Worry about your Self

Know thyself bhagavad gita

When I was little and I was too invested in what someone thought of me, or what someone else did in comparison to myself, my mother would say “Just worry about you.”

Often, this was said when I was concerned that my brother had an extra Oreo or was able to get away with something I previously hadn’t, but the saying still plays out in my mind — often.

If I catch myself pontificating about why someone isn’t meeting an expectation, I parrot her words to myself, “Just worry about yourself.”  We are the only ones we can control after all, and even that is questionable. We can control our own actions and how we respond to situations, but not the situation itself (unless directly caused by our actions).  As Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.”

It might initially sound very ‘un-yoga’ to suggest that you worry about yourself, but I’m not talking about becoming self-centered, without regard for others.  But, rather focus on knowing your Self by acting with love for others, and not allowing your mind or ego dictate your worth.

The Bhagavad Gita talks, in length, about the “Self,” particularly about getting to know the infinite self — the self that is beyond thought, beyond change.  Through meditation and living a sattvic life (a life of goodness and purity), we will know the self that transcends manifestation and destruction.

Sounds ethereal and unattainable, but I like to break it down into individual moments.  How can I know myself?  I can become aware of my emotions, actions and reactions.  I can attempt to observe these actions as a witness.  I can do my best to act with purity of heart.

We can also become aware of when we experience ‘want’ and compare ourselves to others.  On the yoga mat, for example, worry about yourself — really.  Don’t worry about what your neighbor is doing or what you think your practice should be.  Just focus on your breath, your SELF.

I came upon a YouTube video recently that reminded me how much I use this method of quelling desire.  It’s of a little girl named August who’s trying to get her seat belt buckled all by herself. It’s hilarious.  You’ll watch it over and over like I did.

When we truly know our own ‘Self’, we transcend reaction and suffering.  And, we become infinite.

Namaste.

Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Uplifted Vibrations)

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When you can’t make everyone happy

I often joke about being like a Golden Retriever.  I’ve always been the person that tries to make others happy, and if I make someone unhappy, it makes my heart hurt.  And of course there’s the flood of obsessive thoughts on how I can rectify the situation.

At work, if you pat me on my head, I run off with my tail wagging looking to produce more biscuit-worthy results. When I’m teaching, I get immense satisfaction when I send students home feeling relaxed and accomplished. Even at the holidays, I’m happier giving gifts.  I love to watch people light up.

But we all know the age old saying, “You can’t make everyone happy all of the time.”

In fact, chances are if you made an enemy or pissed someone off it means that you stood up for something you believe in, or for yourself.

So how do us ‘people pleasers’ cope? First, recognize that it is exhausting to live for someone else’s happiness and begin to witness when you’re putting someone else first unnecessarily. Sure, you may have to put your child’s need for dinner above your own need for downtime, but I’m talking about the constant ‘back seat taking’ we do with our own energy.

We must bear witness when we find ourselves constantly deeming others’ happiness as more important than our own.  We have to do some soul-searching to understand why we feel the need to find ‘validation’ outside of our own being. And, we have to give ourselves the same amount of energy we give others, or we find ourselves depleted.

Does this mean that we should no longer try to help people or have compassion? No it doesn’t. It simply means, that we should stop trying to make others happy as a means to find satisfaction. It’s a short-lived attachment. Rather, allow your authentic self to shine through.  If people like it, great.  If some don’t, who cares.   You WILL rub some people the wrong way, and quite frankly, that’s their issue.

But, you will have unearthed a truer you, and there’s no greater peace than sitting in the seat of your authentic ‘self.’

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Pinterest)

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Love starts with self

love yourself

You’ve heard it before in any number of ways, you must love yourself before you can truly love others.  By genuinely loving and accepting yourself, your mere presence brings happiness to others, and the love you exude is infectious.  I start and end every class by having my students express love to themselves first.   Here’s that very exercise;  you can start and end every day with love.

Close your eyes and place your right hand over your heart.

Feel your heart, your center.

Now, place your left hand over your right hand.

Connect with yourself, the center of your being, the source of your love.

Send yourself love, compassion, affection, forgiveness, patience, acceptance.

Breathe in and receive that love.

Now, bring your hands together in prayer at your heart.

And, send out the same love, compassion, affection, forgiveness, patience, acceptance.

Breathe out and send love.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

Photo: Pinterest

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The Guest House – Awareness of All of You

guest-house-front-doorOn a daily basis, I become more acutely aware of thought as separate from self.  In fact, a mentor recently suggested, as Rumi did, that I should treat my influx of thoughts as guests in a guest house.

We can’t “turn off” our minds, for in doing so, we are in struggle.  But, if you look at your thoughts as transient guests that come and go, you see them as separate from the house, the self.  Sometimes there are writing works or poems that so completely capture the human element that you take them with you wherever you go.   No poet better describes the concept of guest house than Rumi. Continue reading

On Yoga, Really (Part 2 of 3): Niyama for You

spirtual-spiral-niyama

Continuing the discussion that’s NOT about sex scandals, or how yoga can kill you (ridiculous, by the way), let’s take a look at the personal observances of living a yogic life.  Note: if you’re looking for requirements like orgies, brainwashing or other sinister machinations, look elsewhere.

In part one of this series, “On Yoga, Really: Who’s Your Yama,” I talked about the first of Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga.  The yamas are the rules of life, so to speak, the “commandments” if that’s a parlance you identify with.  The Niyamas, or the second limb, are the “rules for living” or “personal observances”. They are a code for living soulfully, as we are a piece of the interconnected mortal coil we call life.

In other words, Yamas are the Precepts of Social Discipline, whereas Niyamas are the Precepts of Invididual Discipline.  We adopt these precepts of individual discipline consciously, but through meditation and opening ourselves up to a greater consciousness, these disciplines become an ingrained part of our energetic DNA.

Continue reading