Habit Energy that Feeds the Soul (NOT the Demons)

by Milissa on August 14, 2011

in Breath,Intention,Yoga

If you’re like me, sometimes you feel like you’ve got a little angel on one shoulder—and a tiny devil on the other. I guess that image is something I picked up from watching all those Hannah-Barbera cartoons on TV when I was a kid. I can still picture Fred Flintstone turning from left to right, getting advice from both parties. But, no joke, it often feels just like that when I’m trying to create life-giving habits.

The angel says, “Let’s get up and do some yoga. It will feel so good!” And the devil says, “Are you kidding? What could feel better than this soft, warm bed right now? Stay put until you HAVE to get up.”

I’ve put a moratorium on doing things because I “should,” which makes these angel/devil moments all the more of a conundrum. If the “good part” (the angel) says it’s better to do something, isn’t that a “should?” Maybe that little devil in me just really knows how to Live! Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that in my book.

Here’s how I work it out. Before the angel/devil conversations come up I decide what quality of energy I want in my life! Aha!

The magical, mystical world of yoga has given me a practical gem in good old sankalpa—intention setting. Hallelujah (Jai or whatever you say to give a shoutout to the Divine)! I practice this in all areas of my life now and what a difference it makes. Once I’ve chosen an intention, I can hold any decision up to it before acting, “Hmm, does this contribute to the unfolding of the sankalpa I’ve chosen?” Or not.

Simple, right? Well, sometimes it is. But not always.

If my sankalpa (for the week, month, year, whatever period of time I’ve set it for) is Peace, will getting up to practice yoga or staying in bed serve it best? What if the intention is Letting go? You can see it’s not entirely black and white, which makes it not a simple yes or no. If I’m exhausted, I may need extra rest, and staying in bed could make me a more peaceful citizen that day. Likewise, letting go could happen on the yoga mat OR if I settle in for a few more zzzzzzzs. But I’d rather not have a full blown argument—like those I remember from the Flintstones—between a cartoon angel and devil to start my day.

So, here’s what I do: I take a few breaths with each option, and feel my intention as an ENERGY that I have consciously chosen and that is already growing in me. Because, for me, that is really what it’s about—amplifying an energy that’s already there, like a tiny acorn that contains the oak. Of course, it will need fertile soil, water, sunlight—all forms of prana—to grow. Does Decision A (e.g., staying in bed longer) provide the conditions needed for the seed of my intention to grow? Or is it Decision B (getting my booty onto the yoga mat) that is needed right now to help the acorn to take root?

At that point, the angel and devil go up in  cartoon poofs, and I know what I want to do. I FEEL the energy that is at the same vibration as what I really want in my life. Notice: I didn’t say “should.” It’s really, Yay! I’m so happy to do this. Because it’s really what I want in my life.

And, the more  I make decisions that serve my highest intentions, the easier it gets to practice habits that FEED my soul, instead of serving my life up on a platter to those demons that say, You can’t, you won’t, why bother? Those guys (not the little cartoon devils) are the ones to watch out for. Nothing keeps them tamed like creating those habits that bring creative energy into my life. Whether the regular practice is mantra recitation, affirmations, yoga practice, mindful walking, a bike ride at sunset, sitting under a favorite tree—or a combination of these—it doesn’t matter. It’s all adding prana to the intentions that lead to a soul-filled, inspired life.

I’d love to hear how your angels and devils duke it out, or any questions or ahas you have after reading this post. Please leave a comment below.

For help with leading your own soulful, intentional life click here for Tree of Life Yoga classes. Or contact Milissa for private yoga coaching.

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