Life is hard.
Yep, I said it. And I know there’s all those sayings about “first world problems”, but it still doesn’t change the fact that sometimes – no matter what our situation – we’re thrown a few curve balls that can leave some nasty bruises.
I’ve been feeling those bruises lately. It has been almost a year since I picked up my life and moved it to Ottawa for my partner’s job, and that year hasn’t been a walk in the park. The move had been a possibility for quite a while so I can’t say I wasn’t prepared, but when it came down to it, we only had 2 weeks to pack up our life (one week of which was Christmas, and I was away), and I had to say goodbye to the friends I had made during my 8-year residence in Vancouver.
Ottawa is a lonely city. Like Vancouver, I am lucky enough to have some relatives here, a few childhood and high-school friends, and I have even made a few new friends. But, the music and yoga communities that I so dearly loved in Vancouver haven’t been so easy to find here. It has been almost a year since the move, but due to months of unemployment, taking month off to do my Yoga Teacher Training, and the debt accrued from living so long in a city as expensive as Vancouver, I am financially strained. I struggle daily with the question of whether or not I’m going on the right path; I live in a government city! Why not get a nice desk job that offers me benefits and a pension plan? What’s wrong with me that I desperately want my career as a yoga teacher to work?
I recently read Anatomy of a Spirit by Caroline Myss, where she discusses the way “our biography becomes our biology”. Essentially, negativity is a chain reaction; When we feel negative, we tend to do negative things. We stop caring about what we eat/put into our body, and behave in generally negative ways throughout the day. That negative energy then translates into our body, often becoming the cause of chronic pain, illness and other physical ailments. Myss puts it really well in an interview:
“Imagine that, when you get up in the morning, you have a hundred dollars’ worth of energy coming in. And you have a memory that’s costing you sixty dollars a day to finance, and an attitude that’s costing you twenty-five dollars a day. By the time you’re done, you’ve got three bucks left over to manage your biography today!” (http://www.myss.com/news/media/adetail.asp?i=18)
So to combat slipping into the negativity that so easily clouds my head, I have begun two practices:
1) Daily Gratitude
Every day, and as much as I can throughout the day, I remind myself of three things I am grateful for. There’s something that happens when we choose three things instead of one to be grateful for – there’s an energy shift that can be felt almost immediately. Anytime I am having a particularly hard day, I dedicate my yoga practice to gratitude so I can send the love and positivity deep into the darkest parts of my body. Don’t get me wrong, this is not an easy thing to do, and I often find myself slipping. Once the negative wave hits, it’s hard to remember the importance of gratitude… Which is all the more reason to make it a daily practice.
2) The Positive Change Jar
I am a HUGE culprit of negative thinking any time things get hard. My mouth overflows with “I can’t”, “but- “, “It will never happen” and worse. I slip into these negative thought patterns so quickly, I completely forget the good that positive thinking can do, especially in a not-so-positive situation. So I came up with the positive change jar. My friend (and fellow YTT graduate) Janice and I decided that we would both contribute a quarter to our respective positive change jars any time we had a negative thought or spoke a negative word. As both of us are strained financially, a quarter lost (or gained?) to the jar is a good motivation.
*You can read Janice’s blog post about her positive change jar by clicking here.
I truly believe that we can create change in our lives just by staying positive, and remembering to breathe. It’s one of those things that’s easier said than done, but that is always the purpose of practice, is it not? …. To find ease in the things that once required so much effort.