November 20, 2014

Peace vs. Chaos: Which Do You Choose?

For the past four or five weeks, I've been taking a yoga class at my gym. Ew, I just threw up in my mouth a little at that me I'm not a health nut or very fit so please don't feel put off. There was a time when I'd have quickly closed the browser window instead of reading much of anything relating to health & all just seemed so intimidating and unattainable to me.

In fact, I've been on health & fitness roller coaster the last several years. First I adopted a vegan diet and lost a significant amount of weight. Then I switched to being vegetarian and slowly stopped making as many healthy choices and gained some of the weight back. Now I just want to feel healthier and not worry so much about what the scale says.

So, a few months ago (thanks to the encouragement of my beau), I joined a gym and started working with a trainer. And in addition to the training and use of the facility, my gym also offers lots of different classes, including yoga, which I've been attending.

The yoga class meets for about an hour and honestly, it's become one of my very favorite hours of the entire week.

In the past I would have been one of those people who thought yoga was weird and a waste of time so I'm kind of proud of myself for embracing it. Each class includes some stretching and poses, nothing too hard since the participants are mainly beginners.

My very favorite part of the class (no joke) comes toward the end when we're winding down and usually lying on our backs with eyes closed. The teacher says "Now, give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing." I wait all week for this moment and when it finally arrives, I relish it.

If you have an abundance of free time on your hands, you might not appreciate this the same way I do. But for me, it's one small opportunity to do nothing. And these days, those don't come around very much. We're so ultra-connected all the time. Even when we're supposedly doing nothing, we're always doing something...checking email on our phone, texting, making grocery lists in our heads, or whatever.

Do you ever give yourself permission to do nothing?

I mentioned to my yoga teacher how much I enjoyed this part of class and she made a comment that really stuck with me. She said: Pretty much everything we do in life is either moving us toward peace or toward chaos.

My hour of yoga definitely moves my week in a more peaceful direction. But I'm sure there are plenty of other things I do that move me toward chaos.

Saying yes to things I should politely decline. Beginning a conversation with the intent of showing someone why I'm right and they're wrong. Spending time with certain people. I'm guilty of moving toward chaos for sure.

But I like looking at it as a spectrum we are constantly moving back and forth on, never completely one or the other. Life's never 100 percent peaceful or 100 percent chaotic...instead it's always a big old mix of everything in between. But when I look at each moment as an opportunity to move a little closer to peace, that encourages me.

What are some other ways you can choose to move toward peace in your life? I dare you to try one of them today. Even if it's hard. You won't regret it.