The other night I was feeling really down. I've been preparing to teach my first "legit" yoga class this upcoming weekend and I needed to practice. Her and I went to a gorgeous beach where we had to walk down a cliff and past train-tracks. It was one of my favorite spots, one I hadn't been to in a while. And, although I was at one of my favorite places, with one of my favorite people, doing one of my favorite things — I couldn't focus. I couldn't be present. I couldn't relax into the present moment and enjoy it. Instead, I got so down on myself for accidentally cuing the right foot instead of the left in a sequence, that I gave up.
Her and I had a heart-to-heart conversation after. I finally caved-in. I realized I had been avoiding my emotions, fears and anxieties by filling my schedule with perceived "tasks," leaving no free time for myself.
Burnout, lack of gratitude, confusion and above all else a loss of touch with the magic of the present-moment.
Last night I did a heart-chakra meditation, did some journaling and reflected. I cried, a lot. I visualized myself doing what I love, teaching yoga. I visualized myself helping others. I visualized myself laughing and smiling brightly.
And this morning I woke up feeling a little different. A little lighter. The flat tire on my way to work this morning (typical Mercury Retrograde!!) couldn't dim my shine.
GRATITUDE!! GRATITUDE!! GRATITUDE!!
Here are 5 ways you can ground-down into the present moment and rediscover joy using gratitude:
1. Leave the victim mentality at the door. Remember, the universe is on your side. Every "missed opportunity," is really an answer to a prayer or wish. You are not a victim of this life, you are actually a victor, so lucky to be given it.
2. Reflect. Reflect. Reflect. Get out a journal, pen & paper or the notes app on your phone. Visualize where you were one, two, three or four years ago. Think back to every moment which lead up to this one, every stepping stone you took to bring you to this point. Realize how far you've come. Every time you wanted to give up, you didn't. And even if there were moments where you slipped, you picked yourself up and kept walking. Find gratitude in your resilience.
3. Thank those who have helped you along your journey. Don't just write a list of those who you are thankful for, actually verbally thank them. Reach out to your friends, family, loved ones, co-workers and cheer-leaders and express gratitude for their involvement in your journey.
4. Smell the roses. Enjoy the small-stuff. Buy yourself some flowers at the market, or stop and look at the trees on the sidewalk. Look up at the sky above you when you walk into work. Go to the beach on your lunch-break. Eat the damn chocolate or drink the glass of wine. Laugh. Cry. Laugh again. Live your life, really truly live it.
5. Open up, connect, "tune-in." Make eye contact with the people you come across each day. Smile! Ask the cashier how his/her/their day is going. Thank the janitor you see in the hallway of your building. Say hello to the man who sits next to you at the lunch-counter. Get to know people on a deeper-level. Invite and initiate soul-conversations with others. Ask people about what makes their eyes light up, what makes them passionate, what they have gratitude for. Realize that we all have so much to be grateful for.