Be True To Who You Are – a caveat

It’s amazing the amount of rejection that I see
In my reflection and I can’t get out of the way
I’m lookin’ forward to the girl I wanna be
But regret has a way of starin’ me right in the face
So I try not to waste too much time at the bathroom sink

– Miranda Lambert (Bathroom Sink)

There are days when I get home after work and the tension in my shoulders feel like rocks and I realize that I haven’t taken a deep breath all day. Instead of listening to my inner voice, I have spent the whole day compromising myself for a mere perception of others’ opinions of me or worse, my ego’s expectations. It’s as though the world speeds up all around me and I’m constantly criticizing myself for being behind or not good enough.

This morning I started my day with a yoga class instead of my regular cup of coffee. I usually don’t have the luxury of making it to the 6 am Bikram class since I have to be at work by 8:30 am. But today I was scheduled for a late start, which meant I got to contend with the inner battle of whether to sleep in or go to yoga. I am grateful that the yoga won, for as I starred at myself in the mirror for the 90 minute class, I realized that I had been holding a lot of negativity towards the girl looking back at me.

With my mind always trying to skip 10 steps ahead of right now, I am never able to live up to my ego’s criticisms of where she thinks I should be. This made me realize that there is an important caveat to the saying, “Be True To Who You Are,”  for it is really a practice of being true to who you are in this moment. It is about getting to know the person you are within your own individual context, not where you will be tomorrow, next month, or next year. Honour who you are in the present and have respect for the moment, whether good or bad.

Yes I have goals, and as Miranda says, “I’m lookin’ forward to the girl I wanna be;” however, that doesn’t mean I can forget to take care of the girl I already am.

The Power of Words

I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.

– Florence Nightingale

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On a day to day basis I speak many words to my colleagues, clients, friends and family, and have many more come right back at me. Most of the time, my ability to communicate takes very little thought or effort. Words flow easily from my consciousness and then impact the world as they may. But really, how many of us actually take the time to really think about our choice of words before they escape from our lips? And what is the effect of all this chatter around us?

I’ve gotten so caught up in life over the past few months that I haven’t been able to prioritize time for meditation and prayer. My only time for quiet reflection has been during my weekly yoga class, during which I realize how affected I truly am by all the noise coming at me – gossip, complaining, negativity. In many yogic traditions, the mantra Om is employed as a mystical connection to the Divine. In church, we sing and pray with words that connect us to our Creator. No matter how we connect, words are a powerful way of coming to understand our humanity. However, I believe we need to be careful how we use their power. Letting our negative thoughts slip out can be a danger that only breeds more negativity, It is an easy release in the moment that usually feels good…we all love a good vent! But without action, our words lose their meaning and start to work against us.

I invite you to join me during this busy season to take some time to reflect on the chatter – what you say and what you hear. Even a few minutes of meditation a day can start to change the way you think and respond to the crazy world around you. Peace, love and happiness result from actions which, are born from words spoken with intention.