Heyyyyy sexy summer reader! What’s up? As a teacher, summer is my jam. Responsibilities go down, and free time goes up. Sometimes I do great things with my time, like relax and exercise and hang out with friends. Other times, I do unpleasant things like worry.
Do you worry too? That’s ok. Worries are just thoughts in our heads. Just sentences floating around. Just stories we make up that are usually untrue.
Every day, I meditate for 15-20 minutes. I try to let the sentences float away. I try to quiet the stories. I try to calm and clear my mind.
Then, something wonderful happens (not always! some days are chatter chatter chatter!!!): A beautiful word or sentence pops into my head.
In this post, I’m going to share a few of those beautiful sentences, and a few that I found from amazing teachers that I admire. They are my go-to mantras. Mantras are repeated words or phrases that help you reach a meditative state.
Mantras help you chill out.
Mantras ease your mind.
Mantras are incredible tools for feeling calm.
Here are 5 of my all-time favorites:
- It’s OK. You’re OK.
One of my brightest students from last semester said, “You know, it sounds silly, but I think the best thing I learned in your class was to tell myself it’s ok. Whenever I start to feel stressed, I just say, ‘It’s OK. It’s all OK. I’m OK.’ I want to thank you for that.”
Lots of students tell me this. I love teaching it. Because you know what? All your thoughts and feelings are OK. All of them. You are OK. It’s OK. Ahhh.
- I can get 20% more relaxed.
In a previous blog post, I wrote about how I was in corpse pose in yoga and my teacher Scott asked if we could get 20% more relaxed, and I could. Even lying there with nothing to do, I could get 20% more chill. You can always chill out more. You can always unclench something. You can always soften a muscle. Get 20% more relaxed. Try it right now. You can get 20% more relaxed as you read this, right? Knew it. Ahhh.
- Be like water flowing.
In Martha Beck’s book The Joy Diet, she tells a story of how her karate teacher told her, “If size and strength are against you, the only way to win is to be like water flowing.” Water can go over, around, through, under, and find a way. It is the ultimate in strength and flexibility.
Recently, I was waiting in line in security at the Orlando airport. There were so many people, they were all in a rush, and many of them were scowling and clenching. I repeated to myself, “Be like water flowing,” and soon I was breathing more deeply and noticing interesting things around me and flowing right through the line. Ahhh.
- Ride the wave.
Little worries are one thing, and yet most people who are not medicated also have big swings of emotions. I’m going to refer you back to #1 and tell you that’s all OK. All of it. It’s all OK. When that happens, you can try to get 20% more relaxed and be like water flowing.
When I was a kid growing up on beaches in New Jersey, I took early morning water safety classes. We learned not to fight water. We discovered that big surf will exhaust you. Instead, you can ride out waves and currents. You allow them. You go with them. You accept them as part of tide cycles that go in and out. You know they don’t last forever (ahem… PMS). Be like water flowing. Ride the wave. Ahhh.
- You’re just like me.
Finally, you may want to tell me that people drive you crazy. Actually, it’s your reaction to them that causes you worry. Mark Coleman, author of Make Peace With Your Mind, suggests a popular empathy practice called the “Just Like Me” practice. In an interview with Psychology Today, he says, “If someone is acting out negatively, I can say, “Just like me, I can also go unconscious, I have my biases. Just like me, I get reactive.” So we’re not neutralizing or equalizing or saying we’re the same, but we’re not as different as we think we are.”
This works for me all the time. I often say, “I’m like that too. I have done that. I have been that person. I have acted out like that too. That’s just like me.” No one is a terrible person. People are all just like me.
This works both ways. When you see some sexy summery person, and you think, “Ooh, they look great,” you can add… Just Like Me. Just. Like. Me. Ahhh.
Ahhh! Are you feeling better? Better and better and better?
Gorgeous, smart, ambitious, sunkissed, sometimes anxious reader: It’s OK. It’s all OK. You are OK. Your feelings and thoughts will come and go. You can get 20% more relaxed about it all. You can be like water flowing. When a wave comes, you can ride it out. It’s OK. Waves are natural. They don’t last forever.
Hey boo, I hope you have the happiest of summers. If you can, meditate for 15-20 minutes a day. See what awesomeness comes into your clear mind.
Then, make your own mantra. It will be the best.
Just like you.