I am 31-years-old, have a full-time (stressful) job, am looking to teach yoga as a new career (positive thinking!), and am currently planning my wedding. Needless to say, at a time where love should be oozing out of my pores, "Enjoy it all" I keep hearing, I find myself stressed out, tired, cranky and anxious. Blushing bride? Not exactly.
Have I been focusing on the details so much so that I can only bare to see the big picture at this point!? How do I bring the joy back into this planning-stage for such a momentous, albeit frenzied, time in my life? And more importantly, how do I reconnect with ME in this process? As I do for all questions these days, I've taken this one to my mat.
As my teachers have shown me at Laughing Lotus (thank you Dana Flynn) you need to start from the ground up. Tap inside, deep inside, to figure out what's going on around you. Move up the chakras, those spinning wheels of energy inside us all, which govern different parts of the body, mind and soul.
Below is a brief, 7-step guide to finding yourself in times of chaos, big and small:
Step 1: Feel the ground beneath your feet. First chakra. Practice stillness and simplicity. Breathe. Breathe. And breathe. Not always as simple as it sounds, I know. (Dear friends take note - someone needs to remind me of this one on my wedding day!)
Step 2: Stay true to who you are. Second chakra. Continue to create and express yourself. Make time for your practice, your outlets, your passions. I have needed gentle reminders over the past few months that my creativity well surpasses that of table decorations and tent lighting! What do you need to be reminded of?
Step 3: Focus on what's important. Third chakra. Harness your determination. Why do you aim to accomplish all that you do? Let the worries go and focus on what you are working towards. In my current state, I need to remember that all this is for a celebration of love, and that's a beautiful thing.
Step 4: LOVE. Fourth chakra. My nearest and dearest chakra - continue to tap into it. Practice patience, understanding and acceptance, even when dealing with less-than-pleasant people! Connect with and awaken your heart, allowing your boundless love to dance around you and all those near. Let it be free.
Step 5: Be true to yourself and others. Fifth chakra. Practice communicating clearly, and (gasp!) really listening. Sat Nam. You are truth. I am truth. Your love is truth. My love is truth. Truth = Love.
Step 6: Awaken your insight and find balance. Sixth chakra. Practice quieting the mind and find grace in this crazy dance called life. This one takes a lot of work but leads to clarity, peace and a deep sense of self. Promise.
Step 7: Let it BE. Seventh chakra. Enlightenment. Marital bliss? Ha, I sure hope so. I haven't experienced sustained enlightenment (yet) but I know that this wondrous practice of YOGA, union and life, leads nowhere else.
The next time you feel overwhelmed, lost, or simply not quite yourself - give these steps a try. We all need some guidance when going through big periods of change in our lives. For me, at this moment, this large shift is leading up to my wedding day. Who knows what lies ahead and where I will focus these efforts afterwards? One day at a time.
What I can say for certain is that I will be starting from the ground up the morning of October 13th, and I hope to tap into your energy with me. With love and Namaste!