Trauma is one of the latest fads in the education world, which means that everyone is throwing an opinion into the bowl and weighing in on what it is, what it isn't and what we should be doing about it. As a teacher, it must make your head spin a little bit to hear about another thing that you need to grasp in order to competently and confidently do your job. On another note, it's phenomenal and likely reassuring for you to see that students needs are being seen and met in new ways. Trauma has always been there, but the ability to understand and support both the student experiencing it and you, the teacher, supporting the student has not.
Success, a word we all desire, a word that can be defined in the broadest of spectrums but tends to be lumped into a singular box: career. If you ask someone if they are successful, or have been successful in their lives, chances are one of two things will happen: they will puff out their chest and rattle off the things they have accomplished or they will get slightly red in the face and try to justify why what they have done has been worthy of such a question. Both of these reactions rest in the realm of ego- lifting you above others or dragging you below others. Inevitably though, most peoples minds, upon being asked this question, jump to the realm of career and finance.
What have I done? How much money have I made? What is my rank?
Mindfulness does not have to be a big deal- actually it shouldn't be a big deal- it is simply the practice of paying attention and intentionally taking time, or even just moments, to do so. Although in the beginning stages of exploring mindfulness practices it may be easier to have processes and rituals woven into the day, ultimately it is the mindset, not the practice, that we are seeking to master. What is the mindset? The mindfulness mindset is one that is continuously aware, less reactive and responds to life with care and control. It is the practices that support the mindset, the practices are only relevant if they support the mindset.
Happiness is about learning how to make lemonade with your lemons, right? Actually, I disagree. I also think this saying is a bunch of pretentious hogwash that people use when they want to pretend like they're having a good time. Nothing is more patronizing (and less helpful) than someone telling you to find a silver lining.
Let everything you do be your own choice, following your own internal guidance and timing. This thought came to me this week during Savasana. So often I see people coming out of savanna moving exactly as I tell them to, when I tell them to. This largely ruins the point of the practice- the goal is to get into a more present and intuitive space. Your yoga practice should be the practice of presence, which means tuning into yourself, not into me as the teacher. I am guiding the class to various poses at various times, there is a reason for the sequence, however it is important that you move into each pose and hold each pose in a way that is in-tune to yourself, not myself. Each pose, regardless of the guidance, needs to come from your own inner drive. Does this mean that each person is going to be doing a completely different practice? No, however I suspect this is the fear. This does mean that each person is going to be experiencing a completely different practice, because they will be experiencing their own practice..
Sometimes it is in the simplest of things that we experience the most profound change, those beloved “ah-ha” moments. When boiled down, this is exactly what Mindfulness is and what it brings to us, those simple “ah-ha” moments. It’s the simple act of paying attention that can completely change everything about life. Being 100% present means giving 100% to everything and everyone that you are with in the moment. Just think about it, how different would your life be if you gave each and every moment 100% of your peak performance? But being present is not easy, neither is meditation… says the girl that has spent the better part of the last decade dedicated to it.
We are today more connected than ever before, though it's not too far reaching to say that we are understanding more and more the fallacy of this "connection". Mind you, we are lucky to live in an age where we can actually and honestly discuss what is going on in our lives and heads. I think it is important to acknowledge that this is a huge and positive shift in society and humanity, we are freer than ever to feel and think how we want and live our lives accordingly, and we are certainly freer than ever before to express it all. Of course, there are pros and cons to this present state. Anytime a child learns something new they must learn the balance of use, which comes only from over-use, under use and using it in the wrong context. Just like a child, we as a whole are new to something and must learn the do the same, finding the perfect balance only comes from experiencing both the good and the bad.
These words have rung through my head several times over the last few months to serve as a fresh smack to the head regarding how I am approaching my life. I am a firm believer that all of live is our choice, whether it be in the actions or the reactions. Our future is dictated by our exhibition of Free Will or the willingness to give it up to others. To convince ourselves that something happening to us it entirely out of our control is an act against our own sense of humanity. It's easy to give the power away to others to make the decisions. It's also easy to get into the habit that life is happening to us, as if we are just a chess piece and the board is our life. I believe the temptation to create this mindset comes from the desire to make the bad times seem out of our control- as if that makes it more bearable- and to make the good times seem more like a battle or a reward for hard work. Either way you look at this mindset, it is the trick of the ego to either be the hero or the victim. In life there is no hero and there is no victim, there is only YOU.
The better we get at making decisions that we know are best for us, the harder it is to b*llsh*t ourselves into thinking that there is some grand scheme in the universe that is pushing us to fail. "Easy" is a matter of perspective- all decisions aligned to our highest self are easy, whether or not they don't take a little bit of work is another matter... this is life after all. We are the chessboard, and the pieces are each and every action and believe we create. We are not here to do, we are here to be.
Ahhh February, smack dab in the middle of the winter. Winter is the season of the Soul, this is a time for our external and physical qualities to rest while our subtle and intuitive qualities come back to life. Winter is a time to come in, observe, sense, feel, raise awareness and assess. It's also fitting that we begin the year in the winter, after all, before we take any kind of intentional action we must get assess ourselves and build our foundations. This is the constant balance that we seek, the yin and the yang, between action and awareness. Winter is the season of Yin. In order to achieve anything we must know who we are right now.
The present world is full of rules and boundaries, proofs and equations. These systems help to lump us all into categories of good and bad regardless of the intricacies of the situation and Souls involved. A + B = C is what you have been taught and in order to get to the top of the ladder you must climb every step that came before it. You have turned life into a school and each situation is a class, each year a grade- the standards are high and the grading in biased. You have been led to believe that once all of the boxes are checked, all the classes are passed, then you will get the carrot at the end of the stick. When you graduate this school of life you will finally get happiness, peace, love, power and everything else you have been working towards. But there is another side to your brains that knows full well that once the class gets completed, you are not given happiness, rather another class. If you are not careful the end of your life will come and you will be no closer to happiness than when you first began.
You are essentially climbing the happiness ladder every day. Happiness (love, peace, power, etc.) is not currency, it is a state. You cannot buy happiness, but you can choose to live in a state of happiness. Happiness, because it is a divine right, does not need to be bartered for, earned or deserved. The word deserve when broken down means to serve- therefor you deserve anything that serves your Soul's growth. Supporting Soul growth in my mind is the only justification you ever need to work towards anything. Here's the thing- what happens when you are full of happiness? Good stuff, right? You impact the world you live in so if you are full of happiness, you are going to share that happiness with those around you, inspiring them to obtain the same degree of happiness. If you walk around feeling as though you need to earn happiness and until you earn happiness you will reside in a state of unhappiness then you are going to fill the space around you with unhappiness. The universe (and your friends) want nothing more than for you to be full of happiness, so if it brings you happiness, please, do us all a favor and go after it. It's a chain reaction- most likely your dream job and your best relationships all bring you happiness. What serves you in turn serves the world. So when you seek what brings you happiness that most likely means that 1. you're doing something you're really good at thus you are sharing your gifts and 2. you are emitting all that happiness in the space around you for others to enjoy. When you get caught up in the concept that life needs to drag you around for a while before you earn the right to do what makes you happy, we all suffer. So please, stop thinking that there is something selfish about doing what is best for you!
When instant gratification doesn't set in and you get caught up with a sense of lack it is easy to convince yourself that there is a reason why you don't have happiness right now. Until you are able to do exactly what brings you happiness it is good to remember something: happiness simply is there for the taking. The trick is realizing this, realizing that you do not have to earn it, you just have to take it. This means that if you want happiness, then be happy. Happiness is an internal condition, no an external one. When external conditions can happen to us (accidents, breakups, being fired), internal conditions are 100% of our own choosing. Regardless of our external condition, you get to control your internal condition, this is one of your greatest powers. Therefor, regardless of what is happening in your life, we are allowed to choose happiness. Happiness is ruby slippers... you had the power on your feet all along you just needed to know that it was there and you could use it.
Chelsea M Latham
When I was a kid my mom would occasionally refer to me as a Reverend, because I had the need to speak so passionately about just about everything. Little did she know that some day I would build a business upon sharing the wisdom that I am so passionate about. So here you go, here are some bits and bobs of thoughts strung together for your enjoyment.