Saturday, February 16, 2013

The role of the background - attitude matters

What makes some people more successful, inspirational, trustworthy, motivating and generally more on top of their field than others? Is it talent, or skill, training, education, money? There are a lot of people with education, money, talent and skill that somehow don’t get anywhere. If this sounds like a business question, that's because it is. It's about the business of being the most you can be in whatever you do and with whoever you are. Since i play in the yoga and wellness sandbox, I will focus on that. 

I love observing people. I have many private clients from all walks of life and many yoga students from all parts of the county and some from other countries all together. All of them are engaged or retired from one profession or another and all of them have their own goals, aspirations, challenges and interest. I get to know them intimately through the practice of yoga and see them in their grubbiest instead of their Sunday’s best, sweating, sitting quietly, struggling, enjoying, crying, laughing and chatting with everyone else. 

I have also had ample opportunities to interact with yoga teachers and wellness workers since 2002 in the capacity of a yoga studio owner and for almost 2 decades in the capacity of a yoga student and wellness informed practitioner. Finally, I also learn by dedicating time to learning. That’s why I am finishing up my Master's in Integral Psychology. That's why i am constantly doing research. 

Here's what I’ve learned:

Attitude matters more than anything. I’ve seen people fake it till they make it. I’ve seen people who never try because they are inundated with self defeating attitudes. I’ve seen everything in between. Attitudes are based on beliefs. Some beliefs are great to have, some are useless, some are downright harmful, and some are neither. The thing is, all beliefs and all attitudes are flexible concoctions and mutations. Too bad that most people forget that and stick to what they’ve got, never adjusting. 

If we stick to our guns and do not examine our behavior, reactions and tendencies, we are prone to being polarized. We will like or dislike people - some of the ones we dislike may have something to teach us. We will seek or avoid interactions - some of the ones we avoid may be great learning opportunities. We will be defensive when an opposing view appears and we will be emotional in our defensiveness. We will shay away form anything that makes us feel uncomfortable and our experiences will be limited to the few people, places and circumstances that we do feel comfortable in. In other words, most of the world is likely to be outside of our comfort zone. As you already know, magic usually happens outside of your comfort zone. That is if you understand magic as a process of growth, refinement and unexpected surprises in the box of chocolates that Life is. 

Another thing about attitudes is that they seep through our skin. Whatever we belief, we wear on our sleeves. Our emotions are nicely coordinated with our beliefs and give away our attitudes even if we try to hide them. Furthermore, whatever beliefs and attitudes we have, are constantly functioning on the background of whatever else we are involved in. So, this determines our relationships with our friends, but also with our clients, co-workers, co-creators, our own experience in every moment - in a subconscious kind of way.
Our own growing, our own sense of worth, our own experiences, all those skills we’ve learned because of all those experiences, the talents and sensitivities we’ve developed, the things we’ve done and not done – all of it constitutes the background of our present moments. Those who live from well digested experiences with the wisdom and compassion that inevitably follow, are those who you usually find yourself most affected by. They are the ones that manage to inspire you and provide benefit and value to you. They truly serve you, not just say so. They make you a better person, not just tell you how nice you are.

I am sure you can think of a therapist, a yoga teacher, a massage practitioner, a pastor, anyone who among others makes you feel more alive. Yes, they may seem more educated or professional but they also come forth with more certitude with more openness and more availability to you. That's because they have a background that supports them in being so available and open. 

Think about what you have on the background that seeps through your pores while you try to smile, sound spiritual, look friendly, make people like you, grow your business, or make a difference. Now think of people who have told you all the right things and somehow did not convince you. Perhaps, you have been the person saying all the right things, knowing what you should be doing and yet being unconvincing to others and can't follow through with your own plans and ideas. 

No one is perfect, but we have an obligation and the fun of having to be the best we can be. If we put that obligation and fun into the context of interconnectedness instead of just doing it for our own selves, we then become motivated for the sake of all beings. Everything we do then, becomes a spiritual practice and we become mindful of our feeling attitudes towards life, human nature and our selves.  Everything spiritual is profound and bound to make an impact on everyone you come in contact with. 

So, check attitude. Get an adjustment. Repeat as needed. Cheers.

PS. Call me if you need help. 

Valentina Petrova (E-RYT500) is the owner of HMC Yoga & Wellness SPA in Morro Bay, since 2002. She’s an experienced yoga teacher, Reiki Master, Life & Spiritual Advisor. For more info, visit the web at or call Val at (805)909-1401.