We can often be our own worst enemy. We talk to ourselves in a way we wouldn’t dream of talking to anyone else. The problem is we are aware of our flaws. And sometimes we focus on those flaws so much we neglect to see the good that is in us. This gives rise to negative self talk.
I know I have been guilty of this in the past. And I know I’m not alone. I have been on a journey over the past few years. And I know my journey isn’t over yet. In fact I believe my journey is about to take a new direction. I intend to be a force of positivity and hope.
I will be posting more about this in the future. Sometimes it seems as if the world is going through a dark phase.
Each of us can choose to make a difference by committing to random acts of kindness. Even if it’s just smiling at a stranger. You don’t know what personal battle that person is fighting. Sometimes something as simple as a smile can brighten someone’s day. And it costs nothing. Let’s make this world a better place to live in.
Never quit. Whatever you have started, keep pushing forward.
If you stumble, catch your footing and keep going.
If you fall, pick yourself up and keep going.
If you have to crawl, keep going. Any progress, no matter how minimal, is better than just giving up.
You started this because you cared enough about yourself to get on this road. Now care enough about yourself to carry on the journey. No matter how arduous it becomes.
One day you will be so grateful to yourself that you didn’t stop.
Until you reach that day… Keep. Going.
Today, we have a guest blogger, Poppy Wortman. She is from New Zealand but now lives in India, and studies yoga and ayurveda.
Ask a studio of yogis – be they first class, a year in or long term Sun Saluters – what was their pull to first go to yoga, and the answers will be manifold.
“My doctor recommended it for my tight shoulders”; “I needed some ME time”; “I wanted to get more flexible”; “I had Lululemon tights and wanted to wear them somewhere other than out for coffee.”
My call to the mat and doing a downward dog?
Quiet – and at times, not so quiet – desperation.
From the age of eight-years-old, disordered eating thoughts, patterns and ways of being started creeping up on my psyche, progressively consuming me. By the time I turned 19, my entire being was swamped and entrenched in an eating disorder. This is not the time nor space to delve deeper into that aspect – I sometimes enlighten on my personal blog, www.popyarns.com, should you maybe feel the pull to read into it a bit more.
Years of on-and-off counselling, psychiatry and even an attempt at hypno-therapy proved minimal, if any, recovery. I look back and have no idea how I got through those years; perhaps the perfectionist, high achieving tendencies that often come in partnership with bulimia-cum-anorexia-cum-obsessive-orthorexia got me through (I somehow managed to be awarded dux all three years, which absolutely astounds me when I recall my mind frame). But with assignments and exams and early-20-year-old worries on top of constant calorie counting and obsessive exercising, my mind was a very busy – and never winding down – place.
Upon graduation I moved to Australia to blow off steam. Living in Brisbane with a group of gal-pals, there was a lot of drinking, late night (well, early morning) stumbling back to our flat and irregular eating. Although my consumption remained very limited to a handful of edible options, the alcoholic ingestion and its subsequent binge out on “no-no” foods had me put on a few kilos.
I was in absolute despair.
I moved home to New Zealand – a new boyfriend in tow – and we decided to go travel around South East Asia. The whole trip I would get up at 6am to go running for a few hours and spend the days obsessing over what I was eating, determined to shed back to my “ideal” size. A big divide started to chasm out between us, and after a few months back at home after our trip, we decided to separate. (I think the moment was decided when he asked, “Would you rather be skinny, or be with me?” and I hesitated).
My inner reaction on us parting ways? Good. I can lose more weight without him in my life.
I was irritable and angry all the time. I was starving my body, then ramming it full of food when the cravings took control. Though my outside life was seemingly “perfect” (what even is that?), my head was in disarray. I was deciding whether I should move up to the city and take a journalism job, when one night I had this intense impulse that I wanted – no, I needed – to go to India.
Once the idea was in my mind, I didn’t waver once (well, at the airport as I was leaving I must admit I did have a moment where I considered going back home again). I started researching my forthcoming solo sojourn, looking at the standard touristy places to go and making a list: Varanasi, The Taj, a week on the beach in Goa. Then the idea came to me to maybe spend a few days engaging in a yoga retreat; It’ll be good for clearing my head, I thought.
I looked into a few options, and saw the price for a fortnight of “blissful restoration and rejuvenation” equalled that of a month-long teacher training course. As someone who is somewhat infatuated with the idea of adding more qualifications after her name (again, that high achiever-ness), I decided it was the way for me. I booked one that “felt right”, and come the end of July 2015, I was in the colourful chaos of Rishikesh, Northern India, with my bright pink Nike tights and a what-the-hell-am-I-doing-here panic.
Having only ever participated in two yoga classes in my life (I grew up always playing more combat sports like netball, basketball, athletics and water-skiing) I had no clue what I was up to. The other females in my course had been practicing the ancient science for a fair few years, already familiar with the Sanskrit terminology and what-angle-your-foot-goes-at-in-trikonasana. I wasn’t in tune with myself in any way whatsoever; when told to keep hips square or catch my left foot, I was so out of whack with where I even was. After a few initial days of anxiety and considering leaving, I somehow found my zone. By the time four weeks was up, I was utterly transformed.
To say yoga saved me sounds so proclamational and nonsensical. But I believe it truly did. By the end of my 30 days, I had somehow learnt to love my limbs, recognising them for so much more than just their size. I had learnt to applaud my body when it did me proud, looking at it with affection and not hatred. And when it did let me down (nailing a headstand took a fair few attempts), I learnt to give it care, not criticism.
That’s not to say I was “cured” – not by any means. But my head found some clarity as I contorted and meditated and chanted, and upon return home (after a flit up the Everest Base Camp, another transformational experience) I signed up for clinical rehab and only semi reluctantly received treatment. I was able to timidly admit that I was sick, rather than vigorously assert I was as I was as a result of veganism and a swift metabolism.
And here we are two years later, me back in India having redone my 200-hour Hatha Yoga teacher training (at Rishikesh Yog Dham, the school I came across in my first trip that I vowed I would return to) and currently in the midst of my 300-hour Vinyasa teacher training. At 10kg heavier, my body is far stronger and capable of achieving postures I once would never have been able to try.
I still have those awful eating-disordered thoughts each and every day, but I’m recovering, one moment at a time. And I firmly give that credit to yoga; it gave me the motivation and tools my mental state required to willingly save my life.
Yoga also puts me in my place. I physically cannot be the best; my left knee turns out, meaning any balance is fleeting. I have slight scoliosis, so my back has a little hunch that only semi straightens. But rather than frustrate me as it did in the beginning, I have come to accept these ailments and just look forward to the backbends.
There are many draws to the mat; health, the trend, a bid for self-love or even purely as a form of exercise. But regardless of what made you pick up the pencil and sketch that first stroke, yoga can be extremely beneficial – and sometimes even life changing – to all.
I shudder to think where I would be if I hadn’t found my freedom.
That’s the big picture of what drew me into being a yoga teacher. And what continues to keep me picking up the crayon of taking classes. If someone asks me what got me into it, of course I don’t share this extremely personal spiel; my usual response is something like, “I just decided to try it one day”.
There’s that whole “Keep Calm and Do Yoga” mantra that you often see emblazoned across social media. But I always think it should be flipped about; “Do Yoga and Keep Calm”. And balanced. And at peace. And able to find your inner strength. And your physical. Plus your shortcomings, your ailments and your abilities. Find yourself in general, really.
I know I did, And continue to do so every time I get on my mat.
If there is one thing that is holding you back from taking action to make your dreams a reality, what is it? Sometimes, it helps to write it down and then turn the negative tone of ‘I can’t do this’, (insert the word what you can’t do), into ‘I can do this and I will do it’, (again insert the word what you will do).
Watch the mind take over and boost your confidence and positive feelings. You will start to believe that you can and will do it. Then, the next step is to turn the word, ‘I will’, into ‘I am’ doing the thing that I thought I couldn’t do.
It is important to acknowledge the struggle by writing it down and talking out loud. It is also equally important to write down and talk outloud the ‘I am’ aspect of it too.
It really is all in the mind. Once you realize the importance and power your mind has, you can start to believe anything is possible and you can take action towards making your dream a reality. ❤
Success is dependent on only one thing. The decision to start. Whatever you have in mind, whether it’s weight loss, fitness, looking for a new job, or starting your own business, you have to make a decision, a commitment that you’re just going to do it. And then you need to cultivate a no-matter-what mindset.
You are going to do this.
No. Matter. What.
It’s all in your mindset. Your mind is your most powerful tool. Any thing that has ever been invented was visualized first. It was created in the mind before it was created in reality.
On the other hand your mind can be your greatest obstacle. Your mind can make you fly, or it can hold you back, keep you on the ground.
As the old saying goes, “if you think you can, you’re right. If you think you can’t, you’re right”.
It’s all in your mind.
Whatever is in your heart, make a decision today to go for it. Just think where you could be a year from now!
We are often our own worst critics. We talk to ourselves sometimes in a way we wouldn’t dream of talking to anyone else. We are often far harsher on ourselves than anyone else would want to be. We beat ourselves mentally when we mess up. When we slip up on our diet we just give up, tell ourselves it’s too hard. Sometimes we let what other people say to and about us become our own personal reality. If someone puts us down we mentally agree.
It’s time to stop that.
Life is hard sometimes. We try our best, but sometimes we fall short. We make mistakes. We miss goals. It’s called being human.
Just know you are worthy. You deserve the best in life. Stop putting yourself down. If you make a mistake one day, you can get it right the next day. Or the day after that. Be kinder to yourself. Start treating yourself as you would treat a friend. If you wouldn’t put your friend down then why put yourself down?
Just over two years ago I was overweight, diabetic and downright unhealthy. I used to put myself down. A lot. I think I kind of hated myself for letting myself get where I was. But little by little I made changes. I joined @MyFitnessPal and started running.
Running taught me a lot about myself. I learned I’m stronger than I ever thought I was. When your legs are burning and your body is screaming at you to stop but you keep going until you are done, that’s some serious mental strength. I’m more determined, more driven than I’ve ever been about anything. I turned my life, and my health, around. The weight is off and my sugar numbers are much better now. I’ve been off diabetes medication for over two years now.
You can change your life, too. Start by changing your inner dialogue. It won’t happen overnight. You’ll still find yourself coming up with the same negative reaction. But when you catch yourself, stop. Say “No! I’m better than this. I DESERVE better than this.”
You deserve respect. You deserve SELF respect . You are capable of far more than you can imagine. You only need the will to try.
I wrote this because I am often my own worst critic. I get down on myself about a lot of things. It’s something I’ve had to work on. I still find myself slipping into old habits. But when I catch myself, I make a note of it and resolve to do better. No harsh self-criticism. Well, not nearly as much. Hey, I’m still not perfect. But I don’t expect to be. I’m human, too. But if I can do this, so can you.
Two years ago I decided to start running for my health. It was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. Because of that decision I lost 50 lbs and got off diabetes medication. I could have just stayed as I was, wishing I was slimmer, wishing I could get my sugar levels under control.
Instead I made a choice. I started small. The first day I ran I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile. But I was out there every day. Walking and running. At first walking much more than running. Gradually I increased my running time and distance until I was running more than I was walking. Then one day I didn’t need to take a walking break at all. Now I run a few times a week. I run anything from 4 to 6 miles. Sometimes I can run longer distances. It may not seem much compared to some runners but my running has taken me to a totally different place, emotionally.
I no longer wish I was slim.
I am slim.
I no longer wish I was off diabetes medication.
I am off diabetes medication.
All this because I made a simple choice.
One day while I was walking I chose to run.
Whatever you are thinking of doing, whatever you wish you could do, just start.
Start while you’re afraid.
Two years from now you’ll be so thankful you did.
The world is a darker place today. We lost a good man. Our loss is Heaven’s gain.
My wife’s stepdad, Don, has suffered a great deal over the last couple of years. First a series of mini strokes robbed him of his ability to speak. Then he fell and broke his hip. He had surgery, rehab and was even able to go home for a couple of months. But his health started to deteriorate further. To cut a long story short he spent his last few months alternated between a nursing home and hospital. The last few weeks his kidneys failed and he ended up on dialyis. It has been so hard to watch him go through all this. But his suffering is over now. What he went through I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. He truly didn’t deserve to go like that. He was a proud man who valued his independence. All that was taken away from him in the end. He bore it all with incredible bravery. But it’s over now. His heart gave out Tuesday morning. We had the wake on Friday and his funeral was Saturday.
Don was a good man. One of the best. He would have given you the shirt off his back if you’d needed it, without expecting anything in return. He wouldn’t even want anything in return. Any time anyone needed him to do something he would do it without hesitation. There aren’t enough men like him in this world. Our loss is Heaven’s gain. I’m glad I had the chance to know him. He was a wonderful stepdad to my wife, Christine. This has hit her hard. But she is coping. She has many wonderful memories of him. We know he will be around us and letting us know in all sorts of ways that he is still with us. He used to like to kid around so it’ll be interesting to see how he chooses to make contact. But physically, we’ll miss him. He wasn’t the most talkative man in the world, but he was a pleasure to be around. He was just so calm. I’ve never heard him say a bad word about anyone.
Don, just know there are a lot of people down here who love you and will miss you enormously. You used to love the family gatherings. I’m sure your name will come up frequently at future family events. You have truly earned your place in Heaven.