Well the glorification of indulgence during the holidays in mainstream media has begun. From pumpkin spice to candy canes, gifts, holiday parties, travel, and family traditions…How will it all affect you and your personal goals? I am not suggesting your worth is dictated by the scale, but how we do one thing is often how we do most things. And this has everything to do with underlying core beliefs. Have you ever tried changing habits and patterns say January 1st to not see change fast enough and give up by January 15th? OMG, you are not alone. Did you know I was overweight most of my childhood, smoked for 15 years, and was a ‘closet drinker’ for several years after my divorce? You see the reason is not that we lack motivation. The secret no one tells us is that success with behavior comes from changing our beliefs we have about what fun means and what we are ‘capable of.’ Like my amazing and talented ‘lifer’ friend and colleague Judy Wright Morris of Mind, Muscle Spirit says is ‘The motivation it takes to get a start a new program or stop a bad habit is the easy part. It is the discipline and commitment to say ‘no’ after the initial motivation wears off that is the essential ingredient to lasting change of old patterns.’ Another reason is we fail time and time again is because we are not clear on what we truly believe we want out of life, deep down. ‘I’m an addict and will always be an addict’ is a self defeating belief in my humble opinion. That wouldn’t have helped me when I wanted to stop smoking. I needed to choose to be a non-smoker every damn day after. Too many people hand over their personal power to things outside of themselves resulting in powerlessness, unfullfillment, and shame to stay in the cycle of addiction. It is when we say ‘I believe I hold the power to change the things I aim to change’ that we actually HAVE what it takes to change and dammit change those things!
Yoga really helped me. Meditation changed my life completely. I attribute the practice of mediation (long periods of silence over 30 years) to be the main reason I healed trauma from abuse resulting in addiction and co-dependency, chronic gut issues, autoimmune disease and nervous system malfunctions until I learned to take back my own power and say ‘I matter’ and choose me first. I had to believe I was worthy of having the big goals I had for myself and deny imposter syndrome. I had to believe no one could stop me from having peace and clarity before I could claim it. Most of all, I had to believe that outer conditions could not affect my self worth the way they once did because my foundational beliefs had changed. This is the work.
‘Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.’ ~ Saint Francis de Sales
In my humble opinion based on years of experience of always striving to become a better version of myself, I have noticed that without having a really strong ‘WHY’ we do or don’t do certain things, the devil (ie; the power we give away to something outside of ourselves) always wins. You gotta really want what you say you want and be willing to keep the discipline going 90% of the time. The 10% is reserved for indulgence, pleasure, sensual satisfaction in the most healthiest of ways that is. If you come from a background where you were not loved properly or in a healthy way, experienced trauma, or plain just suffered from low self worth for no damn reason, this daily struggle can be real. I have found solace in taking control what I can, while surrendering to those I cannot. I ask for wisdom daily to know the difference.
All things in moderation, including moderation. ~Socrates
I personally think a big part of why it is all or nothing for most people is because being mindful and present is such an undervalued trait in our society. We say we are yet we are totally distracted and don’t actually carve out the time to work on being more mindful & present because we are too busy prioritizing things that are temporarily fulfilling only to leave us feeling empty 20 minutes later—Alcohol being a great example to that.
Vedic scriptures contain so much knowledge and you don’t have to be Hindi to appreciate them. In yoga philosophy there are what’s known as the yamas and niyamas; ethical guidelines laid out in the first two limbs of Patanjali's eightfold path. They're like a map written to guide one on their life's journey. Simply put, the yamas are things not to do, while the niyamas are things to do. One of the yamas is called Brahmacharya, which often times gets translated as ‘celibecy’ but it is so much more than that and I felt applicable to this discussion.
“Brahma” is a word for the creator god in Hinduism, and “charya” roughly means behavior. Taken together, brahmacharya gives us something like “behavior consistent with God.” As such, it is widely interpreted to mean ‘right use of energy.’ Brahmacharya is about paying attention to how you use your energy in everyday life. It's about providing your mind and body with what it needs – and enjoys – without going to a place of excess. Hello pie!
The majority of us identify ourselves with our physical bodies and spend most of our energy trying to satisfy or reject our bodily needs. We are driven by and become a slave to our sexual instincts, sensual pleasures, cravings, and our aversions, just exacerbating the ego. We attach not only our identity, but also our happiness, joy, contentment, success, and sense of achievement to these sensual pleasures. However, we know that these pleasures are impermanent, and leave us hungry, dissatisfied, restless, and feverish again and again. Yet this vicious cycle takes away all our attention and energy.
Another interpretation of Brahmancharya is ‘moving into infinity’ which means we live from an understanding that we are not just our bodies, but we are ‘God-consciousness’ or ‘sat-chit-ananda’, the source of infinite bliss. When we realize our vast and blissful nature, we become an unlimited source of happiness and joy.
When you start living in your true nature, moderation of all the senses happens effortlessly and naturally. The mind loses its interest and grip over the physical and sees beyond every day to the infinite. It is no longer dependent on physical satisfaction to experience joy in our heart.
We create our own small identity and live by it when we say “I am this’ or ‘I am that’. ‘Moving into infinity’ means dropping all these small identifications and instead identify ourselves with the infinite and the divine. Trust me, I am a big advocate of affirmations for the purpose of manifesting, but be careful with the thoughts you truly believe about who you are. You are NOT your thoughts, your cravings, nor what other people say, believe or how they treat you.
When we are connected with the infinite, it is such a fulfilling and complete state that we don’t crave worldly pleasures or validation from others. The term “moving into infinity” simply means harnessing and channeling your sexual and vital energy into something very big, something very creative, beyond the labels you’ve given yourself and the mundane pleasures of everyday life. You are naturally uninterested in the outward and downward pulls of sensuality that may disturb your energy equilibrium. This is why yogic practices or mediation are vital to health in the modern noisy and capital driven world.
He will always be a slave who does not know how to live upon a little. ~ Horace
So how can we Override Bad Habits and Meet our Goals during the months of Indulgence?
Here are 3 things you can begin to do today be a resilent, fun, fulfilled badass who still gets what she wants while not experiencing FOMO cuz all she has is JOMO baby.
Listen to your body.
Paying attention to what your body is asking for naturally leads you towards Moderation. What does that look like in practice? Remember that is what ‘yoga’ is supposed to be–Union with Self pratcice, not just some exercise program. Eating when you’re hungry, but not stuffing yourself. This will be important to exercise at meals where wine is being poured or second helpings of mashed potatoes are being force fed on you (no PTSD here LOL–Italian sarcasm at its finest!) Also, resting when you’re tired, but not lying in bed all day. Exercising regularly, but not overtraining. I believein the grind if you are putting in the rest– both in business and in life. Pro Tip: *Plan on walking several miles 6 out of the 7 days of the week all through November, no excuses
Sticking to limits can also help us apply Moderation in daily life. For example, work goals are often an important source of fulfillment for most people. But working excessively leads to burn out, so we need to set work/life boundaries. Similarly, some amount of social media use can be beneficial, but we need to limit our time on it and what we choose to look at more wisely, so it doesn’t become excessive and mindless or move us away from our true selves. Don’t know how to pratice discerning? Go back to #1. Using an app to connect with old friends in Moderation is one thing, scrolling through other people’s photos for hours on end is excess.
Pro tip: *Decide what and how much you will eat and drink before you walk out the door or go grocery shopping.
Look for balance.
Finding moderation can also mean striking a balance. For example, spending time alone and spending time with others can both be considered right uses of energy. But we need both.This goes for all things in my opinion. I plan on having things I don’t normally do or have during the holidays so therefore I will compensate with another effort somewhere else to keep balance in my life. If you only do one thing or the other with rigidity, instead of finding moderation, you won’t be getting everything your mind and spirit needs.
Pro Tip: *Schedule in more Self-Care time than usual throughout the Holidays or any time things are hectic.
‘Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.’ ~ Saint Augustine
I hope this spin on ‘More-vember,’ discussing how moderation & motivation can be helpful tools in helping us override bad habits & still meet our goals during the months of indulgence with a focus on: presence, awareness, and how our core beliefs may or may not be serving our WHY. This is perfect to reflect upon as we enter the season of Light. You are that. Let that Light shine! Remember who you are and do not check out..rather, check in and practice the 3 tips above. I promise, you will find that reaching your goals becomes a lot easier when you aren’t fighting the flow but rather allowing for indulgences actually…just in moderation, always choosing YOU first so your cup runneth over.
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