Be You

“ You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Maya Angelou

How many times each day do you mean to say one thing, and say another instead, because you are worried about what others might think? How often do you wake up in the morning with one idea in mind for what you want to accomplish, only to find yourself doing something else because of social pressures or personal anxieties? Do you dress the way you want to dress? Do you listen to the music you really like, or do you follow the herd? Are you working the job of your dreams, or the job of someone else’s dreams?

I feel it is harder than ever to be yourself when society want you to be mass produced. When we reflect on history, so often the big moments, good or bad, occurred because of social obedience; where people have been too afraid to speak up for what they believe in, and decide to follow the crowd. That’s how a movement is started, isn’t it? The first follower.

But no lifetime, no matter how successful, will be truly rewarding or happy if you cannot learn to love yourself and be yourself. 

So, yes, I am encouraging you to be brave this month and do what feels good for you!

Yoga is about taming our mind, our subconscious mind, so that our mind becomes our servant, rather than the other way around. Maybe it is just me, but I find as we get older, we log away more experiences and these can cloud our judgment, to the point that we even lose ourselves, who we truly are. On the other hand, many find that as they get older, they reach a point, a moment, where enough is enough, and they would much rather release the chains of expectations, and be themselves.

Through yoga practice, we come to realise our habitual thought processes and we get to choose if those processes serve us well, or not. And if they don’t, then change them, get rid of them, because whilst we still hang on to those habitual masks, we will never truly honour ourselves and we may even hit burn out.

So on the your yoga mat this month, I encourage you to drop all expectations you have of yourself and your yoga practice. Allow yourself to be truly in the moment. Your teacher is just a guide, not an authority. Take the guidance of your teacher and the structure of the practice into your heart and move how it feels good for your to move. Will you move through your practice based on what your head is saying to you, or will you move from your intuition? How will your breathe? How will you rest?

Off your mat, consider these questions:

  • Could you describe your strengths and weaknesses with confidence?
  • When you are around others, do you ever feel strained and uncomfortable and find it hard to relax?
  • Has anyone ever told you that they thought you were one way, but then when they got to know you better, realised you were another way?
  • Do you ever pretend to like someone you really don’t?
  • Do you ever act like you don’t care what others think, but deep down it really stings when others judge or reject you?

Awareness is everything. Don’t put pressure on yourself to change overnight, and be compassionate with yourself. Trust that if you set the goal of being more real, via the dropping of your habitual masks, you will be able to do this with time.

And it will feel great!

Be Powerful

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
Marianne Williamson

What on earth does being powerful mean?

So earlier this year, I sat down and wrote a list of intentions for the year, and this would be the intention for the month, on and off the yoga mat. Some of our lovely My Kind of Yoga Ambassadors have grasped this concept and devised some wonderful yoga practices to embody these intentions.

This month, the intention is to be powerful. This is very timely as at the end of last month, we went into the running for a big promotion with our Arbonne business. At the next level, not only do we receive a pay rise, we also receive a cash bonus each month towards a white Mercedes (which will be very nice, which will save us paying out each month for our cars). It will also mean more influence within the company and the opportunity to influence more lives.

The thing is, we could have got to this point sooner, and there is a part of me, I know for sure, that isn’t stepping fully into my power.

Why is that?

What am I afraid of?

Which is why Marianne Williamson’s quote at the bottom of the picture above, really resonates right now. It’s a quote that has been on a slide, which we used for many years on the Les Mills AIM2 training course, and it got to a point that I overlooked the empowering message behind it.

It also ties in with a message I’ve heard so many times on Arbonne leadership training events, and that is, get out of the way to make way for the rest of your team. Staying where you are serves no one and inspired no one. It is when we put on our big girl, or big boy, pants … be brave and to the right thing. Not only will that help us grow, but also those around us.

So, we have a target to hit – our Arbonne promotion (those of you who know what I’m talking about, RVP) by the 31st of August, 2019.

That coincides with the Malaysian Independence Day … not that it makes any difference.

This truly is a wonderful business, with far greater reach than Les Mills and yoga put together. For years now, I’ve said that I truly believe that every being deserves to be happy and healthy. Arbonne believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live a healthier and happier life. How amazingly perfect is that?

So, what am I going to do to step into my own power?

Here are three top tips I’m going to use from Forbes:

  1. Acknowledge and declare my ambition. I was brought up to not brag; to just get on with it. I don’t see this as bragging. You have to put it out there so the universe can hear it.
  2. Speak up and share my opinions and ideas. I was also told as a child to be seen and not heard; that I shouldn’t rock the boat. The thing is, when I’ve kept things to myself for too long, it all tends to explode at some point, or another.
  3. Acknowledge my fears. This is scary shit zone for me! It’s a space I haven’t been to before, and I feel a massive sense of responsibility towards my team, and I don’t want to let them down.

If you read the Forbes article, you’ll see seven other tips, all of which resonate with me.

So, I’m putting it out there with this blog and I’ll also be doing the same on social media.

I do want to make a difference in this world and I believe that the world could be a better place if all of us had the time and money to dedicate to the causes we believe in.

I would honestly love to have you join me on this journey, and I promise, from the bottom of my heart, that I will be there to support you and help you realise your dreams. If this resonates with you in anyway, drop me a message and let’s talk.

Till next time … wishing you much love x

Be Present

‘Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.’ ~ Thich Nhat Hahn

Ahhh … this is the key, isn’t it?

The key to unlocking calm and peace to the middle of a stress-ful, chaotic day.

What tends to knock us out of equanimity is the little monkey in our mind; the one that is cheeky, playful, frustrated, angry, bored, and it expresses itself in different ways.  Our cheeky chimp can be made worse by external factors such as the stress of being a single parent, a bully for a boss, doing the dishes or the draw of Facebook.  However, if we are to remain completely present, those external forces are no longer an issue. 

But what does being present actually mean? According to one dictionary, to be present means to be in existence at the moment in time at which an utterance is spoken or written. Interestingly, the word “present” comes from two latin words that are taken to mean “before” and “existence”. So, that messes with my head. 

If you are completely present, then the external factors no longer affect us because in that present moment, we only need to think about what is at hand. We do not have to let these factors add to what is already worrying us. For example, if your child interrupts your yoga practice, by being present, there is then only you and your child. You can appreciate your child for who they are and be thankful for that moment.

If your boss demands that you focus on an urgent task, you can choose to stress out because you have a million other things to do and not enough time to do them. Or you can be present, and focus completely on that task, and now there is only that one task and you. When you’re done, you can move on to the next task.

By practising being present, it allows everything else to fade away, leaving only you and whatever you are dealing with right now.

How to Practice Being Present

Like anything, it takes practice. When you practice something regularly and consistently, you become good at it. And the following method is fairly simple to do.

Whatever you are doing, right now, learn to focus completely on doing that one thing. Pay attention to every aspect of what you are doing, to your body, to the sensations, to your thoughts. You will notice your thoughts, if you are paying attention, jump to other things. And that is OK. You are not trying to force all other thoughts from your mind, but instead, by becoming aware of that jumping around in your thoughts, you have found the tool for gently bringing yourself back to your present task. Just notice the jumping thoughts, and patiently come back to the task at hand.

Do this once, then do it again.

Now this practice is not meant to be exhausting and you should start to notice how your worries melt away and you enjoy your present task much more.

Be joyful in whatever you are doing, grateful that you are able to do that task, and fully appreciate every little movement and tactile sensation of the task. Anything can be an amazing experience.

Set yourself little “mindfulness bells” are useful to remind you to come back to the present. E.g. The red light could be your mindfulness bell as you drive. Meditation is a fantastic way to practice because it can be done anywhere, anytime. It removes much of the complexity of the world and allows you to just learn to be aware of your mind, and to bring yourself back to the present moment.

Practice, repeatedly, in small easy beautiful steps. Each step is a wonder in itself, and each practice helps you to find that calm in the middle of the traffic of your life.