Every moment of every day, we make minute decisions that add up to creating our habits; our habits become the way we navigate through life, and the way we navigate through life determines our experience of the entirety of life itself. Essentially, our actions form our identity. By being a person who habitually drinks coffee, you become a ‘coffee drinker’. By practicing yoga habitually, you become a ‘yoga practitioner’. By denying yourself the love and care you deserve, you take on the identity of someone who ‘doesn’t deserve’ love and care. By acting in a way that allows your highest self to shine, you become your highest self, and you help inspire others to do the same too. It’s subtle and often subconscious, but as Author James Clear writes; “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become”. As we enter into May and spend a little while longer socially distancing at home, we may have the opportunity to reflect a little more and ask ourselves: “Are my actions drawing me closer to being my highest self, or are they keeping me limited and fearful?” So our May Intentions are to consciously make a choice to become our highest self through our actions and thoughts.
This Month’s Mantra: “My actions draw me closer to being in alignment with my highest self”
Throughout everyday ‘normal’ life, we may feel so caught up in ‘keeping up’ with work, social ties and modern life, that we forget to reflect upon why we’re doing what we’re doing. Self-comparison, holding onto resentments, saying ‘yes’ to things we don’t believe in or shying away from wonderful opportunities are all things we’re likely to stumble through on a weekly basis, accepting it and continuing on. When we reach a point in time like this however – essentially an extended pause and time to observe ourselves – we get to spend a lot more time with ourselves, thus getting the opportunity to see the results of our actions on a more regular basis. As many authors, sages and thinkers have said so far throughout this experience; this is an opportunity to make a change, to realise what life was like before pressing the pause button, and deciding whether we want it to look the same when we press play again. If life was too busy to stop and reflect before this point, right now is the perfect time to purposefully practice svadhyaya (the yogic concept of self-reflection and self-study), to dig deep into our habits and actions, and decide how we can leave behind the things that kept us limited and less-than-optimal, and move towards aligning with our highest self.
This Month’s Practice
The first step towards getting started with this month’s intention is to simply watch your thoughts and actions each day. Just like a continuous meditation, bring mindful awareness into your day and notice why you do the things you do. Perhaps you compare yourselves to others on social media and end up feeling ……., maybe you scroll through social media every time an uncomfortable thought arises, maybe you push yourself to do things that don’t serve you, just because you think you ‘should’. Whatever it is, observe yourself acting for a few days and ask yourself honestly; “why am I doing this?” The next step in working on this month’s intention is to physically write down the actions you’re doing that really don’t align with your highest self, and choosing an opposing action that does bring you into alignment with your very best, true self. Just by seeing the words on paper, you can start to see where changes can be made if necessary. Perhaps your list will include stopping mindless social media scrolling and starting to embrace your creativity by writing or painting. Maybe your list will include not staying up late watching television, and instead getting a good night’s sleep and waking early to meditate. Whatever it is, keep the list somewhere you can easily access it as a reminder of how to act in a way that moves you ever more into alignment with the very best, authentic, true version of you.
Emma is a 500hr qualified Yoga teacher, musician, massage therapist, cook, and writer. Having grown up surrounded by Yoga and meditation, Emma began her practice at a young age and has continued to study and develop her understanding of Yoga on a daily basis. Training internationally with inspirational teachers, Emma’s passions now lie primarily in philosophy and Yoga off the mat. Emma currently teaches regularly in Sussex, co-leading teacher trainings, retreats, workshops and kirtans, and also manages the Brighton Yoga Festival.