This past Friday was not like any ordinary Friday evening at work. My eyes were opened to various life threatening stories from a few of the patients in the rehabilitation unit. I decided to facilitate a group focused on uplifting and inspiring the patients as well as allowing them to create connectedness amongst one another. The group began with patients sharing a brief story of what their lives have consisted of “in a nutshell” and what has brought them to the rehabilitation unit today.
I was amazed at the stories told and how much I did not know about these patients. I began to feel selfish… but at the same time extremely lucky. I felt as if the problems in my life were so small compared to other circumstances I could be in. However, I felt lucky to be able to hear these stories to become aware at such a young age of how challenging life can get. From hearing a story of how one man has lost his leg, to a story of how one woman has raised a family all while facing cancer at the same time, I was inspired. Not only by these stories, but by how these patients were still able to carry the faith that they do and work with what life has given to them. Once again, my patients are inspiring me even at my own inspiration group.
From this experience, I realize that there is truly a story behind everything and everyone. I realize the importance of keeping an open mind and practicing acceptance of others.
A daily reminder to be mindful before making a judgment, we all have a story and are simply doing the best that we can right now.
With the help of one of my patients, I have realized the true importance of forgiveness and its ability to bring one to a higher sense of peace and happiness.
This past week I have had the pleasure of getting to know an incredible woman who has opened my eyes to various key life lessons. (I could spend all day writing about the many things she has taught me!) One message in particular has allowed me to realize that forgiveness is generally not practiced enough. It is something that is usually difficult for any human to fully embrace. It is most definitely easier said than done or easier to avoid.
This woman has had some extremely tough life experiences, yet she still manages to remain the happiest and most positive person in the room. She has lived a low income lifestyle, undergone physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, and has fought Stage 3 Cancer for the last twenty years. All of this being said, she has not once commented, “why me” or allowed herself to be broken down by any situation.
Through her incredible faith and ability to forgive, she finds the strength each day to keep moving forward as best as she can. She expressed to me that if she has learned one thing throughout her experiences, forgiveness is one of the most important concepts in life. The moment she was willing to forgive, she felt a heavy weight lifted off of her shoulders and the motivation to move forward each day. She has cultivated forgiveness for those who have hurt her along with forgiveness in herself. She is truly an inspiration to me and I am so incredibly lucky that I have got the chance to connect with her. Who knew my patients would be inspiring me more than I inspire them?
Even though it may be easier to avoid, allow your shoulders become a little lighter today…who can you forgive?
“Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.” -Brene Brown
I have just finished the chapter “Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough” in the book “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. In this chapter, she talks about the concept of love as an action rather than a feeling. This steered me to view the concept of love from a different perspective. I realize how often we tend to throw around the word love but do not always remember to practice it. She talks about the difference between professing love and practicing love. This sparked my awareness that love is something that we practice, words are simply not enough. I realize that it is more important how we act towards ourselves or others we love on a daily basis.
We may love ourselves or another person, but do we practice it every day? From experience, I am aware that it is extremely easy to become lazy with the ones that we love and most importantly ourselves. I am aware that if we allow ourselves to become lazy, it can easily effect other aspects of our lives. This chapter has drawn me realize that it is a priority to cultivate self-love and self-acceptance. If we practice self-love or self-acceptance on a daily basis, it is also easier for us to practice love with others.
Usually the first thing I do when I get on the train is put my headphones in and open up my book. Today, I stopped to take a moment to glimpse at my surroundings. Observing the person sitting across from me, the person across the aisle, eventually making my way to all of the people in my line of sight that were in the same section of the train. I began to deepen my thoughts, questioning what they did before arriving on the train, where they were going, what their career was or what their life was like. I admit, I was most definitely overthinking. However, this steered me to notice that I had no awareness of what any of these people’s lives consisted of. Yet, I did realize we all had one thing in common this morning. We all made it onto the train and were on the same commute at 7:30AM from Grand Central Station. From this, we can create a sense of connectedness amongst one another.
I also referred to this concept when I ran the NYRR women’s 10K this past Saturday. Before we took off for the race, I began to think about how I did not know the other women in this race, but we were all running the same race, for the same cause, and for the same experience. I felt that we didn’t have to know each other to feel a certain sense of connectedness amongst one another. During the race, I focused on the idea of women running together, not against one another. As for this race, along with life, instead of seeing each other as competition, I realize that we can see each person as motivation or support.
These are just two simple examples that infer how often we come across the concept of connectedness with others, and we may not take the time to realize it. We can never tell what one is experiencing, but there is a high chance that someone you come across today is having the same experience as you, or has had the same experience once before. When we look at the world in this perspective, we can feel further support and a sense of comfort. I am currently working towards cultivating the courage to be imperfect and allow myself to be vulnerable. If you’re anything like me, this does not come easily. Although when we notice the concept of connectedness, we can allow ourselves to realize we are not alone, we are not perfect and we are all merely only human.
As for today & every day, practice compassion and cultivate connectedness with the individuals around you.
3 ingredients to focus on in life to allow us to be the best version of ourselves…
•Emphasizing on the present moment → the only moment that we can control is right here, right NOW.
•Focus attention on our own lives → than become a source of happiness to those who are right here everyday.
•Dedicate ourselves to the welfare and happiness of all beings → by developing strong compassion for other beings we will lose our hatred, jealousy, envy and craving.
I realize that developing a wholehearted lifestyle is not a onetime choice, it is a process. It is a journey of a lifetime. Although, my goal is to bring awareness and clarity to the choices I make each day. I continue to remind myself of these points daily. By cultivating these into your lifestyle, you may realize that you were longing for a life of living and loving with a whole heart.
After all…this is the month of radiance and joy…SO BE IT!
A mantra that should be taught to us from the moment we arrive on this earth. Each day we may face agitations, disappointments, or obstacles that are temporary and may even disappear quickly. There is not much else to do besides providing a simple reminder of these three letters or words – L.G.O. (Life goes on).
Turn your attention to one thing you can be grateful for in your life right now.
About a year ago, I decided to become more familiar with yoga. I needed and wanted to create a healthier sense of balance in my life. Instead of running miles, I spent more time on my mat. Instead of running from my thoughts, I spent time sitting with them. I was fascinated by the mind-body connection that I experienced when I was on my mat. I felt supported, comfortable and in my safe haven. I continued to go to yoga classes toprepare me for my yoga certification course in July. For three weeks, 12 hours a day, I was living, breathing and falling in love with the practice of yoga. I became so captivated and passionate towards everything that it consisted of. My mind and body were exhausted, but my heart was so full. This opportunity allowed me to grow my practice immensely as well as form inseperable bonds with others. This course helped me to become aware that yoga was beyond a set of various poses, a workout, a way to become flexible, or a way to stretch. It led me to realize that it is practice, a lifestyle and a strategy.
The practice of yoga continuously reminds me that I am seeking wholeness, not perfection. Through pranayama, meditation and asanas, I am able to decrease my suffering. I am able to effectively use relaxation techniques and mindfulness to assist me throughout each day and night (sleep – if you know me, I’m an insomniac). This lifestyle continues to assist me towards presence, enlightenment, contentment, positivity, balance, self-love, compassion, non-violence, acceptance, openness, perspective and a peaceful state of mind. It also assists me to find a greater connection to my spiritual faith. It allows me to release from the negative energies such as self-judgment, hatred, anxiety or anything else that does not serve my mind or my body. I strive to acknowledge and surface any pain or problems that I may be experiencing.
I am aware that yoga will not solve my problems or stop life from being difficult. I still face struggles that are extremely hard to overcome. Although, yoga allows me to embrace my humanness and provides me with the faith that leads me to a happier, healthier life. I will continue to deepen and strengthen my practice each day.
Most importantly, I feel grateful that I get the opportunity to share my passion for the practice of yoga with others. Whether I am working with patients at the hospital, individuals who have developed post-concussion syndrome, or teaching basic yoga to any individual, I am convinced that the healing benefits of yoga are endless no matter what one may be experiencing.
I wish for every human in this world to find their gift, passion, yoga, something that gives you hope, happiness and healthiness, then share it with others.
anicca. /ˈænikə/ noun. (in Theravada Buddhism) the belief that all things, including the self, are impermanent and constantly changing.
I see various examples of the concept anicca every day when I am working with patients in the rehabilitation unit of the hospital. I am currently working with a man who is a writer and has just lost all ability to use the hand that he writes with. He expresses his frustration and that this is the longest he has ever gone without writing. This has become an extremely difficult change in his life at the moment. I can’t imagine one day suddenly not being able to do something that I love or have been doing all of my life.
To me, the concept of anicca is difficult to acknowledge at times. I am living and learning to accept the impermanence that occurs around me each day. I am aware that whether it is our physical state, mental state, where we live, the people around us, relationships we hold, our occupation, and so on, everything in our lives is constantly changing. Throughout the past couple of months, I have taken the time to notice changes as they come and go. The book “Living Your Yoga” by Judith Lassiter suggests to write down everything that has changed in the past three months and later on look back on it to see if those things have now changed. This allowed me to be mindful and notice how frequently various aspects of our lives are changing.
Throughout my yoga practice, I have intended to work towards accepting the concept of impermanence. I have come to the realization that if we cling to the idea of everything staying the same, we will in turn increase our suffering. If we fear impermanence, we fear life. As I focus on breathing throughout my practice, I realize that even no breath is the same as the last. Each breath is different from one another.
All of these thoughts have left me to examine this concept with a more open-minded perspective. Even though we may undergo difficult changes, each breath provides us the ability to start fresh, new and become present. It becomes easier to accept change when we notice that each breath provides us with a second chance to accept, regain, restore and find growth in whatever situation we may be in.
My heart continues to grow each day as I witness patients overcoming the drastic changes they may be experiencing. It is inspiring to see each patient regain their abilities and better themselves each day. Take time to notice the impermanence that is occurring in your life or may have recently occurred. Take the time to be grateful for the changes that have allowed you to start new and led you to happiness. As for the difficult changes, allow yourself to find acceptance or find the ability to grow with a second chance.
As I read the book “The Healing Power of Mind”, I am learning and understanding how powerful the human mind truly is. I have become aware that the true nature of the mind is peaceful, whole and enlightened. I realize that it is the external factors in life that we get caught up in that can cause us to become imbalanced and create suffering.
This perspective on the mind provides me with motivation and leads me to question- if we all started out in a peaceful state, why not find our way back?
Through awareness and practice, we can allow ourselves to let go of the worries, stresses, attachments, hatred, desire, illusions and ignorance that have stepped in the way. When we observe and notice what is getting in the way, it becomes easier to let go.
From experience, when I take the time to step back from the chaos and become mindful, I am at a higher sense of wholeness within myself. In my eyes, every human deserves a whole life. Take the time out of your daily routine to notice what may be getting in the way of your ability to be peaceful, whole and enlightened.
“ahimsa” – absence of violence from ones mind, the act of non-harming.
I was introduced to this word for the first time during my yoga certification course and it has had a strong impact on me ever since. The concept of ahimsa is to be used on and off of the mat. Ahimsa can be used towards ourselves as well as with others. It is simply living to peace.
When using the concept of ahimsa towards myself, I am able to create compassion and freedom. It allows me to release from feeling I am “not doing enough” and become aware of exhausting myself to the point to where I increase harm and lack self enjoyment. It allows me to ask myself “am I serving or harming my body?”.
I decided to revisit the meaning of ahimsa this week because I feel that we can always add this powerful concept into our lives in some way. Whether we are practicing it with ourselves or ANY living being. If we practiced the concept of ahimsa every time we spoke, took action, had a thought, etc. we would be filled with only peace. Unfortunately, this is not reality. From experience, certain feelings we experience can most definitely get in the way of this. So if we want to, we can choose to become aware of this concept and use it to our best ability.
I am eager to try to grow the practice of ahimsa towards myself and others. I plan to start by doing less and being more, practicing asanas at the speed of my body and not my mind, creating an “ahimsa” day and reminding myself of this concept when I am communicating with others.
How can you add ahimsa into your life to add a little more peaceful living…?