I get a lot of people who seek me out to counsel them, to offer advice and an objective opinion regarding their circumstances…this has been a constant since way before I started my career in yoga, I suppose, because I make sure that I give someone my complete attention when it’s requested, and I give advice the way I’d like to get it – cut and dry. If a situation seems interminably convoluted, my response is usually, “NEXT!” I’m a big believer that life doesn’t have to be rife with difficulty, and that the less time we spend trying to manipulate a situation or a person into being or doing what we’d like it/them to be, the more room we create for what would make us happy on every level. I also believe that that kind of happiness, the kind that makes us grateful to be alive, is in store for every single one of us, but we have the inconvenient habit of getting caught up in our dramas and spending too much time on that which is destined to leave us wanting, instead of waving at it as we leave it behind. So I find myself offering advice. Often. And I love being that person that people can come to and be real with, because it allows me to be real with them and treat them like extensions of myself, people who not only want to be heard and understood, but who want to be communicated with at that same level of honesty.
I was thinking about writing out my Top 10 favorite pieces of insight, bits of wisdom that may or may not originate in yoga, but which certainly reflect a yogic existence, one of truth and honesty, of non-harming and of self-study. So here goes :) Here’s my Top 10 bits of wisdom to guide people through whatever it is that they’re struggling to deal with:
1) Understand that everything you have in your life is not yours. You are managing it, but you own nothing. This includes people, as well as the more obvious material objects. Once you understand and acknowledge this, you will be able to maintain perspective and humility that will keep you grounded.
2) Take nothing on trust, see everything for yourself. One person’s inspiration is another person’s misery. Never let someone else’s opinion shape or affect how, when, why or whether you approach that which draws you closer. Only you can truly know what serves you and what doesn’t.
3) Laugh. Always. Especially when you don’t feel like it. You must be able to find the humor in life, even in your darkest hours. Doing this will keep you tethered to light and life, the two anchors that can prevent you from being swept away in the tide of darkness we can sometimes encounter.
4) You are the embodiment of beauty, and of grace, and of kindness, and of light. If the people around you, i.e. family, friends, partners, work peers, etc… do not treat you as such, do not buy into the belief that you don’t deserve to be treated better. People will treat each other the way they feel they are being treated, so each and every one of us is responsible for putting out into the world what we’d like to receive.
5) Where there is no inner freedom, there is no life. If you don’t feel liberated enough to let yourself be truly seen by everyone, regardless of their reactions, then you are not fully living. You owe it to yourself and to the people around you who will be inspired by your self-awareness to step into the light and let yourself be seen.
6) Take 5 minutes a day to shut yourself into a room with no lights on and no distractions, sit down, and just breathe. This will improve your mood, your attention span, and your overall happiness.
7) As above, so below. As without, so within. Incorporate into your life the attributes you would attribute as being god-like. Look at the world’s leaders for peace: Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, etc…they all act in ways that allow the energy of the divine to flow through them. Allow what you hold in your heart to be reflected in the world around you.
8) Understand that there is no such thing as luck. There is only being in the right place at the right time, after doing everything possible to prepare yourself for what you’d like to happen so that all the elements can fall perfectly into place…but have no doubt about it, you need to work towards being prepared for what you want so that you’ll know what to do when you’re offered the opportunity.
9) Take responsibility for your life and everything that happens throughout it. Get to know who you are, and understand that self-study will bring you closer to the truth of your existence, but that we typically define ourselves through the references we hold to the people we love and the reasons we love them. Look at those references and reasons and assess what truly serves you and what doesn’t.
10) Give. Give time, give money, give love, give energy. Just give.
These are my 10 commandments…I’m sure there’s room for countless more, so let me know what you think I’ve missed, and what can be shared with the world so that people can live fuller, more complete lives, replete with happiness and contentment…I’m all ears :)
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