Gratitude, Love letters & Changing the World

The power of love and gratitude can change the world. Do you agree? From my experience and knowledge I know that love and gratitude can have a profound effect on my life. However I am also aware that it can be difficult to feel a sense of love or gratitude when I am going through difficult times.

Over the course of the last year life has changed for us all. I have had to shift my business from being in person to online which has bought about many challenges but has given me the opportunity to take my business in a new and exciting direction. At the same time I am awaiting the birth of my second child which is such a blessing but also comes with anxiety and worry for the changes I have experienced within myself and the further changes that await me.

As I look at these two scenarios they both come with challenges as well as joy and excitement. I can make a choice about how I want to perceive the situation. So I choose to consciously make the decision of love and gratitude. I am aware I need to consciously do this in my mind in order to allow myself to really feel a deep sense of love and gratitude.

Another great way to develop love and gratitude is to write about it…

As you are all aware I love to practice yoga and I love to spend time with people who share the same passion for the practice. Last week on the podcast I had a conversation with my student Sonal Dack about yoga. You can find the podcast here. We decided to put this podcast together as Sonal had sent me a letter, a love letter which she had written to yoga. You can find the letter below which is such a sweet way to express her love and gratitude for the practice of yoga.

I think writing is a great way to consciously move into a more positive state. A few years ago I also heard about this great concept of sharing love letters to anonymous people. For example leaving a note on the restaurant table to let the waitress/waiter know that you loved the service they gave. Imagine being the waiter/waitress and picking up the note! You can learn more about the concept here and for further ways to spread love check out this website who have an upcoming 12 days of love letters campaign.

Finally I want to challenge you to write your own love letter. You can write a letter to yoga or to any other part of your life that you wish to express love or you can stick to the traditional love letter concept and write a letter to the person you love. If you are happy to then share the letter I would love to read it and I will share the letters on my blog.

Let’s spread a little bit of love into the world.

My love letter to Yoga

by Sonal Dack

Dear Yoga,

We’ve had a pretty stop-start relationship over almost half my life, but finally, I get you and I know we’ll be together forever. How did it take this long? To understand that I need to tell you about the different times I tried to make space for you and didn’t quite manage it.

It all started in a freezing cold hall in Bradford. I remember that first class back in the ‘90s (I know!) like it was yesterday. There’s my 77-year old instructor nimbly showing us how to get into a triangle pose and then coming over to adjust my hips. It was hard, and I was sweaty and out of breath. But it was a revelation to me, and right there, I thought that this was the start of something.

How wrong I was, at least then. Months later I moved cities and got caught up in the whirlwind of my new life. I cast you aside without a single thought. My loss.

Fast forward to my 30s I’m getting married and like many brides-to-be, I embark on a mission to drop a few pounds and hit the gym. Alongside all the hardcore spin and body attack classes, I spy you in the guise of a Friday lunchtime class. Thinking this could be a perfect complement to the dull and monotonous treadmill sessions, I sign up. Suddenly inspired by the memory of our experience together 5 years before. The reality? If my first experience was exhilarating, this one was the opposite. Faced with at least 30 bodies merrily twisting themselves into seemingly impossible shapes and positions, I shrink away and wrongly assume I can’t keep up with you, now that you’ve taken on this rather fashionable and fast-paced, almost-competitive form. I retreat back to the safety of a cross-trainer feeling a little foolish that I ever thought you were for me.

Another 5 or so years pass and this time, I’m the fittest version of myself that I’ve ever been! I’ve run a half-marathon and feel like I’m finally ready to show you what I’m made of. So I join a friend at a local class with a borrowed mat – eager to see you again. This time, I don’t feel out of place but I lose my place in the flow, I can’t sweep my legs from downward dog into a lunge and I feel a little lost. I do start to wonder if we’re just not meant to be!

Something shifts this time. I realise that I’ve only been seeing one side of you all this time. So I find some videos online, buy a cheapish mat and start to practise at home where I don’t have to worry about anyone else. It’s just you and me. I choose sequences designed to help improve my strength as a runner. They’re only short but they don’t just improve my running, they give me a few minutes every day to connect with myself, to slow down and see life and myself in a different way. Just as me. There’s no lightbulb moment when everything clicked, I just realise one day that I’m unrolling my mat without any worries, I know only good things will happen when I get on it.

The final part of my declaration of love comes from the last few months where because of lockdown, I’ve chosen to take private classes online with Jaina who has helped me to connect with you in even more ways, from the breaths that I take, to how I sit at my makeshift home office desk (I know I’m not alone here!). She’s shown me how you’re always here for me when I need you. As a result, I’ve started to understand how you can test me and be therapeutic at the same time. She’s also taught me that it’s OK not to take the same path that others might take with you. These lessons have been the final piece of the puzzle that have allowed me to finally make that place in my life for you that I suspect I always wanted but couldn’t quite manage to create. It’s also made me realise that my life will now be better because of you. Yes, it sounds a little corny but hear me out. It’s not because you’re some kind of miracle cure or secret weapon, but you just make me feel… good. And they always say that when you find something or someone that makes you feel unconditionally good then you shouldn’t let them go. And I promise you I won’t!

Written and sent with love…

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