Prisoners of our Thoughts

I never run out of topic ideas for my blog; however, sitting to write about them is always an issue. I thought of presenting “prisoners of our thoughts” about one month ago! My personal “block” was – what will I write about? It seems to always be the same deal with me. However, the solution is also always the same, just write about your experience…

It had been exactly 3 months and 9 days since I had returned to society – full-time, after living on an ashram for 8 months. It was challenging and needless to say, I was not very kind or patient with myself in taking the time I needed to re-adapt; get used to the fast pace around me; the impatience experienced by others and staying in my new “zen mode” so I would not get carried away and let my mind and societal pressures take over. I started feeling the “cloud” of “despair” taking over and in these moments, I could not believe that I was going to let my mind take over! I had returned a different person, with tools and methods to keep my head above water, way above water; but, I was still drowning. In these instances, we always have a choice – mine was to allow myself to drown or to start kicking and paddling back up to the surface.

We often allow ourselves to get carried away by our thoughts. I recently read that the continuous repetition of our thoughts that are often oblivious to us are like a mantra: “I should”; “I can’t”; “I’m too fat”; “I’m too old”; “It’s too late”; “People will laugh at me”; “They will judge me”; “I don’t have enough money”; “It could never happen” … as you can see all negative thoughts that pull us down instead of empower and uplift us! When working with clients, I often remind them the importance of reframing; creating a new perspective; rephrasing. Open your mind up to the possibilities, use your imagination – nothing is impossible. Why am I sharing this information so confidently, because I have applied these techniques and been blessed with the positive outcomes! By repeating mentally supportive thoughts (affirmations) we start believing them. The same way when we often repeat negative thoughts our mind also believes them. If we think we are too old to do something, our body will present symptoms of old age. We believe we can’t, then how will we ever DO?

My best example of how we become prisoners of our thoughts is my experience getting into the sirsana (the headstand in yoga). In my yoga practice, we teach the headstand. When I was completing my 200 hours training, my goal was to get into the headstand because I wanted to be able to demonstrate the pose in my classes. The training is a one month intensive practice where we practice yoga 4 hours a day. Initially, I was very aware of the underlying fear of getting on my head. It was scary, it meant a certain loss of control of being used to standing on my two feet. For weeks, I kept on getting up and falling (the best way to fall is to allow yourself to roll into a somersault). After a while it just got frustrating, so I requested some spotting (support). However, just like everyday decisions in life, and in the coaching process, even with support and guidance, we are truly the only ones who can take the required steps, actions, thoughts to succeed. Therefore, as I still lacked the confidence to stay up with my feet reaching for the sky, I started paying attention to my thoughts. What was I thinking this whole time? “I AM GOING TO FALL” – and that is exactly what would happen every single time. I graduated without getting into the headstand alone, but I did promise myself that I would continue trying. The next step was embracing patience.

Our mind is often in a whirlwind of emotions and impatience. Even when I am at the check-out in a store, I notice how the cashier is RUSHING even though there is absolutely no one else in line behind me. We have become a society that believes that FAST means EFFECTIVE … actually – I’ll let you all think about that one for a minute… or longer.

I took a month vacation after that training and every morning when I had my practice, I tried the headstand. Our technique uses 8 steps to get into the pose, and I was able to find balance at step 6 (knees to chest) – so I would stay there for as long as I could; and then, I came up to step 7 (knees up to the sky) and again, I waited until I found my balance and courage to bring my feet towards the sky, confident that I would be able to keep myself up. Every time, I would repeat to myself – “I am there for you – I’ve got you.” It seems silly, but these supportive thoughts kept me up. Today, one year later, I am confidently reaching my toes to the sky; but, I still find myself allowing certain thoughts to come into my head that make it a little more difficult for me to stay for at least 2 – 3 minutes in the pose. My next goal is to stay up for 5 minutes and to get into the scorpion by the end of the year. I also know that since I am only starting to find the strength and courage to get into variations, I might only get into the scorpion sometime in 2016 (here I go again with my thoughts!) – but, as I work to build my positive, supportive thoughts and become aware of my self-talk – I will always be an advantage that will help me make positive changes in my life and free myself from my thoughts.

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