The best advice my dear yoga teacher Sarah Powers shared with us students, was to engage in two brief periods of mindfulness every day, each with different intentions. In the morning, upon waking, we are grateful for the new day, appreciative of all the ways that we’re supported in our life and acknowledge how we support others. In the evening before retiring, we engage in a forgiveness practice directed not just toward others but to ourselves as well. This allows us to clear away any weight on our heart and mind so we can sleep peacefully and start the next day with a fresher perspective. Together, these practices help us create the most positive life possible.
We’ve already discussed the importance of gratitude in Grateful Heart, Joy-filled Life. You may want to look back at it to learn about other ways you can experience gratitude throughout your day. Now, I want to introduce the mindfulness practice that I do each morning, as I feel it will really help many of you. If you’re feeling like the days are monotonous, overwhelming, or you’re constantly complaining about how life is unfair, this can dramatically alter your perspective.
If you have children, this is a wonderful practice to introduce to them. Depending on their age and temperament, you may want to do it with them, talk about what you’ve been doing, or just model it for them.
At the end of the day, before we go to sleep, there’s a tendency for many of us to ruminate on all the things that have happened throughout the day. Sometimes we obsess over certain interactions with other people that were unpleasant or are overwhelmed with how certain conditions, politically or socially are negatively affecting our lives. Sometimes we are upset with ourselves for behaving in a certain way. We don’t want to go to sleep holding a grudge – sleep will be restless and unsettling, and you’ll just be carrying these feelings over to the next day.
In the recorded mindfulness session below, we work with specific affirmations to help you accept what occurred and all the feelings that resulted. We forgive to the degree that we don’t carry a load of hate & resentment, but we don’t brush off or forget injustices. When the time is right, we can process these incidents further to find the lesson that is always learned upon reflection.
You may be surprised that after doing this exercise, your feelings change completely. Forgiveness can open your heart to a point that you are then feeling grateful again for all that has happened because it’s stirring up positive change inside of you.
Again, if you have children, let them know what you’re doing! Teaching forgiveness is essential for your child’s emotional intelligence. I love this, from Sherrie Campbell, PhD in 5 Ways Parents Can Teach Their Kids to Forgive:
“The relationships our children have will, for certain, be their greatest teachers of love and pain. They will never need to use forgiveness more than in their relationships. Forgiveness is many things — but we also must teach that forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation. It is not about condoning harms which have been done. Forgiveness is about taking power back.”
I’m eager to hear how you did with these meditations. Did you feel a positive shift? Please let us know in the comments. And if you found the meditations helpful, please share this post far and wide! Namasté