When you get stuck in a rut, you usually don’t feel like getting out. Nobody wants to do things differently once established in routine, no matter how uncomfortable that routine may be. It’s why people stay in dead-end relationship for years longer than is healthy, or jobs that aren’t their true calling.
But being dissatisfied with your life isn’t all bad — it’s a clue that one of your most basic needs isn’t being met.
You’re never going to want to do what it takes to crawl out of sadness or depression or calm your anxious, fluttering heart. But you must. You must do something differently if you truly want to live a life that’s free: free from doubt, free from worry and free from anxiety.
When Heidi Resetarits and I met two years ago, we were swimming in the same current. We both dreamed about doing purposeful work in the world as entrepreneurs — me with yoga and mindfulness, and her with writing and social change.
Heidi is whip-smart and driven – the type of person who says “love you!” and means it, even though you just met. She knew she had what it took to be a success. Yet, work was a struggle and last year she found herself pulled in different directions by a variety of clients and obligations.
For those of us who are creative and ambitious, it’s usually not a lack of skills that hold us back; it’s mindset that gets in the way of our greatness.
About three months ago, Heidi and I began meeting for private yoga and meditation lessons. This, at a time when she accepted full-time employment and kept pursuing her own goals as a writer. Her life got busier, yet she decided that now was the time to shake up her morning routine. We’ve had six lessons together, and in that short time she has come so far in her flexibility — of body and mind.
How has the power of mindfulness helped? I’ll leave the rest up to her…
My personal business was thriving, but my body and mind were exhausted because of all the work I was doing. I didn’t feel happy. Instead, I was running around town with three different jobs, volunteering and trying to balance my personal network and love life. It was like this continuous spiral of pushing outward and getting nothing in return.
I had become very tired and stressed. I felt strain from every part of me — I felt relationships crumbling, professionalism fading, and the fear that somehow all my dreams could easily slip out of my hands because I had no control.
I knew I had to change: let some things go and other things in. I had to slow down and take care of myself in order to truly thrive again.
I am a swimmer and have a great workout routine, so those have both helped me in my personal fitness, but I needed something to fine-tune my mind and spirit on a daily basis. I knew yoga could do something that just “working out” wouldn’t do.
My work with Caren is something that has built gradually. How I sit, stand and interact with people all stem from work we’ve done together. Instead of reacting to situations, I can internalize differently, then act according to a centered mindfulness that we’ve worked on crafting together.
Caren has empowered me to see that yoga isn’t just about flexibility and fitness, it’s constant work toward a greater understanding of body and mind presence. It is something I can do no matter where my head and fitness level are at.
I’m at the point now where my practice (mindfulness and yoga) is part of my daily routine. It’s the first thing I do every day and what I come back to when I feel myself slipping. When I don’t practice, I feel a little off balance, like there’s a rock in my shoe.
If more than a day goes by where I don’t practice, old, negative thought patterns resurface, I become more tired and eventually the spiral outward begins again. I know I can practice mindfulness and meditation anywhere at almost any time of day, so that provides me with some peace. It is empowering to have that in my toolbox whenever I need it.
I’m in a very good place right now as far as work/life balance goes. A lot of this came from letting go and knowing that I am where I am supposed to be. My work with Caren has given me several ways to incorporate mindfulness into my life, and it continues.
Of all the things I’ve learned, these three results stand out:
- Control of my breath — and anxiety. I had trouble with anxiety attacks, especially while driving. Now that I understand that breath is part of me and does not have to overcome me. I can deal with my anxiety attacks with breath and mindfulness.
- Kindness in communication. My responses come from my center, my true spirit. I am not reactionary; instead, thoughtful before response. This is something I still have to work on, of course.
- Better body awareness and accessing my inner power. I am more aware of how sitting/standing affects my overall body. Mountain Pose is one way that I have connected with my body and the earth. It feels powerful, just by standing in alignment.
Also, the different meditation styles we tried have taught me a lot about sitting in stillness. I can always go back to a practice that Caren has taught me, and working with her has helped me build my own personal meditation, as well.
I don’t feel obligated to do yoga and meditation in the morning. I want to. Even more, my spirit seems to crave it.
Movement and mindfulness in the morning starts my day so seamlessly. It’s my spiritual breakfast that nourishes me all day long.
I feel like my life is coming together in a powerful way, and I know that what I have learned from Caren will continue to build as I continue to grow. This kind of work is priceless.
This is what yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices can do for you. Less anxiety, more kindness to yourself and others, and feeling at home in your body, which all lead to trusting that you’re exactly where you need to be so you can go where you want to go.