Adding Value is a collection of posts where I recommend books, movies, podcasts, or anything that has been adding value to my life lately, and hopefully will add value to yours too.
I first heard of Rob Bell from The Minimalists (whose documentary is featured in a previous Adding Value post). While at a local bookstore in Minneapolis this June, I saw a copy of his book How to Be Here. I recognized the title, as it had been given high accolades from The Minimalists. Rob Bell happened to have been at that bookstore recently while on a book tour, so the copy was signed.
When self-doubt, anxiety, stress, and confusion creep into our brains, it is easy to sit in sadness. Rather, we should sit in gratitude. To be grateful for what we have in this moment and what we can do in the next.
I’ve recently learned that it is easy to play the “my struggle is greater than your struggle” game. It’s easy to think that someone doesn’t deserve to feel sad because they are more fortunate in other areas of their lives; whether it’s money, education, family support, etc. But everyone has hard days. Everyone. Just because someone is fortunate doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to feel negative emotions.
The last week was tough for me, and there were times that I felt I did not deserve to feel sad. I am acutely aware that I have been incredibly fortunate in my life; I have had no “great” struggle. In those moments, I felt that I was not allowed to have negative emotions.
But, I realized that I am allowed. Everyone is allowed.
However, it is what we do with our negative emotions that can shape us. We should first recognize our emotions (burying them helps no one), then instinctively turn to gratitude. We can be grateful for even the smallest of things. I am grateful for the two strong legs I stand on, the breeze and the fresh air outside, and a bed to sleep in at night. I am grateful for just being here.
After gratitude, what are our next steps? What constructive action can we take to alleviate our negative emotions? Sitting in sadness will not enact change. We must first recognize how we are feeling, find gratitude, and then move.
Our natural state is peace. Gratitude helps us get there.
Now here’s where I try to get deep and pull a life lesson out of yoga.
Nothing beats a good savasana. If you aren’t a yogi and have no idea what savasana is, it’s when you lay in corpse pose at the end of a yoga class for a few minutes. Corpse pose is exactly what it sounds like: laying flat on your back with all your muscles completely relaxed.
Savasana is like meditation. You try to clear all thoughts from your mind and breathe naturally (no controlled breathing sequences, like some meditation suggests). However, whether or not you are able to really meditate during savasana depends on the teacher in my opinion.
This may sound a little corny, but some of the happiest moments of my life have been laying in savasana. For me, if the song is just right, something very blissful and peaceful just clicks. Here are my two favorite songs that I have experienced during savasana: