We are a culture of comparers. Especially these days. Our access to social media can make us feel both more and less connected moment to moment. That feeling of being drawn into your Facebook feed, only to be totally repelled and disconnected from others (and yourself!) is not uncommon. Or is it just me?
Too often comparisons with others leave us feeling inadequate or that something is missing from our lives. If we only had a better body, more money, less wrinkles, nicer clothes, or true love we think everything would be perfect. Sure, beautiful things make us happy (hello, my crystal collection!). And things that work well and make life easier are satisfying (my Miele vacuum cleaner, comes to mind). Things can bring joy. And life should be full of joy. But our constant need to fill the emptiness, buy more, have the next best thing--these tendencies bring only more craving and less happiness. There is no perfect life or house or job or partner. No one has figured it out-- not me, not you, not that beautiful Instagram-friend with the clever hash tags and pithy one-liners.
Where does the satisfied, contented, full-heart come from? How exactly do you find it, cultivate it and draw on it in times of need?
For me, the trifecta of well-being looks like this: movement; stillness, gratitude.
Movement gets me out of that stuck feeling. It flips the internal switch in my head and helps me have perspective. Effort, sweat, alignment all bring you to your center. You can watch your mind as you inhabit your body in exercise (or dance or yoga or, hopefully, all of the above) and become a witness to your thoughts and your breath. And that awareness draws you in. When you are centered in your body you realize you have all that you need. You are home.
Which brings me to stillness: moving in, meditation. Restorative or yin yoga can provide the same psychic space. This process can be uncomfortable and challenging, but facing the resistance, breathing through it, and seeing that you are OK is such a gift. Such a tangible gem that you can take with you into moments of struggle or dis-ease. You can watch your mind without getting caught up in the drama, just like you watch the clouds passing across the sky. No judgements. Just clouds. Each and every thought.
Gratitude is a popular concept these days, and may strike some as a little precious or hackneyed. It's both, perhaps. But, how better to get in touch with your center, than to give thanks for the abundance in your life. A simple gratitude list at the start or close of each day can create a huge internal shift and fill you with contentment. My list today: Sunshine, Health, Coffee. Three simple things that I'm grateful for this morning. Because, if you aren't conscious of how good you have it, you should pick up a newspaper and take a closer look at the state of the world. Count your blessings. Daily. And then, spread the love. It's the only way to really BE happy.