Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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.

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