7 Mini Mantras You Can Share With Your Kids

As a new mother, I am getting in the habit of making sure my daughter gets empowering messages on a daily basis. Rather than only hearing she’s adorable (which, granted, she is), I want her to hear about the volume of her power, depth of her compassion, and the scope of her abilities. I recently wrote an article for Inner Fire on this topic: 7 Mini Mantras You Can Share With Your Kids. Although it’s presented as suggestions for others, I wrote it as a commitment to myself; these are the yogic messages I want my daughter to grow up on.

Some of these messages I emulate naturally: from the day she was born my daughter has struck me with her sense of determination and purposefulness. To convey other messages, though, I have to overcome my own quirks and reservations. One of the hardest messages for me to commit to when the baby topples over or gets scared is:

5. “It’s okay to have feelings”: Accepting loss and change is not easy. It is normal to feel grief, sadness, frustration, and anger. Resisting these feelings or pretending they’re not there only creates more suffering. Being okay with unpleasant feelings (santosa) and expressing them in healthy ways won’t make them go away immediately, but it will allow you to move through them with grace.

When she falls or gets startled, my automatic reaction is to swoop in to hug her, kiss her, cuddle her, distract her from what happened, and prevent her from crying. I like to think that my daughter is getting 24/7 on-call private yoga instruction from me, but this is the exact opposite of how I encourage my yoga students to face challenges. When I’m being more mindful with my daughter, I put a hand on her to let her know I’m there, and say, “How was that, little one?” Often, once she gets past the shock, she goes back to what she was doing as if nothing happened. Sometimes she cries, and then I hold her close if she reaches for me and reassure her, “It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to process what happened.” I think she picks up on it. I notice that from the safety and security of my arms, she immediately looks back to the location of the fall or to the stranger who surprised her and moves through the negative emotion so she can go back to exploring confidently.

Read the rest of the article over at Inner Fire>> 

Your Joy is Your Sorrow Unmasked – Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

The first time I read this passage from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran I was seventeen. It was it was translated into French as part of a high school exam and I was prompted to write my thoughts on the passage. Here’s what I wrote (translated from French):

The text says “your joy is your sadness unmasked,” meaning the two are fundamentally the same sentiment. They come from the same place in the heart. We feel joy when we react positively to this base emotion, and sadness when we react negatively.

The more sadness we have suffered, the more joy we are capable of feeling. We must experience the bad to be able to appreciate the good. This works the other way as well: the more joy that we have felt, the more sadness we can suffer; especially if we suddenly lose the cause of our joy. In this case, the fact that we have known joy causes our sadness.

Things, people, or events that make us sad are often things, people or events that make us joyful. If we love someone and they hurt us, it causes much more sadness than if someone that we don’t care about hurts us. If we do something that brings us joy with someone, and then this person leaves or dies, the same activity makes us think of this person’s departure, and consequently makes us sad.

Sadness and joy come together; they are in equilibrium. But, that’s only true to a point, because we must be capable of raising their levels, we must have either joy or sorrow become stronger than the other for a period of time. These boosts are caused by significant events in life. When we open our hearts so we can feel more joy, we also open up to sadness. We cannot avoid it. If we want to feel joy at the most intense level, we must suffer the equal and opposite emotion.

The only way to not feel sadness it to feel nothing, and that it not worth it. If we were capable of eliminating sadness, there would be no joy and we would have equilibrium: nothing and nothing are easy to balance.

Ever feel like you knew more as a teen than people gave you credit for?