Hi friends, welcome to January! Except for the New Year’s class I taught Wednesday, I confess the first day of this new decade was a bit off for me. There’s something about the beginning of the year, the blend of expectations for what’s ahead and nostalgia for what’s behind us, that makes me a little more sensitive. So when Dave woke up and didn’t say good morning to me, I got it in my head that something was wrong. I thought our conversation would be about what was making him act like such a grinch, until he turned the tables on me and said: “do you know how many times you’ve said you hated your life in the past few weeks?”
Ummm, no, I did not.
Let me be clear: I absolutely do not hate my life. AT ALL. However, with holiday travel, no daycare for Lucas, and our decision to start potty training this past week, I can totally see myself having uttered that statement multiple times. And even though I had a right to feel frustrated and it probably felt good to dramatically exclaim “I hate my life,” I’ll give Dave this: the way in which we choose to express our thoughts, ideas, and emotions can have a big impact on our relationship to others, our relationship to the present moment, and our relationship to ourselves.
That whole “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” thing is total BS. Words are powerful. Words are energetically charged. Words can both heal the soul and break the heart. In fact, words can deeply influence how we show up to and experience life. Saying “I have to do X” feels completely different than saying “I get to do X.” Similarly, telling Lucas he did something bad is a lot different (and less likely to land him in therapy) than telling him he IS bad. We can respectfully challenge someone’s opinion and both grow from the conversation, or we can choose words that create more tension and division. We can offer feedback that’s empowering, or we can use language that reinforces someone’s insecurities. Especially now that we can paste our opinions all over social media without even having to face those on the receiving end, we need to be mindful about the words we use.
“Words are free. It’s how you use them that may cost you.”
Speaking of words, one of my favorite books is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (I like it so much it is on our required reading list for Yoga Teacher Training.) The first agreement he asks us to make with ourselves is “be impeccable with your word,” and its what I’m choosing to focus on this month. Why? Because being impeccable with your word isn’t just about language, it’s also about integrity: we gotta do what we say we’re going to do. Before we can commit to resolutions for the new year, we need to make sure our words carry the weight, accountability, and value that will actually help us achieve those goals.
Yogaleena is turning 4 on January 16 (whoa!) This space, this business, this community is everything I dreamed of, and it all started because I kept my word. Long before the studio took form, I promised myself I would one day give myself the freedom to create something meaningful and the opportunity to be my own boss. Leaving my career and my paycheck was not an easy decision, but as I write this to you today, I sure am glad I chose to follow through.
This month I invite you to reflect on the way you use your words to shape your inner and outer worlds. Making a difference in the lives of others starts with saying words that support growth, promote kindness, and inspire change. And making a difference in your own life starts with learning to keep your word.