I joke that I like gloomy and cloudy days because they are thought provoking days. It’s funny because it’s true. As the days in Shanghai are becoming increasingly more cloudy and cold, I find myself making more time to create through art, writing, photography and my yoga practice. One of the main reasons I love yoga and meditation so much is that it has helped me learn to not think and find clarity in my thoughts that like anyone can look like a Picasso painting exploded.
Lately I have been reflecting, reading and listening a lot about the power of our thoughts. On my morning walks and throughout the day I listen to podcasts interviewing scientists, public speakers and yes, Oprah. When I have random songs on, I have been paying attention more closely to the lyrics and the messages they are trying to convey. In conversations with friends, family, colleagues, my students and random strangers throughout the day, I try to choose my words wisely knowing what a deep impact they can have. Especially with my students who are learning English. Marisa Peer is a therapist, public speaker and author who talks the power of thinking and introduces her new campaign titled “I Am Enough.” She is quite the phenomenal human being and work with Olympians, royalty, CEO’s, companies and clients to help redefine themselves through thought. She has a great interview on the podcast “The School of Greatness” with Lewis Howes that I highly recommend!
“Our thoughts can make us sick and in turn can heal us.”
My experiences with mental health has profoundly changed my life. There is still such an immense stigma to mental health which while I understand, is still wild. Our mind is a powerful muscle that we should all be taking care of, just like we care for our physical bodies through exercise. We too often deeply judge ourselves for what we have done, should have done and have expectations of ourselves that can often be crippling. The saddest part is that too often we keep these doubts to ourselves instead of sharing them with the people who care about us and can help us re-frame what we think we believe to be true. Family, friends and mental health professionals including therapists are there for us all and there is no shame or weakness in needing help. It makes us stronger.
We all have the power to shape the way we think and the world we create for ourselves. Words matter and are powerful beyond perhaps measure. I love the finite differences between words and synonyms; meanings that are close yet so vastly different and deeply contextual. In the spirit of the holidays, I think about giving and receiving and how beautiful receiving is. Receiving is very different than taking. When someone is trying to take something for you, the feeling is horrible and you want to protect yourself and go into defense mode. While of course people take physical objects or possessions, people are often taking time, money, your energy and most often your happiness.
In no way, shape or form do I think I will ever have anything ever figured out. For now, I am just trying to take it as it comes and make the best decisions in the moment using what I know (or think I know).
As many wise people have reminded me, it turns out that none of us have it all figured it out! And isn’t that a beautiful thing.