On Friday I drove for over an hour to visit a monk (not exactly my usual Friday). In our hour and a half chat, he told me the same things that numerous practitioners and friends have been telling me for the last 10 years.
Take time out during your day to breathe deeply and return yourself to a relaxed state.
And just as my impatient mind started to say “Yes, yes, I know all of this stuff”, he said something that shocked my overactive brain into silence. He said, “The people who do this stuff, and I mean really do it, they don’t do it as a means to an end. They don’t do it because if they don’t, they’ll be worse off. They do it because they love themselves enough to give themselves such a precious gift.”
Wow. To me, that was like a gentle, loving slap in the face.
Yes, I know what I need to do, but I have always thought of those things as a way to achieve something in particular. I know I NEED to do yoga, I know I NEED to meditate, I have never, ever WANTED to. I have never thought to value myself enough to give these things as a precious gift.
Now this got me thinking. How many times do you go out with friends and hear “Oh no, I can’t have that, I’m not ALLOWED.”
Do you use this language yourself when on a particular dietary program, supplement regime or fitness kick? Do you unconsciously use a language that describes what you can and can’t do, because someone else said so, because something bad will happen, or as a means to an end?
A lovely friend of mine shared a meme the other day on Facebook. It said,
“I don’t exercise because I hate my body, I exercise because I love it”
I thought that was perfect. Too often we get caught up in the cans and cant’s of trying to be healthier, fitter, thinner, happier…
Changing your perspective around these things can make a huge amount of difference, or so I have found. Today I found myself sitting down to meditate for the first time in years, not because I had to just squeeze in a few minutes, and gosh, hurry up, it should be over soon… But because I want to honor and love my body, my spirit and my mind as much as I can in this life.
Try it next time you are taking a nasty tasting supplement, or you find yourself being offered drinks at a party and you are avoiding alcohol. Instead of HAVING to take this or say no, try WANTING to. It might just make all the difference.