Peace comes from within ~ Buddha
Years ago, my bff and I began saying this to each other and actively began practicing the ability to reflect on how we participated in each discomfort that we experienced. The effect has been both devastating and profound. I am constantly amazed at how I can look at changing my reaction and engagement with the circumstances of my life. It has changed the way I engage in relationships, it has changed my approach to money, it has changed the way I respond to peoples criticisms and expectations of myself. This simple belief and sentence has been a catalyst for some deep and meaningful shit in my life.
There are things in life that can make self reflection difficult to focus on: anything from money to jobs to relationships, family, and living situation. Basically life. I am a firm believer that you can have both a life and self reflection. It just requires sacrifice and carefully gauged expectations. We are not required to be perfectly enlightened or miserably unhappy.
THE EFFECT OF MENTAL RESTRICTIONS ON OUR MENTAL HEALTH
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Our mental restrictions that create time restrictions or our time restrictions that create mental restrictions?
There are so many fast tips to being happy out there that are actually just more restrictions on how much we should enjoy life to one day earn the ability to feel free within ourselves. Suffer and you shall gain glory. These restrictions may help us feel in control, but the truth is that the more restrictions we place on ourselves the more we have to tiptoe through our own lives. The more external things that we need to manage rather than managing our internal relationship to our external world.
We get told over and over again that our happiness is dependent upon our bodies, relationships, jobs, food, exercise, community, money, etc. LIES! Our happiness is dependent on how we choose to relate to the things outside of ourself.
There are a myriad of things that can help us begin this process, but the first one is taking time to be quiet enough to listen.
We often function by all or nothing mentalities which builds mental restrictions for things in our life that we would like to work on. Gauging our reality and pushing the boundaries gently to give ourselves space to understand our emotions and our reactions can help us feel more rejuvenated. We just have to insure that we don't try and commit to a 30 minute practice each day if we have young kids, or two jobs, or one demanding job. It would be more appropriate to say "I will take 6 slow breaths at 1130am before I eat my lunch reflecting on how I might feel at that moment in time". That sounds much simpler right?
So, where do you begin?
Just do it.
Maybe try not beginning it like a New Years resolution with so much gusto that you will certainly burn out within weeks.
Here is how you can begin: 15 minutes a week. That is 3 minutes a day. Or 5 minutes 3 times per week.
You can even begin a guided practice and set a timer for 3 minutes and once the timer goes off you stop the video and move on with your day remembering that it is not the completion of the video that defines your practice, it is beginning the practice that matters and sticking to it for the time YOU designated.
Making our habits manageable is the only way we can and will achieve our goals. James Clear wrote a book called Atomic Habits and he gives some very good tips on how to create new habits in a way that you can stick too.
Next week I will chat about why I choose breath work and yoga as my reflection modalities and what other options are out there for you!