusion, uncertainty, overwhelm and emotional reactivity, that comes with our resistance to what is.
See it and honour it as our way of expressing our deep desire to get back in flow with life, and to reconnect to what’s truly meaningful for us.
Move your body, notice your breath, be aware of thoughts and emotions, and get intentional.
Now you're ready to say hello to wisdom.
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