"Once you choose hope, anything is possible." Christopher Reeve
I am a Whovian. Let's start there. If you don't know what that means - it means I have been watching Doctor Who for A VERY LONG time. But that's not what this article is about.
As I watched this past season of Doctor Who, at one point during an episode, Jodie Whitaker (the present Doctor Who) is asked what she is a doctor of. She responds with a long list but the one that stands out the most was "but most importantly, I am a Doctor of Hope." It got me thinking....what is hope, how does it work, does hope need a little help?
"Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic." Lairi Taylor
Turn on the TV, listen to the radio, read social media - I am pretty sure hope is in real trouble. You see, the media believes we only want to see the negative, that papers sell if they shout out the bad news. But is this really true?
I don't think so. I think we are all looking for hope, for that spark of life, for that reason to get up in the morning, for some reason to share of ourselves with the world. Hope needs a doctor. Hope needs help. Hope needs us.
In some books I read they refer to this phenomenon of how old beliefs die when everyone stops believing or stops supporting it or promoting it - they simply fade away. While that may be a good thing sometimes, in this case it is not. We need to promote hope. Share the good news, share the positive things, share the gratitude, be a positive light in this seemingly bleak news filled world. Good stuff, beautiful stuff, blissful stuff is happening EVERY SECOND. The most amazing precious moments are all around us and we need to share them, promote them, believe in them.
"Hope is passion for what is possible. " Soren Kierkargaard
The world will always have dark and light but there needs to be a balance. We can make that happen. By embracing the moment and being Doctors of Hope, we can be hope, give hope, share hope, bring hope - not only to ourselves but this world around us. Hope is the light that brings us through the darkness.
I challenge you to share hope whenever and wherever you can. Share stories of beauty, light and bliss. Let people see there is hope - in every day, every way, every where. Share the magic.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." George Bernard Shaw
Everything I ever learned about play I learned from my cats and my kids.
Truth here...I was horrible at playing. I lacked creativity, focused on the end result being perfect, wanted to "achieve" something all of the time. Play was something I just could not understand. I was a failure at playing.
Playing is a skill. It's the freedom to do something without an end goal. It's being light-hearted enough to simply enjoy the process. It's being open to new things, new ideas, new experiences - open not only with your mind but your heart. It's being present 100% and savoring every little thing. It's being a little bit wild and crazy and LOVING every second of it.
I used to know how to play. I think we all did once, but life has a way of suppressing the "play" in us. The weight of work, family, social, economics, and politics have scared the play away.
"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play then in a year of conversation." Plato
So what do we do to get it back? It's going to take some work. If you are like me, you think most moments you should be doing something productive - accomplishing some task. You have to let that go and IT IS HARD! You have to think of the moment as perfect in and of itself without imagining an end result. You will need to ENJOY the process. Let's take art for example. I don't like to get my hands dirty but in relearning how to play (with my kids no less - the greatest teachers of all time), I committed to using oil pastels and then actually using my fingers to spread the color around. My hands were incredibly messy and it felt AMAZING. I laughed, giggled and rubbed my entire arm with it. I didn't care what the end picture was because the beautifully tactile experience was so freeing. All at once "play" made sense.
Play makes us more creative and creativity makes us happier, more fulfilled and more focused. It also makes us more productive. Why? Because it opens up the possibilities and it gives us back that part of ourselves we thought was lost - the child within. During play we open up, we laugh, we get dirty, we feel light and carefree.
Watch a child or a cat play - they are so happy, so free, so unaware of the norms, the weights, the rules of society and what they "should" be or "should" be doing. I love the light in their eyes, the soft loose smile on their lips, and their relaxed bodies.
"At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling." Unknown
Playtime is important for all of us - not just children (although I can quote a dozen research projects showing how play develops more intelligent, proactive, creative, fullfilled and happy children too). If it does all that for kids - why not adults? When was the last time you played? Got messy? Savored the process over the result? Colored in a coloring books and went outside the lines? You didn't see that last one coming did you?
My challenge to you this month - a month focused on PLAY - is to reconnect with your inner child. I challenge you to color outside the lines, get messy, be free, let go and be wild! Jump on a trampoline, cannonball into the pool, have a water balloon fight, do some messy art and let yourself PLAY.
Come play with me on the mat!
"Self care is so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel." Eleanor Brownn
Self care has become the catch phrase of 2019 - you can see it everywhere from marketing to social media to music. It's the new "in" thing to do. But, beyond that, it's what we NEED.
We live in a world that demands we be connected 24/7, on call, available, responsive all the time. We are flooded with information that can at times be overwhelming and shocking to our system. We struggle to have a few moments to process this load of information.
This is where self care comes in.
"Self care means giving yourself permission to pause." Cecilia Tran
Pause. That's right. Self care is giving yourself a moment or 60+ to stop, breathe, process, and refocus. Self care is taking care of YOU - helping you refill your cup. But what does this include?
I grew up thinking self care meant a spa day or a lunch out with friends and it can surely still mean that, but it can be SO much more. It's reading a lovely book while sitting outside in the sun or it's giving yourself a little foot massage and putting warm fuzzy socks on to watch your favorite show. It's taking off your shoes and walking barefoot in the green grass or sipping your favorite tea slowly and mindfully. It's taking yourself out to coffee and watching the people at the park or playing in your garden.
I recently heard someone mention a self care box or kit and I admit - it sounded intriguing. What would I put in a box (shoe box, wooden box, basket) that when I felt overwhelmed and needed something to help me feel supported and cared for - would be perfect?! So, here's what I did -
I grabbed a shoe box and started walking around my house grabbing things that gave me a little pick me up. A mud mask (my favorite smelling one), lavender body butter for a hand/foot massage, dark chocolate bar, Calm meditation book, colored pencils, small coloring books, letters/notes/cards from loved ones and friends, fuzzy socks, list of pick me up positive vibe movies and books (easy to pick something), a lavender eye pillow, a journal for art/writing, and my favorite destress essential oil rollon bottle. It was amazing how fast everything piled in there and it is all in a box soon to be labeled in LARGE FRIENDLY letters - Self Love Kit.
Now, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I can just reach for that box and pull out what I need immediately! So, here's my challenge to you - find a box, label it and start putting in things that will support you in practicing more self care. You can use this box ANY TIME you need it and as often as you need it - even rotating things in the box if you like. Keep this box out in the open so you remember it is there just for you! Give your self a little love!
"Our soul is like a soft and gentle flower, it needs to be nurtured, cared for, tended to, with sufficient sunlight, fresh air and freedom to bloom into its most precious and beautiful form. This, my friend, is self-love." Miya Yamanouchi
See you on the mat!
"May peacefulness and joy be more than dreams to you, may they guide your heart and spirit in everything you do." Unknown
What are your dreams? What do you most wish for in your life, in your world, for those you love and care about? What do you dream of contributing to this world to change it for the better?
These are questions I ask myself quite often. Here's what I have come up with...
I dream of peace. I dream of living in a world at peace, filled with mutual respect, understanding, and community. I dream of humanity being at peace not only with itself but with the planet we inhabit.
No, this doesn't mean everyone gets along all the time or that we even fully understand each other and agree. This means tolerance, respect, attempts to work together and TRY to understand. It means the desire to better our relationships and our world. It means trying to see the other person's view. It means not judging people by our views - allowing ourselves to imagine that someone else might see it differently. It means not being reactive but proactive.
"Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means." Ronald Reagan
Realistically, I know where we are right now. But I believe. I believe we can and will do better. I believe there is common ground. I believe we all want the same thing. I believe in us.
Where does peace begin? With me. With you. With every small act of understanding, friendship, connection, kindness. Tiny steps/acts made by millions of people every single day add up. Peace begins inside of you, spreading outward in compassion, respect, understanding and the desire to be more, do more, and effect change.
The mantra below is one I repeat to myself daily. It's been pivotal in changing my perspective - of reminding me of what I want for everyone - of keeping me focused on what my dream is for each and every living being on earth. Say this mantra when you are angry and watch anger dissipate; say this mantra when you don't like someone or are having strained relationships with others and you will feel at peace; say this mantra to and for yourself when you feel scattered and alone and you will feel comforted.
To each of you -
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be free from harm
May you live in this world peacefully and with ease
What will you do today to bring greater peace to our world?
See you on the mat!
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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All rights reserved by Aprille Walker and The Yoga Ranger Studio 2014-2018 (copyrighted material)