Unravelling the Mystery of Self-Confidence

When we start a new project or interact with new people, relationships in general and intimate relationships, we need a certain ground, a certain degree of self-confidence that we will be able to handle what comes up and can deal with potential difficulties and unforeseen events. We need to feel relaxed,
settled in ourselves and ready to embrace success, failure and all the possibilities in between so we can engage with the vicissitudes of life with ease.

Self-confidence is not a thought, not a belief, not an emotion but something more subtle, almost innate, not something that is coming from anything but ourselves.

Self-confidence is also not the guarantee of success, success is a desirable outcome but is not the real drive, the drive is the desire of being fully engaged with life, to fully participate.

When self-confidence is not present, we don’t feel capable, we are uncertain if we want to venture or not, and we feel the absence of the underlying, innate sense of confidence.

“Self-confidence isn’t a thought or an emotion, it’s something innate and
subtle that comes from within. Cultivate it by staying present in the moment
and letting go of the need to control outcomes.”

When that happens we develop all kinds of psychological maneuvres to avoid the underlying sense of deficiency and inadequacy stemming from the idea of potential failure and the fact that we cannot foresee all the possible outcomes and twists to our venture.

Some try to summon self-confidence by simply believing that they will be able to succeed, and some summon self-confidence by seeking confirmation about the belief that they will make it through others around them, especially people close to them. That strategy can work for a while but it can easily be
shaken by just a simple comment from someone we trust, a remark, or even a simple joke. When that happens we feel deflated and collapsed or in certain cases, we react and start to attempt to prove that we are capable, we might even get into an argument about it. We can engage in endless internal conversations in an attempt to find evidence to support that belief but often the perceived certainty can be shaken very easily.

So what is Real Self-confidence, where is it arising from, and how come it is there, we are not even thinking about it? How can it be so obvious when we see it present in others that we almost envy them for it?

In our work, we have seen that self-confidence stems from our connection to ourselves, in our capacity to stay focused on our current experience, with what is really happening now. That connection will inspire us, gauge our capacities in real time and inform us on how much we can do, when, and what we might need to learn to be able to continue in our journey. Sometimes we might need to slow down, sometimes we might need to push, it all depends on the circumstances and our actual capacities and resources available.

How do we connect with ourselves to the extent that we find our innate self- confidence?

We find out that we need to actually relax into ourselves, and when we stop trying, we will naturally do what we are capable of and learn how to do what we are not yet capable of. We also learn how to stop when it’s not really worth the effort. It’s a kind of inner wisdom that is arising from being a human.
Sometimes we fail, and sometimes we succeed, all that is part of our learning experience and we welcome both. The losses are not seen as such, but are actually necessary learning experiences that will help us be the best version of ourselves.

In practice, we basically need to learn how to be present, be in the moment, relax and wait for the innate impulse to arise spontaneously. Sometimes we might lose faith and go back to trying, not out of the love for that action but to escape the uncomfortable feeling of the absence of self-confidence. In those
cases, we might peruse things that are not actually close to our hearts just to fill the sense of lack.

Self-confidence is not arising from our mind, so thinking about success or failure is just a way to disconnect from our gut’s wisdom and consequentially feel insecure, the head cannot do the job of the gut. Like when we are going for a hike and come across an obstacle, if we think about it too much, that is if to jump or not, we end up misgauging our step and stumble. When we trust our instincts, so to say, we mostly make it without any problem and if the gap is too big we just jump inside it or find a way around it.

Our gut does not work only for physical situations but also for life direction and our sentimental life, we need guts to start a new business and to tell someone we love them. So, the simple practice to be present in the moment can awaken our connection with our gut and as a consequence our innate instinctual
capacities. We can then trust ourselves, experiencing that as an innate sense of capacity and confidence.

In conclusion, self-confidence is not something that can be summoned or faked. It comes from a deep connection to ourselves and the ability to stay present and focused on our current experience. It is not about striving for success at all costs, but rather about fully engaging in life and embracing all
the ups and downs that come with it. By learning to relax into ourselves and trust our innate wisdom, we can find the self-confidence needed to face any challenge and embrace our journey with ease.

Remember, the next time you find yourself lacking self-confidence, take a moment to connect with
yourself and trust in your own capabilities. You may be surprised at just how capable you truly are.

Emilio Mercuriali is a teacher of the Diamond Logos. Join him for his study retreat series ‘Journey to Essence’


Journey to Essence

Gratitude: Our Human Superpower

Every creature on this planet has at least one superpower. Ants can carry 50 times their
own bodyweight, hummingbirds can fly backwards, humans can express gratitude. This
may sound trite, but gratitude is our superpower. A superpower we know about, pay lip
service too, but don’t fully take into our hearts and honour.

There is plenty of scientific research, proving what the wisdom traditions have always
known to be true: Gratitude makes us happier, healthier, and kinder.
How does our superpower work? Science has found that gratitude both triggers the
release of dopamine and serotonin and reduces cortisol levels.

This translates into gratitude:

Improves the quality of sleep
Strengthens the immune system
Alleviates physical pain
Optimises blood pressure and cardiac functioning
Improves digestions
Leads to greater emotional intelligence and resilience
Improves communication and interpersonal relationships
Deepens ones sense of connection with others and the planet.
Promotes empathy and self-love

Sounds like a superpower to me.
Let’s take a moment to explore this superpower. Is it possible to sense it for ourselves? To
feel it in our cells?

Take a few breaths and see how you are feeling at this moment. Notice where you are
reading this. At home, in transit? Is it quiet or loud? Are you at ease, stressed, a mix of
both? What are your internal vibes like? Notice your breath and how your body feels.
Take a few more breaths to fully feel into all of this.

Now take a moment and think of five things/people/places/etc you are grateful for.
Count them on your fingers. Breathe each one in and on the exhale offer it your gratitude.
I will breathe along with you. I am grateful for: My eyesight and the colour blue. The sound
of water. The taste of cinnamon. The smell of a cedar forest. The feeling of sunshine on
my belly.

How do you feel now? Was there a shift in your body or mood?
Each time I take a moment like this, where I pause and truly feel in freshly what am I
grateful for in the moment, I do notice the shift. Something, I hadn’t realised had frozen in
me, always melts. My shoulders drop. There is a sense of more space in my chest. I feel a
little lighter and more capacitated.

Of course, the beat passes. Life continues. Things get complicated, stressful, messy.…
Our superpower needs cultivation. There are three circumstances where we need to focus
on building up our capacity to be grateful:

  • When things are going badly
  • When things are fine
  • When thing are doing great

Let’s start with “when things are going great.” For example, you are on holiday or a retreat.
Many years ago, while I was on retreat, Luis, a volunteer at the center taught me a
precious grift. He taught me to say, “Yes thank you. That would be great.” Time after time,
Luis came up to me offering me things: an extra pillow, towel, hot water bottle (I was
camping and its was raining and cold). My reflex at first was to say, “no thank you. I’m
okay.” Each time I did, he looked so disappointed. When I changed my mind and said, “yes
please,” his face lit up. He practically ran off and to get me whatever extra treat it was he
wanted to share with me.

On the last day of the retreat, Luis was still eating lunch when I was bringing in my dishes.
He turned to me and asked, “Would you like chocolate covered strawberries?”
“That sounds amazing Luis. I would love some.” He jumped up with the biggest smile and ran into the kitchen. A moment later, he was there with a plate full of chocolate covered strawberries.

Luis taught me to delight his generosity. To accept it fully. To be grateful for the beauty and
comfort that is there and be open to even more. A favourite film always comes to mind
when I think of Luis. “Thankyouhappymoreplease.” That’s the title of film and such a
great way to meet life when thing are going well. “Thankyouhappymoreplease.”

What about accessing gratitude, “when things are going badly?” Like this summer, when
visiting my family after four years, I got an ear infection and ended up in the emergency
room in a lot of pain. It is natural at moments like this to give out. Equally natural is to feel
grateful. Lying in pain, I did my gratitude practice. I counted on my fingers what am I
grateful fir in this moment? Thankful for the hospital. Thankful for my access to it. Thankful
to all the people working in it. Thankful for the antibiotics and their superpower magic.
Thankful for my body. Yes thankful to my body that was in a lot of pain.

It’s so easy to blame and judge our bodies. To beat them up when they don’t work as we
want them to. My poor ear got attacked and it was doing all that is could to fight off the
infection. Bodies get injured and sick. Bodies age. That’s what bodies do and usually they
are blamed for it. In reality, they are doing their best with what they have got to keep us
alive and ticking. I think that deserves recognition and a whole lot of appreciation.

Of course it’s not easy to do when we are sick and in pain. But when we can, the pain, the
sickness, is so much easier to bear. Remember reading above, science has proven that
gratitude alleviates physical pain. It does. There is still pain but instead of being in conflict
with the pain, fighting the pain, we are befriending it. We are turning towards the difficult
sensations with our superpower. “Thank you body for doing your best. I know it is
really hard right now.”

Finally, how do we cultivate more gratitude “when things are fine?” This is the neutral
flavour, which I find can be the most tricky. We tend to tune out when things are just
flowing along. We distract ourselves and don’t fully pay attention to what is going on. This
leads to more automatic pilot living, which is a duller, more disconnect life.

One way to remember to practice gratitude in the normal moments is with a gratitude
stone. I love collecting tiny smooth stones from beaches or river beds. I often gift them to
others. Inviting people to keep them in the pocket of a favourite jacket or bag. Each time
your hand comes in contact with the stone, you pause and think of one thing you are
grateful for. Then you move on with your day.

It is a simple act and can read as cheesy, but I swear it makes a difference. The more we
practice gratitude, the more me make this a neural pattern. Changing it from a trait to a
state. Hebb’s Law states, “neurons that fire together, wire together.” Making happiness
easily accessible in our day to day living no matter what we currently encountering.
I will leave you with one last bit of science pertaining to our superpower. Expressing and
feeling gratitude affect the brain differently. There is more activity in the medial prefrontal
cortex when one expresses gratitude.

So feeling grateful is one thing, but expressing it is something that much more powerful. So I invite to do all the above out loud. Or if that is not your style, write it down. It’s pretty awesome knowing you have a superpower. It is even more fantastic using. Enjoy!

6 Ways to Cultivate a Summer Practice

Summer is here, and there is so much to celebrate. Travel season is finally open, the weather is amazing and I feel light, energetic and hopeful. People around me are smiling, I live in the South of France and the combination of rivers, mountains, beach (and the aperitivo) is simply intoxicating. All of life’s regular challenges seem easy to tackle, even work, as I actually I get the busiest during summer.

BUT, there is also a nagging thought “why don’t I feel like this all the time”?  I have to admit I get a little anxious about how short the summer is and that it might be over soon. I tell myself, well, let’s just be in the moment, and put away whatever is coming next. Just enjoy it. 

Its not a seasonal thing! 

Here’s the thing: I spent 12 years of my life living in a year around summer climate, and trust me, ‘The Blues’ can come anywhere, any time, and they are not seasonal! Our inner sense of satisfaction, our ability to be mindful and grounded in the present is something we can cultivate to be lasting year around. Actually, THIS is our practice. 

Our inner sense of satisfaction, our ability to be mindful and grounded in the present is something we can cultivate to be lasting year around. Actually, THIS is our practice. 

This time of year  is so rich and filled with beauty, its easy to feel connected to the earth, to nature, family and community. Summer time is a  great opportunity to deepen our practice, and at the same time can be distracting and we can completely fall out of it because we are in ‘vacation mode’. 

Ideas on how to bring your mindfulness, meditation, and yoga practice to life during summer: 

  1. Plan your practice. As you plan your summer, make an intention about your practice too. Schedule it in, allow it to be a priority.  If you are going on vacation, bring your meditation cushion and your mat. Inform the people you spend time with about it, and that you would like to be free of distraction during that time.  
  1. Honour the sunrise. If you have the chance, try waking up early and practice with the sunrise. There is something auspicious and peaceful about this time, and it IS easier to wake up early in the summer, so why not make the most of it.
  1. Write about it. My grandmother once told me that if you want to remember beautiful moments and make them a part of you forever, write them down. Even with photos, the moment could slip by.  When we bring writing into our daily lives, we might also see the world differently, notice more details about the beauty and wonders of our experiences.
  1. Connect to your creativity. Bring out the old pencils, colours, knitting, half written poetry, dusty instruments. Take it with you on vacation and spend some ME time with your creative outlet. There’s nothing like being in the flow of creation in the present moment, and you might even end the summer with a beautiful finished project.
  1. Listen to your body. If it is rest that you need, then take the rest. Let yourself connect to your natural rhythm, your own pace this summer. It’s ok to opt out, be ‘unproductive’, and just lounge about. I love getting sweaty and doing all the activities when I have time off and that’s all good. But it can be exhausting. It’s all about balance and what YOU need.
  1. Take some silent time. There’s a lot of social stuff going on, and we love it. Give yourself some silent time, even just an hour here and there. It’s a gift. Maybe you have some time off work, you can put the phone away for a few hours a day, or longer! 

In time with regular practice, whatever it is that your chosen lineage, school or teacher is, it will become a part of you and trickle into your daily life, no matter where you are or what you are doing. That’s the beauty of it, it just takes a little attention and dedication for a while, and then it becomes naturally inviting. Summer is a great time to start!

About Silvia

Silvia is a Yoga teacher, physiology enthusiast, and spiritual seeker. She is passionate about making the yoga practice accessible and functional for everyone and helping others find their personal expression with joyful movement.  Read full bio

Want Peace? Embrace The Conflict.

Want Peace? Embrace The Conflict.

The paradox of the compassionate heart

A Tibetan monk, who had spent more than 18 years in a Chinese prison labour camp, told the Dalai Lama that on a few occasions he really faced some danger. So, he asked him, ‘What danger? What kind of danger?’, thinking he would tell him of Chinese torture and prison. The monk replied, ‘Many times I was in danger of losing compassion for the Chinese.’

The recent war in Ukraine reminds me of one thing. We are in danger, in danger of ourselves. When I look around, I notice that people are angry, afraid, and feel powerless. And rightly so, but with whom are we angry, who are we afraid of and why do we feel disempowered? 

At the heart of the problem lies our denial as a species that we are not just aware, loving, and caring beings but we have the potential to be killers as well. The spectrum of what the human being is capable of is vast; on one end we can love unconditionally and on the other end we can kill and destroy cold-heartedly for our own benefit. Now, this is the part of us that we don’t like being reminded of; our dark side or the shadow as Carl Jung called it. Our unloved Self is too shameful, painful, or traumatic to bring into the light and acknowledge. Acknowledge that this is part of who we are, what we have done, what we have created.

And by that very suppression of our dark side over years, decades and centuries, individually and collectively, we have created a massive polarised energetic charge that continues to infuse conflict in ourselves and thereby the world around us. Just like any pressure, that charge seeks expression. And this is what we see in and around us all the time; an excess charge that is trying to find a way out.

As long as we keep coming into action from that old unresolved business, we will have more of that pain and suffering again. This is no rocket science. Well actually it is…quantum physics shows us over and over again that we create our reality on a moment-by-moment basis based on the thoughts, beliefs, and preferences we’ve subscribed to in the past. So, if we hold a tense and contracted state of reality in ourselves, we will see that same reality manifest around us. We are co-creative beings of our reality, not victims to it. 

As much as we would like it to all just go away, we have to deal with the mess we created. But it won’t if we keep coming from the same principles we applied to live in the past. Einstein reminded us of this when he said that we can’t solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

And apart from the same thinking, it might not even be thinking at all that is going to get us out of the woods. It could very well be that the thinking mind is never going to get us to the place where sensible solutions to problems can present themselves: the present moment. And it can’t because the job description of the thinking mind is to seek, to go out on a quest to find something other than ‘this’. ‘This’ is the very moment in which life manifests as it does. And that manifestation is all-inclusive, not just peace and harmony but also conflict, pain, fear, and all other aspects of life.

Now we may want to ask ourselves if this is a problem. I have come to see that we don’t suffer from being afraid but from our inability and resistance to consciously experience that fear. Our judgment, fear, and denial of that which life presents and our immediate need to fix it creates the very charge we hold on to as stress and which we keep feeding back into the system, thereby perpetuating conflict.

In my belief and experience, the solution to this can come from our compassionate hearts. Contrary to the thinking mind our compassionate heart has the ability to experience all aspects of life freely in all its intensity without knowing or understanding. At the same time, the compassionate heart has the ability to let that experience be without personalizing or needing to fix it.

In this sense, compassion exposes the illusion that what happens in this very moment is personal and needs fixing. It is simply how life unfolds. True compassion ends the personal drama and sees life as it really is; a free fall of endless possibilities. 

The union of compassion and being aware of how life is now having an immediate and noticeable energetic effect. It will release the old charges and prevent them from building up again. The effect of us holding less charge from the past is that we no longer project it into the reality of tomorrow. 

If we apply this principle to war, for example, we have to make an entirely irrational step in how we have dealt with this before. We now need to consciously move towards something that we previously tried so hard to run away from. And rather than fix it we now let it be. We can see it for what it really is; an aspect of life that has come into manifestation. Letting war be, does not mean approving of war or condoning it. That is what your mind will tell you in facing the compassionate embrace, which instantly ends the story it wants to keep going so badly.

What happens is simply astonishing. We will lose charge around our perception of war. And by no longer holding that charge in us we don’t feed it into the reality we manifest in and around us. When more and more people practice this and thereby end their contribution to the conflict, we literally disempower the war. Not by fighting it, opposing it, or trying to fix it but by embracing war as part of life as it could potentially manifest.

This is a much more aware and realistic approach to living. We need to get real, wake up. Life is not just a fluffy cloud of pink marshmallows; it is a living system of endless diversity and potential. What part of that potential comes to life is up to us. The first step is to take responsibility and deal with our creations from the past in a conscious way by no longer giving them energy. Denying it or running away from it didn’t get us anywhere. Neither did peace demonstrations. Taking sides only leads to more polarisation, energising the very things we wanted to put an end to. Noticing the present moment in an aware state and embracing that which presents ends the unconscious re-creation of the past and gives way to a much more harmonic principle that is no longer based on our personal limitations that come from fear, greed, and ignorance.

When we move out of a contracted state of being we come into the flow. A natural state of energy, which moves into directions that benefits all of nature. The actions and decisions we then make come out of clarity and awareness and have quite a different outcome than the ones we used to make from our contracted states of being.

We can no longer exclude the parts of life we don’t like or want and thereby polarise and charge them. We need to learn to embrace the diversity of life and experience it without reservations, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Does this mean we will never be angry again, that there won’t be any fights? It is a romantic idea but completely unrealistic. Trying to achieve that would be missing the point here. Look at life, it is everything. Making ourselves consciously available to all of it allows us to experience its endless diversity and intensity, without being a victim to it any longer. I believe it is the only way to freedom and peace. 

A Tibetan monk, who had spent more than 18 years in a Chinese prison labour camp, told the Dalai Lama that on a few occasions he really faced some danger. So, he asked him, ‘What danger? What kind of danger?’, thinking he would tell him of Chinese torture and prison. The monk replied, ‘Many times I was in danger of losing compassion for the Chinese.’

How to connect with your body?

When we talk about body-oriented work or somatic work we intend to focus on the connection between body and mind. We believe that the relationship with ourselves, with others, and the world around us is strongly conditioned by this connection. One of the basic elements of this approach is that the person experiences itself not only in the mind but above all through physical sensations and feelings. We can consider this a “bottom-up” approach because it starts from exploring the physical and emotional perceived and then subsequently access the processing of the mental arena.

Essential concepts of this work:

• Body, mind, and emotions are always in interaction. We can consider them three intelligences that influence each other.

• The body can be a guiding tool in inner growth.

• Physical sensations, emotions, images, thoughts, or reasonings can represent a map through which the person in this approach can get to know him/herself.

• The body through its posture and the tonicity, tensions, or stiffness represents an armor that defines either a physical structure or a character structure that is correlated. 

• The person is animated by energies (mental, emotional, and physical). The well-being of the person lies in the natural flow of energy loading and unloading. When the natural flow comes disturbed, interrupted, or altered, one can experience physical, emotional, and relational stress or dysfunctions.

• The body records and maintains memories of lived experiences including traumatic ones. When these experiences are not integrated and processed, they are created, physical blocks, held emotions, physical dysfunctions, and relational dysfunctions.

How does the method used in Feel Free work?

In both individual and group meetings, the person who wants to work on a topic starts by exposing it. During the exposure work, we try to bring attention to what is happening in the present moment and in the body. In observing the body, the person is asked to: slow down, avoid getting lost in a long description of its history and draw attention to any physiological changes caused by tensions, contractions, or sensations of release or expansion during sharing.

The intent is to accompany the person in an exploration of himself, of the held emotions, of his physical state, of the awareness of the body-mind connection. This exploration is intended to support restoring a greater sense of inner expansion and well-being.

Depending on the physical and character structure of the person and on the theme expressed, the work may be accompanied by body movements, breathing exercises, listening exercises, physical sensations, interior dialogue, and the meanings attributed to one’s own experience. The proposed work is carried out based on the person and what they can contain and process.

The techniques, exercises, and work methodologies used within the session can be different: from Gestalt therapy to Core Energetics work, to the techniques used in somatic experiencing, to the use of conscious breathing, mindfulness, and meditation. 

Who can this experience help?

In this holistic view of the person, physical or mental discomforts or disorders are considered on the same level of importance. Many of the issues of emotional distress have somatization in the body and acting on the body, they can be transformed into an experience of well-being for the person who does the work of inner growth.

Often chronic pain, insomnia, poor digestion, physical and mental fatigue, apathy, anxiety, the difficulty in creating satisfying and healthy relationships, are all signs of discomfort or trauma not yet completely elaborate and could benefit from somatic work.

What benefits can this work bring?

This work helps people to be more present in themselves and more aware of it. Thoughts, physical and emotional sensations, and our behaviors are all connected. It allows us to move more easily from a state of emotional disturbance to a state of greater inner stability. When we work on traumatic past episodes it allows us to manage the sense of emotional overwhelm and to re-establish the state of stillness and centeredness more easily. Increase our resilience and ability to tolerate the complexity of daily challenges. It increases the sense of inner security, creating greater confidence in oneself and in life.

How can QiGong help our mind and body during this unstable period?

Fast-paced and demanding everyday life can make us physically and mentally overwhelmed and exhausted. Especially now, when we still feel the effects of pandemics and our inner batteries run low on energy. QiGong is a method through which any person regardless of age and physical form, can acquire skills and knowledge necessary for a healthy and joyful life. The practice offers a quick energy recovery and a peaceful mind during everyday activities. QiGong works on three levels: the mind and mental health; body and self-care; as well as soul- consciousness.

So how can QiGong be useful for you? Being a system of breathing, physical exercises, and body meditation, it helps to relax muscles, relieve stress, and calm your thoughts. Consequently, it positively affects your mood and body health. The exercises regulate metabolism, lengthen and deepen breathing, massage internal organs, and thus help to relax emotionally and physically. These practices used by ancient warriors back in the days,  today become a great recovery complex and favourite source of energy for the whole day.  · 

Key benefits of QiGong:

  • releases stress
  • removes psychic and muscle tension
  • massages internal organs
  • strengthens muscles and stretches tendons 
  • concentrates our attention 
  • improves breathing
  • teaches us to consciously work with energy

Moreover, QiGong increases body mobility as during the practice almost all muscles are involved in the work. They repeatedly strain and relax, giving you an experience of a combination of dynamic and static movements. Your bodily posture gets improved as a lot of attention is put on the spine, lower back and coordination of all parts of the body. Last but not least, it helps to prevent diseases by stimulating the immune system, releasing stress, relieving muscle tension, and enhancing the processes of removing toxins from the body. In the mental aspects, Qigong teaches you how to release emotional blockages, relax and concentrate. You also get a sense of control over your own energy. The practice makes you an active, cheerful, and creative person. 

What happens during the practice:

  • the internal, mental dialogue silences
  • physical tension of muscles drops
  • you are in the moment – here and now
  • you experience a feeling of inner harmony
  • your intuition increases 
  • your attention is being trained

The history of Qi-Gong dates back to 5000 years. It is thought to have originated as a form of “remedy dancing” created for healing and health preservation purposes. Due to the long-term struggles with nature, the ancients gradually realized that body movement, exclamations, and various ways of breathing could help readjust certain body functions. In China, the country of origin of the practice, Qi Gong is very popular. The government supports the practice of health exercises and funds research and teaching institutes. The current categories in China include a variety of systems. They are differentiated as either health exercises for preventing disease and maintaining health or for healing existing conditions of disease and recovering fully. 

About Olga:

Olga WuWei received direct transmission of ancient knowledge from a recognized Chinese Master-  净空, Jing Kong meaning Clear Emptiness. She lived 6 years in China, 2 years at the mountain in WuWei Zen temple being a direct student of the Master, in order to bring these eastern practices and philosophy of China to the West. Over the years, she transferred knowledge in China to Chinese and foreign students, in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Italy. Now she has hundreds of students from more than 20 countries around the world.

5 tips to start 2022 off on the right foot

1. ​Spend as much time in nature as possible and oxygenate the brain and body.

This might seem obvious but in this world of urban living and busyness, we spend too much time in our isolated, unventilated homes. Commit to going on daily short walks and going into a natural park for longer periods at least once a week. Time spent walking in a heavily forested environment changes our whole outlook on the day. Many of us go for prolonged periods of time without immersing ourselves in the freshness of nature. Since we are spending many hours a week wearing a mask, we want to give ourselves the gift of clean air. At Mandali, we have the advantage of pristine nature and unpolluted air all around us.

2.Avoid conversations and people who get into heated polarized, political, social, or cultural views.

Life is short and as the ancient Greeks used to say, “take the time to understand other(s) and when others are more interested in the position of being “right” rather than the all-encompassing view of understanding that we have different ways of seeing the world than walk away”. The chaos of today is forcing people to choose sides and sometimes we have to choose a side. Whatever side you choose, you want to cultivate respect, understanding, and empathy for the other view.  If you feel yourself arguing and getting angry that others have a difference of opinion, remove yourself from the environment, breathe and remember that every view has merit (even if it is only 1% true).  Do not compromise your state of equanimity for anyone or anything. The wise person listens with friendliness and decides whether to engage or disengage without causing harm or hatred.  

​3. ​Honestly review your day – Practice Self-Inquiry.

Ask yourself at the end of each day: Where did I compromise my highest values? Where was I self-aware and kind and where did I lose the plot today? By doing this regularly, you will spend more and more time living the kind of day that brings joy and fulfillment. Ask yourself: what did I do well today? Where was my discipline tested? Where did I not do so well today? How can I improve tomorrow? Just don’t beat yourself up. Remember to forgive yourself daily.  Practice self-compassion. Research shows that forgiving yourself, not beating yourself up, prevents you from continuing to put things off. Don’t just be critical of yourself. Think about what you did well so you can repeat it tomorrow. Be grateful for the good that happened today!  

4. ​Take multiple short 5-minute mindfulness breaks throughout the day.

This will reset your nervous system. Practice your favourite breathing meditation. Breathe in consciously and imagine that with every exhale, you are removing the mask of tension. Use your hands in a gesture of gathering air and imagine you are inhaling pure, clean air, and with every exhale, you could even put your hand on your face imagining you are removing stuck masks: the mask of disappointment, the mask of tiredness, the mask of the fear of uncertainty.  This exercise produces unfathomable results.  By consciously breathing and imagining that we are unmasking ourselves of our struggles and pain, the joy of our original face is revealed.  

5. ​Move your body vigorously at least once a day.  

Dance to your favourite song. Moving to one short song instantly changes your chemistry. If you are not sure what song to play, we have attached a fun short song here.  Moving your body in creative and emotionally expressive ways reduces stress and depression, increases energy and serotonin, increases mental capacity and creativity, and increases so much joy that we are better equipped to handle the ups and downs of home and work life.

Here’s a little feel good moment:


Jon Bastiste- FREEDOM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YHVC1DcHmo