Let’s be real… I don’t have any secrets that you don’t already know.
Deep down, at the center most part of yourself, you already knows exactly what you seek and exactly where to find it. The only problem is that sometimes we forget. We get distracted and end up disconnecting from ourselves and our inner wisdom, or Dhi as we call it in Yoga.
The outside world is screaming at us all the time, telling us how to live, who to love, what is right, and what is wrong. On top of that, the voice of our mind gets conditioned to yell in the same manner. I mean seriously, how are we ever expected to sort through all that noise? For starters, we need some tools. We need tangible, hands-on techniques to start quieting the voice of the mind so that we can connect to our own source of wisdom. Because, as my teacher says, the voice of wisdom speaks in a whisper.
These seven habits are not something that I conjured up. Instead, these are observations that I have made during times when I felt satisfied with my circumstances despite my conscious mind telling me otherwise. Because there are times when things just don’t seem to be working out, and overall we feel like everything sucks. But most of the time, we’ve just forgotten these habits.
We’ve simply forgotten how to appreciate the magnitude of deep satisfaction that is available to us in every single, waking moment. We’ve forgotten how to stop and listen.
Occasionally, we need reminders to practice these habits, but after consistent practice, they can easily be engrained in how we perceive ourselves and the world on a daily basis. And soon we become one of those irritating, yet irresistible, satisfied people.
1. GET GROUNDED IN GRATITUDE
Be grateful for your place! It can be challenging to practice being grateful, especially if you are unhappy with your current situation. But when you allow yourself to embrace and enjoy, to give thanks and appreciate, all the gifts that nature has to offer, you will be thrilled beyond belief.
Take a good look around your environment, and accept the fact that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Invite yourself to feel truly grateful for all the ways in which you are being supported, inspired, protected, loved, and honored, wherever you find yourself.
Cultivating a deep and humbling sense of gratitude can unlock so much dormant potential, releasing a powerful momentum that will radically enhance your experience.
2. FIND YOUR PLEASURE CENTER
Choose joy! Pain and pleasure are physical sensations, whereas suffering and enjoyment are products of choice. We are biologically wired as humans to respond more strongly to things that cause us pain and to forget about the simple pleasures in life.
No matter your situation, find one thing that LIGHTS you up, one thing where you can experience pure joy, and do it. Don’t judge yourself for it; don’t let other people make you think it’s a waste of time or money or energy. If it makes you squirm with excitement, if it makes you giddy, if it makes your eyes sparkle with glee, you better get your ass to it!
Don’t waste your time wallowing in pain, perpetuating your suffering. Actively choose joy, and it will make all the difference.
3. COMMIT TO YOUR NEEDS
Take care of you! We all have times in our life where we need to rely on the help of a friend to get through a difficult time. But at the end of the day, you are the only one who is responsible for your well-being.
You are the only person who knows what you need. And when it comes down to it, only you can truly help yourself. Accept and love this fact! Revel in the beauty and the power of this responsibility, and make a commitment to care for yourself as you would a small child.
Exercise, eat healthy, do good work, give yourself compliments, and pick yourself up when you fall down. And you will always feel loved.
4. GIVE & RECEIVE
Exercise the exchange! All of us have our own unique way of interacting with the world and being of service. But no matter who you are, your happiness depends on the quality of your relationships.
A 75-year Harvard study found that healthy relationships were the #1 common factor for physical longevity, personal fulfillment, and life-long happiness. Essentially, your life force, your body’s vital energy, depends on the depth to which you connect with other human beings. Take every chance you can to smile at a stranger, sincerely apologize, receive a gift with gratitude, and offer a helping hand.
The more you participate in the whole-hearted exchange of love and compassion, the more you are supporting your entire well-being. Empathy is a muscle that can be strengthened. And when we exercise the exchange of empathy on a daily basis, we discover the gateway to an ecstatic life.
5. SMILE & SING
Be positively present! Music is like a magical potion, capturing our attention and evoking an emotional response unlike any other medium. And singing is a form of art and a means of self-expression that is accessible to every individual.
When we sing, however beautifully or badly, we are willingly transporting ourselves to a reality of our choosing. Got a song stuck in your head? Let it out. Sing that sweet tune until it hurts! Whatever emotion it is that is bubbling to the surface, singing loudly is a powerful way to transform that emotion into something positive. You have the ability to manage your mood, lift your spirits, and express your own creativity by singing – in the car, in the shower, in your kitchen.
It’s easier to be in the present moment when you are focusing on carrying a tune and remembering lyrics. So when there’s a song that just *hits the spot,* let your voice go and see the beautiful places it can take you.
6. STRETCH YOUR MIND
See from a new perspective! The person you are today is not defined by your past experiences, but rather your willingness to change, to learn, to grow, and to expand yourself beyond the limitations of your mind.
Many people recognize the benefit of having strong yet flexible muscles, but often times we associate mental flexibility with weakness. This could not be further from the truth. You have the ability to change your mind – to see something from a new perspective, to absorb new information and formulate a new, broader understanding of the world. And this ability comes from the neuroplastic nature of your brain, the biological force behind human evolution, advances in technology, and modern medicine.
Every day, we have the opportunity to learn something new and go outside our comfort zone. By exploring the flexible, malleable quality of your mind, you can open up an entirely new way of experiencing the world – a way of true acceptance, compassion, and endless love.
7. LIVE WITHOUT REASON
Do one thing that doesn’t make sense! We seem to be living in a world full of people searching for the meaning of life, hungry to find their soul’s purpose, and desperate to believe that they are alive for a reason. But this puts so much pressure on us…
You are so much more than the sum of your parts, and your worthiness as a human being cannot be quantified. Many people get so caught up with being rational, productive citizens, that they forget their true nature. We forget that we contain an indescribable wisdom. We forget the preciousness of this human experience, and the vastness of the universe as a whole.
In an effort to remember, we must do the things that don’t always make “sense.” We must embrace the spontaneous side of ourselves and marvel at the world with childlike wonder. It’s the only thing that will truly make this life worth living!
With my utmost love and compassion… get it together.
If these habits resonate with you, like they do for me, then challenge yourself to complete all seven for 40 days straight. I promise, you will see a profound shift in your life.
Of course, it’s easier to live your life by just going through the motions, mindlessly conforming. But it’s so much more rewarding to carve your own path, to consciously immerse yourself in the essence of being alive, to become intimately familiar with the radiant nature of who you are and who you wish to be. Like I said, you already know every secret you’ll ever need, but sometimes we get stuck in our head, and we forget the wisdom that lives in our heart.
Sometimes we need to step outside ourselves in order to go deeper within.
by Maria Borghoff