As we embark on this bright shiny new year, it’s a good time to get some bright shiny perspective.
Why is it that sometimes you need a break from your actual life to look back in and realise that everything will be ok? Or to hear a rubbish story about what’s happened to someone else to make you appreciate your own situation? Or to watch the news which might help us value the short time on this strange planet we have?
We collect experiences throughout life and subconsciously label them with emotion – good; bad; challenging; exciting; joyful – and categorise them, sometimes managing to suppress or eradicate them altogether if too traumatic to repeat on our internal memory tape recorder. This personal perspective measurement are our own barometers of scale, on which we neatly slot new experiences into so we know how the next experience fairs in comparison.
Getting perspective on things can be somewhat troublesome at times. We can be resilient and tenacious and strong, with an inane way of burying emotion if required. Perspective appears in phases – prolonged bad patches, or good patches, where life can seem just too tough, or sometimes when we can happily acknowledge we’ve had a good run of it.
I can be catastrophic too – well leave me / I’m moving to another country / etc etc…which isn’t a particularly rational, or healthy way to live…luckily I’ve been with my partner for long enough he knows I probably would have forgotten about whatever I was having a meltdown about in a few very short hours.
Unfortunately it’s also such like life that balance is a precarious and often mythical creature. And like a neatly positioned row of dominos, if one topples over, it seems the rest are likely too also. It’s that slippery feeling of matters being out of your control even if everything else is secure, that one thing is putting everything else out of balance – work, relationships, health, and the many other facets in between. It only takes one of them to take out perspective across the board.
This can be a lot to take in, and to deal with, and most of the time it feels easier just to bury it away. But this can lead to even more troublesome times as they’re always ready to sneak back out unannounced and we don’t want that!
I have been studying ways in which to achieve perspective as by no means does it come easy. These are my own self imposed steps to attempt to gain perspective on short term situations and long term issues, and as we come into the new year, is a great time to gain some fresh perspectives and be receptive to different ideas, opinions and opportunities.
- Deconstruct – I find myself constantly self-analysing…how did that come across / should I have done things differently / what should I do next? To gain perspective it’s always helpful to understand why we feel this emotion or why we reacted in such a way. Could it be interpreted in any other manner? Is there something historical that has prompted this? And is this reaction 100% rational? This is a tough one as sometimes you’re so deep into a situation you’re not so sure anymore and this is where it’s helpful to get an impartial view from trusted confidants. Then – what could the outcomes be? Think about all eventualities, this will help make the decision easier too.
- Re-evaluate – how can the tricky times be re-evaluated with positivity – I have my health; food in my belly; a warm safe sanctuary to come back to; some money and time to do some things I love; friends / partner who I love who love me back. Pausing to re-evaluate is helpful to see all the other great things around us we have and to single out where we need to gain some perspective.
- Be Brave – accepting and acting on the fact you have the power to change how you react, and you may actually be able to change the outcome. Your next steps are entirely up to you – I’m a firm believer that you can influence your own path so do just that. And you can continue to pivot until you’re in a situation which makes you happy. You might even discover a different path as a result.
- Meditation – To practise Yoga is to realise ones truest self, which is the ultimate perspective. Through our meditation practise we reduce cortisol – our fight or flight response, which we tend to operate in more regularly than we need. It’s also said to increase melatonin which helps us sleep at night which is all important when we need to focus. Whilst meditating may not give us the answers in black and white, it’ll certainly steer you.
Here’s a simple one to try to help you step back and see the bigger COSMIC picture…
Find a comfortable seated position with the sitting bones grounded to the mat, the spine tall, the chin slightly tucked to keep the back of the neck long, rest the palms on the thighs and close the eyes.
Listen to your natural breath and feel it moving in and out of the body. Thoughts of past and future will pop in and out of your consciousness but just let them go and come back to the breath.
Imagine a tiny spark of light sitting in the centre of your heart space. The spark is your truest self hidden deep inside. Everything is clear, everything is safe.
With each inhale and exhale that tiny spark gets brighter and larger, first of all filling your heart, inhaling filling your chest, inhaling extending out to your limbs, your fingers, your toes. On the next inhale the light extends to your throat, your mind clearing out any blockages, and then to the crown of your head.
From your heart space, with each inhale and exhale the light starts to shine outside the body now, spilling across the mat and then the floor, meeting the walls and the windows and the door. The light then fills the whole house, and all of your close ones in the house – the whole house is full now.
The light bursts from the house out into the street, covering all the people and plants and life, filling the town, the city and spilling out into the countryside rolling across hills and fields. It reaches streams and lakes and mountains before reaching the sea and the sky.
Now your light is filling the atmosphere, reaching the moon and the stars and the infinite universe…all of this emanating from your truest self. Look back to your physical body from here in space and acknowledge all that you are and the potential you have.
Then draw that light from the atmosphere, back to the earth, through the countryside, your city, your house and back into your heart. Take a deep inhale and exhale releasing all worries and tension and feel content here.
The meditation is finished but you can come back here whenever you need as you go into this first full week of this New Year.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.
Happy and Healthy New Year everyone x