On the tip of an iceberg
We have created unconscious unhealthy habits that we do not even think about while we are doing them. This could be the way we breathe, our posture or the way we get annoyed and shout at our children.
The first step of breaking these habits is to become conscious of them. Our conscious mind is the tip of a huge iceberg – our unconscious thoughts being the huge mass below the surface.
Yoga poses are also the tip of an iceberg, where the philosophy underlying them can do an immense amount for us on the emotional and spiritual level.
Practising yoga and meditation is not about trying to resist our bad habits; it is about consciously practising good habits that re-wire our brain, so good habits happen unconsciously.
Leaving the loop
Our thoughts create our emotions, our emotions create our thoughts, and we get stuck in a loop that takes us nowhere. But we can change our thoughts, which will change our feelings, which will change our behaviours.
Being mindful is the key. When we are mindful, we can think about our response – is it going to serve me well to react like this?
Remember always that words are a projection of our thoughts and they have tremendous power. So if we can change the way we speak and react to others and ourselves, we can change the way we feel and live.
Create a positive story
Our throat is the doorway to our heart. If we keep saying we do not have enough time or money, then we will manifest this into the universe and this is how our life will play out.
If a woman tells herself she is not a good mother, she will believe those words, feel like a failure and be consumed with guilt.
We need to stop putting a band aid on our problems and go to the root of them. We need to look at the story of our lives so far and reflect on what our thoughts and feelings are creating for us. What we do automatically, without even thinking about it, will tell us the habits we have created for ourselves. Keep a journal to see how the story of your life is playing out.
Attract energy you like
The law of attraction is the name given to the belief that ‘like attracts like’, and that by focussing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from pure energy, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy.
Our life will change if we shift our perceptions.
Our purpose in life is to open our hearts.
Be mindful and let it flow
Feeling content with motherhood plays a huge role in our happiness levels. Learning to let go of what is not working for us anymore and focussing on what is helping us to grow is a profound lesson.
Life changes; it is always unpredictable and full of surprises. But if we adopt the mantra ‘Let it come, let it go, let it flow’, when challenging situations arise, we do not need to get caught up in our emotions. We can respond and not react by being mindful in that moment. We can pay attention to what is happening and how we are feeling, without making any judgement, and teach ourselves to respond and not react.
Find meaning in the pause
We are told so often to keep calm and carry on, to soldier on regardless of what is going on around us. But this approach will surely lead us to a mental or physical breakdown.
We need to take a pause and check in with what we are feeling.
Soldiering on year after year renders us totally depleted even before the baby arrives, and so many women never catch up before they have another.
So often our lifestyle robs us off the energy to cope with the stresses of it. We drink too much, eat processed foods, do not sleep well and slave away in our jobs, which are often meaningless.
Stress manifests in our bodies and makes us sick. When we are sick and have no energy, we struggle to remain calm. We need to find moments in our day to feel calm, because motherhood requires an abundance of perpetual energy.
Turning adversity into opportunity
The most difficult times in life are the best chances to gain real experience and great inner strength. These times can actually help us profoundly, in the sense of important spiritual lessons being learnt.
Challenging times provide us with the opportunity to understand what it means to suffer and to inspire compassion. Even though we go through a necessary process of denial, anger and acceptance, we can come out the other side filled with gratitude. These challenges can open our hearts.
Embrace your vulnerability
Having a child makes us vulnerable by pushing us to our limits. Boundaries are tested, along with our relationships, and we try to suppress these feelings.
But, being vulnerable makes us ‘whole-hearted’. Being whole-hearted, a word used by social researcher Brené Brown, gives us a sense of worthiness, courage, compassion and connection.
It takes courage to be imperfect and compassion to be kind to ourselves and others. Being vulnerable can be the birthplace of something beautiful. It could lead us to having a spiritual awakening. And, so can becoming a mother.
Editor’s note: This article is part two of a three part excerpt from Leonie’s book “Mother Om – Connect with yourself and your child in one mindful moment a day“