"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." Oprah Winfrey The past few months have been an utterly amazing rollercoaster. I don't think I have ever experienced such high and low energy peaks in such a short space of time.
Previously, I would have seen these ups and downs as something to be scared of - constantly questioning why they were coming up and berating myself when I couldn't find a logical answer. But right now I understand fully that it is the process I must go through in order to transition to a different, magical and exciting phase in my life.
At the beginning of this year I knew there was turbulence ahead. I sensed that 2016 was going to be spectacular and hugely influential, however not necessarily the easiest. And, now that we come to August I can hardly believe just how much has happened in the past few months. But it wasn't until last week that I began to recognise any of it.
I have been in such a state of 'push' that I have forgotten to look at what I have created in my life. When we are constantly chipping away at things, chasing what is next, we become out of flow. Before we have even finished the current 'task' we are usually headfirst on to the next one without taking any time to allow our achievements to sink in and settle.
Coming back from yoga teacher training I put an immense pressure on myself to 'succeed'. I hit the ground running - dropping straight back into the routine that I had been in before with my coaching and writing - push, push, push, action, action, action - yet with the additional task of setting up my yoga teaching business as well.
Constant drive, determination, commitment... because in my previous working life that is what earned you results. Working every hour of every day. Slogging away, always looking to the next thing. Never being still.
I was completely blind to the fact I had slipped back into my old beliefs, defining success by the amount of time I was working and the amount of money I was making. And not once did I stop to look back at the past few months and celebrate what I had achieved. At every milestone I have simply looked past that 'task' and on to the next thing.
I never celebrated the fact that I became a certified Health Coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition at the end of last year. I never celebrated the fact that I had my writing published on some amazingly prestigious websites. I never celebrated the fact that I ran a fully booked retreat in the South of France.
I never celebrated the fact that I spent a month in another country and became a fully certified yoga teacher. I never celebrated the fact that I have successfully put together a timetable of yoga classes and people are coming back time and time again.
All I did was mentally tick off the 'task' in my head and move on to the next thing. No celebration. No acknowledgement.
Why is this? When I ask myself this question at first it seems like it is just a habit, a pattern I have got used to. But when I look deeper I realised that at the root of this behaviour, my reluctance to celebrate and acknowledge myself was from a fear of it never really being quite good enough and that someone else had always done something far more worthy of celebrating.
'Who am I to feel proud of this achievement?'. Celebration has to come from others... doesn't it?
Lessons from the yoga mat...
But this is where my beloved yoga comes in to teach me another vital lesson in life.
Before I went away on teacher training I decided that unless I could do a headstand, in the middle of the room, unassisted, I was not going to be able to class myself as a good yoga teacher. There was always someone who would be better than me at a pose - and they were the ones who could celebrate. Until I got to where they were - I couldn't reward myself for my achievements.
But at the end of the four weeks I still couldn't do an unassisted headstand in the middle of the room. I still can't do one now. My mindset has shifted though, I celebrate each little marker in my progress. One toe off the ground, one foot off the ground, one leg in the air, the ability to do a headstand with the support of the wall. Each small win in my quest to do a headstand is totally worthy of noting.
This realisation didn't come from anyone else - it came from me. And when I compare my physical yoga practice with my mindset about life and business - I realise I can learn so much from it.
Just like in my headstand practice, I am learning to stop and celebrate each and every step I take. Each additional person that comes to one of my classes, every new connection I make online, every single person I inspire with my words or actions.
It is easy to brush past all of our achievements. We don't want to be seen as conceited and arrogant, but every single day of our lives is something that should be celebrated. Every large or small achievement - from getting up in the morning after a night of poor sleep and managing to summon up the energy to get dressed and brush our teeth - to getting a huge promotion at work or creating your dream business.
No matter what other people are doing - you are the only one living your life and your 'wins' are so incredibly enough.
It doesn't always have to be about champagne and parties. Start by simply acknowledging something you have achieved today and rewarding it with a soft and gentle smile.
Sit tall, feel the warmth and glow within and be proud.