The truth about mindfulness...
If you would have told me even 2 years ago that I would someday have a daily 30-minute morning meditation practice, I would have laughed.
How would I ever find time for that?
Turns out, I didn’t find the time. I had to enroll myself into an immersive training in a super foreign country with no way out, where I had no choice but to maketime. And then it stuck!
That’s the thing about me… when it comes to personal development, I can read books, take notes, listen to podcasts, and get all the intuitive readings and astrology forecasts in the world. But in the end, it comes down to me, and what I’m willing to do for myself… and if we’re being honest here, I realllllllly need to be pushed out of my comfort zone to get it done.
I guess some would call me stubborn. Others might just call me human! And whether it’s meditation, or eating better, or (insert healthy habit you avoid) the question is:
Why is it so easy to avoid what we know is good for us?
With all this time I’ve spent in meditation, I’ve gotten a little perspective on this. My theory? Our mind is too full. We have a big ole’ case of “mindfulness” … and all we need is a little space.
Wait — did I just say mindfulness is the bad guy?
Hear me out: Mindfulness… meditation, same thing. Different word.
But the word mindfulness is sort of silly, isn’t it? Do we really want to be Mind Full? Personally, I prefer my mind half full. Or even a quarter full. And the truth is that 95% of the thoughts running through our mind are the SAME thoughts we had yesterday.
Let that sink in for a moment: 95% of the thoughts running through your head RIGHT NOW are the same exact thoughts you had yesterday. And most of those thoughts are subconscious thoughts — just running in the background with (or without) your permission. Those are the thoughts that keep us the same, day in and day out. Those are the thoughts that prevent us from easily taking a leap and doing something good for ourselves. Those are the thoughts keeping us from evolving into a brighter version of ourselves!
So this Mind-Full Conundrum… if we’re going to have a mind filled with something — even half filled with something, don’t we want to have a say on what it’s filled with?
If you’re interested in re-writing the stories that fill your head, then meditation might be a good fit. Specifically, Japa Meditation — using a mala necklace (108 beads strung together with knots in between to help you keep count) and a Sanskrit mantra that you say silently in your mind over and over, 108 times… and then repeat the mala, again and again… to start filling your mind with mantra instead of all the other unconscious thoughts.
Studies have shown that chanting in a non-native language not only helps with memory retention, but also improves brain health. Not to mention, you’re re-writing your subconscious programming and creating new neuropathways! And Sanskrit isn’t native to anyone — it’s a language specifically created to communicate yoga. Sanskrit words have powerful vibrations and resonance that cuts to our core, and thus, can have powerful effects on our psyche!
Japa Meditation is an incredible way to fill your mind with mantra so that you can disrupt the patterns of thought in your subconscious mind and start making positive changes in your life.
Me? I've just taken on a 40-day sadhana (practice) of my own. I'm committed to saying a particular mantra 19,000 times in 40 days. That's about 196 rounds on the mala, or 5 rounds on the mala per day for 40 days straight. WHEW! Day 4 just began, and I'm loving it.
Quit stabbing yourself!
I read something posted in a Facebook group the other day that immediately caught my eye. Even though I wasn’t tagged and hadn’t spoken to that person in months, within a matter of seconds, I made the entire post about me.
And this is how incredibly creative my mind is.
I reasoned (in seconds, mind you) that this person had thought about me specifically, gotten angry, posted this post, in hopes that I would see it, and that I would read it. And then I would feel the bad vibes and become emotionally affected by it.
And sure enough, there I sat, for approximately 1.5 minutes, emotionally affected by something that was NOT about me.
Even typing it, it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? My teacher Anand put it best — I was so grateful to find this nugget in my notes on what he says about taking things personally:
“Taking judgements personally is like watching people walk around with knives, and taking someone’s knife and stabbing yourself with it.”
I would add that we tend to give the bloody knife back to the owner (energetically) and thus, surrender our power to rise above the situation.
Did I just talk about stabbing in the Yoga Hive newsletter? You get the idea.
What makes this even more potent is the Full Moon which happened at 12:29am this morning, Mountain Time. I subscribe to an astrology newsletter called Mystic Mama, and she writes this incredibly poignant paragraph for today's Full Moon in particular:
"It's easy to focus on others, but if we keep our focus on our Self and do what we feel moved to do, we create space for others to be informed and inspired by our actions and be led by their own free will, rather than through any kind of pressure or intimidation.This Aquarius FULL MOON encourages us to witness what is being illuminated and unhinge from the ties of public opinion to continue to unfurl who we truly are."
Join me this week in being acutely aware of judgements we’re taking personally… and if we can’t stop our creative mind, just NOTICING it is a great first step! Second step is meditation. Third step is meditation aaaaand fourth step? You guessed it. Meditation.
Today, we usher in a New Moon — which means it's time for intention setting. And it could be the intensity of the heat this week... it might be all sorts of planetary retrogrades... it might be a teensy bit in my head.
Whatever it is: July was NUTS... wasn't it?
I know I'm not the only one that felt the gravity this last month. I was challenged in all sorts of ways... and I felt so many emotions I haven't felt in a long time. And not just a little bit... I was feeling things with intensity!
At some point, I had to just surrender. I resolved to just feeling all the feels — and using my experience as a laboratory. I could clearly see the contrast as I would pendulum back and forth, and I used that information to decide how I want to feel, and how I don't want to feel on a day to day basis.
I'll give you an example.
I was driving back to Whitefish from Staples in Kalispell this afternoon with a stack of Kids Yoga Training manuals (for tonight!) and Aerial Yoga Training manuals (for next week!).
I'd grabbed a handful of supplies from the store as well... including a massive pad of chart paper for lecturing. I had all my windows down in the car because my air conditioning has been broken for months (not complaining — I fully recognize it's within my power to get it fixed) and the top sheet on the giant pad of paper started to flap in the wind in the back seat.
And then the second sheet started flapping.. and the third... now violently.
I reached back to stop it, worrying about how I just spent $34 on a pad of chart paper that was going to be *gasp* wrinkled for the training, and as I was reaching, I realized I was swerving out of my lane like a crazy person on the highway so I put my hands back on the wheel. I tried to close the windows so it would stop (and I nearly melted in the heat) so rolled them back down... allowing the paper to flap, reaching back one more time to try and re-adjust while going 70 mph.
I could feel the frustration rising and all of a sudden I was yelling. Like, ARRRRAHHHHHHHHH!!! And then it felt good... so I kept it up for a minute (or two).
And that's how my July went out with a bang... or rather, a roar. There were so many instances this month that required me to roar like a lion — many of which took place in my own head. All of that built up to yesterday when I feel like I was able to release it, out loud!
Just in time for the New Moon, and my new intention: To maintain the same fierce, productive high energy of July, with softness.
Truthfully, this is what the Yoga Sutras teaches us as well. Live your life fully, with intensity. Life on this incredible planet is filled with sensory experiences and we're all just looking for more intensity, whether we try Paddleboard Yoga for the first time, swim naked for the thrill of it, or book a yoga retreat in Montana because we need a reset. What matters is our consciousness around the choices we make, and our evolution as we decide what works and what doesn't.
So to August 2019, WELCOME! I'm looking forward to having a more devotional, gratitude-filled, sweet zest for this incredible life I live. And I invite you to join me on the softer side.
Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Mollie is a cheesehead transplant to Northwest Montana, with degrees in Retail and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, she lives off the grid, half the year in a Tiny House & half the year in a yurt — both of which she and her husband, Sean, built by hand. Nonprofit Executive Director by day, Mollie also owns and teaches at Yoga Hive — a chain of community yoga studios in the valley.