Mindful Living: Be the Change You Want to See in the World

While I was reading Jolene Hart’s book, Ignite Your Light (2020), yesterday, I thought a lot about my personal energy, and how I influence others around me in my day-to-day life. I often wonder if I am the type of person who lifts others up or brings them down with my energy.

Jolene Hart stated in her book,

“I love Maya Angelou’s observation that ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ That feeling is energy. So, how do you make others feel? What energetic effect do you leave in your wake? Personal energy is a choice, one that you reaffirm hundreds of times over the course of a single day.”

Jolene Hart, Ignite Your Light

When I pondered the type of energy I wanted to cultivate in myself, I thought about my role as a teacher, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and human being. What is the first thing I want people to feel when they are around me? The answer came almost immediately.

Light and Kindness

I want to be the type of person who enriches others, and meets them where they are. Though I will not always agree with life choices or standards others may have, the one thing I can do above all else is stand by my beliefs in a way that isn’t toxic.

I don’t know how many people who read this are empathic but you may understand how it feels to be around toxic, negative, and overbearing people, whose energy takes over and drains you. I’ve been around plenty of people who find out I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and verbally attack what they think I believe or don’t know about my church.

When this happens, it is mentally and emotionally draining and damaging. If I’m not careful, the empath in me goes into overload, and it sometimes takes one to two days to slug all the energy off.

It’s dawned on me recently that I can be that type of person too if I’m not careful. These questions often pop up in my mind: Do I automatically bar my hackles if I find out someone is of a different religion? How does my opinion of someone shift if I find out they are gay, or have made similar types of decisions?

I can easily become a toxic and negative influence in the world if I make allowances for unkindness towards those who don’t believe as I do. That is the type of person I DON’T want to be. I feel there are too many instances on and offline where people find fault in others’ beliefs or opinions and brutally attack them for it.

For myself, I want to be the kind of person who people can turn to even if we don’t see eye to eye in everything. In fact, I think it would wonderful if those types of things didn’t matter.

Above all else, I want my energy to be like light filling up the room. One of my favorite literary characters is Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket (1998-2006). She is the type of person people want to be around because she sees them and loves them where they are. So many people change and grow because of her and not because she sermonizes or pushes them to. They change simply because she became the place they could go home to and feel safe. 

I’ll finish this post off with one last quote from Jolene Hart.

Spreading bright energy doesn’t have to be as involved as gifting a bouquet of flowers or treating a friend to lunch: you spread light simply by embodying it yourself.

Jolene Hart, Ignite Your Light

I hope the new year is treating everyone well! As many yogis around the world say, the light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.

Yoga Inspiration: Day 5, How do you flow?

“One Breath” by LaureBPaintings, Available for Purchase on Etsy!

I woke up tired this morning after a second night of tossing and turning and realized I had strained a muscle in my shoulder while I slept. Mulling it over, I decided to be very gentle in my Ashtanga Yoga practice today. Given the amount of anxiety I’ve apparently been carrying lately, I wondered how this would go.

Honestly, my practice flowed better despite my injury. I think this is because I felt very in tune with my body and adjusted my movements as needed. That got me thinking about how my body flows throughout a yoga sequence. Physical exertion is not yoga’s primary purpose. Yoga is a moving meditation. I have to remind myself of this often.

What does that mean? I know for me, it takes days like today to help me slow down and follow my body through the practice. To move or flow through a yoga practice is to conduct a self-examination and accept our imperfections and physical progression without negative judgment. I’ve always loved thinking about my physical practice mirroring my spiritual progression. If I can overcome and accept physical limitations step by step, I can free myself from distractions that keep me from moving forward.

My yoga study in Provo, Utah, is called 3B yoga. (If you live in this area, feel free to check them out!) The three B’s stand for Breath, Bend, Be. When I first walked into my studio, I was impressed with the gentle and welcoming feeling there. As months passed and I finished my teacher training there, I marveled how each of us in the class had a different way of teaching and practicing yoga. The fundamentals were the same, but our personalities gave our classes a unique feeling.

Not only does each person flow differently, but how we practice yoga changes daily. None of us ever stay exactly the same. This is comforting for me because it means I can always progress, even while doing the same yoga sequence.

So its okay to change how deep we go into poses, or how long we stay in Shavasana during our practice. May we all flow in our own unique way!

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.