A few years ago, I did something shocking...I went out and got myself something that I had told myself for years that I couldn't have. I had a list of excuses as a side dish to the main course of "No, you can't have this and you never will, so suck it up and deal." I still remember that day that I said yes and gave myself what I had been wanting for years. I felt a surge of joy and tears overflowed from my eyes. Then I was overwhelmed with a sense of sadness -- what else had I told myself I couldn't have or couldn't do or couldn't be?
After that I became more aware of what I said to myself and what I would say to others. I was shocked to realize that I often told myself that I couldn't or shouldn't do this or that and then backed it up with a laundry list of reasons why. Little by little, I started changing the words around from "I can't/I shouldn't" to "Why can't/shouldn't I?"
Five months later I jumped out of an airplane, which is something that I had wanted to do for years. Every time I mentioned it to someone, I got a "What?!?! You can't do that! That's crazy! What if the parachute doesn't open? You shouldn't do it!" Unfortunately, I took those words to heart and I started to repeat them to myself until I believed them (like my very own anti-happiness mantra). When I applied my new question -- Why can't I? -- to skydiving, I came up with a brand new answer, one that was true for me as opposed to everyone else. I scheduled my first skydive and told everyone about it. No surprise, I got back responses similar to those of the past. I didn't let the words sway me and when asked why I would jump out of an airplane, I responded, "Because I can." I can and I did. And I loved it so much that I did it again. [Hmmmm...this makes me want to break out into full Britney Spears oops-I-did-it-again impersonation...where's my schoolgirl uniform?)
Just a few weeks ago, I realize that I'm doing it again -- I'm telling myself I can't/shouldn't do this or that for one reason or another. After getting back into my "Why can't/shouldn't I?" frame of mind, I started taking action. I just did a whole bunch of you-can't-do-that-it's-crazy things and asked for don't-even-bother-you'll-never-get-it things. It's amazing how powerful words are and how they affect your thinking and your actions (as well as the thinking and actions of others).
In the world of Yoga, we have mantra . Mantra is considered capable of creating transformation. Don't I believe it. What is mantra, after all, but words and sounds repeated over and over again? I have enjoyed using mantras over the years and yet I never quite applied the idea of words as transformational tools until somewhat recently.
Eclectic music artist Girish is hosting a 40-Day Mantra Practice, which starts today (September 4th) and runs through October 13. It's free to participate. Simply email Virginia@girishmusic.com to receive your mantra and instructions. You can also join fellow practitioners at the 40-Day Mantra Practice Facebook Group .
Oh yes, words have power. Now along with my Namaha, I add in a "Because I can."