Saturday, June 27, 2015

Asking Questions and Setting Intentions

" Right now is the only moment we are promised and the only moment we are truly living in. We are always looking at the next step ahead: The next errand to run, the next work project, the next conversation, the next argument, etc. We are always planning what we are going to do, say or how to act. Stop. Just breathe..."

Do you ask yourself questions? Do you 'check in' with yourself on a weekly, daily, hourly basis? When you wake up in the morning, do you give yourself time to set up your day? Do you set an intention for yourself?

When wanting to improve our spiritual, emotional and mental health we often start out with good intentions:

I will write in a journal
I will start each day with meditation
I will be more grateful

The list goes on...And yet, sometimes life just happens. We wake up late, after hitting snooze on the alarm (or forgetting to set the alarm entirely!) and have to rush out the door, barely having time to down our breakfast let alone sit for a few minutes to meditate or to write in a journal. That traffic jam make things seem even worse and then n ungrateful employer or co-worker may make it hard for you to find things to be grateful for.  This can go on and on starting a downward spiral. It's like Buddha said: What we think, we become. If we focus on all the negative energy, that is all we are going to see. That is the only energy that will come our way. If  begin to focus on the good and the love, then that energy will be what surrounds you.

Sometimes our good intentions seem to get buried beneath the demands of every day life and we are left wondering what's the point? Well, What is the point? What was the reason why you wanted to improve your mind's health? What sparked that fire for you to become more present and to care for yourself? Instead of brushing your goals under the rug when life gets in the way, return to the 'why'. Return to the reason you wanted this in the first place. 

What's important is that you don't beat yourself up when things life happens. Most of that is out of our control so we cannot dwell on it. That is counter-productive and that negativity isn't going to serve you in any way. Instead, just focus on the little things that you can do for yourself for that day.

Setting Intentions

The beautiful thing about an intention is that it takes no space out of your day to accomplish. Don't get that mixed up with effort. It takes effort to live your intention but when setting your intention you can simply do it upon waking up, brushing your teeth or even driving to work. You can set your intention to last you through the whole day, or even change it as your day goes on. Your intention is a seedling. Setting your intention, you are planting a seed with how you want to live your day, what you aspire to be or something deeper that is more personal to you. Living your intention is watering, caring for and growing that seedling into something bigger.

No matter what, I like to start my day with the intention of: Today will be a good day. It's as simple as that. As my day begins my intention may change, for instance: When I step onto my Yoga mat, I may want to release tension or rid myself of stale energy; to let go. Or, if  know I may be facing challenges that day, my intention may be to stay grounded and strong. There is no right or wrong way to set an intention. It's personal to you. It can be a quote, a mantra, an image, whatever comes to mind for you.

Ask Yourself Questions

If something challenging is happening to you, ask yourself: What can I learn from this? Where can I grow from this experience? Take anything valuable from that experience and then let the rest go.
     If a boss didn't thank you for that presentation that you spent hours and hours on, don't harbour anger towards your boss because that only hurts you. Holding on to that negative energy doesn't change the situation. Instead, recognize your own value. You don't need validation from your boss. You know how hard you worked and how dedicated you were, and your thoughts about yourself are the only feelings that matter.

Am I Present Today?

How often do we stop, and I mean stop. Completely! And only focus on the now? Right now is the only moment we are promised and the only moment we are truly living in. We are always looking at the next step ahead: The next errand to run, the next work project, the next conversation, the next argument, etc. We are always planning what we are going to do, say or how to act. Stop and just breathe. Breathe right from your belly and then exhale. I like to place my palms on my stomach and feel the rise and fall of my belly as I inhale and exhale. Repeat this exercise and say to yourself: Thank you. Thank yourself for coming to the present moment and giving yourself that time to nurture yourself. To relax the mind and body by coming into stillness. How often do you thank yourself?

Have I been Good to Myself?

I used to be pretty hard on myself. I may catch that old habit creeping into my thoughts from time to time but I am more conscious about it and am able to let it go(most of the time!). As a woman, I used to look into the mirror and pick apart every flaw, or I used to second guess my every move at work or in my relationships. I wouldn't speak my truth because I was so concerned what others may think. What good comes from this? Nothing! Be good to yourself. Practice daily self love. Set yourself up with some exercises:

Do at least 2 favours for yourself a day. This may be a hot bath and reading a book. Or practicing some yoga and meditating. Even just going for a walk and calling a friend to chat. Just take some time for YOU and spend it however YOU want to.

Have compassion for yourself. Respect for yourself. Love yourself.

Set your intentions and ask yourself questions. Check in with yourself! And if you find questions popping up like: Am I even worth it?, Why do I bother? Or Am I good enough, please know that the answers are always: Yes, you are worth it(all of the time!), because you matter,  and yes, you are more than good enough, you are great enough!
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."-- Maya Angelou

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