Spring, we have been waiting for you, and for me it has been with some impatience! Of all seasons, I have identified that it is spring, interestingly, that can feel the most challenging for me to navigate. Internally, I am aware of my urgency to expand from the confinement and hibernation of winter, and yet the pathway to expansion can feel inconsistent, thwarted, and at times frustrating. Can you relate?
As a psychotherapist in training, I am interested in tracking patterns... I am keen to observe myself and notice how I show up in the world. I bring awareness to how spring can feel energetically difficult for me – anxiety and frustration can arise! With awareness of this pattern, I can mentally prepare for these feelings and put in place additional coping strategies such as boosting self care and practicing self-compassion. As humans, we have the amazing capacity to engage “the observer mind,” to notice with curiosity when patterns emerge and how they can serve and hinder us. We can investigate and play with the extent to which we need to hold onto patterns. As a student and teacher of yoga, I know movement or asana practice is an excellent modality to explore patterns.
While practicing, you might ask yourself:
Do I tend to push myself and barrel through poses, or do I hold back and play it more safe?
Am I competitive - do I sneak glances at other students and compare myself or am I more complacent?
Do I tend to hold my breath when things get challenging or do I go with the flow?
Both yoga and psychotherapy offer opportunities to interrupt and re-negotiate patterns that may not be serving you.
For some time, archetypes have been calling me to study them, perhaps because I love sociology and the study of groupings of people. Archetypes are psychic lenses through which we view ourselves, and the world. They are collective symbols that the culture shares. Examples of archetypes include: the artist, the victim, the rebel, the caretaker – again patterns.
Patterns bring order to our lives. Myss identifies ten archetypes in the book that she claims reflect the collective mythic challenge of our times. Myss writes that the more you know about how archetypes work, the more you can observe their influence on your thoughts, attitudes, behaviour and personal beliefs. One of the archetypes that I identify with is the advocate.
For the past two months I have been carrying out an experiment of practicing gratitude first thing in the morning and as the last thing I do each evening. The book, The Five Minute Journal has been my guide. Research has linked gratitude with a number of health benefits such as boosting optimism, enhancing joy, being more helpful and generous, feeling less lonely, improving sleep patterns, and strengthening the immune system. I was interested in cultivating gratitude to enhance my mood and outlook, particularly this spring. What I discovered conclusively: cultivating gratitude shifts my mood in a positive way. Gratitude helps me, therefore I am motivated to adopt it as a pattern to pursue.
Here’s how I do it...
I set my alarm so I rise before anyone else in the morning. I sit and reflect, and quietly do my gratitude practice.
Identify three things you feel grateful for - big or small
Identify what would make the day feel great for you
Identify two affirmations
END OF DAY:
Identify three amazing things that happened
How could I have made today even better
Here’s what I noticed... Often in my haste to get things done, I overlook the simple things that enrich my life. I can take things for granted, like silence, time alone, birds chirping, sunshine, my dog, or a cup of coffee. Practicing gratitude is a way for me to remember what I have - that abundance is accessible to me and I can choose to tap into it. Simply, gratitude feels GOOD on many levels - physically, emotionally and spiritually! The wonderful thing about this practice is that it is quick, effective and free. Get the book and give it a go!
Please watch the new Brené Brown Netflix documentary, the Call to Courage. Brené discusses with her trademark honesty and humor what it takes to choose courage over comfort and what this practice yields. I am a fan!
FIND ME TEACHING
This summer, I am once again looking forward to my special time away in Maine. I will be temporarily stepping away from my yoga classes and privates sessions for the month of July. This time gives me the opportunity to disengage from city living, spend time in nature, and RESET. I will be returning to Toronto on July 24, refreshed and ready to dive back in! In the meantime, please find me according to the schedule.
I would like to leave you with this beautiful quote by Anais Nin:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to move through. I am here to help so please reach out. Here’s hoping you enjoy a healthy, mindful and peaceful summer!