Updated: Oct 28, 2021
I have fallen in love – again.
This time, it’s with my new yoga practice. I simply love how it grounds and energizes me, gives me clarity and peace, and how it magically pulls in all bits of me, that need to be held in.
But it’s the last item on the agenda that I’d like to concentrate on today.
Over the weekend, I attended a small gathering, and there, was a woman talking about the wrinkles on her belly.
Perhaps, I should start again: on Saturday, I met a really beautiful, witty, and seemingly smart woman, who proceeded, for a good part of the afternoon, to wax lyrical about the inadequacies of her post-partum midriff. This woman even had the long, luxurious hair that I sometimes dream of. I couldn’t believe it.
Amidst her impressive intellect, wonderful friends, four sensational children, and magnificent hair, she chose to focus on what she didn’t have. Yes, she chose.
Yes, we humans are hard-wired to focus on what doesn’t work, what is termed “the negativity bias”. But, in this day and age, when we are aware that how we talk to ourselves affects our reality, this sort of self-talk is a choice.
So that’s why, about a month ago, after years of painstaking journaling, I made the decision to throw away the logbook of my innermost thoughts. Now, instead of writing into a beautiful, leather-bound masterpiece every day, I now have a light, pink notebook, bedecked with light green avocados, and the slogan, “avo great day!”
The reason for the change? Well, they say that the mind is like a bad neighbourhood; you shouldn’t go there alone. So, this is what I resolved to do - to trade the transcription of my daily ruminations, for a list of twenty very specific things that I’m grateful for.
If energy flows where attention goes, I decided it was high time I became really, really conscious about where I chose to put mine.
I choose to focus on the joy that picking out a new puppy brings, or the wonderful feeling I get when my son puts his arms around me. I choose to remember how my insides smile when my four-year-old’s afro bounces into my room, or how connected I felt when a friend and I recently exchanged life philosophies over a buffet table. The delicious crunchiness of a toasted baguette, the delight at my garden hedge finally being trimmed, the stunning sunset on the way back from the supermarket.
This is what I choose to bring my attention to, not the quality of the skin on my belly.
It reminds me of the yogic principle of samtosha, or contentment.
Samtosha is about being so grateful, that you know you already have more than you deserve. It’s as if there is a force of love guiding you, taking you to exactly where you need to be, “opening doors where walls once used to be” (Joseph Campbell).
As Rumi once said, “wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.”
I couldn’t agree more.