The Art of the Daily Mantra

It is no doubt we all have questioned our existence and purpose at some points in our lives. We wake up to the sound of the alarm clock, groggy, still half-asleep, and drag our bodies out of bed for another day of grind. Or, what we think is grind. Just like that, the tone and mood of our day have been set by our self-pity within 30 seconds of awakening.

What if we can turn this around?

For me, I wake up from deep in my dreams at the sound of my alarm clock at 5:20am or 5:50am, the sky still dark outside. I begrudgingly pull myself out of bed while pitying myself for not being able to get another hour or two of sleep. These are the times when I had thought--on more occasions than I can count on my two hands and feet--of quitting this absurd yoga teaching career for a full-time job so that I could get another few hours of sleep like most people do, and that I could receive a good salary with benefits. These are the times that I feel like giving up. 

Then I reach for my Five-Minute Journal, as per ritual, and my mind starts to do weird things.

List 3 things I am grateful for.

List 3 things that would make today a great day.

Speak my daily affirmations.

No doubt it is hard for anyone at 5:30am to think of things they can be grateful for, let alone rack their brains to think at all. But the gratitude muscle is something that, like any muscle, can get stronger with use. 

I am grateful for all my students and clients, and the support they show me.

I am grateful to be healthy.

I am grateful that I am following my dream career. 

The magic starts to happen. My brain actually starts to stir, a wisp of smile begins to take shape at the furthest corners of my mouth. 

Today would be a great day if I take the time to read...

...if I meditate for 5 minutes...

...if I take a walk and enjoy the sunshine. 

I retract back what I had thought just two minutes ago about letting go of my pursuit, because what I do a living actually allows me plentiful of time to read, to meditate, and to take a walk. 

Now, what do I want to be today? 

I am full and abundant.

I am full and abundant.

I am full and abundant.

From someone who's been called out (and also recognized in herself) to always think from a place of lack and insecurity, this is my mantra. This is what I wake up to and tell myself every morning before I speak to another human being. This is what keeps me going everyday, taking just half more baby step towards that dream. This is what keeps me from judging myself too harshly, from comparing myself to others, from hating myself because I am not this successful teacher nor that one. This is what allows me to see the tremendous importance of the work I am offering to the community and to the world. This is what refocuses my lens to see that I am indeed excellent and superb in my unique way. This is what makes me, me. 

I am full and abundant.

As Karen Mozes said, "Instead of to-do lists, what is your to-be list?"

What do you want to be today?