Wellness Wednesday

I've been thinking a lot lately about living authentically. As you all know oh-so-well, with yoga I've really started to dive deeper into my being and developed more of an understanding of who I am, what my needs are, my dislikes, my goals, and so on... I'll be taking another trip around the sun in about a month and therefore I've been reflecting more on my life. Facebook also forces me to do this on a daily basis, with those "memories" that pop up...I have so many thoughts on this but will refrain.

Turning another year older is a privilege; each year we learn from our experiences and cultivate more awareness about ourselves and the world around us. It's beautiful, but can also be heartbreaking, if we're gunna get real with it. 

I remember being 15 and thinking, this is the person I am and will be forever. I remember being 18 and thinking the same thing; I remember being 20 living in Paris thinking the same thing; I remember getting married at 27 and thinking the same thing. 

However, the reality is that we are ever-changing and not fixed. We are constantly molded by our experiences, whether they be day-to-day events or rock-you-senseless-to-your-core moments. Feelings and goals and passions and thoughts can change on a daily basis...

Thus, living authentically is living in the present moment. It's honoring your being, your soul, in each present moment, without judgment. It's allowing yourself (with respect to others) to be yourself. 

It cannot be influenced by others; I'm a romantic existentialist, and I believe we are inevitably alone - as they say, we are born alone and we die alone. Our experience is only our own, therefore our authentic selves can only be shaped by ourselves and our perceived experience, not by anyone or anything else. 

Make the time to take a moment to be present, to breathe deeply and engage your five senses and come into that sweet present moment.

Immerse yourself in_this is it,_without expectation or searching for meaning..png this moment is where you'll find your authentic self.

- S

Wellness Wednesday

One of my most favorite books ever is "Wherever You Go, There You Are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  

I used to run therapeutic groups on topics and excerpts from this book, using it as a tool to promote mindfulness and evoke a thoughtful discussion on topics such as letting go. One of my most favorite sections is called "This Is It".

So often we focus on what's next, what's coming, what action to take next, what task to do next, what to eat next, next next next! We're always going going going, rushing rushing rushing. We must always be productive. We always need to be doing, we always need results (the faster the better!). But what happens if we stop? What would happen if we were to say "Nothing happens next. This is it."

Dr. Kabat-Zinn talks about how "[w]hen we understand that "This is it," it allows us to let go of the past and the future and wake up to what we are now, in this moment" (Kabat-Zinn, 2005). When we stop holding onto predicting, controlling, or just holding on, we can start to live in the present moment.

As you're reading this, are you itching to go do something else? Are you skimming over the words, catching maybe only the perceived important parts that are in italics? Are you thinking about how you have to go cook a meal, or that bill you have to pay?

Well, you're human. So, no sh*t you'll be thinking about all of this!

Become aware of these thoughts, validate yourself for being human [and a product of your culture/society], and then pause - take a deep breath. Tell yourself, this is it. Pull your awareness back to the present moment, back to whatever it is you need to be doing right then at that moment. 

Don't worry if it's not what you would describe as productive - shoot, savasana in yoga is productive, and that is, to an outsider's perception, someone laying on the ground with their eyes closed.

Allow doing nothing...or rather, being nothing, to be productive, as long as during that nothing time you are present and not letting your mind go hang out with the past or the future. 

- S

Wellness Wednesday

I've been reading, off and on, this book by Judith Hanson Lasater, aka, the woman who everyone wants to be their yoga mom. I've underlined, dog-eared, and written in the margins, and have even reread some chapters. I'm nearly halfway through but have no rush to finish, partially because I don't want it to end!

In today's post, I wanted to discuss shifting one's perspective. It's incredible how even a slight shift can drastically change our views (pun intended?). As a therapist, I have started to become more aware of how often I need to shift my perspective when sitting with a client; I must notice my immediate perspective or initial reaction, but then I must also be aware of the client's perspective, as well as other people who may be involved in whatever it is the client is sharing. I must be objective and reflective, and certainly refrain from judgement.

Sure, life will challenge us, as Judith writes, on a daily basis. The only thing within our control is our response to each challenge, our interpretation of this challenge...our perspective. We've talked before about pausing before reacting, and this is just as relevant within this context - if I can pause, check in with myself and observe my own perspective and awareness of the challenge, then I also possess (believe it or not) the ability to shift my perspective in a nonjudgemental manner.

Alright, I'm about to go all yoga mindfulness mind trick on you - this is something that yoga teaches us, taking that pause, shifting our perspective. Now please don't misunderstand, in no way am I saying go book the next yoga retreat to Bali, or even go to a local yoga class; I'm merely bringing to light (...because you know, namaste) a way to learn to shift your perspective. In yoga, when we practice the asanas, we are [usually] guided by our breath. While transitioning through poses, we may pause for an inhale or an exhale; our body then shifts into a different pose...and boom, perspective has shifted. Our perspective of our body's positioning, of our breath, of our mat, of the room, of the concerns of the day...we let go and allow ourselves to submit to our breath.

Remember that meditation challenge for this month? How are you doing with it? It's ok if you've skipped a day or so, but here's something to try if you are ready to continue: when life throws a challenge at you tomorrow (or even tonight), pause and take a few deep breaths (this is something that Judith elaborates on in her book). Maybe try inhaling and exhaling evenly for five counts...


Notice the shift, notice if there is a change in how you choose to react. That's right, choose to react. This is something over which we have control. You'll be astounded at how, by pausing to breathe, can offer a gentle shift in your perspective.

P.S.: If you're ever feeling playful, you could totally pull a Coco or Phina and physically change your perspective of your own every day life. My husband and I are so amused by our cats, as you well know - I love how sometimes they'll roll around and look around at the apartment, wide-eyed, as if they're seeing something new. Take a cue from a cat, or your own pet, and try to change your perspective - lay on the floor of your home and check out the ceiling, lay a different way in bed, sit upside down on the silly and see what happens.

- S