Well its almost week two of my month long personal challenge. I have to admit, I almost missed a day, as it was full of fantastic shenanigans for a friends birthday scavenger hunt, to which I showed up dressed as a mermaid. The theme was Neverland characters, which I found so appropriate for me and inner child who remains a major player in my own life. I was worried about missing a good yoga session, but my pal would not fail me, he included "Bus stop Yoga" as on of our many items to do on our list. So even though my "tail" was slightly restrictive, I excitedly busted out a beautiful Dancers pose atop a bus stop bench. So that counts right?
Though to be real, I am starting to recognize all of the ways that my practice follows me off the mat and into my life. I find that I am working harder to practice patience, compassion and positivity when I am at work or just out dealing with daily interactions. I mean, if it takes me two more seconds to be a little bit more friendly to checkout person at the store I could both make their day and make my experience more positive. So these things really are not that hard, plus the benefits hugely out-weigh the effort.
I watched a documentary on Netflix, called "Happy", and its main point is to address the thing
the film covers across many people and cultures in places around the world who come from all walks of life and are considered truly happy people. The documentary comes to the conclusion that it is not things that give us happiness, while they do provide instant gratification it is only fleeting pleasure. Backed by all areas of study including religious and spiritual leaders, brain science, psychology, and personal interviews with amazing people who have found their pursuit of happiness.
One interesting case study was that on Bhutan, a nation tucked away in the Himalayas. Their philosophy of Gross National Happiness implies that their citizen's level of happiness should be greater than the nations Gross National Product. In the film one leader said that "happiness lies within the self" The government promotes and facilitates the well being of it's citizens instead of being concerned with economic development. They believe that doing so will preserve their culture as well as protect the environment that provides them with what they need to be self-sustaining. This compassionate nation wants nothing more than to be happy and promote sustainable development, preservation of cultural values, environmental awareness, and good governance.
Other people interviewed in the film come from even the poorest slums in India, a tribe in the African, deserts, a family in Denmark who live in a 20 family co-home, the many 100 + year olds in Okinawa, Japan, and many others. All of these happy people seem to have the same things in common, they are all compassionate people who are not just in pursuit of their own personal happiness but also that of others happiness. When we act with compassion and gratitude we can see a perspective that is so much bigger than ourselves. Each story speaks of the same gratitude for what they have in their life rather than a desire for more and more.
Our brain is quite the marvel, when chemicals are released we feel different physical and emotional sensations in our body. The chemical Dopamine is released that gives a feeling of pleasure and happiness. Physical activity is proven to boost dopamine levels. I immediately thought of my last two weeks. And better yet the last two years. My physical activity has gone up dramatically in the last few years. I have more opportunity and more motivation to be outside and thus I have found my self casually becoming an active person. I don't "go work out" or belong to a gym. But the last two weeks I've been practicing yoga everyday for a least 15 mins but usually allowing myself an hour and half for a solid session. Each day I have more energy, and I feel happier. My heart is lighter, my mind is clearer and I am making the effort to be kinder and more compassionate.
|Change your perspective; inverted|
While my physical practice is good for my body, its also good for my mind and spirit. Through physically releasing toxins in a cleansing stretch and focusing deeply while I breath energy into a difficult pose I am gaining and unlocking new emotions and feelings and sensations. Im finding my authentic self and learning to love it and making the best effort to send that love right back out into the world. In the film someone said, "You have to practice to cultivate happiness" and you really do have to put the effort in, because there is no amount of money or material thing that can make you truly happy. You create the happy.
Get out there and make it happen. Enjoy living now, not waiting for tomorrow. We are the generation that sends this message out daily because we capture moments and choose to preserve them and share them the world. We celebrate the human experience. So take time to be active in a playful way that is fun and enjoyable so that you'll want to do it again. Build friendships that are honest, finding out that you can be your self amongst friends is a blessing so hang on to them for they will inspire you continue to grow. Taking care of our environment is also taking care of each other; we have to realize that we could all actually care a little more and create a sense of community and invest more time into doing more things for others. It could all circle back, if we could just get on the same page and take more care when doing things.
Feeling pretty inspired today.
Check out the film "Happy" at http://www.thehappymovie.com/