Your Hula Hoop? Yes, that space around you that is your space, roughly the size of a Hula Hoop. So many times I find myself cramming more and more into this space, things that don’t even have anything to do with my life or the people that I spend my days with, that suddenly I find that I’ve kind of become a hot mess. It’s easy to slip into making the wrong things a priority and as this is something I struggle with at times I thought I’d share with you some of the ways I clean up that space to make room for all of the wonderful, can’t believe life is so good stuff that is out there for all of us if we simply take time to make room.
Don’t watch the news first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I used to watch the news everyday. I would wake up, click on the TV and listen as I was told what was happening worlds away or maybe just downtown. Fires, wars, attacks, floods, and the rare human-interest story were my morning wake up call. And at the end of the day I received my nightly bedtime story from the local news anchor as well – drunk drivers, gang shootings, and more war. Growing up I was taught you had to know what the current events were and that if you didn’t, you would more or less be discredited as a fool. So, I was in the habit of making sure I knew what was going on.
Looking back now I realize my news addiction stressed me out. I was always anxious and had the thought that if those awful things can happen to others, than they definitely can happen to me as well. The world was unsafe and out to get you and stranger danger was around the corner, and I had better watch out.
Today, 10 years later, it’s an odd moment when the news is on in our home and life has much more clarity. This is not to say I don’t know what’s going on in the world. I simply take it in when I need to. It’s funny how the things you are supposed to know will come up in conversation or I’ll come across an article on the Internet. The information is still flowing it’s simply when I want to allow it into my life.
Make your health and wellness your top priority. In the yoga class we are often reminded that we need to take care of ourselves first before we can take care of others. When I first heard this 10 years ago it made sense, but it wasn’t the way my life was rolling. Everyone, everything, and every opinion of me took precedent over my own needs and thoughts. I could be horribly righteous at times, declaring that people I barely knew had it all wrong and should do what I think they should do because from my perception I knew what was the right course of action. I would be stressed about what others thought of me because I held my own judgments on others. Slowly the yoga changed all of that.
Maybe it’s the very little clothing or the less than flattering lighting of the Bikram class. Maybe it’s the fact that no matter who you are when you walk into the hot room, you will come out of there looking like a dripping train wreck. Maybe it’s holding onto the knowledge that we all have good days and bad days in and out of the hot room. As I practiced yoga each day I let go of the stress of it all, learning to concentrate and take care of my own stuff before I took on the time and energy required to deal with everybody else’s stuff.
Realize the thoughts and opinions you have about other people says more about you than it does about them. Most of the time the people and situations that bother us the most have the power to bother us because they are a reflection of the stuff within us we don’t like. When someone gets underneath my skin I start to look within.
Everyone, and yes, I mean everyone is honestly doing the best they can. Now, you may be thinking, “That’s not true! I know this, that, and some other guy can be doing much better than they are in whatever situation.” But that’s not true. You need to step back from your own perceptions and realize that others have a different perception of what is going on and from that outlook they probably are doing the best they can.
I always know when I start having thoughts and conversations about what other people should be doing that I am way off track. Usually these thoughts and conversations happen when I am avoiding dealing with my own life and my own issues. It’s a kind of escapism. “I can’t fix my own problems so let me dwell on someone else’s.”
Know that there is a difference between gossip and discussing someone else to figure out your relationship to them. This one can be tough, but everyone needs to realize that everyone talks about everyone else. It’s the way in which you discuss someone else that matters. Are you blaming them for something? Are you looking for their faults? Or are you simply trying to understand them in order to know them better, and to understand their place in your life? Choose to talk about others with a note of compassion for their journey and make sure you are always trying to see things from their side. Everyone is the way they are for a reason. Learn about someone else’s struggles and achievements throughout their life and you may find an ally instead of an enemy.
Do you. Spend your day in the pursuit of your passions. Get busy with the things that give you energy and fill your heart with joy. This gives you less time to get involved with the situations and people that draw on your energy. Make space for the life you want and you might just get it.
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