April - Perspective
What do we mean when we talk about perspective? Well, the divine Wayne Dyer put it this way – “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
How are you seeing the world around you and the events that transpire in your life? We often don’t question our reaction to or perception of the world until either a dramatic event occurs, such as an illness, or we begin a mindfulness practice such as yoga or meditation.
Hopefully for you it’s the latter, but no doubt you’ve heard stories of people who have an experience of near death, or lose a loved one and as a consequence, make major changes in their lives. Suddenly certain things don’t seem important anymore and what we have perhaps taken for granted appears in vivid colour.
Similarly, have you ever had an experience – a day or a time in your life - where nothing could get you down? We often feel this way when we first fall in love. Everything around just seems floaty, better and magical. The small things that might normally irritate us roll off our backs and we enjoy the world just a little more than we did yesterday. It’s quite a divine experience!
Whether joy or heartbreak is the catalyst, a shift seems to occur at these times. But has the whole world around you suddenly transformed? It may have changed a little for you in some ways, but no, the world is essentially as it was before. Something inside of you has shifted. You see through different eyes.
When we fully surrender to the fact that we can’t control what’s going on in the world or around us, we are left with a choice. Abraham Lincoln put it this way
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses”.
Kind of like the glass half full analogy, and the meaning is the same - that we can’t always control what happens but we can decide how we react to the world and how we choose to see the events that transpire in our lives. This can have an enormous impact on our sense of wellbeing, peacefulness and joy.
So without waiting for illness or love to strike, how do we begin to shift our perspective?
Step one is to notice. Notice how you are reacting to your life and the nature and quality of your thoughts. Time on the mat is great way to practice this. On our mats, we start to become the observer of how we react to challenging moments or discomfort in our poses, and we bring awareness to our thoughts. Yoga and meditation helps us ‘get into the gap’ - the place between what happens to us and our reaction. When you are able to pause here before automatically reacting to the world, you may start to see events and people in your life differently. You can begin to respond to your life rather than react on autopilot. But it all begins with becoming the observer.
Step two is to question why you react the way you do. When we are functioning from the subconscious mind, old belief systems that don’t serve us can run the show. Begin to question your reactions and if they don’t serve you, can you let go and embrace a new way of interpreting what happens in your life?
Step three is to invite gratitude into your life. In some ways, this is the most important or simplest way to shift your perspective. When we shift our focus from what we don’t have and what is troubling us to what we love and are grateful for, dramatic changes are inevitable. For where we place our focus is where we place our energy, and that energy is creating our reality. Intentional daily gratitude and cultivating the feeling of thankfulness in your life is a powerful tool for shifting perspective.
Our yoga practice is a wonderful gateway to seeing the world as a playground for love and joy, instead of a spinning whirlwind that leaves anger, frustration and stress in its wake. We practice on the mat and then begin to take our new selves and awareness out into the world. But It begins by noticing how we react to discomfort and what the quality of our thoughts are about ourselves and others.
Perhaps this is your intention on the mat this month – to really notice your thoughts and begin to see if you can shift your perspective. We are here to help you, so join us in the studio this month to explore Perspective a little more!