I have recently been fascinated by what inspires lasting positive change in a person’s life. As a psychologist, people always came to me wanting to change some behavior or aspect of themselves. Yet it was generally difficult for most people to make lasting changes even though they had the skills and the desire to do so. In therapy, we discussed the behavior or character trait as a problem that needed to be fixed. It usually was a secret or something the person was not comfortable sharing with others. All of this, in essence, was empowering the negative behavior because we were focusing on what was not working. In yoga, we learn that what we focus on, is what we give energy to. I find it fascinating that by focusing on what we do not want, we continue to get what we do not want. Those that focus on the positive aspects of a behavior change generally continue with that behavior change. For example, if you want to stop working so hard, notice and focus on when you are relaxing and just being as opposed to getting upset with yourself when you are working too hard. If you want to change an aspect of yourself, focus on what is working in that area as opposed to what is not working. Our thoughts create our reality and the more you focus on what is working, the more of that you will bring into your life.
The second aspect of lasting positive change involves community. Since embarking on my yoga journey, I have come to realize the power of community. Community allows for a sense of belonging. Once I started to have honest and authentic conversations with people, I realized that everyone feels the same and has the same fears in one way or another. This sense of connectedness was huge for me. I have come to believe that connecting with community (be it another person or a yoga studio) helps bring us out of isolation and separation and back to reality and possibility. Community also helps bring us back to where we want to be if we start to wander back to earlier ways of being. This is very true for me. When I find that I am going into a victim place or a feeling sorry for myself, I reconnect with community by reaching out to my yogi friends who will remind me ways to let go of the illusion and come back to reality. Community is the lifeline and support network that allows us to stay connected and committed.
So if you are about to embark on a New Years Resolution as hundreds of thousands of people will do… remember the power of focus and community!!! Happy Holidays!!