Do You ever notice that you repeat the same words over and over again? Maybe you’ve even noticed you always walk the same way? Brush your teeth with the same hand? Or even get frustrated at the same thing over and over again!
Yes, there are days where the gears feel stuck and we feel physically and creatively blocked. Our body creaks with tension or pain, our hearts just can’t kick a negative feeling, and maybe our mind decides to put our negative thoughts on repeat. I call this Broken Record Syndrome… and no matter how old (or young) we may be- we can relate.
The beauty of adopting a FLY practice (whether it be in the form of yoga asana, dancing, singing, drawing, running) is that we begin to build awareness to notice what our minds, bodies, and hearts are doing. Over time, we pick up some tools that help to grease the gears or change the station. Tools like setting an intention, moving our bodies freely, engaging in creative activity or simply giving our heart and energy to another person.
And sometimes, we watch those broken record words fall out of our mouths! Usually, those broken record words are triggered by broken record thoughts. Sometimes, we just can’t kick the “I’m borings,” “I can’ts”, “I don’t wannas”, or worse “I’m hopeless/ angry/ stupid/ frustrated.” The good news is, deep down inside all of us, there is another voice (or at least an ear) that hears this thought of self doubt or judgement and disagrees with it. “No, You’re great!” “You can do anything,” “I wonder what will happen if I try?”
The trouble is, sometimes we don’t give that second voice any where NEAR enough attention. As an old parable says, “What we feed, will grow, what we starve, will die.” Just as this is true with our bodies, or plants, or animals, it is also true with the thoughts we let rule our inner conversation.
Yesterday, I was having a bit of a Broken Record Day. In spite of all my FLY efforts, this same feeling of stuck-ness was coming back again and again…and the words (mostly complaints) that followed were no better. Luckily, in these moments, I’ve come to a practice of asking for help. Like magic, as soon as I ask, help often comes to my rescue, and this time was no different. This time, help came in 11-year old FLYer, Lily- and her latest Iphone decoration.
“Aha!” I gasped audibly, causing a few Santa Monica onlookers to turn a smiling eye. Not only am I always delighted to hear from my amazing East coast students, but this was the perfect gift. “Mantra,” I remembered.
Now, some of us may be familiar with “Mantra” as some string of strange Sanskrit or Tibetan words that we don’t necessarily have a deep connection to. But the magic of Mantra is they Embrace the mind’s habit of repetition (as with broken record syndrome) and shift it into forward motion. Intentionally picking a thought or even a feeling that we can place mindfully on repeat allows our brains to click over to attention and stop getting led astray by negativity. Sometimes our natural mantras may be in the form of a pleasant sigh or hum, or even a great song lyric you can’t help but sing to yourself. In this case, Lily found her mantras on the end of her Yogi Tea bag!
For me, I often can boil down my mantras into a single word, “Surrender,” “Embrace,” “Yes,” or my favorite phrase, “It’s like this, Now.”
Close your eyes. What broken record thought are you ready to let go of? Ask yourself, why is this my inner dialogue? What expectation (of myself or another) is causing this negativity to go on? Choose a mantra or affirmation, that combats this fear or disappointment.
For example, if “I don’t have enough…” is the thought, what did you expect or desire to have enough of? A great counter is simply, “I have everything I need.”
Once you choose a mantra, close your eyes and take a few deep exhale- inhales. As you breathe, let every exhale carry the mantra with it on a whisper or thought. Here these words vibrating within. Play a game with yourself and see if you can repeat it 108 times! See how far you get without getting pulled back to distraction. Love the game and Love Yourself no matter how difficult it may be. Just playing is progress!
Play… Play… Play… Play … Play….
WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH BROKEN RECORD SYNDROME? HAVE YOU PLAYED WITH MANTRA BEFORE? SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.