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Cultivating Contentment

According to Swami Sivananda, the cravings will always try to place themselves at the forefront of our minds. We are flooded with marketers, friends, family, our culture, and our own ambitions , to do more, be more, see more, acquire more. So long as we can recognize the bombardment and not fall prey to it, we will open the door to observing how magnificent contentment can be. And the magnificent realization is that contentment can be found in  our every day reality. Thus happiness can be found readily at our fingertips no matter how outstanding, or lack thereof, our lives look to the outside world.

“There is no end to craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Develop contentment.” Swami Sivananda

The next question then, is how do we find this contentment and how do we maintain it?
Below I share 8 live coaching tools for cultivating contentment:

1) Practice gratitude
Being grateful for our lives exactly as they are right now, provides a mindset of knowing that things are not nearly as bad as we sometimes make them out to be. It allows for the realization that, although things could be better, they are manageable for the time being. It is impossible to develop contentment without gratitude—they are inseparable. focus on the good things in your life, not the things you lack. The simple discipline of engaging in gratitude will undoubtedly shift your focus back to the many good things you already have.

Make a commitment to practice gratitude by letting gratitude be the last thought before you fall asleep, and your first thought when you wake up in the morning.

2) Ask yourself what is going well
So much goes well in our lives, each and every day, that is easy to become desensitized and accustomed to how fortunate we are. Recognize the countless details you take for granted. What is working well in your life today?

3) Be content with what you have, while you continue to grow.
Do something that keeps the flames of your dreams and hopes alive. Take pride in your person-hood and the progress that you have made so far, and continue improving. Contentment is not the same as complacency. Contentment invites you to always keep growing. learning and discovering.

4) Shift your perspective
Develop the habit of seeing the positive side of things – specially of all the bad things that happen.
Start by recognizing negative thoughts as you have them. Then, take a step back and ask yourself these key questions:
• Is the situation, really as bad as I think it is?
• Is there another way to look at the situation?
• What can I learn from this challenging experience that can help me evolve as a person?

5) Find your purpose
Are you engaged in something you love? If not, ask yourself these questions to discover how you can find your purpose:
• What excites and energizes me?
• What are my proudest achievements?
• How do I want others to remember me?

6) Take control of your attitude.
A person who lacks contentment in their life will often engage in “when… and… then” thinking – “when I get _______, then I will be happy.” Instead, take control of your attitude. Contentment is finding satisfaction in your life as it is in the present moment, regardless of the circumstances.

7) Stop comparing yourself to others.
Comparing your life with someone else’s will always lead to discontentment. “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. There will always be people who “appear” to seemingly be living the perfect life. You are unique. You are special. Affirm that your life is awesome in its own way.

8) Live in the moment
Focus on the positives in the present moment, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Don’t postpone joy waiting for a day when your life is less busy or less stressful.
Instead, look for opportunities to savor the small pleasures of everyday life.

Self-Discipline

“THROUGH SELF-DISCIPLINE COMES FREEDOM” – Aristotle

Self-discipline is a super inner power to achieve freedom. In fact, one of the goals of yoga is to attain self-discipline – the commitment to the practice on the mat. According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, self-discipline is known as ‘Tapas’, without which, one cannot see the positive results of yoga.

The training of self-discipline we get on the mat, is to be applied off the mat, to  reach both freedom as well as excellence in all aspects of our lives – being more productive at work, learning to be frugal with our finances, following a healthy diet, improving our interpersonal relationships, controlling our anger and emotions, paying attention to what we say, or keeping a positive attitude.

Self-discipline is the fundamental action, mindset, and philosophy which, when aimed and applied at a goal, is quite literally a magic power.
However, we aren’t born with self-discipline — it’s a learned behavior. Being self-disciplined isn’t something we have — it is something we do. Self-discipline is a skill ,and as such, it needs to be mastered, with continuous practice and repetition. The rewards of the efforts of self-discipline go beyond words…just to name a few : ACHIEVEMENT, SELF-CONFIDENCE, STRENGTH OF CHARACTER, FREEDOM AND PEACE. 

HOW TO BUILD SELF-DISCIPLINE FOR FREEDOM and not DEPEND on MOTIVATION to keep going?

Below find 7 Life Coach powerful tools to master self-discipline. Empower yourself and live the best version of your life.

1) Know your “why”
Have a clear understanding of why you wish to accomplish the particular goal, as well as of what success looks like to you. Knowing your “why”, makes it easy to avoid getting sidetracked.

2) Have an execution plan.
Set up specific action, steps and establish a clear finish line.

3) Have a backup plan.
Setting your mind to your backup plan would provide you the necessary self-control to deal with a potentially difficult situation you will likely face.

4) Don’t depend on motivation.
Motivation is great to get the ball rolling, but motivation comes and goes on its own. Let motivation inspire you, use it while it last, but don’t expect it to stick around. The initial excitement will wear off, and this is where self-discipline comes in to help you stay on track.

5) Just do it.
To stay disciplined, you must adopt the mindset of “Just do it.” Be cautious of your mind which may give you countless reasons to excuse you from what you need to do. Do not second-guess your decision. Do not allow your mind to talk you out of your commitment. The decision is made — so follow through with it.

6) Forgive yourself and move forward.
Self- discipline is for life. Therefore, naturally, there will be ups and downs, great successes and gloomy disappointments. When you stumble, acknowledge what caused it, learn from it, forgive yourself, and move on. Do not let yourself get wrapped up in guilt, anger or frustration. The key is to keep moving forward.

7) Reward yourself.
Anticipation is powerful. The main reward of your efforts will be your success. Also, give yourself something to be excited about by planning a reward when you accomplish your goals. Having something to look forward to, helps you stay on track, and moving toward your objective.
Self-discipline in and off the mat enables us to enjoy a life where we are less stressed, more successful, and happier.
What aspects of your life need self-discipline to help you to improve a sense of well-being?

Living On Life’s Terms

What does living life on life’s terms mean?

In a few words, living our life’s on life’s terms is basically the acceptance of who we are, with our desires and dreams, while honoring the mystery and vastness of fate.

When fate is an impediment to our desires, we get the amazing opportunity to learn. We get creative, discover and new avenues to get us what we want. We learn about love, compassion, self- awareness, forgiveness, patience, and faith.

Living on life terms means realizing that we cannot avoid suffering, trials and losses, but we can find meaning in them to move forward with renewed purpose and more serenity.

What abilities do we need to cultivate to be living on life’s terms?

1) Discernment: We need to cultivate the ability to discern what is in our control, and what is out of our control. When our ego feels audacious, it may mistakenly decide that it has everything under control. On the other hand, when our ego is fearful, it may have the wrong impression that little or nothing is in our control. This is a life-long lesson.

2) Acceptance of how little is in our control: Acceptance is the mysterious answer. Acceptance what is’ is not a passive state, it’s an act of recognition that things are the way they are… It’s one of the most powerful places we can find ourselves in. This is where we learn to humbly accept our limits, and we let go of a sense of control and entitlement. Most of us are ONLY open to accept life on our terms – we accept life only “IF” we were healthy enough; thin enough; serene enough; financially stable enough; in love enough; fit enough; successful enough. In short, we tell ourselves that acceptance is a state of mind reserved for when life works the way we want it and expected, rather than the amazingly freeing ability to experience life every day just as it unfolds.

3) Shift Perspective: rather than seeing what is out of our control as simply unfortunate, we can explore the possibility of discovering the opportunity presented by life with curiosity and wonder.

4) Self-Compassion: We don’t fear risks. We fear how we will treat ourselves if a risk we take generates an unfavorable outcome Therefore, in order to accept life’s terms of living our desire, we will need to learn to forgive ourselves when our actions do not produce the expected results.

5) Letting Go: letting go of the things we cannot control, letting go of expectations, letting go of blame, letting go of complaint, letting go of self-pity, letting go of comparisons, letting go of denying, letting go of resisting, letting go of anger, letting go of agendas, and letting be our experience just be what it is.

6) Trust: Trust in a Power Greater Than Yourself. Trust there are so many things that are happening in an extraordinary way in our lives. Trust that we are equipped with everything we need to face whatever life throws at us. Trust that we will be guided to a prompt and positive solution to what we are dealing with.

7) Control How We Respond: we can decide how we are going to respond to what life brings to us, moment to moment. Exploring our choices, discovering the opportunities, and taking full responsibility for our decisions and actions, is key to living a life of empowerment, serenity, and freedom.

Let the light of our dreams and wishes illuminate the path we belong on. When our desire is accompanied by acceptance for that which lies beyond us, we agree to life’s terms, and live a life well lived.

Accepting Change

Why must things change? Why can’t everything stay the same? Sometimes we wonder…

Do you find yourself continuing to fight against change and resisting situations that lead you to a different path?

We constantly face all kinds of changes; some good, some challenging, and some hard that are forced upon us….

So, we all know that change is inevitable and necessary … but nevertheless, we resist. Do you know why? Fear is the main reason we cannot accept change, fear of the unknown, fear of the uncertainty.

Accepting change, therefore, is not sudden thing we do; it takes many stages of personal transition to find the courage and face our fears. As we allow ourselves to turn through the changing curve different stages, we enable ourselves to move positively forward, where acceptance is the ultimate outcome.

Why is it important to accept change?

Accepting change allows us to adapt better to the situations and become more flexible. Accepting change opens the door to countless blessing and possibilities. And the better able we are to accept change in what is happening in our world, the easier it will be for us to live our best life.

How to start accepting change?

1) Surrender to the words: “I don’t know.”

When you surrender to “I don’t know what’s next.” you open yourself to the endless possibilities that will come. If you allow the space and patiently sit in the “I don’t know” area—which Buddhists call “nothingness”—then, something beautiful will be born.

2) Ask yourself: “What is the opportunity here?”

If you look, you will find it, and change will become something to appreciate and embrace rather than to fear and resist. Remind yourself that , you always have control over how you choose to respond to things. When you respond with an attitude of curiosity, and optimism, you’ll find it so much easier to deal with and thrive during the change.

3) Stay moving.

When things in our life change, it is easy to freeze and stop everything. Take some time to mourn, but then keep moving. Even if you don’t know what’s next, be it in work, health, or love, explore and stay curious. It’s easy to want to just hide under the covers, so do that a little, then take a hike, sign up for a new experience, do something, stay in motion.

4) Lean on your practice.

Consult with your higher-ups (your faith, your guides, your meditation, your breathing techniques, your yoga practice, and your prayers, …whatever you turn to when things get difficult.)

5) Externalize the change.

This one will help you embrace change at a deeper level. Something as simple as getting a haircut, change the arrangements of the furniture around your room, or painting the wall with a different color will reinforce your changes to translate to your surroundings.

6) Allow yourself to feel the fear – and don’t let it stop you.

Give yourself permission to acknowledge and experience whatever fears show up along the way, and then take action anyway. Take one small baby step after another into the unknown – and you will be surprised at how quickly the path forward will become clear to you. Approach the change with both fear and courage – and consider that this may be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.

4 Tips For Working On Acceptance

By Veronica Vidal

Acceptance is a very active process, there is nothing passive about it, it’s not passive resignation but an act of recognition that things are the way they are.

Acceptance doesn’t mean we can’t work to change the world or circumstances, but it means that unless we accept things as they are, we will try to force things to be as they are not, and that can create an enormous amount of difficulty AND pain.

Acceptance is about the courage to look at a situation right in the eye and say:” Yes, I have this problem”.

Acceptance is coming to terms with things as they are. Acceptance is facing reality as it is, which allows the possibility of moving in the direction of change or to be at peace with what is.

1) Avoid judging yourself, others and/or your circumstances.

Emotions are natural and everyone has them—acknowledging them can help you understand yourself better and move forward. Choose not to judge what happens to you. Instead, believe that everything happens for a reason and that better things will always follow. That’s the beginning of true acceptance. Develop awareness of your judgmental inner voice and cultivate a non-judgmental attitude.

2) Stop pushing away unpleasant thoughts and feelings.

Stop resisting. So much of our anguish is created when we are in a resistance state. Repressing our thoughts and feelings will not make them disappear. Resisting the reality makes us depressed, and eventually depressed.

Resistance and denial will not move us forward, nor will eliminate the undesirable. We don’t achieve acceptance in a moment. We often have to work through a mirage of thoughts and feelings – sometimes frustration, anger, outrage, shame, self-pity, fear, or sadness. Think about what you have to think; feel what you need to feel. Be mindful of what crosses your mind and heart, then, release it. A thought or feeling is not forever. The more quickly we can accept a feeling the more quickly we can move on to the next. Acceptance is the magic that makes change possible. Acceptance opens the door to growth, change, and moving forward.

3) Practice letting go.

How can you accept a devastating loss or change? We have two choices:

One is to hold on to the way things were. But if we can’t accept life the way it is, we have a big problem, because we cannot change what already has happened. Resisting the flow of life will only make us even more unhappy.
The other choice is to have the courage to accept life the way it is, which even though challenging, this process will empower us enormously.

4) Let beauty in.

When you’re focused on everything that’s lacking, it’s hard to fully notice, appreciate, and enjoy what’s present in abundance. Choose to appreciate what you have as opposed to giving too much attention to what you’ve lost.

Practice mindfulness, look around you; there’s beauty all around. Beaches and mountains, birds flying across the sky, music, and culture, blueberry ice cream, kissing in the sunset, and lifelong friendships. There is so much to live for; open up to what is truly beautiful and important in life.

Most of us keep the blinds shut, closing off to life. Take on the curiosity of a child. Open up and explore life as if it were your first day here, regardless of what you’ve had or lost. You can choose to focus on either. What’s your choice?

Yes, acceptance is a choice—a hard one most definitely, but a choice nonetheless. I know it’s hard to practice acceptance when you deeply wish things were different. But the truth is, sometimes we can’t change our reality, even if we try.

So instead of staring at the closed door in front of us, or getting tired and bruised while we try to break it down, let’s turn around and see how many other windows we have open.

WHAT ARE SOME ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE THAT NEED ACCEPTANCE?