So many of us are afraid of failure, so much so that we come up with the most ridiculous excuses as to why we can’t or won’t do whatever it is that we “claim” we want to do. “Oh, it doesn’t feel like the right time; I don’t have enough money; I’m already too stressed out; My schedule is already hectic; I don’t feel like I’ll have enough support.” No matter how you put it an excuse is an excuse. We tend to use excuses when we are afraid. But why? Why is failure such a big bad scary thing? It’s literally something that everyone goes through. The problem is that too much of the time we look at failure as a negative outcome when it should be viewed as motivation and inspiration to move forward. Failure builds character, failure increases wisdom, failure is necessary, failure is inevitable, but last but not least failure is your friend. We have to start embracing every challenge or obstacle along the way in order to reach that final goal. Several times in life I’ve heard the saying “rules are meant to be broken”, well I’m not sure if I agree with that completely but what I do believe is that “lessons are meant to be learned”; but how can you do that without going forward with your plan? Ummm yeah, you kinda can’t! So even if/when your plan doesn’t turn how you imagined it to just take it as a learning experience and simply try again. DO NOT let failure defeat you. Why are you letting failure stop you to starting or finishing something? If you didn’t fail did you even really try? Just because you failed once or hell maybe even a few times doesn’t mean that you can’t try again. Relax, take it back to the drawing board, make a note of what’s working and what has played a role into the failure, revise, implement new ideas, seek out advice from others in your field, smile and try again. Success does NOT happen overnight although it may seem that way these days, especially on social media. Take those chances, learn those lessons, gain that wisdom, and don’t give up! Do yourself a favor and befriend failure; I would even say anticipate it but change your perspective, remain determined and learn to enjoy your journey!
Life is all about flexibility and balance, both literally and physically. Without balance you will notice that your life can quickly become uncomfortable, frustrating and can even be deemed undesirable. And without mastering the skill of flexibility you can kiss progression goodbye, these days you have to be comfortable with “stretching” yourself, that is if success if a goal of yours. Just as you need flexibility and balance in your life to keep things going smoothly the same goes for your body. Balance and flexibility, in my opinion, are very underrated principles of everyday life. We often overlook how without balance we wouldn’t be able to walk upright or prevent injury (falling, breaking or spraining bones, etc). Flexibility is also an overlooked but very important factor in everyday mobility. Improving your flexibility not only helps to relieve stress and tension but it also prevents injuries. Continuous neglect of stretching out your muscle will cause them to tighten, making it harder for your body to function normally. When’s the last time you stretched? When’s the last time you focused on your coordination? If you have to really think about those then chances are you could use some guidance in improving both of those. Don’t wait until you rip a muscle or randomly find yourself off balance and falling over. Stay ahead of the game, taking proper care of your body is about prevention, not treatment or solution. Allow me to give you a few tips on how to your flexibility and balance (attempt daily for better results).
Improving your balance:
- Walking head to toe- Simply stand straight up facing north with your shoulders up, breathe in, breathe out, place the right leg in front of the left, and repeat for 20-30 steps.
- Standing on one leg- Periodically throughout your day (2-4 times a day) stand straight, stretch and elongate your back, straighten and tighten your legs, lift left or right leg and hold pose for at least 15-30 seconds, lower leg repeat with opposite leg.
- Hip marching- Sit in a chair with your back touching the back of the chair, place your hands on your legs then slowly lift your left leg straight up (leave your knee bent), then hold for 5 seconds, then place your foot to the floor and repeat with the other leg.
Improving your flexibility:
- Standing hamstring stretch- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, slightly bend your knees, arms by your sides, bend hips forward, lower your head toward the floor, relax head, neck and shoulders, then wrap your arms around backs of your legs and hold for 45-60 seconds (stretches neck, back, butt, hamstrings & calves)
- Frog stretch- Start on all fours, slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart, shift your hips back toward your heels, move from your hands to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, hold for 60 seconds and repeat. (stretches hips/groin & lower back)
- Butterfly stretch- Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet together, bend knees out to sides, hold onto your ankles, lightly squeeze abs, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor, then simply press your knees down, hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. (stretches thighs, hips, entire back, & butt)
So you’ve found your mantra (read part 1 if you haven’t already, simply type “mantra meditation” in the search bar, located in the footer of the website) or so you’ve thought but still can’t seem to remain focused during your practice. At this point, you may be feeling discouraged, confused or maybe even frustrated and I’m here to tell you that I get it. I do, I completely understand! Mastering meditation is not an easy task, it takes dedication, patience, mental strength, and desire. Struggle in the beginning stages is natural, but with continued practice and maybe implementing a few methods to ease the process (mantras, music, humming, etc) you will finally meet the internal peace that you’ve been yearning for in no time!
A mantra can honestly be any positive quote or saying known to man. Something you googled, something you heard on the radio, even something you personally made up. However, when it comes to choosing your personal mantra there should be just a bit of thought put into it. Without thought, you most likely will end up in the same position, unfocused, frustrated, discouraged….etc. So adopting the “right” mantra could be apart of the problem in terms of being able to focus. When you selected your mantra from what standards did you make your choice? Was it something to inspire you, something that reflects your beliefs, or something completely foreign? In my opinion, I feel that whatever prompts your selection should be words to live by. Don’t just choose any old mantra, find something that is personal to you! Don’t allow others to set the tone for you, just because something sounds good or your friend or a famous figures uses it or has used it doesn’t mean that that mantra is for you. Take the time and do research, find something aspiring, relate it to your personal goals even. Don’t just use the mantra to get through the meditation session, let the mantra use you. If you lose focus count down from 10 and try again. Aspire to become the words that you are chanting. Believe in your words, speak them confidently, relax your shoulders, inhale, exhale and repeat!
Revisit Tips for Beginner Meditation:
Revisit Mantra Meditation Pt 1:
Meditation can take a while to master, simply because your mind naturally wanders, especially when you’re first beginning the practice. From experience mantras have helped me remain focused during meditation and also give me a better overall feeling afterwards. And what’s a mantra you ask? Well a mantra is a phrase or word that is repeated/chanted over and over again. For example my first mantra was a quote I read and fancied by Gandhi “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and I would get into my pose, close my eyes & repeat those words over and over while meditating (unfocused breathing). I would focus on those words and at first I would see visions of how I saw the world and then visions of how I wish the world actually was. Eventually, after weeks of repeating the words they for a lack of better words became me and I became them. When I said those words I no longer saw any visuals but instead I felt relaxed and comforted by the mantra, I felt at ease, and my heart was noticeably less heavier than before. So not only did repeating the mantra prevent my mind from senseless wandering but it also helped me to relax. It helped me to believe in the words I was saying and it also gave me another level of consciousness. I would honestly say that the mantra changed my entire view on meditation although I don’t need to use them as much now days. However, every now and again when I am feeling overwhelmed or a bit somber I will incorporate a new mantra into my practice to lift my spirits and fill my mind and body with positivity! So if you are having trouble meditating then I suggest finding a mantra and using that as a new starter point. You can google quotes that make you feel good or you can find some actual ancient hindu/buddhist mantras (this would probably be more helpful because it’s not in a language your brain could correlate anything to).
Here are a few positive mantras that I’ve found helpful in the past:
- “I change my thoughts, I change my world”~Norman Peale
- “I send myself love. I send love to those who need it”~Unknown (This mantra is to be said in two parts: *inhale* “I send myself love.” *exhale* “I send love to those who need it.”)
- “Everything I need is already within me”~Unknown
- “Life is not a rehearsal but a gift so I must treat it as such”~Dr. Wayne Dyer
- “I accept myself, my flaws, my past, my present and my destiny”~Tena Desae
Please comment and let me know if mantra meditation works for you better than normal meditation or just comment to let me know how meditation in general has made you feel!