So we’re often told to stay in the moment, and to practice mindfulness. And there is certainly a lot of virtue in doing just that. But personally i think sometimes a bit of retrospection and reflection can be good too.
As I got out my christmas cards to write to people this year it felt like there have been some huge shifts and changes around me. Friends that now have new husbands/wives, new homes, new jobs and new babies galore. As I write the cards I feel deeply grateful for these special things. There are also many people who have struggled with tough times this year. So i hope as they reflect on the year, they feel even a touch stronger and wiser for those challenges.
I recently watched David Seindl-Rast talk about some exercises in gratitude in this great TED talk. He starts by reminding the audience that we shouldn’t wait for happy things to appear to feel grateful about but rather be grateful and the happiness will follow that. One of the simplest techniques for this is writing a gratitude diary – every day before bed recording or maybe talking to your partner about what you’re grateful for. It’s a wonderfully quick practice but that recognition of those good things somehow helps us shift out of the moany mindset and settle in a more positive place.
As many of you know I am heading off on retreat next week to Eco Dharma to practice the buddhist technique of Metta or Loving Kindness. So as i tie up loose ends before I head off, I am reflecting and working on cultivating my practice of gratitude. The last year has been a huge change for me moving to a new city (in a new country in fact), returning to studying and practicing teaching yoga in new ways, with new people.
I absolutely love the yoga scene in Cardiff and feel honoured to have taught and practiced with some wonderful people. Especially Cath and the team at Yoga Fever, Tori for the introductions and wonderful yoga meals, and Ellie La Trobe-Bateman for the brilliant Yoga Festival in the Gower. I am also incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful teaching mentor in Raquel Alves – check out her workshops and retreats if you get a chance.
No doubt next year will bring a fresh wave of new people, new challenges and new ideas. I look forward to meeting all those things on the mat in January.