Often people think if they could just live here in paradise, life would be so much better and easier. Sorry to disappoint you, but once the first excitement of beach life and sunshine starts fading, your inside job begins and paradise can be really challenging.
Like you, I always dreamed of life under the palm trees when growing up in cold and grey Germany. When I finally moved, life seemed all I ever dreamed off. I could go to the beach every day and enjoy the tropical warmth and sunshine. And even the scorpions and bugs couldn’t spoil my bliss at first.
But pretty soon I was confronted with an unexpected challenge: Paradise brings out your truth and there is no running away from it. There were moments when I was not happy and I would sit on the beach and there was no distraction from the feelings inside me. I asked myself, the sky is blue, the sun is shining, the beach still pretty, but why am I not happy?
What I learned from living here for the last 16 years is that you really need a good practice to face your truth. Many people who come here don’t want to deal with it, so they escape into all kinds of drugs to forget about their pain. I was lucky to open my yoga studio and to create a community around yoga, doing what I love and meeting people that had the same interest, to do the work and deal with your shadows, to find your happiness inside.
The Yogic Path
The yogic path is based on long tradition and ultimately very rewarding. But it requires your commitment and dedicated practice, the discipline and self care to move through limiting beliefs, old thought patterns and unhealthy behaviors. As yogis we are asked to not escape our pain with painkillers, but to observe and recognise it, so we can learn from it and ultimately let it go.
Here are some tools that have helped me, may they inspire you too:
1. Check out your external environment and how it is serving you. Is your community supporting you, are your friendships serving you or do you feel uninspired and not growing? What are particular stressors for you? Make notes and lists, sometimes it’s good to write it down instead of just keeping it in your thoughts.
2. Do you have a physical practice? When I am challenged the best I can do is to be active and move my body. It helps to clear my head, makes me breathe consciously and creates space in my body and therefore my mind. It’s the best way to release any sluggish or dull energies in my body.
3. Practice self-inquiry. When you feel frustration or have repetitive thoughts, instead of pushing them away, go to their root. Where are they coming from? What is the story? Where do they manifest in the body? Often they keep coming back to teach you something about yourself that you have not resolved yet. The best way to shift them is to first acknowledge them.
4. When you feel really stuck or more subtle pain like anxiety and depression, do a yoga practice or activity that builds vitality. Resist the urge to give into your negative tendencies or to just curl up in bed. Learn to call on your friends and community for help and support.
5. Yogis see challenges as opportunities and teachers to see our limiting beliefs and resistance. Can you surrender to your feelings, can you let go of the need to control or fix everything? While we cannot control the outside world, we CAN control our response to it.
6. Cultivate daily practices and rituals to connect to your intuition and bring more awareness into your daily life. Yoga happens not only on the mat, but becomes a practice, a lifestyle that changes how we walk through life, wash our dishes and treat other people. Make a commitment to cultivate loving relationships, including to yourself! Make this a priority, so that all your thoughts and actions are aligning with each other.
Yogis say that we are finding happiness when what we think, what we feel and what we do are in harmony with each other.
If you like this article, please share with your community, thank you! More inspirational posts like this can be found also on my personal blog. Thank you for reading and sharing the journey!