Do you label yourself as…
- Not attractive enough to…?
- Too introverted to…?
- Not good enough to…
- Too busy to…?
Do you hold onto associations from your past that define your so-called strengths and possibilities, or weaknesses or limitations? For example…
- …because you are from a small town, you have or have not been able to do certain things in your life?
- …because you went to a certain school, you can or cannot achieve certain things?
- …because of your gender or age or skin color, you are or are not allowed to act a certain way?
Do these ideas you have about yourself limit you? If so, in what way?
If you feel that these are limitations imposed on you by the culture or society or family in which you live or company in which you work, do you accept or challenge these limitations?
I invite you to OBSERVE what is going on inside of you and around you and ask yourself:
- “what is real?”
- “what is truly “fact”?”
- “what can I consciously choose to let go of?”
- “what might be possible?”
The practice of yoga emphasizes letting go of material associations like labels and job titles. For years, I’ve been shedding layers of “fiction”—my ideas (that are not truly real) about who I am or what I’m capable of accomplishing or who I’m capable of being in my life.
I’ve recently been examining some of the declarative statements I make about myself to dig down another layer.
For example, last year I asked myself “Why do I always say that my husband is the runner and I’m the yoga person?” And I started jogging up and down the rock- and root-filled trails in the Wissahickon woods near where we live. Wow – how amazing it is to be grounded in nature, plugged fully into each moment and each breath, testing the capabilities of my physical form and my mental state.
And this past weekend, I asked myself “Why do I take pride in being the only one in my family who does not play golf? How can my experience with this sport from nearly 30 years ago possibly determine what it might be like for me to try it out now?” And so, as a gift to my father for his 70th birthday, he and I went to the driving range to hit a bucket full of balls.
GOLF! Who knew?
I relaxed my body and quieted my mind. My body immediately remembered the grip, the stance, the head position. And I was open to the suggestions my father gave me. Each tip absorbed in my awareness, integrated into my being, resulting in better and better swings, longer and longer distances.
And what joy! What joy at hitting the ball 100, 120, 150 yards. What joy at being outside surrounded by green grass and blue sky. What joy at spending time one-on-one with my father, doing something he is truly passionate about.
As you know, I’m continually looking for ways to improve my personal and professional performance. I prefer to experiment on myself—using my own life as the laboratory. Then, when I find a new activity or practice that delivers, I share it with you!
One of the biggest challenges you face as you age is keeping your brain fit and nimble. That requires a healthy diet, meaningful socialization, and actively challenging your brain.
I encourage you to improve the quality of your life and generate better results by engaging your mind and your brain. How?
- Learning a new skill
- Cultivating a new relationship
- Traveling to a new place and experiencing a new culture
- Tasting a new food (or a food you haven’t tried for years)
- Letting go of an old belief that is holding you back – something that will help you do all of the above!
Do it! Surprise yourself!
Be compassionate with yourself. Be ready to laugh at yourself. Ask others to encourage you and support you.
And let me know what you experience!