By Jill Leslie
Owner and Founder
You have heard the adage, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Well, the reverse is also true: You will see it when you believe it.
If that sounds like an unrealistic fantasy, consider this. Researchers tell us that we have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day—and 90 percent of them were the same thoughts we had yesterday. Why? Because our brains love repetition.
The down side is that this process carves deep pathways in our brains, which ensure that we recreate our future from our past. The reason, psychologists tell us, is that each thought is attached to an emotion. And each emotion spurs us to action. The actions we take create our destiny.
Are you living your life through the rearview mirror?
I don’t know about you, but when I consider this psychological reality, I am dumbfounded. How can we all be so careless with the most potent tool on this planet—our conscious mind? Why do we wake up every day, pour our time and energy into creating a fabulous life, only to realize we are on a proverbial treadmill?
I take comfort in knowing that this concept isn’t an easily dismissed New Age philosophy. Thousands of years ago the sages of India had the same realization and illustrated it in these ancient Vedic philosophical texts, the Upanishads,, which are considered to be an early source of Hindu religion:
“You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
Whatever You Focus Your Thoughts on Expands
How can you cultivate a powerful and positive attitude to life?
A positive attitude is essential to our happiness, health, and well-being. Focusing our thoughts on what we truly desire can turn failure into success and take success and drive it to a new level.
The Sanskrit word sankalpa means “will, purpose, or determination.” To make a sankalpa is to set an intention. Setting an intention is like making a New Year’s resolution—with a twist.
While a resolution often zeros in on what we don’t want, a sankalpa explores what’s behind the thought or feeling.
For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, but one day you get stressed or lonely and crave chocolate, you can set an intention to become conscious of this craving. Here’s how.
How to Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
1. Write it down, make it happen. Write down a present tense, positive, short sentence or phrase for your sankalpa. Be careful not to set limitations based on fear. For example, instead of, “May I no longer experience sadness and depression,” word your intention in such a way that your sankalpa expresses what you want, such as “May I be joyful, peaceful, and free.”
2. Overcome obstacles. Make a list of the obstacles you have faced in reaching your goal. For example, you may have limits on your time, energy, or financial freedom. Often, our obstacles are based on the beliefs we hold. These turn into habits, patterns, and too often keep us from attaining the things we want most. By listing these frustrations on paper, you will see them more clearly.
3. Create an action plan. Your action plan is how you are going to overcome these obstacles so that you can let go of your excuses. If time is an obstacle, try waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual. If you need support, find a friend to walk with and develop a buddy system. If you are feeling fatigued, take a walk every day. It will actually increase your energy, and it can help you get into shape—mentally and physically.
4. Commit. Start off by choosing three things that you know you can commit to. Now commit to them. Review your goals, your action plan, rewrite your commitment, and tape it on your bathroom mirror. Read it every morning and every night. It takes at least 21 days to make or break a habit. Though change may not be easy, the steps are really quite simple. Stick with it.
5. Let it go! Let it grow. Like real seeds, once planted they need space and time to grow. Remember that ultimately life is a great mystery, since both free will and destiny are at play. Take action while staying open to the opportunities, synchronicities, and possibilities that await you.
About Jill Leslie and Ayurveda Alchemy
Jill Leslie is a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, herbalist, wellness chef, and yoga teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area who, for more than two decades, has been immersed in the study and practice of natural healing.
The entrepreneur, who has owned her own businesses since graduating from the University of Maryland in 1986, founded the award-winning retail shop Milk & Honey in Sebastapol, CA, in 1999. She sold it in 2006 so that she could delve deeper into her study of yoga and Ayurveda.
Ayurveda Alchemy: As she discovered the life-changing wisdom of these ancient practices, she began sharing her knowledge at wellness retreats, yoga studios, and through cooking classes. Her passion for herbal medicine and nutrition, and her love of sweets, inspired her in 2008 to found Ayurveda Alchemy.
In addition to hosting classes and events, and providing consultations and dietary advice about Ayurveda, she has created a line of healthy and delicious confections, which are available online at Kitchen Alchemy Treats. “When I learned the adage of Ayurveda, ‘Let your food be your medicine,’ I put on my apron and said, ‘Let your medicine be delicious,’” she says. Learn more at www.AyurvedaAlchemy.com.