Buckets Full of Sunshine
As Love Your Body’s tenure comes to an end, we want to leave you with a compilation of feel-good advice, some of which we have shared previously on this blog. These bits of insight are like buckets full of sunshine in my and Lisa Berry’s lives. Lisa and I share them, or variations of them, with each other any time we are having a hard time. We find they infuse the situations we are facing with light. We hope they do the same for you!
Kill them with kindness
One of the beings I admire most in this world once said to me “to be truly great is to be truly kind, and never once forget it.” She said kindness is a salve that makes everything better and easier. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see evidence of this incredible wisdom. Whether it’s the cantankerous lady at the checkout counter or my kids when they are throwing a tantrum, kindness is able to defuse any situation and put it back on track. If the person is particularly upset and cannot be touched with kindness, being kind still helps because it shifts our internal energy to where we are better able to feel softness and compassion. Try it for yourself! My favorite is to try it on people I am particularly close to. It’s amazing how it opens the door for greater communication, appreciation and happiness.
Be an elevator, not an escalator
This is one of my very favorites from Lisa. She always says that at any given moment we have the choice to escalate a situation or elevate it. To escalate it is to add fuel to the fire of discord. To elevate it is to spread a mantle of harmony and light over it to smother the flames. Let us all remember to elevate every tricky situation we are in!
Remember, this, too, shall pass
They say the only thing that’s constant is change. The idea that everything is temporary can help us better appreciate the good times as it encourages us to be fully present and enjoy them with abandon. In times of trouble or distress, we can take comfort in the the fact that it, too, shall pass.
Choose your thoughts wisely
The thoughts we entertain infuse us with feeling. You can easily test this by closing your eyes and thinking of the happiest moment of your life. Feel how your body responds. Mostly likely, your chest opens up, your muscles relax, you smile. In short, you feel better. The reverse is also true, but I am going to ask you not to test it. The sad truth is, most of us have evidence of it every day. We all know how it feels when we ponder yucky topics; how the thoughts tighten their grip around us until we feel like we can barely breathe. The good news is, we can choose our thoughts. We can choose to focus on the thoughts that make us happy, like the things we are grateful for, and refuse to entertain the thoughts that bring us down. Practice by standing guard over your mind. When bad thoughts or feelings creep in, crowd them out by shifting your attention to something that brings you joy. If this doesn't work, try saying affirmations (either mentally or out loud) like "I AM Free from everything that distresses me," or "I AM a Radiant Sun of Love and Joy!" The more you practice, the better you will get at it. You will be stunned by how dramatically this transforms your life.
Put it in the vault
One of the reasons why I advocate “putting it in the vault” is because it is a way of choosing our thoughts. What's “putting in the vault”? In a nutshell, withholding power from things that upset us by refusing to discuss them. We are so in the habit of venting and mulling over things that feel icky. Without a doubt, if you are about to burst with emotion, do share your feelings with someone you trust. However, if you are able to, choose to let go by refusing to re-live them by recounting them. When we talk about things, we give them life. Put in the vault whatever you don’t want to experience again—and be sure to send that vault a lot of love and forgiveness as these two are mighty purifiers.
Throw yourself into the little happy moments
When we were much, much younger, Lisa and I used to go out for long dinners at cozy cafes and sit with cups of tea in our hands for hours after finishing our meals. We have always been pretty optimistic individuals, but like many young ones, we were under the illusion that things had to be a certain way (pretty much perfect) for everything to feel great. We now laugh when we remember that perspective! We realize nothing will ever be perfect in this world, and so we try to throw ourselves into the happy moments as they arise. They can be tiny, like the five minutes when we’re happily singing in the car with our kids before they start fighting over who gets to pick the next song. We realize that if we don’t grab those moments with both hands and refuse to let go for as long as we can ride them, we may never actually catch happiness.
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep
And good, clean food, too! This one needs no explanation, but it bears repeating. Anytime Lisa and I call each other to complain, we check in with each other: did you sleep well last night? Have you had a good meal? Are you drinking enough water (Lisa!!)? These seemingly tiny things make all the difference to our emotional state. If you find you are tired, hungry or thirsty, refuse to think about things until you remedy these factors.
Don’t let others define you
It’s fair to say I just learned this one at age 40, and I will likely keep working on this lesson for the rest of my life. Most of us constantly give others power to tell us how we should feel about ourselves. It began to feel silly to me a few months ago when I realized that not one of us is perfect; we are constantly filtering our views of others through the muck inside of us; and very often our intentions don't come across clearly through our words and actions. So, why are we taking to heart what others seemingly or explicitly think or say about us? Wouldn’t it be better to measure ourselves by our own yardstick? To do the very best we can in how we treat others, do our work, care for the planet--and let go of the need to be told we are doing a good job? Better yet, to be so focused on being kind, spreading light and fostering joy that we don't have time to worry about how we come across? That feels like a bucket full of sunshine! If it seems too lofty a goal, this might help you take a first step in that direction: "Your value does not decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth."
LYB blog readers, we hope these parting words bring radiance to your lives. THANK YOU for inviting us into your worlds and spending time reading our blog posts. It has been a true honor.