I know it’s hard for many strong individuals to admit they’re having a bad day, but here I am– I have to admit it. I went away for a week to study yoga and during that week, I never felt better in my entire life. I was eating well every single day, waking up early and wasting no time; practicing yoga for at least two hours a day, meditating more than three times a day, and spending my free time exploring and reading and doing anything and everything that made my smile.
You don’t realize how many distractions there are out there, especially living in the city that never sleeps.
College is tough. It’s almost impossible to ever get a moment alone– even when I’m in my room alone or in the shower, I constantly catch myself thinking about what I have to do or what I can do to keep up, or even get ahead. I find myself either eating too much, or eating too little when I am stressed out. I find myself either working out religiously, or getting in a slump every now and then, and wondering why I feel so terrible.
Coming back from the Bahamas after a week, my eyes opened. My eyes opened to the lifestyle that I should be living– a lifestyle where instead of immediately freaking out when I am stressed, one where I learn to handle it. A lifestyle where I practice gratitude, and have more compassion.
During recent months, most people are having a hard time staying positive. Throughout my entire life, I have always been so positive about anything and everything. No matter what myself or anyone close to me was going through, I was always confident that it would pass– because I knew it would. However, after coming back from a week in paradise, I found myself in possibly one of the biggest slumps I have been in, in my twenty years of living on earth.
I came back with such a fantastic mindset, the mindset that I have been working on for years, and almost immediately after I landed in New Jersey the slump hit. The first day home was great– I saw my boyfriend and my parents. However, I quickly realized that life wasn’t going to be quite like it was living on the ashram. I received an email while in the airport telling me that I had to start and finish Beowulf in it’s entirety for class in three days, and be ready for a full discussion by Tuesday. I realized I hadn’t ordered my textbooks, or prepared my notebook, or printed out any of my syllabus’. I completely forgot about my newly earned responsibilities as Sports Editor of The Quadrangle, my school’s newspaper, and my commitment to work at the Admissions Office. I forgot about the classes I enrolled in this semester, and how they aren’t as easy as my classes last year anymore. I quickly began to stress out about going to class and going to work and fitting in my daily workouts, and eating well and drinking enough water and finishing my homework as soon as I get it, rather then waiting last minute. I had created so many goals for myself while away, that I became so overwhelmed.
Being so calm and free for a week was almost damaging. Not having anything to worry about but myself for a week was life changing, however, I realized that sadly, with my lifestyle, I just can’t wake up every morning and do yoga for 2 hours, and then meditate for another 2. I realized that life here is different than life there, and that made me so upset. Everything was so perfect. I learned to love myself, and be comfortable in my own presence. I learned to appreciate everything I have and everything I have going for me. I was finally comfortable, and everything felt as if it was in it’s right place until I came back home and freaked out.
I called my mom crying the first week of this semester, telling her I just couldn’t deal with any of this stress anymore. She quickly reminded me of what I learned– the yoga, the meditation, and most importantly, the mindfulness. I learned to be mindful of everything, everyday– what you say, what you eat, what you do when you first wake up in the morning, and what you do just before you go to bed. I quickly began to snap back into the mindset I developed while studying abroad. I began to pick up my meditation book, and I began to practice yoga. However, before I began to do all of this again, I stopped in my place and I took a deep breath. I remember that although school is beginning, and I am unable to do certain things whenever I want to do them, I am still able to make time for myself and do the things I love to do. If I really wanted to do yoga everyday, and meditate everyday– anything is possible.
I began to breathe and think and remember how thankful I am to be right here, right now. I realized that life is about giving it your all, your full potential, but also not forgetting about yourself, and what makes you happy. In today’s day and age, it is so easy to get lost in the mix and lose yourself along the way. I am proud to say that I am one who does not normally struggle with issues of self confidence, or feeling lost. However, I can admit that after my trip, I never struggled with myself more in my entire life.
But, I can say now, that is not how I am feeling.
We all go through funks, we all have bad days… bad weeks… maybe even bad years. However, it is not the end until you say it is. And right now is only the beginning to my entire life. While studying at the ashram, I learned to love myself, accept myself, and be accepting of everything and everyone that comes and goes in my life, and I am not going to throw away my mindset for some stupid British Literature book that I was stressing out about. I finished Beowulf in time for class. I organized my notebook, and printed my syllabus’. I showed up and did my job in the Admissions office, and I did my job as editor of the sports section of the school paper. I began working out everyday, or almost everyday. I began eating right and drinking enough water. I began doing yoga once again, and meditating to myself every single morning. Whether it be in the shower, in my room, or on my way to class, I remembered to always stop and think. When you are able to stop, think, and accept things, you are able to overcome anything. Learning to cope with and manage stress and anxiety can be considered a death sentence, but this isn’t the end of me and it shouldn’t be the end of anyone.
I never dealt with stress or anxiety until I came to college, and when I got here, it came full force. I was without my parents, I was without my friends, and I did not have my big bed to crawl into at night surrounded by stuffed animals. Adjusting to college was a struggle. However, I proudly made my home here, and just because things move too fast sometimes doesn’t mean I can’t take a minute to slow them down myself.
Although I have always had confidence and drive, and the ability to be positive in almost any situation, at times I can admit that it is one of the hardest things to master– and maintain. My trip to the Bahamas, and my adjustment back home was just another bridge I was able to cross. When you are feeling doubtful, stressed, anxious, or as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders, stop for a moment and breath.
Remember, the six ethics of life state “Before you pray– believe. Before you speak– listen. Before you spend– earn. Before you write– think. Before you quit– try. Before you die– live.”
I remembered that a long breath establishes a calm mind. And a calm mind is the foundation for everything great.
I remembered that I am fully responsible for my life, my actions, my thoughts, and my feelings.
It is up to me to make my life the life I want to live. I am in charge of my growth, and I choose to determine my own emotions. I must learn to practice kindness, to others and to myself.
It’s hard to stay positive, manage stress, and still attend class all in the same day. However, taking the time to breath, and focus on myself is exactly what I realized I needed.
Don’t forget about yourself, because you are all you’ve got. Take care of yourself, trust yourself, and most importantly– love yourself. Take everything day by day, and just breathe.
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”