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(This is a story I shared back in March on social media, but I thought it’d be of benefit to elaborate on it a bit and share it here as well.)

There’s a story that Deborah Adele shares in her book, “The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice” that illustrates perfectly how the things we hold on to—physical, as well as mental and emotional—hold us captive.

She talks about the ancient process of capturing monkeys in India, where capturers place a banana in a small cage with bars just wide enough for the monkeys to fit their arms through but too narrow to get the banana out. The monkeys, being outside of the cage the entire time free to go as they wish whenever they wish, put their little arms through the bars and grab the banana, fighting furiously yet futilely to get it out of the cage. As the capturers approach, instead of letting go of the banana, the monkey continues to cling onto it, allowing the capturers to easily take the monkey into captivity.

Like the monkey with the banana, we are imprisoned by anything we hold on to too tightly—whether it’s material, physical, emotional or mental:

  • The countless tchotchkes and trinkets that clutter our homes.
  • The stuff crammed into storage units “just in case”.
  • The expectations we impose upon ourselves to “keep up with the Joneses”.
  • A soul sucking friendship/relationship.
  • The grudges we hold toward people.
  • The anger toward the jerk who cut us off in traffic.
  • The anxiety over things we have absolutely no control over.
  • The tension and stress in our bodies and minds resulting from holding on to everything listed above.

None of the things mentioned above really add value to our lives in the grand scheme of things, yet by holding on to them they hold us captive by demanding our time and energy to maintain them (as I previously discussed here).  

Take a moment to think about those things in your life that don’t really add value, yet you have a hard time letting go of.

How does holding on to that stuff make you feel? Tense? Weighed down? Trapped?

Now think about why you’re holding on to those things.

How do you think it would feel to let some of those things go? Liberating? Terrifying? A little of both?

It can be difficult to let go of things we’ve become attached to. What we don’t realize, however, is the very holding on to the stuff we are so fearful of letting go of can cause even more suffering—not only from the time and energy it demands to maintain them, but by that same time and energy being taken away from the things that do add value to our lives.

What if we mustered up the courage to release our grasp on some of the stuff that doesn’t add value to our lives to make more room for the stuff that does? It doesn’t have to be some life-changing gesture of grandeur—start with the easier stuff and see how it feels to release that attachment.

That little clinging monkey resides within all of us to a certain degree. But with some practice, perhaps we’ll find that as we learn to shed the weight of the stuff that hold us down, the easier it will become to “let go of the banana”.

A while back, I had the pleasure of attending a discussion with one of my meditation gurus, Sharon Salzberg. Using a water bottle as an example, she made a very interesting point about intention, where she discussed how an action may look the same from the outside but the motivation (intention) behind that action could vary significantly, and it went a little something like this (FYI, I’m paraphrasing here):

You have a nice, cool plastic bottle of water and you offer it to someone who is thirsty. Now on the surface, this may appear to be a generous act, but below the surface, the intention behind that action may or may not be as it appears.

For example, it could be exactly as it appears; you saw someone thirsty, and out of kindness, you gave them something to drink.

But the act could also come from less than kind intentions. Let’s say you’re not too crazy about the person, so you gave them the water bottle because you wanted to make them look like some environmentally irresponsible asshole who doesn’t give a shit about the planet.

Or maybe you’re offering the water because someone is thirsty, but the primary purpose isn’t to quench someone’s thirst, but rather to receive the recognition of quenching someone’s thirst in order to gain acceptance or praise (sometimes referred to as “hero syndrome”, “martyr syndrome” or “savior complex”).

Same action, very different intentions behind the act.

While I felt a sense of validation that I wasn’t completely off base in my propensity to question people’s motives as I nodded in agreement to her words, I also felt a sense of uneasiness, since this is exactly the kind of stuff that puts my cynicism into overdrive.

But there was another thing Sharon mentioned in that discussion about intention that put things into perspective. She said that the only person who truly knows the intention behind the action is the person doing the act.

We can come up with assumptions or our very best educated guess about a person’s intentions based on previous knowledge of how that person has acted in the past, but we will truly never know for sure; only the person doing the act knows what his/her intentions are.

This is where being responsible for our own actions and intentions come into play.

Let’s say for example, the person acting did not have the best intentions at heart, but the act itself was “nice”; perhaps we just take it for face value and respond in kind. If the person doesn’t have the best intentions behind that action, sooner or later it will come to the surface. But in the meantime, we cannot control how others act; we can only control how we respond. So therefore, we take responsibility for our actions, our intentions.

Of course, there are some people who choose to not take responsibility for their own actions and intentions. They choose to place the blame into other’s hands, saying that it was because of the other person that they chose to act a certain way. This is where boundaries come in, which I’ll need a whole other post to discuss. (But don’t worry, it’s coming.)

Taking responsibility for our own actions and intentions—as well as taking responsibility for what and who we choose to surround ourselves with (again, boundaries, and yes, it’s coming)—puts us back in the driver’s seat of our mental well-being as well as relieving ourselves of the concern of what’s going on in the other person’s head. Because, truth be told, we will never truly know—and to try to figure it out will only drive us freaking bonkers. Our own stuff is the only stuff we can ultimately control; the rest is out of our hands.

As terrifying as that may sound, it’s also kind of liberating if you think about it. How many times has our well-being taken a back seat to the frustration of attempting to put together pieces of a puzzle comprised of assumptions and suspicions to try and “figure someone out”? Why do we invest so much time in trying to figure out the intentions of others when the only ones we can truly change are the ones within ourselves?

That’s where the focus lies; doing our best to be the best version of our authentic selves with the best of intentions on a consistent basis. If someone else chooses to act from intentions that are less than stellar, that is for them to figure out, own up to, and work on (should they choose to); if they choose to not work on it, again that is their responsibility.

And when you come across someone whose intentions you question, again, if the act is “nice”, then respond in kind and lovingly move on your merry way. Even if they’re not coming from a good place, at least you can make peace with the fact that you are. It’s like Wayne Dyer said: “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”

Speaking of karma, one last thing about intention and taking responsibility for our own stuff: while it’s true we have no way of knowing the true intentions of others, we absolutely know the intentions behind our own actions. So, when we’re faced with the temptation to act on something without the best of intentions (because, let’s face it, we’ve all been there), maybe we should take a moment before we act and ask ourselves “Why?” and have the courage to answer the question honestly. If we can find the humility within ourselves to admit when our own intentions are less than stellar, perhaps we can then reflect on why that is and what it is we can do to shift our mindset toward intentions that are well-meaning instead of self-serving, and act accordingly. Call it idealistic, but who knows? Maybe if we reflect a little more on our own intentions and actions, then maybe, just maybe, we can spend a little less time questioning the motives of others—and spend a little more time respecting one another.

brian price “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time for the kids to get rid of some of the excess in their rooms. They were agreeable enough about it, but to say that they were excited might be overstepping a bit.

As with all kids, cleaning up their rooms is not something my kids have high on their “things to do for fun” list. The only thing that got them quasi-motivated about it was me telling them that they could sell some of the stuff that was in good condition on OfferUp. (My alternative to straight up bribery, although I have been known to make some deals in the past out of sheer desperation.)

It also wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to get them to let go of their stuff. Stuff that had been buried in their closets for who knows how long—stuff they didn’t even remember existed—was suddenly impossible to part with.

As I witnessed (and subsequently became annoyed by) this perpetual struggle of grasping and letting go, I was reminded of something that Deborah Adele said in her book, “The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice”, when referring to where can i buy kamagra oral jelly in south africa aparigraha (non-possessiveness):

“Anything we cling to creates a maintenance problem for us. The material items that we hoard, collect, buy because they are on sale or take because they are “free”, all take up space and demand our attention. Storage boxes and sheds become an easy way to fool ourselves… Clutter in our physical space blocks our ability to move, while clutter in our minds blocks our freedom to expand and have space for the next thing life wants to bring us.”

Ah, the yoga/simple living connection surfaces yet again. And you know damn well—since my kids like cleaning their rooms about as much as I like lima beans (hint: I don’t)—I used this very message to my advantage.

As their insistence on keeping yet another item that they have no use for persisted, I took Deborah’s message and added my own little flavor to it. I said to them, “I want you to look at all of these things that you think you can’t live without. Take a second to really think about how much you actually need these things, because every single item that you choose to keep will require maintenance. Every single item kept will need to be taken care of, organized, cleaned around, etc., and all that maintenance requires your time; time that you might prefer spending playing games or hanging out with your friends. So, every time you pick an item, ask yourself, ‘Is this item worth the time required to maintain it?’”

Perhaps it’s didn’t magically turn them into minimalists, but I do think what I told them gave them something to think about; because from that moment on the ‘give away’ pile continued to grow.

I’ve noticed that I too have been guilty of maintenance issues—holding on to stuff that I really don’t need and trading my precious time to maintain those things. And I’m not just referring to material items.

I’m also referring to mental and emotional clutter: thoughts, expectations, habits, relationships and anything else that doesn’t serve my best self. When I choose to hold on to anything that doesn’t serve me, those things require my attention, my maintenance, my energy, my time.  So, just like with material items, when I find myself getting caught up in a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions that I feel are not of benefit, I am learning to take a step back and ask myself the question, “Is this thought/expectation/habit/relationship worth the time (and emotional distress) required to maintain it?”

And like my kids, this is not something that will magically turn me into a completely different person overnight; this is something that requires mindfulness, discipline, practice, and, you guessed it, time. But unlike the material and emotional clutter, when I ask myself the question, “Is this worth the time required to maintain it?”, when it comes to benefitting my physical and emotional well-being, the answer is always YES.

Now I want to invite you to look at your surroundings—the physical, mental and emotional. Take an inventory of these things and the maintenance required (i.e. time) to care for them and ask yourself the question, “Is this item worth the time required to maintain it?” If the answer is no, then let it go.

This post is aptly named, given it’s my coming full circle that is responsible for my return to this whole writing gig (i.e. my blog) after a not-so-brief hiatus. I had taken a break from my writing (and, if we’re being completely honest here, my simple living journey altogether) to focus more on my yoga studies. In hindsight, the irony of the situation is laughable, to say the least.

I say ironic because my two seemingly separate and unrelated journeys—yoga and living simply—were, as I discovered, pretty much one and the same.

Up until recently, I had never made the simple living/yoga connection. When I first set out on my quest toward living a more simplified life back in 2014, my yoga practice was strictly asana based; in fact, I knew absolutely nothing of the yoga practice that settled beneath the surface of the poses. Even seven months after I started my simple living journey, when I began my studies for my yoga teacher training certification, I had made absolutely zero connection between the two.

Sure, in the beginning of my studies, there were subtle hints of that connection via various yogic nuggets of wisdom, including a few of the following quotes from Buddha:

compazine cost walmart “Greater happiness comes with simplicity rather than complexity.”

buy kamagra oral jelly london “You only lose what you cling to.”

hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg canada “Chill Homie, you need to let that shit go.” (OK, perhaps this one was paraphrased a bit.)

But then the mysterious and serendipitous ways of the universe brought the parallels of my two journeys to the forefront when I delved a little deeper into the yoga beyond the poses—namely, the yamas and niyamas.

For those not familiar with the yamas and niyamas, they’re kind of like the “ten commandments” of yoga: a set of social and individual disciplines geared toward living a life filled with authenticity, awareness, and with peace toward others as well as within oneself. (In other words, how to happily live life without being an asshole.)

To offer a better understanding, I’ve listed each of them below:

parachute scalp therapie buy online Yamas:

proviron where to buy Niyamas:

clofert max online purchase  For the past year, a large chunk of my practice has revolved around these very guidelines. I have them as a screensaver on my phone. I have one of them tattooed on my forearm. I teach workshops about them. And I can safely say, without any hesitation, that they were the catalyst for me getting back on my path of living a more simplified life, and in turn, getting me back to writing about it.

Now back to my revelation.

When I started looking at each of the yamas and niyamas individually, the yoga/simple living connection was made with a couple of them right off the bat: rogaine foam buy brahmacharya (non-excess) and finpecia price in india aparigraha (non-possessiveness) were the two that stood out to me immediately.

But then as I continued to dig, the connection to the other less obvious, but equally significant ones began to manifest:

  • Santosha (contentment) = being content with what is = not needing anything other than what we have right now to feel content and complete = living simply
  • Asteya (non-stealing) = not stealing from others = not taking more than what we need so others go without = living simply
  • Ahimsa (non-violence) = being kind to our planet by not overusing resources = taking only what fulfills our needs, not our greed = living simply
  • Saucha (cleanliness) = maintaining a clutter-free environment = getting rid of any excess that causes clutter = living simply

Woah.

It was then that I knew: I knew that in some weird, inexplicable way it was all connected. And for whatever reason, this was the path that was intended for me to discover this connection. For whatever reason, still unbeknownst to me, I was brought to a fork in the road, taking the path that led me away from my original journey only for those roads to merge again and steer me back in the very same direction I veered away from.

Talk about coming full circle, eh?

Now I’m still on the fence about this whole “the universe knows what’s best for us” thing, but my experience sure makes for a compelling argument. Who knows why I was brought away from my journey, only to be brought back to it? Maybe the universe thought I had more to learn. Maybe it knew that I needed to deepen my practice of yoga to continue my journey (which I am eternally grateful for, because who the hell knows where I’d be without my yoga). I don’t know why exactly it brought me away from it, but I do know one thing—I’m sure glad I’m back.

Once a week, I teach free yoga classes at various locations. Recently, I’ve had quite a few students ask me if I accept donations. The short answer is yes, donations are accepted and appreciated — but by no means are they required to come to my class.

I’d like to elaborate on this just a bit, given the flack that teachers like me get sometimes for only offering “free” and “donation based” classes. There are some (not all, but some) that contest that by offering free and donation based classes that teachers like me somehow devalue the teachings of yoga, that these types of classes are somehow not as good, and/or that I am devaluing myself as a yoga teacher.

These assumptions, in my humble opinion, are a general (and, quite frankly, unfair) assessment, given that those who make such comments don’t really know the real reason why I do what I do.

Obviously I find immense value in the teachings and practice of yoga, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. I wouldn’t have invested the thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time into my teacher training, with the eagerness and anticipation of absorbing as much knowledge as I possibly could, or have gone to numerous studios and taken countless classes if I thought it wasn’t worth it.

I know my value as a teacher. I know the value of what I am teaching my students. I know that after my classes my students are walking away feeling better about themselves and their practice — I feel it every time I teach.

I also know the immeasurable value in what yoga has given me as a student. I know the value of the knowledge and guidance my teachers have given me over the years. I know — despite the long road ahead of me — how yoga has transformed me in ways I never thought possible.

I also know the challenges I’ve faced in finding the ways I felt yoga fit into my life, and sometimes, how I fit into it. I remember the years prior to stepping into my first class, and the obstacles that kept me from doing so. The times when I wanted to try it, but my self-defeating thoughts (not to mention my misunderstanding of what yoga really is) prevented me from doing so because I felt like I wasn’t “flexible enough” or that I “couldn’t do yoga”. The times I experienced the self-conscious emotions that come along with those self-defeating thoughts, allowing my preconceived notions about yoga feed into the misconception that the eyes of the more “seasoned” and “experienced” yogis would all be fixated on “the beginner”, judging me and ridiculing my lack of ability throughout the process.

I’ve also felt the frustration of not being able to find a place that I could afford to attend regularly, and the equal frustration in having to skip weeks or months at a time because I was going through a financial rough patch. The frustration of missing that connection, that guidance that I felt was offered to me by going to a class with a teacher I could trust would keep me safe throughout my practice.

Luckily, I overcame these feelings of self-consciousness and frustration, largely in part, by attending free yoga classes. And I feel very strongly that I may not be where I am in my practice — and in my life — had that opportunity not been offered to me.

This is why I do free and donation based classes. I want to offer the other “me”s out there a safe and comfortable place to practice yoga. The ones who feel a little nervous about dipping their feet into the yoga pool for fear that they aren’t “flexible enough”. The ones who believe the misconception that a yoga class is a place where you are judged for not being “as good” as the person on the mat next to you, or that there is even a such thing as “good” or “bad” at yoga to begin with.

I also do it for the ones who can’t afford to pay the standard rates for a studio class, the ones that can usually afford it but may be going through a little “rough patch”, and the ones that can afford it, but want to save a couple bucks to buy a new home, or a new car, or a new whatever. I even do it for the ones who can afford it, but quite frankly don’t want to shell out the money because they don’t yet understand the true value of practicing yoga under the guidance of a qualified and caring teacher.

The seasoned and the beginner, the rich and the poor, the flexible and the inflexible: I want to offer my classes to anyone willing to learn more about the practice — despite income, ability, race, gender, age and orientation.

I don’t do it to devalue the practice, devalue my abilities as a teacher, or to take away the business of anyone else. If anything, it’s the exact opposite. I do it to show anyone who’s willing to listen the immeasurable value of this practice. I do it to show the value and benefit that comes with the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher and the connection with other students in a class setting.

I do it to offer the opportunity for students to become more confident in their practice so perhaps they may one day feel confident enough to step into a studio and take a class. I do it to give students the opportunity to practice yoga in a class setting despite financial woes. I do it for the connection with others and for the love of the practice.

And perhaps above all other reasons, I do it because I believe that yoga is for everyone.

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“Every risk is worth taking as long as it’s for a good cause and contributes to a good life.” – Richard Branson

My husband, kids and I are a family of campers. Camping has got to be by far one of our most favorite things to do together, and some of our most unforgettable and happiest memories as a family have been from our camping adventures.

For our upcoming trip this summer, we decided that we had outgrown the adorable little 15’ Scotty travel trailer we called home on all of our previous trips. When the kids were younger (and much smaller) the little camper treated us well, but now with bigger kids and two dogs added to the mix, it’s just not big enough.

And I should add for the sake of full disclosure that our family is not quite ready to delve into tent living for two and a half weeks just yet – call me crazy, but something about the idea of paper thin nylon walls, combined with four people plus two dogs that bark if someone breathes too loud, sounds like it would be fun for no one.

So this past weekend – after much deliberation –  we invested in a new camper.

I’ll admit right off the bat that the thought of buying a new camper kind of made me cringe a bit at first, and we looked at the situation at just about every angle to avoid making this purchase. We looked into renting a camper but couldn’t find any light enough to tow with our vehicle.  We then considered renting a truck large enough to tow the rented camper but the cost of renting both was almost as much as purchasing a camper. We even entertained the idea of asking one of our friends that own campers to borrow theirs – but as with any expensive item, we didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on us or our friends.

So after exploring all possible options, we decided it made the most sense to buy our own if we wanted to continue camping.

In theory, purchasing a camper was doable within our budget. Our progress toward living a more simplified life has improved our financial situation significantly and aside from our mortgage payment and 10 months left on a car payment, we’ve pretty much eliminated all of our debt. That freeing of debt and extra financial wiggle room would allow us the opportunity to buy our own.

But – and it’s a big BUT – it meant having to finance; being indebted to someone/something for an extended period of time. Ugh.

On top of that, this was a HUGE purchase. As a family trying to live more simply, here we are trying to get rid of all of the excessiveness and clutter in our lives and now we’re going to add a VERY LARGE item to the mix. We’ve come so far in our progress, and for a moment the idea of this investment made us feel as if we were taking two HUGE steps back in our progress.

But as we began to look at the other side of the coin, what would be the return on this investment?

The return would be creating unforgettable memories with our children and spending quality time together as a family – the very things that motivated us to work toward living a more simplified life to begin with.

And sure, this is another thing that we now own. But when we asked ourselves the question, “Will this add value to our lives?” – the same question we ask about anything that we consider purchasing since we started this journey – the answer to that question was an unequivocal YES.

It is situations such as this that made me realize that no matter how much you plan and strategize, there are moments when you have to take a risk to get to the ultimate reward. And as far as this situation is concerned, our risk – and ultimate reward –  comes in the form of a little camper called Roo.

I’m going to start out by saying that I am not here to discuss my political or religious stance, nor will I engage in any sort of conversation. I realized through personal experience that there is much truth to the phrase “There are two things you should never discuss with your friends and family – religion and politics”. I’ve witnessed first hand that when these issues are discussed – especially when hidden behind the veil of social media – people have a tendency to get nasty. And I’m not here for that, which is why I won’t discuss it. With anyone.

And I will also say that I fully respect everyone and their individual beliefs. While I may not necessarily agree with all of them, I respect the fact that each and every one of us is different and our own unique personal life experiences have molded us to have said beliefs. In addition, I also respect you enough to not try and shove my political and religious beliefs down your throat, since you have not lived and experienced the same life that I’ve lived nor have I experienced the same life you have lived. I hope that after reading this, you will offer me the same respect.

What I do want to share however, is that regardless of what your political or religious beliefs are, I believe that there is a bit of confusion on my part about what people think is the best way to handle situations such as what happened this past week. I’m hearing taglines like, “We must join together”, but in the very same breath blame is being placed on others – and I’m not referring to the terrorists. Democrats are blaming the Republicans, Republicans blaming Democrats, Christians blaming Muslims, Atheists blaming Christians, the list goes on and on. Can someone please explain to me how we are supposed to join together and unite when we are too busy throwing stones at one another?

This is why there is hatred, hostility, separation, division amongst us – because people are too concerned about relieving themselves of blame and looking for somewhere to point the finger rather than being brave enough to admit that maybe each and every one of us could stand to make some changes. And by changes I don’t mean changing your political or religious stance, but rather how you think and react when someone else happens to not have the same exact beliefs as you.

We ALL have our own beliefs – it makes us who we are. But in no way should our political and religious beliefs make any of us believe that we are better than anyone else. We are better than NO ONE. Our political and religious beliefs should not be the defining factor as to whether we are good people. Our social status, how much money we make, what kind of car we drive should not determine our success. Attributes such as kindness, generosity, humility, goodwill, looking out for our fellow man – those are things we should be looking for, striving for. Those are the attributes that will truly unite and join us.

A while back, I had asked a friend of mine about her Yoga Teacher Training experience.

My friend offered a wealth of information and insight into what I should expect when embarking on this journey, but there were two words in particular that she used to describe her experience that really piqued my interest: Life changing.

Wow. “Life changing”. Those were some pretty strong words.

Aside from one of the obvious reasons for entering the Yoga Teacher Training Program – to graduate and eventually teach yoga – this whole “life changing” experience was sounding like a pretty good bonus.

I was intrigued, I was hopeful – but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical.

Perhaps it was my old “glass half empty” tendencies creeping up to rear their ugly heads but I was not totally convinced that this experience would, in fact, change my life. I was looking to make some changes in my life, no doubt – to take a step away from my sometimes pessimistic frame of mind and my propensity for approaching just about every little minutia in life with a “sleeping with one eye open” mindset – but to think that a mere two months would change 38 years of habits and conditioning? It was something I just couldn’t quite wrap my head around.

But reflecting on these past two months, I can honestly say I do feel that my life has, in fact, been changed by this experience. This training has taught me so much more than I had anticipated – it has taught me life lessons, either knowingly or unknowingly, that I will carry with me throughout my life:

It has taught me to have more faith in myself and others.

It has taught me to turn unfavorable situations into lessons.

It has taught me that I am far more capable than I give myself credit for.

It has taught me to not place judgments so quickly – people can surprise you.

It has taught me humility.

It has taught me patience.

It has taught me compassion.

It has taught me forgiveness.

It has taught me tolerance.

And – perhaps most importantly – it has taught me to let go.

In these past two months, I have cried. A lot. And I’m not a crier. I’ve cried because there has been so much emotional baggage that I’ve held onto, when I finally chose to sift through that baggage it was a lot to handle.

Throughout this training, I finally realized that the one person who has been holding me back from my growth was me. My habit of holding on to things that didn’t serve me – in the form of grudges, judgments (against myself and others), thoughts, bad relationships, etc – had, for far too long, caused me to be my own worst enemy.

But now, thanks to this training, I’ve decided to not hold myself back any longer.

I am so incredibly grateful to each and every one of my teachers as well as my classmates, because whether they know it or not, they have helped me to learn each and every one of these lessons. And while I may not have outwardly expressed this to them (because this type of expression is something I am still working on), I hope that one day they will know this, and know how grateful I am to have shared this experience with them.

Reflecting back on these past two months I can honestly say that not only have I grown as a person in more ways than I could have ever imagined, I’ve also gotten to know myself much more deeply than I ever thought possible. For far too long, I’ve felt disconnected with myself – not really knowing who I was or who I wanted to be. I finally, for the first time, feel as if I’m beginning to learn who I am.

And finally, these last two months have shown me that it is possible to change your life as long as you’re willing to put in the effort to do so. Am I suddenly a completely different person? Not quite, and nor would I want to be (so for those close to me, don’t worry – I’m still the fun-loving, one-liner delivering goofball that you’ve come to know and love). But I have been given the tools that will allow me to make the changes I want to make that, before my training, seemed out of reach. I have a long road to travel and many changes I still want to make, but as a very wise person once told me, “It’s about the journey, not the destination”.

today is a new dayI shared the above quote (along with a message of my own) a few weeks ago on my Instagram page. I decided I wanted to share the quote—along with my message—with you as well:

More often than we’d like, we allow negative people to get the best of us and, in some cases, bring out the worst in us. By doing so, we are giving these people the power to take over our emotions. Don’t let them. Because at the end of the day, we can’t control the actions of others but we can control how we respond.

It’s important to realize though, that in the times of weakness when we let the negativity take control, we always have the opportunity to get up, brush ourselves off, and start fresh. Don’t waste your day feeling negative vibes towards someone who doesn’t deserve an ounce of space in your mind to begin with. Use your day for good, spending time with the people who deserve your attention.

The inspiration behind this message stems from a less than pleasant encounter with a person who, let’s just say, I don’t think very fondly of. After the encounter, my anger towards this person clouded my thoughts and I reacted negatively as a result—not my proudest moment.

I basically gave this person the power to control my emotions. I allowed this person to infiltrate my thoughts for longer than they deserved. I allowed this person to get the best of me and bring out the worst in me.

Once my head cleared and I thought about it from this perspective, I decided I would no longer allow this person to take control over my emotions. I would not allow any more of my time, my thoughts, or my energy to be wasted on this person, or any other negative person for that matter. Instead, I will focus my time and energy on the people and things that bring out the best in me.