After spending this past weekend at Kripalu, I finally got the itch to write. As many of you know, Kripalu has always been a place of transformation for me and having the opportunity to not only be a student at this special place but also a teacher, opened my heart completely.
During my stay, I took an inspiring workshop, The Energy of Our Thoughts led by Izzy Lenihan. It provided a lot of connections and reasoning to what I commonly say in my classes, “our thoughts and our words create the world that we see.” Our thoughts are the most powerful tools for change and if we can practice pausing and watching our thoughts, i.e. what our yoga practice is all about, then we can reduce the suffering in our life. Sounds easy right?
Obviously, it’s the hardest thing we can do and why we have suffering in our life. On average, we have 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day and many of these thoughts are the same thoughts that are repeated each and every day. For us women, 1,300 of these thoughts are negative. Our thoughts become habits and so we become stuck in these cycles, in yoga we call these sumskaras.
The question becomes how do we break these cycles of thoughts and pull ourselves out of this negative whirlpool? We destruct these barriers by working on the unconscious part of our mind. Everyday we experience the five following emotions: love, joy, anger, sadness and fear. I guarantee one of those emotions stands alone and zaps a majority of your energy every day. For me, that emotion is fear.
During the workshop, we were instructed to write a letter to our most dominant and unpleasant emotion. Here’s what I wrote in my letter:
You show up every morning to scare and intimate me. To make me feel like I’m not worthly of love or worthly of my role in this world as a yoga teacher, wife, sister and friend. You zap my energy and you’re exhausting! I keep waiting for the day when you will fade away but you’re always there; waiting in the wings. Yet at the same time, you motivate me and you almost inspire me. By experiencing you, I know it’s because I care and I’m afraid of failure. If only we could work together. Without you, life would be so much easier.
We then had to have our emotion write a letter to us. Here’s what fear wrote to me:
I’m here to let you know what you’re capable of. I’m your inspiration and keep you on your toes. What pleasure would you have in life if everything was certain? I bring excitement into your life and allow you to properly plan. Uncertaintly keeps you alive and it allows you to better appreciate what you have.
This exercise was very interesting for me. It allowed me to be very present with my emotion and instead of attaching my self worth to it, I was able to take a step back and observe it. I was able to LEARN from it.
“Honor your emotions and befriend them, for they have a lesson for your soul.” Such a beautiful way of putting it. Instead of letting the emotions of our thoughts drive us, how can we seperate from them and learn? What can they teach us?
Our thoughts create the world that we see. Instead of getting stuck in the energy and habits of our thoughts, we have to break the cycle. It’s time to work with our emotions by facing them. I encourage you to go through this same exercise. Write a letter to your most dominant unpleasant emotion you’re experiencing and then have that emotion write a letter to you. What did you learn?
I will end this blog post with this beautiful quote,
“If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.” –Chinese Proverb