Sundays are supposed to be a day of rest. A day to soak up some mindfulness and a day to refocus. But my Sunday began on Saturday at the crack of dawn with an amazing yoga practice taught by the calming and soothing voice of my teacher, Natasha. Due to my super hectic work schedule, I was not able to catch her live and in real-time last week, but I practiced to the recorded class and still felt like she was teaching only me. My day ended with a sunset and another yoga pose by some water which I retrospectively thought was incredibly apropos based on the message she shared with me that morning.
So yesterday really was my Sunday. Today is preparation for a busy week so my Saturday was intentionally my Sunday if that makes sense. But all of that does not matter, what matters is the message. Soaking it up. Okay, yeah, you can think of a nice warm bath and soaking up some relaxation, but this message is more focused than a bubble bath!
Often times, we know our little ones soak up every single mannerism and word choice we use (sometimes funny, sometimes not). It is true. I remember my son as a four-year-old using phrases that I used on my job. “What data supports your opinion?” is what I would hear out of this little four-year-old when I asked him to clean up his room. With all seriousness, I would burst out laughing. Of course, we all know that kids are not the only ones that soak it up.
I know that I can easily soak up the positivity in this world. The shared accomplishments, the shared laughter, the shared goals, the shared love of self, an outlook of resilience. I could soak it up all day. I could be the biggest sponge oozing positivity and not caring if I gained a zillion pounds of water weight. I could easily go sloshing throughout my day with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. You would see me and talk to me and, hopefully, your sponge would also embrace this outlook and become filled with the water weight gain of positivity.
But, on the flip side, this soaked sponge is also a very real part of life. Sadness, fear, the attitude that there will never be lemonade, negativity. Let’s be honest. There are some people that equally ooze negativity. In spite of positives in their lives, they are always weighed down by the negatives. The negatives far outshine the positives and you, as someone in their orbit, sees it and knows it. You may even be soaking up some of that pessimism and bleakness.
With your own experience, even in spite of your resilient outlook, there may be times where life is getting you down. But there is a choice. Do you let the weight of the negatives of that moment far outweigh the positives of collective moments? Sometimes, it is very difficult not to. I have had those moments. My rule of thumb is that I will honor where I am at the moment, get a good night’s rest and, with the promise of a new day, hope that tomorrow will be better. Most times it is, sometimes it is not.
Being able to wring out the negative of whatever feeling or experience that I have usually allows me to move forward even through those icky moments.
Now, let’s get back to that sponge analogy. Most times a sponge full of water has become stagnant and a bit stinky. I usually throw it out and start with a fresh one. But, people are different. We want to be able to wring ourselves out, shedding the water weight of bleakness and disappointment, but keeping the water weight of hope, smiles and a sense of self. How do you do that?
First of all, it takes a lot of work and practice. So here are this Hopeful Hippie’s tips to wringing myself out so that I can be that fresh sponge full of potential, optimism and hope! Check them out and see if you feel like soaking any of them up!
According to one of my favorite musicians, “draw [your] energy into focus.” What does that mean to you? To me, it means, focus your energy on what is important. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Think, “At the end of the day, is this going to matter?” Center your optimism so it frames the picture that is your life.
Focus your life's picture with resilience. In the words of Nick Hannah, Physiotherapist, understand that, “resiliency isn’t about unshakeable toughness or being unaffected by challenges and failures. It’s about absorbing the impact of these things, growing forward, maintaining internal consistency throughout and becoming better off for it.”
Feed your body. Whether it is good food, soulful inspiration, people to walk with you shoulder to shoulder on your journey, find what nourishes your body. You are not the sum of your challenges. You can be, however, the sum of a healthy body, spirit and mind.
Be intentional. Practice gratitude. Practice self-care. Love yourself - imperfections and all.
Embrace flexibility. To me, being flexible means allowing myself to have an idea of how I want to approach life’s challenges, allowing myself to have some wiggle room to have a meltdown and then get on with living my life – weakness, flaws, challenges and all.
Find music that inspires you. Find the music that will be your fight song. Find the music that will serenade you into resilience and hope.
So, go forward into a new week and practice soaking up positivity and wringing out the things that are truly weighing you down! Be peaceful, hopeful and full of smiles!