Sitting on a pier that extended over the Atlantic Ocean, I discovered a better way of approaching life.
This was over 10 years ago and at the time I was in a job that was long in hours and heavy in responsibility … the kind where you had to have your cell on you 24/7, even during family meals, spin class and sleep.
It was rewarding work, and I felt like I’d accomplished a lot, but the stress and consuming nature of the job were starting to take its toll. At the same time, I’d experienced the loss of a dozen close friends and family in a four-year period. It doesn’t get much more stressful than that. I began contemplating what was next.
Bliss On & Off The Yoga Mat??
On the plus side, I’d recently reintroduced myself to yoga, taking classes on or right by this very same pier. The sounds of the gentle ocean waves, the wafts of soft salty air and light breezes, and the thoughtful poses gave me concentrated tranquility like I hadn’t experienced in years.
I wished there were a way I could take those feelings of bliss from the mat and into my daily life. (See this quick video on how to do that). I knew if I could experience even a little of that calm, I could see things in a more peaceful and focused light.
Fortunately, I quickly discovered could do just that. I starting reading everything I could about what caused those feelings of contentment during yoga, and how I could learn to cultivate them more consistently.
I Relaxed, I Gained Awareness
I knew generally what mindfulness was, and began experimenting with different ways to experience it, such as more yoga, guided mediations, walking meditations, deep breathing and basic visualization exercises.
I started to see benefits right away:
My stress levels fell dramatically.
I felt so much more in control of my reactions in the moment, particularly in a tense meeting or as the pressure of a tight deadline loomed.
I had more time to react rather than feeling consumed by a heated exchange.
I could see things for what they were so I didn’t feel so caught up in the emotions of a disagreement or an annoying comment by a colleague.
I began to take things much more in stride and to look at my life in a much more balanced way.
For the first time in decades, I realized I needed to start living my life and making decisions with a lot more focus, purpose and intention. That was a biggie for me!
How about you? Are you in a place your life where you feel like somehow you got yourself there, but it’s not really where you want to be? Maybe it’s in a job or career that’s never really excited you. Or with a friend group that’s comfortable but never really has been an excellent fit.