Tag Archives: positive

Consciously Optimistic

At the beginning of the California stay-at-home mandate in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, I wrote about my choice to remain cautiously hopeful. I wrote about my acknowledgement and acceptance of this moment in history as uncertain, uncomfortable, challenging, and scary, but that I would continue on as a writer, as a teacher, as a creative, as a smiler, as a laugher, as a lover. I maintain this stance; over the past month I have continued to produce art with my written words, I have continued to teach yoga and meditation, I have continued to smile, to laugh, and to love, and I am not stopping any of this anytime soon. Yet, if I am to be honest I must express that I too, like many, have had my moments and days of doubt, dread, and darkness. I have felt anxiety tighten my chest, stress crinkle my forehead, and tears fill my eyes. And all of that is perfectly alright.

            I have been an optimist all of my life. From childhood to present, I have always been the one to find the silver lining, to look onward and upward with faith and hope, and to get right back up when knocked down. I am still very much this way; it is who I innately am. There is, however, a sizeable difference in how I play the role of optimist now. I was once a blind optimist – someone who denied the extent or even the existence of the problem, the darkness, and even the truth in favor of remaining positive. While my seemingly invincible positivity was a quality many people around me admired, my years have since taught me that there is a fundamental flaw in blind optimism.  Blind optimism does not leave space to experience the valid feelings and emotions of loss, anger, fear, and sadness that are all part of the human experience. It bypasses the necessary step of processing what we feel and experience which ultimately allows us to learn and to grow. When we are blindly optimistic, we effectively limit our life experience, hinder our own growth and evolution, and ultimately trap ourselves into storing up issues and emotions that we never fully deal with which often leads to their resurfacing and causing more problems later down the path. Furthermore, we may inadvertently invalidate other’s real and true feelings and emotions in our denial of their presence.

            Thus, I have learned to be a conscious optimist – someone who acknowledges and accepts the heavy, the hard, and the dark. Someone who sits in the discomfort and wades through the challenge. Someone who allows time to process, to understand, and to learn. Someone who fully acknowledges and holds space for the experiences of others. And someone who after all of that still makes their way back to optimism. I continue to be an optimist, a seeker of the silver lining, a believer in the best, a holder of hope for a greater world, but I also allow myself the time and the space to feel what arises from the shadows.

            In this time of quarantine, I have had to face a myriad of feelings and emotions from the shadows. I have experienced worry and anxiety revolving around my finances as 75% of my income has suddenly come to a grinding halt and the process of applying for unemployment is confusing and unstable. I have felt the fear of my older relatives and vulnerable friends contracting the virus and struggling to defeat it. I have experienced anger at our government for how they have handled this pandemic and for the structures they have built that are now failing the vast majority of us. I have felt the loss of not being able to perform my vocation of teaching at the same caliber that I once did. I have experienced frustration of being forced to remain inside when everything in me wants to be out in the world. I have felt the intense missing of my sister, my extended family, and my dearest friends whom I am uncertain about when I will see and embrace again. I have had my moments and my days of feeling overwhelmed by the present situation and an almost desperate desire to break free of it.

            For as positive as I remain, I am not invincible to these feelings and emotions; none of us are. Sometimes, they are very present with me and demand my full undivided attention for a few hours or even a few days. And again, this is perfectly okay. The days we are living now are hard; perhaps some of the hardest we will ever know in our lifetime. As these days continue, we are all going to feel an intense array of emotions and all handle them differently. The truth of the matter is there is no right or wrong way to feel or be in this time. Whatever you are feeling is valid, however much time you need to be in that feeling is more than acceptable, whatever you need to do to cope and process that feeling is fine (so long as your coping strategy does not cause harm to yourself or others). Allow yourself the space to really experience every sensation and emotion that is coming up for you in this unique circumstance. Allow yourself to sit with it and understand. And when you feel ready, move on from it with the wisdom that you have gained from processing it.

            In the age of social media, there is a big push by individuals, influencers, and brands to remain overtly positive during this pandemic. There is nobility to that sentiment. As I said, I am remaining mostly positive and continue to hope for the best, am actively looking for silver linings, and continue to practice gratitude for what I do have. The caveat is that I do not and will not remain positive at the expense of denying and belittling the real and true feelings of anxiety, worry, doubt, anger, and sadness that do at times arise in me. I cannot ignore what is present in my brain and in my heart. And I absolutely will not tell others to ignore and invalidate their own unique feelings for the sake of positivity. In truth, positivity is stronger and more potent when we have returned to it after going on an inward journey through the dark rather than taking a mental vacation in which we ignore the fact that anything other than the pleasant is present. I am often positive, but not always. I am usually grateful, but sometimes cannot find the will to be so. I am typically hopeful, but I too experience doubt. And this goes for all of us who wear the title of optimist. And in this time that is so uncertain, so challenging, so scary, I am feeling all the feels – the good and the bad, the light and the shadow, the yin and the yang. And if you are too, that’s more than okay.

Today’s Gratitude’s & Tomorrow’s Visions

Today I am sharing about a mindful practice I have begun over the past few months that I have found to be meaningful and powerful in my life. I call this practice “Today’s Gratitudes & Tomorrow’s Visions”. This practice is a journal based daily ritual very much akin to the Gratitude Journal often promoted by Oprah. In this practice, I take a few moments before going to sleep to write 3-5 things I feel gratitude for, followed by 3-5 things I would like to manifest the next day. The gratitudes elevate my positive vibrations and the requests for manifestations go out into the universe overnight to hopefully brew and make their way back to me. Having continued this practice for about three months now, I can tell you honestly that Today’s Gratitudes & Tomorrow’s Visions have had big impacts on my life! So grab one of those pretty journals you have on your shelf that you’ve never used and let’s get writing!

Today’s Gratitudes & Tomorrow’s Visions How To:

Step 1: Make a Few Minutes Before Bedtime

I deeply feel that the very end of the day is the best time to practice this ritual. Reflecting with gratitude on the day stimulates a sense of contentment and peace. Expressing hopes and dreams for the following day allows us to go to sleep without imaging or worrying about it because you have gotten it out on paper.

Step 2: Today’s Gratitudes

Write 3-5 things you are grateful for from the day. Write whatever first comes to mind. Write them in bullet points and keep them short and sweet. You can be grateful for big or small things, grand or simple things, deep or silly things; as long as it is authentic and true, it is noteworthy.

Somedays what comes to mind for me are the big, obvious things like my family and friends, my health, for simply being alive. Somedays what comes to mind are really ridiculous things like peanut butter and coffee (peanut butter makes an appearance in my journal at least twice a week) – but I am grateful I have those things as simple as they are, and so I still feel inclined to write them.

Try not to overthink, really just reflect and find gratitude for all.

Step 3: Tomorrow’s Visions

Write down 3-5 things you would like to transpire the following day. Similarly, write these aspirations as bullet points and keep them short.

What is different and key when it comes to Tomorrow’s Visions is to keep your requests somewhat open-ended. As I discuss in my piece, “Manifestation: There’s Something to It”, it’s important to leave room for the universe to gift back to us what it feels is right for us, even if it is slightly different than what we originally envisioned. If you write out how you want tomorrow to unfold hour by hour, then you have really limited all of the possibilities the universe might have brought your way, and thus the universe is probably going to ignore you and you will be disappointed.

So rather, you keep your requests for manifestation more broad: I would like to have a good meeting with my boss, I would like to receive good news of some kind, I would like to find some time in the day for me to relax a little bit, etc. These requests leave plenty of room for the universe to cook up something for you that fulfills the request, perhaps even beyond what you could have imagined!

So keep it open, and of course, keep it positive!

Step 4: Start Writing!

This is a practice I have found to be uplifting, and at times, magical. I feel the expression of gratitude changing my energy for the better, and I have seen how my visions have been manifested in some shape or form the following day. It’s just another way to elevate the vibe of your life!

I hope you find this practice to be as wondrous as I do!

Do you have other daily practices or rituals you do to elevate your vibe? Let me know below!

 

 

27

Today I turned 27 years old. This is not an age that is by any means a milestone. It is, however, a number that holds much significance for me personally.  Ever since I was a little kid, 27 was always my favorite number. I know, it is a very odd number to select as a favorite; why not one of the primary numbers like 3 or 5, why not the superstitious 13, why not the clean even 20? I can’t explain it, but I always liked the look and feel of 27; an age young but mature, a dollar amount not huge but still worth something, a quantity amount enough but not excessive. 27 is the age I have assigned to many of my characters in my writing throughout the years. And now, I am this age and for me, there is a lot to reflect on because of it.

27 represents a crossing from the mid-20’s to the late 20’s – the final third of the golden decade.  When I was a teenager and even in my early 20’s, I truly believed that by my late-20’s, by 27, I would be a wildly successful writer of sorts, a homeowner, and married. Yet here we are and I am not close to being any of these things. My life has not unfolded in the ways I thought it would, but this is not a unique sentiment. Ask anyone and you will probably find that their life’s journey has unfolded in a multitude of unexpected ways as well, usually taking them to different destinations than they ever thought they would end up.  So rather than being disappointed or discouraged with where I am at as I become this age, I am choosing to be at peace and trust in the divine flow of the universe and my part in it. Additionally, I am choosing to believe that 27 is going to be a wondrous year for me. While my 27 does not look how I envisioned when I was young, I have reason to believe that my 27 will still be significant and meaningful.

Again, 27 has been an important number for me since I was a little kid. And they say that numbers you feel drawn to or repeatedly see again and again may be your Angel Numbers. What are Angel Numbers? Angel Numbers are codes from your spirit guides to convey messages to you throughout your life. Your numbers can change over time depending on what you are going through, and others stay constant. 27 has been constant for me and so I finally looked up what this angel number means.

The Angel Number 27 is a message from your angels that new information or news of a positive nature is on the way. It is a message to believe in yourself, your intuition and the callings you feel within. Angel Number 27 is a message of faith, trust, and self-belief. Your angels ask you to step forward on your life path with confidence and grace. Maintain a positive attitude and perspective and trust that you will manifest positive results, rewards, and blessings into your life.

What a positive meaning behind this number! The good, however, does not stop there. 2018 – this year that I turn 27 in – is a big year in astrology. I recently read an article from an astrological contributor at Elephant Journal that tells us that each sign in the zodiac has a lot of potential in 2018. I am a Pisces, and very much so, here is what they had to say about Pisces in 2018:

“A magical carpet ride is about to be set in motion. 2018 is your year to become enchanted with all of the mysteries of the universe and refuel your emotional reserves. Out of this realm discoveries are awaiting. Its finally time to swim care-free through an ocean of positive emotions. Your Pisces Mantra for 2018: ‘Get Enchanted’”.

So if we put this all together, I am in my Angel Number year of 27 being guided toward positive news and encouraged to believe in myself in addition to being a Piscean in 2018 which is to be an enchanted year that takes me on a magic ride. What a combination, right? So here is to believing that this new year of life, this next jaunt around the sun, is going to be beautiful!

Age 26

I am 26 years old today. Birthdays, for me, are a lot like how most people see the New Year. I look at each birthday as a new starting point from which we can set new goals and launch into a time of new opportunities. As oppose to looking at what happened between January 1st, 2016 and January 1st, 2017 and so on and so forth, I tend to look at and reflect on what happened in the space of time that I was aged 23, 24, 25. Where did I travel? What new activities did I try? Who did I spend time with? What experiences did I have? What did I create? It is always an interesting and insightful reflection, after which I start to think about what I want my next age to look like. Where will I go? What will I see? What will I do? What will I learn? There is no way to assign definitive answers to these questions, but I can set intentions on what I might like those answers to be.

Oddly, I have always been enamored with the number 27; there is no rhyme or reason for this, it has just always been my favorite number since I was a little kid. And so, I feel that age 27 is going to be a big, powerful, and exciting year for me. But for now, I am age 26. So I think that this, the year of 26, is going to be my year of setting intentions, meditating on those intentions, and ultimately manifesting those intentions in the year of 27. I see age 26 as the year of planting seeds and watering those seeds, and I see age 27, God-willing, as the year of harvest.

So I begin to flow through my new age, ever present in the moment and breathing in gratitude for where I am at a in the here and now, and while chanting positive energy and intention into the universe for the present and the future.

Santosha and the Attitude of Gratitude

With Thanksgiving in the US coming upon us, we start to plan out our holiday celebrations: who are we inviting to the big Turkey dinner, what stuffing am I going to make, what’s the menu, etc. More importantly, however, we start to reflect on what we are grateful for; which after all is what this holiday is all about.

There is a concept in yoga called “Santosha” which is part of the “Yamas and Niyamas”, which I often describe as the Ten Commandments of Yoga; they are basically yogic codes to live by. Santosha is Sanskrit for “contentment” and/or “satisfaction”, but we often look at Santosha as “gratitude”. Santosha is all about finding contentment and gratitude for who you are and what you have in the present moment. I often weave “Santosha” into my yoga classes as a theme and encourage students to find their best expression of a challenging posture, then I ask them to find contentment with whatever layer they get to in that posture without harsh judgement of themselves or lusting after a deeper expression; I ask them to find gratitude for where their bodies are at and be grateful that they have bodies healthy and strong enough to be in a 100̊F room attempting such a challenging practice. Basically, it’s about adopting the Attitude of Gratitude as you move throughout your day with whatever life throws at you.

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