My woes this holiday season are many, it seems. I’m way behind on the shopping, finishing gifts bit. That’s alright though. I had a great time at my Seattle yoga training session. Although I received the merry gift of a whopping cold that left me flat on my sofa for two straight days, it was great to take the day I had off to see my family. After all, spending time with those we love most is what the holidays are all about, no matter how far behind one feels (for whatever reason).
One of the morning yoga classes I took was called Yoga For A Season Of Giving. The whole idea was about giving back to yourself during a time that often becomes stressful, leading to anxieties and frustrations and cranky moods rather than soothing peacefulness. I had a chance to think about this while taking this hour-long session (again, YogaFit rocks stockings! ;)) and my own challenges for being a happier, healthier person while lying on the couch.
At the beginning of our Level 3 training, we were asked to write down 1) how we compete/compare ourselves to others and, 2) how we can bring more love and acceptance into our lives towards ourselves and, by extension then, toward others. My biggest problem is, and has always been, comparing the way I look to others. To be perfectly honest, I’m a broke-ass military wife. It’s just the way it is, and this feeling of lacking money has been around in my life for a long time. I don’t blame anyone for it; it’s just reality. And it sucks. It really does. There are things I need and/or want that I have to do without, and that leads to comparing myself with others who obtain those things no problem.
Looks are, for whatever reason, a big deal to me, and that’s because our culture emphasizes these things–youthful beauty, clothes, make-up, etc.–in a barrage of advertisements everywhere. I honestly think that if we emphasized good character more than age and what we wear, I’d probably feel differently. I’d have different things I’d compare with others.
The thing that I am realizing as I grow older, however, is that these things vanish. One day you’re the prom queen, the next your the old clerk behind a cash register. They aren’t the things that really matter. This knowledge doesn’t mean that it’s any easier to be happy with the shape of one’s body or the pant size you wear, but overtime, I think those things fade away into the back of our minds as other things become more important.
Which brings me back to Yoga For the Season of Giving. The biggest lesson that I learned from taking that class–from experiencing YogaFit as a rule–is how vitally important it is for us to fill up our own cups. If we don’t, we aren’t giving from the wealth that is in ourselves but the poverty. As a result, we often give less and less willingly. I have found that by taking the time to help myself, to fill my cup, that my cup overflows. I am happier, healthier, and it matters less that I’m not wealthier in purse because I’m wealthier in spirit.
I encourage you to take a few moments each day, at any point in the day, to practice a little self-giving. Maybe it’s savoring a cup of coffee. Maybe it’s shutting yourself away for a nice long afternoon nap. Yoga For the Season of Giving doesn’t have to be postures or exercise. It simply is a form of refilling yourself, recharging for the next task that comes our way.