Skip to main content

Focus on the Positive

Happy almost-April!  March just flew by in a fabulous fury of schizophrenic weather, celebrations honoring my beautiful soon-to-be-married best friend, my 3-year-old marriage, my fantastic brother-in-law and his family, and LOTS of playing yoga.

Today I want to write about my monthly-mantra.  Over the last several years, in lieu of a ton of super specific and/or overly lofty New Year's Resolutions, I've instead attached a broader word or phrase to guide me through the year.  It's a really lovely practice that I highly recommend, and I wrote about how 2016's word is Kindness right around the new year.

Each month, though, presents its own plans and challenges and unique adventures, so I wanted to go back to a practice I used to do years ago and create a new mantra or goal(s) for each month - and this year, I wanted to make them a little more practical and actionable rather than just the vague idea of "let go" or "be present" or "practice gratitude."  These lovely phrases have oversaturated the world of yoga and are actually very hard for a lot of us to nail down and do day in and day out.  As any good acting teacher will tell you - be specific.  Play an action.

So my mantra this month - Focus on the Positive.  It's very, very easy to get into the habit of complaining and gossiping, which I freely admit to doing all the time, as most humans do, I think.  By attempting to keep this simple and entirely un-fancy phrase in the forefront of my mind as much as I can, I can help curb whiney thoughts, negative words, and impatient actions.  It's worked pretty well this month, but I found an even more beautiful way of putting that intention into action, thanks to a lovely friend and former co-worker:

"Today, I changed all my "I have to's" into "I get to's" and boy, was it beautiful."

I remember when she first posted that two years ago - the phrase stuck its way into my head for a long time, but I'd since forgotten.

That is simple, actionable, and truly remarkable change-making right there.  Those of us blessed enough to live in the US or another non-third world country where we can have all our basic needs met need this reminder.  Sometimes #firstworldproblems are legitimate sources of pain and struggle, but come one.  We get to commute to work to provide for ourselves.  We get to go to the grocery store to have the most insane amount of choices as to how we are going to nourish ourselves.  We get to spend an hour on the phone with our health insurance...I'm still sort of working on finding the gratitude in that one, but at least it means I have health insurance!

Try this simple, beautiful practice and see if it changes your perspective on the mundanities and challenges of your day.  Thank you, Amanda, for bringing it back to my attention!

PS - check out this lovely, more in-depth post about the "have to" vs. "get to."  It has a Christian bent rather than a yoga one, but it all works!  It also focuses on parenting, which I can only imagine is overwhelmed with "have to's" every day.


  1. Oh Annie, I totally need this right now. Thank you lovely lady!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Magic of Brain Gym

I cannot believe I haven't blogged about Brain Gym yet!  That is absolutely bananas, and also sort of great because after a few years of incorporating the little bits and pieces I learned from Shari (founder & director of Karma Kids Yoga and the only boss I've ever had with whom I've also done crazy things like the pose on the right, which she named "fart neck"), I finally took the "Brain Gym 101" course this past weekend to learn more in depth about the what's and wherefore's.

Brain Gym is a lot of things, but what it is primarily is a way to facilitate better learning through movement.  Although it started in the field of education and helping children learn better, everyone can benefit from it.  You may be reading and writing just fine, but do you have a situation where you struggle to communicate your needs clearly to a partner, a friend, a co-worker?  Do you struggle with random bouts of unexplained anxiety that you struggle to release…

Faith in Humanity

The oft-quoted Kathrine Switzer, long distance female trailblazer, once wrote, "If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon."

Marathon Sunday is always one of my favorite days of the year in New York City.  I've spent these Sunday's over the last eight years that I've been here as a spectator and cheerleader, both in person and on the couch in my boot nursing my injury last year, I've been a volunteer, I went down with other marathoners and marathon volunteers to Staten Island after Sandy in 2012 after the race was canceled - and I've spent the last two years fighting to qualify for it.

Next year will be my year, along with my 'sole sister' (I'm making it happen) and work wife Laura, so this year was another year spent being absolutely inspired beyond measure cheering on the sidelines.  Seeing the heart, the raw emotion, the joy, the pain, the absolute love from the sidelines and from the runners is awe inspiring.  Ye…


It's been eight years today since I've been with the love of my life.

A few months from five years married (Costa Rica, here we come).

Eight years and a couple months since living in the city.

Seven years of Friendsgivings in NYC with my chosen family.

Seven years of Karma Kids Yoga - more chosen family and buckets of kids.

Ten years since college; fourteen of the friendships.

One picked-clean, no leftovers turkey last night.  A table of desserts.

And in ten days we do it again with family.

This morning I'm tired, still full, and grateful.