By Sarah Calandra Fine
“As people who want to live a good, full, unrestricted, adventurous, real kind of life, there is concrete instruction we can follow: see what is.”- Pema Chödrön
As we continue into this beautiful year, most of us are still planning what we want to change, new things we want to take on and how we want to better ourselves. We often push for perfection, and some of us aren’t content with the good changes we do achieve.
It’s this stubborn attitude of needing things to be a certain way that creates an environment where we remain closed instead of open, rough instead of soft, weary instead of alive.
Your Internal Environment Creates Your External Reaction
Look at a child. Every single thing they see, they experience with wonder. They play and adventure freely. They are fully present in every single moment. As we get older, responsibility and stress take hold. We push ourselves to the limit every day. We feel pressure to be successful, and we’re constantly looking for more.
In our competitive world, it is easy to lose sight of what is already good in our lives. While it’s wonderful to set new goals and push ourselves to new places, in many ways, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. Years of self-reflection have taught me this: If we keep trying to write the story line of our future, we will never be happy with where we are.
Looking back at the way my last year unfolded, I had many beautiful successes and some crushing disappointments. I realized that when I was aggressive with myself, nothing seemed to go my way. But when I was relaxed, put the work in, manifested and let go of the results, everything flowed. It is true that our internal environment creates our external reaction to life.
This year, I vow to be gentle with myself, to set reachable goals, and to know that sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest impact.
Here Are Five Tips For Letting Things Flow in 2016:
1. Start Where You Are
That means accepting where you are right now. Don’t regret or beat yourself up. It’s so important to embrace your today even as you dream of a different tomorrow.
2. Let Go of Fear
Instead of running away from them, learn to become comfortable with your fears. Everybody has them. Fear can either paralyze you or it can be an exciting personal challenge in your journey toward what you want in life.
3. Do Something Different
No one ever realized his or her dreams by sticking to the same routines. Integrate new activities into your life. Take an improv class, volunteer at a food bank, go sing karaoke. It’s in that beautifully juicy and uncomfortable space that transformation begins.
4. Practice Compassion
Every day, try to do a compassionate act for another, and expect nothing in return. You can cultivate compassion in simple ways. Open your heart, share your warmth others. Take time to sit and meditate. Repeat to yourself, “May all beings be happy and free.”
5. Stay Present
Everything is impermanent, every moment fleeting, so embrace each second. See the beauty in each encounter you have throughout your days. We’re in charge of our own lives and it’s important we stay present for the ride.
Breathe Deep & Enjoy the Journey
Sarah Calandra Fine is a journalist and an Ayurvedic yoga teacher who has been fascinated with the processes of the body since her very first acupuncture session at age eight. She’s a New Yorker at heart but currently living in San Diego, writing and teaching yoga and meditation to Marines.