As I hear a lot of people around me having some hard times and going thru challenges, I’ve been thinking about how to navigate things with more ease. I also had my share of disappointments and heart breaking events in my life. As much as when we go thru them, it feels very heavy and challenging; we have to remind ourselves it is also an intrinsic part of life.
There are ups and downs, there is the inhale and the exhale, the receiving and the giving, the wave coming in and going away. It’s just how nature works. That is why I chose the above picture with this quote to illustrate my thought: “everybody wants happiness, no one wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain”.
We can’t control the rhythms of life, that is actually when we try that suffering is more likely to happen. They will always be stronger than our resistance to go with the flow. Instead of trying to control life’s events, what we can control is our reaction to these.
What has helped me and is still helping me a lot and perhaps is becoming more and more helpful as I’m becoming better at using this tool is: when I go thru a bad moment I apply a feeling of gratitude.
Not a feeling of gratitude for the tough time I have but for everything else that goes so well in my life.
Some of you will say easier said than done. And you are right! But the more we practice something, the more it becomes a part of our life, the more it permeates who we are. The first time you practiced the Sun Salutations, it was most likely challenging to remember the sequence and coordinate the breath and the movement and after practicing them hundreds, thousands of times; the breath is initiating the movement, it becomes fluid and spacious.
The same way we get better at what we practice regularly on a physical level, we also get better at retraining and rewiring our brain with what we practice on a mental level.
I’ll use a small example that happened to me while I was in France. After the training, I was supposed to finalize a yoga project I had in my mind for two years. Everything was scheduled to make it happen: the location, the crew, the dates… Nevertheless 10 days before it was supposed to take place, I received an e-mail stating it would have to be cancelled. Of course, my initial reaction was a huge disappointment. I worked on this for a long time, I booked my flight to stay longer in France, when I don’t teach I don’t make money, this is so unprofessional … the list goes on.
But after the initial raw reaction I could also say to myself: how lucky I was that I was even offered that opportunity, how lucky that people trust me and my practice, how lucky I was that I had 4 days off in my country (I never go to France besides when I teach so that’s a pretty big deal!)…
So I went on a 3-day trip to Paris and let me tell you I had a delicious time seeing a few friends, having a hypnosis session with a therapist I wanted to work with, staying at the hotel and playing tourist in that charming, sensual city.
Applying that feeling of gratitude works for very challenging situations of deep loss or sadness as well as for things less important.
If we have an argument with our life partner; reminding ourselves how lucky we are to have someone by our side. If we have an injury, nonetheless being grateful for all the other body parts that work so well. This can be apply to infinity.
It’s not trying to convince yourself that everything is beautiful around you; gratitude makes us acknowledge the reality and the truth. We can’t deny that we are extremely lucky; at least for us who have a roof above our heads, enough food to eat and some love from our families and friends. It’s just undeniable. That is the truth. Which may be hidden under deep layers of frustration, sadness, lack of confidence, doubts… but at the end of the day, it’s still the truth.
Gratitude helps us put everything into perspective.
Gratitude teaches us how to appreciate the present moment. To come back to that place of grounding.
Gratitude transforms the always wanting more or better into enough.
We have enough.