Resetting The Compass
This time last year I went on the most glorious family vacation to Mexico. It had been at least four years since my last vacation and I was dying to treat myself and my family to a sunny, sandy getaway!
We rented a beautiful private home where we were waited on hand and foot, pampered beyond belief and fed incredible meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was extravagant for sure, and my family and I could not have been more grateful for the experience. Though the food was out of this world, the drinks always flowing and the company wonderful, the most important thing I took away from our week long sun soaked time was a new found love and appreciation for yoga, and an eye opening understanding of the power of intentions.
Yeah I know… sounds a little like new agey, pseudo spiritual, mystical bullshit. It did to me too, for most of my life really. Certainly my adult life that is, though even as a kid I shuddered at such expressions as "I’m more spiritual than religious" or "You just have to tap into the Universe man! Everything happens for a reason". So my new found love and respect for yoga, meditation and intention work is out of character for me.
It all began with a script I was sent to read called "The Secret". I had heard of the book and was told the script was based on the concepts presented in the book. I had never read "The Secret", but had already formed an opinion on it, which was that it was probably full of crap, half truths and not worth my time.
After I had read the script however, my curiosity was piqued. There was something there that intrigued me, that stuck in the back of my mind. A kind of understanding or the whiff of understanding that there was some truth to the idea that we are responsible for our lives. That life doesn’t just happen to us, we are participants in the unfolding of it.
I decided to explore this idea a bit further, to see if I could make heads or tails of what it really meant. I spent a good bit of time on my vacation reading, exploring and trying to open myself up to inspiration and guidance. Though I learned a lot, felt a lot and was truly moved and inspired by much of what I read, I’m still, a year later, on the path to discovery. I think tapping into your true potential, your most fervent desires, your purest joy is a life long work in progress and I’m perfectly okay with that. I’m just grateful for the grace that led me to the ideas, concepts, and experiences of others and the impact they have had on my joy, happiness, abundance, gratitude and peace of mind.
I had been in a constant state of panic and fear for years, and even growing up I always had an underlying current of dread that followed me around. An unease that something bad was going to happen. If things were going well in my life, I assumed the other shoe was bound to drop. Certain experiences in my youth and young adulthood only confirmed this belief, and were probably why I started believing it to begin with. I won’t bore you with the details or my sad sap story, but I will say, that when you spend years believing something to your very core, it becomes so ingrained in who you are that you don’t even realize you’re doing it, let alone that you can change it. It becomes your truth and effects your entire world view: how you approach life, how you handle disappointment, stress, happiness and even good fortune.
Like I said I’m still on a quest for knowledge and understanding, but these books were a great place for me to start my self awareness journey. There’s much in them that speaks to me, moves me and makes sense to me. There is also plenty that doesn’t sit as well, or make as much sense. So if you decide to give them a read, do what I did and hold onto only what speaks to you and let go of the rest.
Changing negative core beliefs that you’ve had for most of your life, seeing the world through different eyes, choosing to change and grow, are very personal experiences and are totally subjective. I’ve only decide to share my experience with you because I believe no man is an island, and I have always believed that connection, compassion and generosity begin with allowing others to bare witness to your experiences, because more often than not they can relate and that relating makes us all feel less alone.
Just by chance I happened to read a script and in that script was the germ of an idea, and that germ of an idea sparked a desire to better understand, and that desire to better understand led me to research, and that researching led me to several books, and those books changed my life, or more accurately, changed me and it was about time for me to change.
Guidance and Meditation
The first book I started to read was of course "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne. I got about a third in and realized that it was a transcript of the documentary, so I watched that instead.
I found it to be fascinating and enlightening and the ideas exciting, though there are parts of it that I’m still working to wrap my brain around.
The second book I read was "The Map" by Boni Lonnsbury. I devoted my free time to following Boni’s instructions and guidance and found each step to be hugely useful and helpful in my quest for change.
Though I followed each step through as instructed, I’ve only held onto the things that truly worked for me and amended the rest to better suit my instincts and personality.
"The Map" encourages it’s readers to do some guided meditation work that I found kinda amazing. I started looking into other guided meditations and found some incredible apps for my phone. I now have easy access to tons of wonderful meditations that I can do anytime, anywhere, even if I only have 5 minutes.
I used to hate, I mean HATE, meditating. I could never embrace the stillness, I could never quiet my mind, I could never get the whole follow your breath thing, but these days there are so many different teachers and disciplines at the tip of your fingers, it’s easy to find ones that work for you.
Here are my favorites:
As for yoga, well, I had of course tried it before and had even set goals for myself to make it a regular part of my exercise routine, but had never followed through. I kept thinking it needed to be more intense, exhausting, painful and sweatier in order see the hard body results I thought I had to have. It all changed for me when my girlfriend Cheyenne, who is a certified yoga instructor among many other things, and who joined us on our vacation, motivated the group to do a morning practice with her.
I begrudgingly agreed out of a sense of peer pressure, but once the session was over I couldn’t believe how good I felt. How grounded, strong, and at peace I suddenly was. It might have been the view we got to enjoy while in downward facing dog, or my quest to center myself, but that simple 30 minute practice changed my perspective and turned me into a die hard yoga believer!
When I got home from Mexico I started searching online for videos I could do from home. I stumbled upon Yoga With Adrienne and her spirit, expertise, charm, and thoughtfulness has been an absolute God send! You can find her videos on her YouTube channel and many of them are quick enough to squeeze into a busy day. She has videos for all levels of experience so you’re bound to find one that’s perfect for you. I also love that I can do them in the privacy of my own home and at whatever time works for me.
The beauty of yoga for me is that it not only strengthens and tones my body, it quiets my mind, brings me a sense of peace and ease, and even 20 minutes of practice helps me to be more mindful, present, and grateful throughout my day. It also really aids in my meditation practice helping to put my mind and body in the right space to embrace stillness and inspiration.
I’ve spent years and years doing workouts that are more punishing than fun. Workouts that were meant to beat my body into submission and had me focusing only on what I hated or wanted to change about myself instead of appreciating and respecting what I have. Yoga is all about celebrating, honoring and respecting your body. For me taking the time to get on the mat is my way of nurturing and showing gratitude for my strengths and weaknesses and has served me far better than 60 minutes of beating the shit out myself both physically and emotionally in the gym!