Posts in wellness
(Over) Exposed

In my experience, one of three paths reveals itself during times of heighten stress: action, inaction, or defeat. Inaction, which I think is far more common, is the assessment that all of the elements that contribute to stress are so overwhelming, it is impossible to make a choice in either direction. It’s the freeze. Whether it’s tackling that massive to-do list or it’s one situation in particular that is causing you distress, the freeze happens because dealing with it head-on feels too hard but giving up is not an option. In this case, one technique I’ve been trying recently is the a version of what psychologist call exposure therapy, namely systematic desensitization. What I’ve done for myself is taken these concepts and implemented them in ways that make sense to my life.

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Taking on Stress with Gratitude

Last week we talked about what stress is. This week we start to learn strategies for taking it on and using stress to help us grow instead of allowing it to derail us. Strategy One is probably the kindest way in. It requires the least amount of discomfort. It’s Gratitude. Gratitude is now this big buzz word in the wellness community, which like all things in the wellness boom, has its pros and cons. What does it mean to actually embody a lifestyle of gratitude though? Gratitude also does not mean ignoring that things get challenging or that there are moments, sometimes large spans of time in life, that are truly distressing. This would be simply ignoring the reality of the world we live in. Things get hard. People can be mean. Life circumstances may change and leave you feeling utterly unstable. In our modern lives, gratitude means embracing the stressors and instead of deciding that they are a threat, treating them as challenges from which we can learn and grow.

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Stress 101

Stress takes many forms but it is easiest to take the idea of stress learn it from the physiological perspective and translate it into the emotional and psychological perspective. Essentially, let’s look at the body and then see how those same concepts apply to the mind. This week, we’ll get a baseline definition for stress so that we can explore how to turn stress into our platform for growth. 

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Be the Bridge

Do you ever look at your relationships, whether personal or professional, and see yourself as a gateway the other person or group was passing through? Emily and I were talking the other day about what it means to be a gateway person. I often find that teachers are gateway humans because that is our gift. The thing we are best at is elevating people to the next level, giving others the space to expand and evolve and change and grow. More recently, I’ve noticed and intimately felt this experience of being a bridge. There is some sort of deep knowing in people who are bridges that the role they play in other people’s lives will always be temporary, perhaps explosive and impactful, but not permanent. Today, we delve into fully inhabiting the power of being a bridge.

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Ahimsa

In the yoga practice, ahimsa is one of the five Yamas, or moral vows. We tend to think of nonviolence and how it relates to beings outside of the self: eat plants not animals. Don’t hurt other people. Be kind and compassionate in thought, word, and action. This basic social contract is incredibly important in creating a world in which all beings can thrive. But what about ahimsa in relationship to the self? It’s hard to take the concept of ahimsa and turn it reflexively back on the self especially when so much of the harm we do to ourselves we rationalize as beneficial. “If I just push hard enough, it will be worth it.” Let’s unpack the three main categories of violence towards the self and how we can practice ahimsa to create a better relationship with our very own souls.

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What I Wish I Would Have Known

Like with all things you do for the first time, there have been a ton of learning opportunities. Failing has been the best teacher in compassion and empathy. I am a perfectionist my nature. So, doing things wrong irks me at the deepest level. The learning curve has been steep. Almost everyday is filled with things I don’t know, lots of mistakes, some sort of failing. I have learned so much about myself and the ways in which I can grow as a person from the consistency of new experiences. And while that’s all well and good, there are a few things I didn’t anticipate. In the hopes of smoothing out the already complicated transition of moving to a new city, I give you all the things I wish I had known before I made the jump across the country

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When All the Normal Things Don’t Work

It is not possible for all of life to be completely wonderful and effortless all of the time. The contrast between each high and low is what helps us conceptualize and appreciate the difference between joy and despair, healing and hurting, fully realized awe and detachment. Yoga and meditation are incredible powerful tools because they allow to gain some, if not all, of our agency back from circumstances that seemingly have swallowed us whole. With a healthy perspective and a non-attachment to feelings and thoughts as our identity, we gain freedom from feelings and reclaim our ability to manifest the lives we deserve.  

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Rumination vs Reflection

As I’ve been journeying through this brave new life in Los Angeles, I’ve gained plenty of time to reflect on the circus that has been 2018. Not one single part of it has been easy or effortless.  All of it has been entangled with hard choices and even harder feelings to manage. I’m human and I’ve made a ton of mistakes. There is still so much I have to learn in the ways of empathy, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, what it really means to love another human. By far, the biggest discovery I’ve made is confusing that I’ve been confusing ruminating with reflection. Both of these elements are looking back at the past. Our reflections can easily get hijacked and turned into rumination. How can we then steer ourselves back towards balance and growth?

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