Avoid Getting Burned

While a sunburn may be quite painful and downright dangerous, it can be avoided with protection. Applying sunscreen takes preparation, awareness and application. A little discipline goes a long way in preventing a burn. Us Michiganders, who feel sun deprived, often overexpose ourselves. No doubt, sunshine is beneficial. Go outside! But, don’t stop doing all the things that are good for you. When summer comes around maintain balance, rather than going buck wild, AND still have fun in the sun! 

As a yoga studio owner, I see a mass exodus of members beginning each spring. I am not here telling you to retain your membership (although you should!). As a reminder, the same life challenges still happen in the summertime. We still have the same mind no matter the weather. There are still changes and challenges every day. We still have relationships and jobs. We often throw our discipline out the door to get outdoors, without thinking to protect ourselves beforehand. Are you overexposing yourself to life without applying sunscreen? 

Yoga is a ‘sunscreen’ –a method of protection from harsh elements. Practicing yoga and daily disciplines keeps me from falling apart, going nuts and overreacting. Simultaneously, energy increases with clear thinking and more focus. Even when someone’s actions burn me, I don’t get as burned as in the past. Each morning, I wake up and place my monkey mind on some true wisdom. These words, thoughts, teachings, values and knowledge lift my mind out of the gutter and prevent me from getting caught up in the web of life. With a sense of peace and objectivity holding me steady, I am less bothered when things don’t go my way. Discarding that discipline for 75 degrees and sunny, would continually burn me. If one hour helps to maintain sanity, it’s well worth it! 

Recently a friend and I spoke regarding the summer struggle to stay on track. They mentioned a pool party conflicting with a prior engagement. It is tempting to bail from a commitment and go party! I totally get it. Me too. But I don’t and won’t, because of being burned too many times. This is not a judgement, only a caution. Life is brief and our time is valuable. We have an opportunity to get to the pinnacle of our existence in THIS lifetime. Even if we fall short, we will find more and more joy moving forward. 

The other day, the weather was beautiful. It was a perfect summer day, not too hot or humid, a light breeze to refresh the skin without a cloud in the sky. Felt like a dream. On that day, I received an email note from someone severing ties with me. It was sudden, shocking and upsetting. Did I go play in the sun and drink myself to oblivion? No! That would ultimately make me feel worse. I did what I was supposed to do and taught my class at EnSoul Yoga. I shared a message about the importance of communication, especially when exiting a relationship or job.  I reminded students that we can only control ourselves and not anyone else. When wondering about someone’s actions, it can hurt. However, using objectivity, we won’t be as disturbed because it isn’t personal! Teaching the class helped me move on and the remainder of the day was still perfect. I walked to my car enjoying the fresh air and drove with all the windows and sunroof open! I hung with my dogs in the yard and called up my support troops for guidance. 

The next day was almost a carbon-copy of the day before weather-wise. As you know, this is extremely rare in Michigan. After the dust had settled, sadness lingered over the loss. However, I studied to settle my mind and took a quick jog with the horse-dog Great Dane, Onyx, to get my body moving. Later, I had an appointment scheduled during prime sun hours. But, when I walked in to the studio, devoted teachers were there lending support. Their smiles lifted my spirits. Doing my job and sticking to my commitment felt great. Why? Because what I ought to do protects me from getting burned. Later in the day, I experienced an incredibly uplifting yoga class with many other glorious souls who decided to take one hour of the perfect-weather day to go within themselves at the studio. When we go inside ourselves, we connect to a power much greater than the sun

Let’s stay disciplined this summer. Sunblock doesn’t require us to stay out of the sun or be indoors, it helps ensure we do not overexpose ourselves to the point of being in pain. You know: red, blistered, overheated and peeling... NOT FUN! When we regret actions, we get burned! That hurts. If you are aware of people, places and activities that challenge your control, avoid them. Find healthier alternatives. That is preventative protection. Being outside is way more delightful when you keep yourself in check! 


Who do we Trust for Guidance?

We trust that who we seek guidance from, be it counselor, therapist, guru, teacher, parent, friend or life coach, is professional, qualified and capable of aiding us. How do we know if our guide is really helping?

I have sought assistance from family members who are professional counselors, therapists, psychologists, and even lawyers. Additionally, I have seen a host of professionals outside of family, from my teens to well into my 30’s! I am an advocate for guidance, however with a caveat. Do you trust your guide over yourself?

Do you find that every decision has to be deliberated between you and them? Are they always on your side? Do they tell you that your parents, family, partner, friends, place of work or the world around you are the problem? Are you paralyzed between sessions? If you answered YES to any of these questions, please THINK and ask yourself, “How’s that working?”

A proper guide provides valuable, objective tools and skills to help navigate life. Primarily, therapists are trained to provide a safe space to be heard and help process past experiences in order to move forward. A life coach is supposed to do just that: coach you how to live the best life according to your nature, personality traits, and goals. Both are employed to help you help yourself. Neither are to be dependent upon. Dependence on anyone or anything external is an addiction!

Outside aid may be necessary. Talking about issues is not wrong. Being heard is not wrong. We must learn to trust ourselves. Otherwise, we are putting our life in the hands of another. This is dangerous. As an example, after my divorce, I feared getting involved with someone who was unhealthy for me. Although my counselor gave me great advice, to trust myself, she was unable to educate me on HOW. Nobody could… This was the problem!

I finally cracked the code on why I needed help. My ability to think clearly and objectively was undeveloped. Every week I was on edge awaiting the next session. I did not know how to function without that appointment. I relied upon a therapist to define my issues and tell me what to do. When we do not know the problem, it does not matter what anyone says. Do you want to be bound by your advisor? I don’t.

My weak intellect, voice of reason, allowed every emotion, whim, fancy and impulse to get the better of me. My mind was continually wavering from past to future so that I could hardly be present. I experienced anxiety, worry, fear, depression, negativity, sleeplessness, health issues, made poor decisions and became entangled in destructive relationships. Can you relate?

The introduction of Vedanta philosophy helped me discover my true construct. I learned how to develop my intellect to make the right decisions. As another case in point, If I had asked anyone about dating a man twelve years younger, the answer would have been a resounding NO! I married that man. And, that was the best decision I have ever made. I found an incredible life partner on my own! How can anyone else truly know who is right for any other person than themselves? They may have a valid opinion but their job is to aid us in our decision making. When we have strengthened our inside counsel we do not need external counseling.

The following provides a good starting point for building our inner counsel:

  • Take time to reflect and think through someone’s suggestions. If those do not line up with reason and logic, avoid that situation. If a recommendation aligns, then take up that action and apply it.

  • Any beliefs or teachings should likewise be reflected and thought upon. Have you truly evaluated your beliefs and rituals?

  • Reflect on higher time-tested and true knowledge first thing in the morning (between 5 and 6am if possible)! Let your intellect resonate on higher thoughts and values each and every day. This will help keep our mind in check.

  • Borrow an intellect. This will be extremely challenging since most people have not worked to develop theirs. However, the good news is that another person may be more objective about your life than their own! Find someone unbiased, who makes sound choices and has their life together. If it is a struggle to make a decision, run it by them. DO NOT JUST ACCEPT THEIR DECISION! Listen, reflect and decide for yourself!

If we don’t trust ourselves enough to progress in life, we need outside guidance. It takes time to develop intellect. In the interim, seek out someone who is qualified to help. However, use caution to ensure you are helping yourself!

If you want to know more, check out our EnSoul Yoga classes, Vedanta study groups and most importantly our Life and Teacher Training program.