The Power of Gratitude

To live in a constant state of gratitude is to be content with all-that-is.

Only when we make peace with all-that-is are we able to rise above, or overcome all that we consider to be negative in our lives. The situations within our own personal lives that we consider to be negative are only negative because we choose to perceive our circumstances through that lens. When we create a shift and recognize the reasons to be grateful for all that we have, we then begin to realize that where we are is actually pretty good!

Give to receive. That is law.

Whatever we give is what we shall receive. Whether it be love, judgement, fear, or gratitude; Whatever goes around comes around.

The power of living in a state of gratitude typically tends to be pretty underestimated. I’ve found this aspect of my life to be so important now that the last thing I say before I go to sleep and the first thing I say as soon as I wake up in the morning is “Thank you.

When we teach ourselves how to be thankful for all that we have, we also open ourselves up to allowing and receiving that same type of positive energy. If we only focus on the things that are “wrong” in our lives, then that focus will allow those types of experiences to continue. 

I know how easy it is to slip into the ego’s tendencies of complaining about all the things we claim to dislike in our lives. I know how easy it is to slip into thinking about how good our lives would be “If we just had…“, and I know how easy it is to slip into negative ways of thinking when things don’t go our way; But it is still our choice whether we want to focus on the positive or the negative.

It is, and always is, that simple of a decision.

Some ways that one can practice living in a constant state of gratitude are:

Starting a Gratitude Journal

This can vary from writing a list of at least 5 things you are grateful for every day, to keeping a journal dedicated to gratitude.

Saying “Thank You

This can be saying “Thank you,” right before you go to sleep and as soon as you wake up in the morning, to simply becoming aware of saying “Thank you,” to people in general.

For Every Complaint, Find Gratitude

Every time you catch yourself focusing on complaints, become aware of at least one thing that you are thankful for. Make the shift.

 

These are just a few examples that work for me, but like always, the list can go on forever and it is important to follow whatever path works for you personally. All my love and best wishes, thank you.

 

The Art of Being

There is no trying, only doing.

The moment one “tries” to be a certain way is the moment they get lost in the process. 

The beauty of simply being is that one doesn’t have to try or do anything. This is what some would call, “going with the flow”. It is the art of intentionally transitioning into a state of allowing and acceptance.

When we try to act, or even think a certain way, we are also unconsciously establishing the implication that we have to do in order to be. But we are already complete as we are.

Although it is important to recognize that through this natural process, awareness is powerful. Being is not simply giving up and falling into a state of unconsciousness, in fact, when we are in a state of being we are becoming more aligned with our higher consciousness. When we allow things to flow naturally, it is important to do so with the presence of awareness so we also become conscious of the things that were once running behind the scenes as unconscious patterns.

So being is not simply a doing in order to gain a temporary sense of relief from our lives, it is a way of livingOnce we begin to live life in this constant state of flow, it creates the shift into becoming our natural state. There is no more trying, there is no more “If I could just achieve this, I will finally be complete,” there just is, and that is a beautiful thing.

Becoming Non-Reactive Towards Thoughts

To observe thoughts without judgement or criticism, only with the presence of love and compassion, is to become aware of the truth that thoughts have no power over the way we feel, unless we allow them to have that power through reaction and ego-identification.

Of course no one would consciously want to give their thoughts the power to cause them suffering, that is why it is unconscious behavior. When one brings their awareness to the fact that thoughts do not have the power to cause them suffering unless they react to them, they then become conscious of it, and it is then no longer an unconscious pattern.

Some get as far as becoming aware of the thoughts that arise, but then lose this awareness by falling into unconscious reactivity; such as convincing themselves of “I should not be thinking this, I am wrong for thinking this” or truly believing that the thought has something to do with who they are (ego-identification), thus inducing emotions such as sadness, anger, regret, or fear.

The thoughts that we tend to react to the most are usually linked to a negative false belief system that we have recurrently convinced ourselves to be true (even if it is far from what is true), which then becomes ingrained within our mental structure. This false belief then influences unconscious cyclical patterns of thinking that we assume we have no control over, but we do.

When we begin to sit with these thoughts and look into why they arise, instead of fighting against, resisting, and trying to avoid them, we can then bring our awareness to the root cause of why these thoughts make us feel the way they do, and make the shift from unconsciousness to consciousness.

Let go, and Let Flow

Resistance of the flow happens when one allows fear-based thinking and negative emotions to take control, which causes suffering. When one ceases to resist and allows the natural flow to occur within them, without judgement or retaliation, inner peace takes over.

To make inner peace is to cease the fighting within. To allow, to forgive, to accept, to love. There is a saying that we usually make ourselves own worst enemies, that is to say, we judge our minds and our own egos the harshest. The things that we tend to judge in others, whether we’re aware of it or not, is usually a reflection of how we feel about our own identities.

We all inherently have the desire to come from a place of authenticity, but that is a difficult task when most of don’t even know how to be honest with ourselves. This is not usually intentional, but we have trained ourselves so well to avoid thoughts and feelings that make us uncomfortable that, for most of us, it has become ingrained within our mental structure.

When we become aware of the reason behind why certain emotions, thoughts, and feelings arise, instead of falling into the self-constructed pattern of judgement and escapism, the path to freeing oneself of the suffering connected to these certain emotions, thoughts, and feelings then becomes apparent.

We then realize that these thoughts, feelings, and emotions only have the power to effect us because we allow them to, because we give it our attention, whether we’re aware of it or not.

To fall into identification with things like thought and emotion is to allow thought and emotion to determine and have power over how we feel, and this includes how we feel about ourselves. This is to resist the natural flow of what is, to resist all that is love. 

When we allow these things to flow through us without judgement or fear, only with the presence of love and acceptance towards anything that arises, we then allow it to come and go, to pass through us instead of holding onto it with our attention. We then learn how to let go, and let flow.

Practicing Unconditional Self-Love

When one begins to practice unconditionally loving them self, they are also nurturing a positive relationship between their mind, their body, and their being.

Unconditional love is not something that can be obtained, or a goal that is to be reached. Unconditional love is something that we as human-beings are constantly learning how to practice and cultivate within our own lives. 

So many of us often create limitations for ourselves by reinforcing self-constructed negative belief-systems, like patterns of self-doubt and self-judgement. In my personal experience, it feels much better to work towards letting go of such a mentality, and to give yourself a break.

One thing I have learned is the importance of making myself aware of the fact that it is okay to make mistakes, as long as I am able to perceive these mistakes as a lesson to learn from instead of a grievance with the power to hold me back from growing.

Instead of holding such high exceptions for ourselves, as if we’re not human-beings with imperfections, we should work towards being more compassionate and understanding towards ourselves, as we can then more genuinely express compassion and understanding towards others.

It is not selfish to prioritize yourself; if anything, once one practices loving them self unconditionally, they can then radiate that love to others,  and share it with whomever they decide to share it with.

You are already complete as you are, you don’t need any external validation to determine your self-worth, and that is truth. ♥

Patience, forgiveness, nourishment, making peace with being alone, a nice warm bath; self-love takes many forms, but at the end of the day, it simply comes down to what works best for one personally, based on their own personal life-experiences.

Trust in whatever feels right for you, and everything else will begin to fall into place.

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

During these chaotic and unpredictable times occurring in our world right now, it would be beneficial for anyone to have some kind of practice or routine to ground oneself, instead of allowing oneself to gravitate towards and feed into fear and negativity.

Every individual has the power to make a difference in this world simply by living from a state of higher consciousness, and being a conduit for peace, love, and positivity for all of humanity. We all have the choice of whether we want to bring healing or suffering into this world, but in order to radiate positive, loving, and healing energy towards others, we must first love and heal ourselves.

Yoga is a simple and efficient grounding technique that has been around for ages.

I do a series of simple stretches every night before I go to sleep to ground and align myself, and because it helps me to release any tension being held in my physical body.  One of my favorite poses that I do every night is Standing Forward Bend, as well as West Stretch Pose (or what some would call Seated Forward Bend) which has made doing a full Standing Forward Bend much easier for me.

STRETCHES: Hamstrings, Spine, Calves, and Glutes

WEST STRETCH POSE (Paschimottanasana): West Stretch Pose is basically the same pose as Standing Forward Bend, except one is sitting down, so gravity is not the main focus as it is in Standing Forward Bend. Practicing this pose every night will help to stretch out one’s hamstrings and glutes, which can often be a tight area for most people. Stretching these areas will also help to make it easier and work towards doing a full Standing Forward Bend.

STANDING FORWARD BEND: Like most poses, Standing Forward Bend has variations so anyone can practice this pose and receive the benefits. With daily practice, one can eventually master doing a full Standing Forward Bend, which is not always an easy pose to do for people who are just starting out.

But mastering a pose is not the goal here, the goal is to feel good and take care of one’s body. Mastering of poses is just something that you obtain through the process.

In Standing Forward Bend, gravity is doing most of the work; lengthening and releasing tension in one’s neck and spine while simultaneously stretching the glutes, calves, and hamstrings. Although you probably most often see people in this pose with their hands on the ground or pressed against the calves with their legs straightened, there are also variations where the legs are bent, or where one just allows their head, torso, and arms to hang down while  extending their spine and keeping their legs straight.

Continue reading Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

The Power of Presence

Guide your attention towards being within the present moment, be content with what is.

For me personally, nothing is more important than being content within the present moment. Once one learns how to be satisfied with what is, or in other words, once one learns how to simply be, then awareness and inner peace have room to move in.

It may sound simple, but bringing all of your attention to the present moment is not always an easy task.

Like anything that can be mastered, it takes practice. Our mind consists of many thought and reactive patterns that are constantly playing through our heads on a daily basis. Sometimes we become so used to these thoughts and ways of reacting that we don’t even realize they’re there playing in the background.

We often forget that these thoughts are just thoughts, not who we are. When we take on thoughts as our identity instead of a passing production of our minds, we’re allowing our egos run the show and therefore slip into a negative cycle of judgement towards a part of ourselves that doesn’t even really exist (except as a mental construct within our own head), which often leads to more unnecessary suffering.

When one becomes conscious of the present moment, they simultaneously become aware. If you practice meditation, one way you could identify this awareness as a reference is as “the space between,” that calm and peaceful sensation that arises between each passing thought.

To forgive and let go of the past, to cease placing so much importance on the future, to be here now at all times, to be content and satisfied with all that is, there are many different paths to presence, but the goal is all the same. 

This post was inspired by Eckhart Tolle, one of my greatest influences.

We Are In Control

The only suffering one experiences is the suffering that they allow.

One is in control of how they react to any situation, as well as how they react to their own thoughts. We all have the ability to observe and change our own reactive patterns. These reactive patterns are often linked to some type of emotion, which can sometimes cause one suffering (although not always!).

By changing the way one reacts, one can stop allowing thoughts and situations to have power over their emotions.  

Awareness of Thought

Don’t believe everything you think.

Sometimes people can be so used to repetitive negative thoughts and identifying with thought that they begin to truly believe certain negative thoughts to be true, when in reality, they have nothing to do with the Truth.

Once one becomes aware of thought, they then have the power to recognize what thoughts bring them suffering versus what thoughts bring them inner peace. Once one makes this connection, they can then let go of the thoughts that induce nothing but negativity, and focus more of their attention and awareness on their positive thoughts.

One can try letting go of what no longer grows them, serves them, or makes them happy.