driving force

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do what you need to do…not because you think it should be done and not because it looks good to other people…but because if you were not to do this thing you would die inside.  

been thinking a lot about the fire that burns inside.  don’t know how it is for others…but in my case it seems that if i’m off track my fire burns a little hotter…at times this driving force/fire can become physically and psychologically uncomfortable…it has not been rare for me to experience pain and/or anxiety until i give up the ego fight and allow myself to fall into the flow…

once back in the flow…ease ensues…  

i’ve been struggling a lot with this directional force as of late because i’ve been faced with a couple of options (a) returning to my roots versus (b) forging a new (unchartered) path…my ego is afraid and trying it’s best to cling to past comforts…the mind has been begging me to just feel good in a safe environment, surrounded by loved ones and the familiar…for months i’ve been trying to force this comfort upon myself (i made myself laugh right there thinking of “forced comfort” – doomed to fail by definition…).  so, after many botched attempts to remain attached, it appears that life has other plans…the fire within is forging forward directing me towards new, exciting (albeit scary) ventures…time to dive…  

back to practice…because, as i’m finding…the answer is the fire…the difficulty is stoking it to the right intensity…a difficulty made easier through committed yogic practice…this year of studying positive psychology has helped me to realize that bliss is the result of action and the 8 limbs as designated within patanjali’s sutras provide a nuanced action plan for ultimate bliss…no more fighting the fire…back to the flow… 

therefore, in the coming months expect more frequent posting (as those of you that follow me already know…) committed practice sparks fervent bursts of inspired writing…big love – from me

mindful transformation

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so it’s been a week of positive psychology interventions and already things are shifting.  the activities i originally chose have changed and my mind is whirling…started off this whole venture pretty sure of the type of activities i “needed” to put into place…but am being rocked by the discovery of something totally different.  much to my surprise the activity i thought to be the most frivolous (expressing gratitude) has become a daily endeavour that is totally shifting my view…i found out that i lack self-compassion – even reading the definition by neff was eye-opening…practicing self-efficacy by reframing thoughts has taken the fore-front many days.  in the coming weeks i am going to maintain by practices of gratitude, efficacy mantras and self-compassion – i am also going to play with flow activities.  lately i am feeling this burning desire to paint wild colours onto white walls (being a graffiti artist must be so gratifying!!)…going to work with uninhibited creativity…lets see what this week brings…

the paradoxical commandments

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today i am grateful for the paradoxical commandments by dr. kent m. keith and those people who tirelessly put themselves out there because…it is not easy!  when you are working really hard to be the best person you can be, many champions will come into your life that will cheer you on…on the flip-side, you will also be faced with people that take your joy and kind-heartedness as a threat…or even…as something that must be squashed.  as i am finding, it takes a lot of strength to be vulnerable.  it takes a lot of bravery to show your soft underbelly to the world because it leaves you open to judgment and cruelty…no matter how many incredible people you have beside you cheering you on…there will always be some person waiting in the sidelines ready with a cutting remark…and (as i’m finding) when we open our hearts – these comments cut right to the source.  it’s much easier to set up a hard shelled emotional barrier that protects you from the reality of this world…but (catch-22) when we hide…we are reducing our brilliance…it doesn’t help us…it hinders us.  a beautiful, courageous friend of mine once told me (when i had confided in her that i was tempted to run away and hide) that diamonds aren’t meant to be kept in the cupboard (of course, this honest admission of love and faith prompted a few blissful tears)…but she was right…if we allow this negativity to break us so that we hide away in our little shells the wicked of the world has won.  fighting the good fight needs brave warriors to stand up in the face of adversity.  so today i am grateful to those courageous big hearted people who keep believing in the good of the world, keep putting themselves out there and relentlessly face all of the wretchedness with a smile on their face, joy in their heart and love in their eyes.  thank you for touching my life and keeping me on this track of love and light.  

attitude of gratitude

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so…it’s day 2 of positive psychology interventions…known by those in “the biz” as PPIs…i’m goal setting and meditating and connecting with others and the list goes on…funnily enough the one PPI that’s touching me the most is the one i originally scoffed at: expressing gratitude.  while scoffing at expressing gratitude is not really my bag…i’m generally pretty pumped about most things (gratitude included) i did however, wonder how much this intervention would influence my life being that i’m already a pretty appreciative person…turns out it changed A LOT.

the changes i’m experiencing today aren’t fundamentally shifting who i am (it’s still day 2 after all)…but they are shifting my perception of the world, while yes i am always fairly grateful, focusing on gratitude and becoming conscious of life’s gifts brings the beauty of life into perspective (for those positive psych people out there reading this…you better beLiEvE i’m gonna include appreciation of beauty and savouring in my write-up!!)…from the moment i woke up i could not help but become acutely aware of the many things i was grateful for…and…the added task of taking an instagram pic had me snapping tons of pics of all sorts of wonderful things touching my life from moment to moment…seems i can’t escape all of the gifts that are abundantly blessing my life.  this attitude of gratitude had me smiling all day long…great cuppa joe?…check.  cozy socks to dance around the house in?…got it.  10 minute walk to my gym which (today) was filled with beautiful men working hard?…double check.  shared laughs with a bud that really gets me?…you betcha.  in the end i decided to post a pic of my wellies for a couple of reasons (a) i live in london and today was wet…however, due to these babies, my feet were warm and dry…and…(b) because of my prime footwear choice i was given the opportunity to seize the moment and splash in a few puddles…which in turn definitely increase my well-being…

still another 40 days to go but i have a feeling this one is gonna stick beyond that…feel free to join me along the way…i dare you to try to limit the gratitude to 3 things in a day…it’s frikken hard…there is so much in life to be thankful for…until tomorrow…big love. a.

a recipe that works

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so…as a few of you know i’m currently working on a masters in applied positive psychology.  our next assignment challenges us to use a few of the prescribed “interventions” on ourselves to (a) test their effectiveness (b) reflect on the current research and (c) provide insight for future application.  it’s pretty frikken exciting that our class consists of 1/3 of the students around the globe that will be graduating with the MSc. Applied Positive Psychology designation this fall…and…crazy to think that what we propose will guide research in coming years…so…i’ve decided to put fear aside and really dive deep with this next assignment…though these interventions will only run for 6 weeks…a lot can happen in that time…and as a way to track my progress…i’ll be posting here daily…get ready for a wild ride…

so…6 weeks…3 interventions…goal: getting to a “recipe that works”

looking back over the years i’ve hit some big highs and big lows…when faced with this assignment the “ego-me” couldn’t help but scoff, “what’s the point?”…and yet there is always a point…we never have it all figured out…there are always more levels to grow through…already i’m recognizing the growth i am making this year…after my little ego moment, i was able to become mindful of my ruminating/negative thoughts surrounding this assignment and really get into the fixed mindsets that were causing these fears to surface.  hence, the approach that i will be taking with this breakthrough assignment is to get intimate with my fears and self-limiting beliefs, really get to know them so that i can use them as fuel for positive change.  in this way i am tapping into loads of research on the power of negative emotions as a force for transformational change and will be able to create a unique recipe for a thriving life allows me to existentially dive deep and break free while simultaneously maintaining a present/joyous love for my environment.

after writing a vision of my best possible self (see my vision page) i have identified 3 areas of life to focus on for the purposes of this 6 week activity. (1) getting really good with my money (earning and budgeting) – this taps into hope theory, goal setting and self-efficacy. (2) fueling a highly athletic regimen with a plant-based, vegan diet – will be addressing positive psych literature on physical activity and nutrition. (3) daily gratitude instagram – though i have a tendency to get deep into the eudaimonic (meaning-centered) pursuits, i now know that a thriving life needs a little hedonic appreciation…hence my daily pics will aim at appreciating something truly awesome that either brought a smile to my face/made my day more incredible…just a daily acknowledgement that the world is great.

through all of this i will maintain my daily meditation/yoga practice and will be posting here each night…

enhancing or numbing…

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stop. feel. get deep into what’s going on right now in your body and your mind. is it scary? stick with it. is it funny? laugh out loud. whatever emotional experience you are having…dig deeper.

life is a wild thing and our reaction to it is what separates us.  emotions are incredible and our ability to feel and react, to experience and create is absolutely fascinating…

images-1all of us…each and every human being on this plant is having an emotional response to their surroundings and because of these emotions within us we are responding in a multitude of ways…we are dancing, running, doing yoga, painting, eating, drinking, driving motor bikes, skydiving, making music, gardening, etc…

the thing that separates us is the why.

why are we doing what we are doing? is it enhancing our experience or…are we numbing our creativity?  are we going to the gym to feel more in tune with our bodies or are we addicted to a routine/ideal that stunts our individuality? are we fuelling our bodies with food that will enhance our experience or are we stuffing our faces to avoid real emotion?  are we being artistic to share our passion or are we trying boost our ego amongst an elite community?

two very different ways of responding to our emotional experience making for two very distinctive ways of being in the world.

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(1) a response that stunts our individuality and emotional depth reaps negative result (numbing).  when we achieve goals they are shallow…if our actions are numbing our soul, we are unsatisfied because we have lost touch with our inner emotional awareness and the need to creatively express our individuality.  our actions become manic and need approval for validation.

images(2) a response that expands our experience encourages creativity and brings us closer to knowing ourselves (enhancing).  we are satisfied because in this state we are expressing true individuality.  there is no need for approval.  in this state of response something comes from deep within that is completely unique and casts away the expectant sheath of the world to reveal a confident /tortured /creative /wild /surprising /real human being.

food for thought…