Paying Attention to Goodness

Perhaps it’s due to our recent move to Horseshoe Valley, or perhaps it’s the accumulation of well over a decade of yoga, or, more likely, it’s a combination of factors that has me more alert to the goodness that surrounds me. Every day, while out walking the pups (who am I kidding? We all know THEY walk ME), I am struck by beauty. This beauty fuels a deep appreciation that extends far beyond the pleasing landscapes. Appreciation has a magnetic pull that draws your awareness to people, sounds, colours, tastes, and just about everything/anything that washes over our nervous system.

To be clear, it doesn’t mean that I’m always treated to unicorns and cotton candy, but it’s a powerful reminder that there is always something of absolute goodness that I’m surrounded by: loving and caring family and friends, ridiculous dogs that insist on play, books I can dive into, cooking in the kitchen while listening to music, rewarding work, living in one of the best countries in the world, and countless little things (colourful markers, Spring bulbs, the smell of coffee,..). These elements of goodness can lend perspective, soften the blow of challenging times, and add a beautiful richness to life.

Paying attention to goodness does require observation, dedication and commitment, much like learning a new skill or training for an athletic event. There’s a certain amount of discipline required. It’s never a diminishment of real-life problems that make us sad, frustrated or bitter; it’s just a helpful reminder that goodness and difficulty can co-exist, and shifting our attention to the goodness can make navigating the challenges a little more bearable.

I thank yoga for this super power of focussed attention. Yoga has taught me how to hone my observation skills, sit with what is, breathe with more skill, and recover more quickly from inevitable upsets. Research has shown that mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation strengthen areas of the brain (pre-frontal cortex) known as the “executive centre”. We’re less reactive and more responsive when this part of the brain is active, and yoga and meditation strengthen this area much like exercise strengthens muscles.

We will be exploring this idea of paying attention to goodness in our classes this week. Hopefully, like anything practiced with mindful intention and frequency, it will become easier and easier to not only notice the goodness that surrounds you, but immerse yourself in it.

Celebrating the goodness that you are.

Warmest regards,