For the past several weeks my Pinterest has become more and more of a solace to me. A place to ignore the dropping temperatures outside and focus on cultivating a very warm feeling inside. I’m filling my thoughts with woven totes, linen dresses, airy morning light, and menus planned around soon-to-be-in-season vegetables. Thoughts of long walks at sunset, cool blue-grey mornings, and coffee sipped on a balcony. Thoughts of peace, calm, and allowing current frustrations to give way to relaxation.
Personally, this self-manifested warmth has done more than help shake the winter blues, it’s giving me a clearer focus point. A vision, a goal to concentrate on as I look forward months ahead. A handful of months ago, I found myself continually, and thanklessly, helping others in an unsustainable way. In truth, it has been a huge growth experience for my patience and capacity for generosity. Introspectively, it’s raised the question of whether it’s my ego taking over or if certain things are something that I could be validly upset over.
My teacher often reminds me of jalandhara bandha, the web that rests over our hearts. In her words, “This is why we do our best to cultivate loving thoughts. They flow from your head down to your heart, getting caught in the web.” Over the past few weeks, I’ve used this mindset on a daily basis to attempt to set my ego aside and cultivate loving thoughts. I definitely don’t enjoy having negative or upsetting thoughts. They tend to burrow themselves deep in my anxiety, affecting my sleeping, my eating, and the way I move through the world. It’s a difficult line to walk between being true to yourself, speaking about the ways you were hurt, or staying silent to preserve an apparent peace. So which is the right path?
I don’t have the answer, but what I’ve found throughout my entire life is that cultivating loving thoughts does not harm. One of my biggest pieces of relationship advice (romantic or otherwise) is simply this: be generous with forgiveness. There’s nothing that can persist when love, generosity, and forgiveness work together. I’ve added in the glowy imagery of a fast-approaching spring and granted myself a little distance from what was causing me stress.
A step backward, and yet a leap forwards.