Photo by William Farlow on Unsplash
I’ve practiced yoga for over 12 years, and I consider myself a beginner in many ways. Some poses I consistently do well, like the warrior poses. Others I struggle with, like crow. Why I am still shaky on that after 12 years, I just don’t understand. Some poses I have never even attempted, like headstand. I can freely admit that I am afraid to try it because I have visions of breaking my neck. One pose that seems easy but I haven’t fully mastered yet is shavasana, the rest pose.
Why would it be hard to rest? One might ask. This pose isn’t just lying down. It’s releasing everything in that moment and being in complete surrender. It is a conscious choice to surrender. How many of us choose to consciously surrender?
Many of us confuse surrender with giving up. In fact, they are two different things. Giving up is throwing your hands up and refusing to believe in anything or actually do anything. Surrender is allowing things to unfold and accepting what happens regardless of whether or not it is what we think we wanted. It’s acceptance without scrutiny and without judgment. It’s making peace with the reality that has presented itself before you. Is that difficult? Absolutely. I’m still learning. I haven’t fully learned how to silence the catastrophist in my head that keeps me from attempting a goddamned headstand. But what I have learned is questioning, condemning, and lamenting makes matters even more difficult. It disrupts the moment and takes you away from it.
One of my favorite things to do is walk in nature. I explore hiking grounds and parks wherever I can. One of the best lessons I learned about surrender was when I took a new path in the woods recently. Many times, when I take new paths, I have a fear of getting lost. I don’t fully enjoy the walk sometimes because I am anxious about getting lost and how much time that will take up.
Recently, I took a new path and just decided to enjoy what I was taking in. I thought to myself: It’s not like it’s the Alaskan wilderness, where I could die if I got lost. Even if I do get lost out here, I will still find my way. It will just take longer. No big deal. When I did that, I found I was excited to keep going forward and seeing where it would take me. I found that the path took me right to where I parked, and I got there quicker than I thought I would. I just let go, enjoyed, and got to where I needed to be.
When I just let go and find ways to enjoy whatever I am doing without concerning myself with the end result, it goes so much smoother. It’s all about the experience, not just the outcome of it. The outcome is either a lesson or a blessing. If you haven’t beaten yourself up along the way, most times you’ll find a blessing.
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
This is a guest post by Rev. Adam Stoudt.
How many times have you relied upon the opinions of others to make your decisions? One of the first things you have to do when you trust yourself is to stop relying so heavily upon the opinions of others. Do you find yourself analyzing every decision in your head before you make it? If so, this means you are not trusting your inner core or your own intuition. When you come from trusting your own intuition and core, you’re coming from that place of truly trusting yourself.
When you begin trusting yourself, you will go through struggle because you’re so used to second-guessing yourself. It takes time because you have to build a sense of awareness of trusting the process. Know where you’re at emotionally.
Here are the steps to making decisions you can trust:
2. How do you feel about it? Good, bad, or indifferent?
3. What are your options? What are the pros and cons of each?
4. Ask yourself if you are coming from a pure place or a place of ego.
5. Make the decision and be confident in it no matter what others say.
You can experiment with it in different situations. Just follow the steps. Healing yourself, listening to your inner child, and loving yourself are crucial parts of trusting yourself and healing. Each case is different. It can be internal or external. Each situation is unique in its own way. Situations involving others are a little more tricky as we need to be careful as to how our decisions affect others, as well as ourselves. Trust is not only about the situations or decisions we have to make, but also about knowing ourselves and sometimes looking at things we don’t want to claim. Our ego has a lot to do with this. When we accept the good and the bad within ourselves, we can establish a healthy balance and better trust.
Adam is a spiritual adviser and healer. To learn more, visit: www.howpsychic.com
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
Not too long ago, someone I am close to asked me who I trusted. Without a second thought, I said, “Me.” She cocked her head to one side and said, “Good answer.” Then, she told me her therapist asked her that question, and she rattled off every one of her family member’s except for herself. It didn’t even occur to her to name herself. At one time, I wouldn’t have named myself either.
Does it occur to most people to put themselves on that list? Are we really taught to trust ourselves anyway, especially if we’re female? I am the youngest of 8. Any time I wanted to make a decision about anything, my well-intentioned mother would almost instantly tell me to check with my brothers. They always knew better. I’m sorry to say, I drank the Kool-Aid on that one.
Ironically, it was one of my brothers who made me spit the Kool-Aid out. I don’t remember what I was asking him.. He essentially told me to figure it out myself. Then he said, “You don’t take a piss without asking me first.” I didn’t like him saying that at that moment. But later, I had to admit the truth in his words. Of course, he could have said it nicer, but my family generally serves truth without a chaser.
When he said that to me, I looked back on all the times I didn’t believe in myself and didn’t trust myself. When I just finished grad school, I went to a job interview and saw someone I knew interviewing for the same position. I immediately thought he would get the job and gave one of the worst interviews ever. For what? Because I thought someone else was better and had a better shot than me.
Then, I started to look at the things I had accomplished in my life. How I taught myself so many things and did so many things I set out to do in my life without struggle. Someone told me later that trust was a muscle. You had to use it to build it. That’s exactly what I did. Now, I don’t assume someone is better or knows more. Now, I know I have as much to offer as anyone else.
As I reflected further over time, I realized how spot on my instincts were about so many things. TImes when I was actually right. It made me wonder why I was so hesitant to trust my own judgment at times. We have so many voices in our head that talk us out of things before we push ahead. How many of us have said when we listen to our gut we’re never wrong? Then, why does it take so much for some of us to trust ourselves? Some of us assume everyone else knows more than we do. When it comes to what’s right for ourselves, no one knows us better than we know ourselves. We have to know what we know.
I took time to understand these things. Now. if someone asks me who do I trust, I’ll tell them all day long. Me.
Until next time...look behind and beyond the veil…
Photo by Michael Felton
A few years back, a colleague told me I was a “real task-master” to myself because I told her about how if I am not doing something "productive" I monitor how much time I am spending on it. She looked at me and asked me if I would want a supervisor to do that to me. I immediately thought no. When I got home, I thought about what she said a little deeper. I don’t like to be micromanaged on the job and have someone look over my shoulder asking what I’m doing. Why am I doing that to myself without a second thought? The answer to that I realized, much later is that I never really learned how to be gentle with myself. I could be gentle with my students and explain something 20 times, if necessary, but I couldn’t be gentle with myself for spending 20 minutes watching Youtube videos I like. Then, I thought: why do other people deserve my patience and compassion but I, myself, don’t? Of course, I realized right away that I do deserve patience and compassion from myself but it didn’t show up in my actions towards myself. I needed to practice self-love. The key word there: practice. You may not get this right the first time. You may not get it right the first 100 times. But you will get what you need. I did.
Here are 5 steps to self-love:
1. Honor yourself.
Accept where you are and what you want to do on any given day. If you are tired and don’t want to do something, don’t judge yourself for it. If you would rather play than do something "productive," don’t condemn yourself. I’m not saying don’t go to work for 10 days and get yourself fired. I’m just saying not to be hard on yourself for what you want to do and don’t want to do in any given moment.
2. Give yourself what you need.
If you need sleep, sleep. If you want to take a break from something, do it. If you know there is something you need, let yourself have it. You don’t always have to “suck it up.” Respect your own needs just as you would respect anyone else’s.
Take time to sit, and give your mind a break. Take anywhere from 2 minutes to a half and hour. Some people do it for longer. I have an uncle who is as old school as they come. He is the Indian John Wayne, and he meditates. He once said, "I take 2 minutes. I don’t think about nothin!’" If he can take time out for that, anyone can.
4. Be mindful of your self-talk.
Pay attention to your thoughts, especially if you are working on something. How kind are you to yourself if you make a mistake? I’ve called myself an idiot in my head countless times. When you look in the mirror when you get dressed, is the first thing you think of a criticism? I’ve caught myself doing that and realized that I would never say to another person the things I think about myself. The kindness you reserve for others you deserve yourself.
5. Compliment yourself at least once a day.
Give yourself praise when you do well. Maybe when you look in the mirror find something you like about yourself and say it. Lately, I have been complimenting my body instead of immediately focusing on flaws. Most days the first thing I think of is what I like. That didn’t always happen. Now, I feel so much better first thing in the morning.
Until next time...look behind and beyond the veil…
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer