The Results Are In: You Can Still Be The Change

I am writing this on Tuesday, not knowing who the next President of the United States will be. To be honest, at this point I am just ready for the whole thing to be over with and I am willing to bet you are too. The constant darkness, hatred, finger-pointing, and name-calling I see on social media has made me pause to think about what I can do about all of it. 

I see my clients struggling, my friends and family, even people I do not know. The internet is claiming this is the end of times, the "season finale" of America. I do not think there has been a comparable time in history where the two major candidates have been so hated by not just the American people, but by the world. 

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Letting Go Of What We Cannot Control

We have all heard the serenity prayer, right? It is simple yet powerful, used in religion, Alcoholics Anonymous, and anywhere in between. 

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things that I can

And the wisdom to know the difference.

When we fight to attempt to control the things that we cannot change, we are placed into an automatic state of stress. Where that stress goes varies from person to person, but overall it always comes back to the same message: we need to let go of the things we cannot control. 

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Your Perspective is Your Choice

A wise man once said "the grass is greener where you water it." Not the quote you are used to, right? You may be used to the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side." However, I have come to understand that this is not the truth. Typically, if a person is not happy with what they have, chances are they are not going to be happy with the "other side" either. If you are unable to appreciate any grass, so to speak, what does it matter which side you are on?

All of this is to point out that so much of happiness in life is about perspective and choice. I have said it before, life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it. In that 90 percent you have the opportunity to decide what you would like to do with the cards you have been dealt, whether positive, negative or anywhere in between. When you understand that you have the power to choose how you respond to a challenging situation your perspective shifts and you empower yourself to take more control over your life.

Some of you might be aware that I recently made a big move to Italy to live and work on a farm. There were many questions as to why myself and my husband, both of sound mind and overall good judgment, would do such a thing. "What about money?", "What will you do with your apartment?", "What about your jobs?", and just "Why...?" were the most frequently asked ones. It likely confused or infuriated people when we shrugged and told them we are doing this because we want to and that everything will work out. Knowing that this would make us happy, we decided to travel and "water the grass" along the way.

The long answer to why we made this decision is to experience a different lifestyle, learn to live more simply, immerse ourselves in a culture we have grown to love, and eat endless amounts of pasta. The short answer is: we wanted a change in perspective.

For now, my new normal is working with my hands, taking a rest in the afternoon, communicating in a language I do not know yet, and learning how to embrace the slow pace of farm living. In choosing this shift in perspective, I am embracing change, accepting challenges, and taking in every new experience along the way. I will continue to relay my experiences from the farm and share the lessons I am learning with you all. The first of which is: learn to water your own grass. Appreciate the small things that make you feel fulfilled, happy, and at peace with life. If you are able to that, it does not matter where the grass is, it will always be green.

Letting Go Of What No Longer Serves You

If you have taken a yoga class, the phrase "let go of what no longer serves you" is probably familiar. These words are often shared in the beginning of class when gearing up to begin a practice of being in the moment, intentionally breathing and moving without judgement. I love this expression and believe it can be taken beyond the yoga studio into daily life. It starts as a reminder to yourself. This reminder can then develop into a consistent practice of letting go of the things that are holding you back in order to create a life more aligned with what you want. By letting go of what is no longer serving a purpose in your life you allow yourself to move forward and grow. Here are five tips on how you can begin to let go of the things that are no longer serving you.

  1. Become aware of what is not serving you. Maybe it is a limiting belief, such as "I can't do this," or maybe it is a routine, like overworking yourself without any self-care. It could even be a person, a location or a type of food. If something is not working for you the first step to moving past it is to become aware of what it is. Chances are you are already experiencing some sort of discomfort which is alerting you to the "it’s not working" feeling about one or more things in your life.
  2. Once you are aware, start being mindful of how this discomfort is impacting your life. For example, every time you tell yourself you cannot do something you lower your self-confidence. This lower self-confidence leads to distress and lack of motivation to push yourself forward. In turn, this makes it difficult for you to accomplish goals and triggers a nasty downward spiral of negativity. Being mindful of this will bring to light just how powerful one small thought can be. Understanding the power of our thoughts and harnessing that power can be the catalyst for positive change.
  3. Ask “What is within my power to change?” If something deeply affects you but it does not appear to be possible to change you have to look within. Some things, like the way others interact with you is not within your power to change. Instead of harboring negative emotions every time this occurs, you can save yourself a lot of suffering by adjusting how you internalize what is bothering you rather than expecting others to act differently. If something is within your power to change, like an unhealthy relationship, imagine what your life could be like without that toxic relationship.
  4. Be honest with yourself about what is possible to let go of right now. Sometimes letting go is simple whereas other times it can be really, really scary. Be honest and realistic with yourself about what you are ready to let go of. Maybe your job is creating a lot of misery and discomfort in your life but you are not ready to leave. Instead of feeling helpless about not being able to change anything, be honest about your boundaries and limitations and evaluate what is possible to change. Chances are, you are able to change some aspect of the situation, even if it is internally. Small changes like this can have a major positive impact.
  5. Utilize forgiveness, not just with others but with yourself too. When you let go of things that have created a lot of negativity in your life, it is natural for unpleasant emotions to come up in the process. Maybe you are angry with yourself for how long you held onto something or maybe you are projecting your anger outwards onto someone else. Either way, forgiveness is a powerful tool and allows you to begin moving on and moving forward. The quote "forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace" is especially meaningful to remember in this process.

You are the one that creates the atmosphere of the world you are living in. Is it one of peace and happiness or one of discomfort and stress? Both of these and everything in between is a choice. Recognize that you can always make the choice to let go of things. I make no illusions about how difficult this may be, however, remember that it is always possible.