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#04 Dignity

So welcome back last week we covered character and before that commitment in this 7 steps to Happiness series. This week we’ll talk about dignity.

Now dignity is where the rubber hits the road, its where we get into action and through being and doing we come up against ourselves and learn who we are, what we really value, what we’re willing to adjust and change for, what we resist (you know the mistakes that magically keep persisting) and where we’re already aligned and truly and deeply ourselves.

Spend some time on that last one.

Notice where your life is working, the relationships, the systems, the habits, where you’re rocking your rhythms and feeling the joy and love. Is there anything to see there in how you can apply that attitude or way of being and doing to some hot spots or personal war zones

Let’s breathe into that for a minute.

Hit pause if you like and grab a paper and pen or open the voice recorder or notes on your phone. Hell Yes if recording and rattle off what’s great. You can fill in what needs some love, adjustment and guidance after you’re listened to this episode.

So before we get into it let’s revisit the first 2 steps commitment and character

Commitment is that time of imagination, visioning and deciding. We all love that part, it’s creative, ideating and play time. We ideate whom we’d like to be - we think of our heroes and heroines, what we’d like to be known for, what we stand for and the legacy we’d like to leave. We then interrogate who we need to become that person. What behaviours and values does this person have and those you need to cultivate.

Got to love that word cultivate - now if you know anything about gardening you know first you plant the seed, then you have to nurture it - water it, remove the weeds around it that are taking it’s nutrients and all this long before you see any sign of emerging saplings.

As Rumi says those roots are riotous down there

So to shape the character you get clear on the values and the actions this person will do. However we’re still in the conceptual phase. If you’re visual and inspired you might create a vision board, you now have goals and lists, you have explored and ingested what the yamas and the niyamas mean. You’ve walked into the yoga class, you’ve dressed for the part, you’re on the mat, listening to the teacher listening for their words of wisdom but you haven’t done anything yet.

There’s no japa or tapas yet, no tension, no discipline of repetition, no practice.

A short story when I first started KY yoga I turned up all ready and eager and like when you do all things for the first time I was anxious I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’d look bad. Hello ego.

Now I had been on and off yoga mats for years trying out different styles but I hadn’t found one that spoke to me, hadn’t committed to any one lineage and didn’t have a consistent practice. So at the first class one of the first exercises was to sit in easy pose, cross legged and hold your arms straight out to the side palms facing up, eyes closed as you do in KY, eyes focused at the 3rd eye point and I thought - phew I can do this. I was all pleased with myself my ego was feeling a little puffed up and that was grand until a minute or two in it felt like the himalayas had landed on each of my arms and I was feeling the weight of it, but I kept going and those mountains got heavier and I thought maybe i missed the instruction.

But I didn’t understand this sneaky little concept yet, so I opened an eye and sneaked a look around - all students had arms out so I closed my eyes again

They don’t tell you how long you’ll be there, the idea is you move you beyond time and space as you learn to surrender and trust this too will pass but my mind was racing and my body was aching

So i looked about again bloody hell every one still had arms out

Then i turned my attention to the teacher who i had thought was a really nice woman - until now - when the f*** was she going to let me put my aching arms down. and then the thought occurred that i could put my hands down at any time.

No one was forcing me to keep doing this - and this awareness of how i was pleasing the teacher. I didn’t to appear weak, then i realised it was me i was competing against, not the others and as soon as i opened my eyes that’s what i was doing so i decided i could do this and for sure it tested me and still does.

This can also be applied to your life how long before you give up when no one is looking and how much you stay in the game because of how you want to appear to others

So dignity is when you get into action and relaise how damn hard it is to keep the commitments you make to yourself. We’ll get to the ones you make to others in a moment. We have established by keeping these commitments you build your character.

Now just so you know this is best approached as an experiment, you will experience great success and abysmal failure as you come into awareness about how you show up for yourself and others.

You are coming into awareness of who you are and how you walk your talk.

Let me repeat that

Treat everything as an experiment.

You’re gathering data here. You’re in the great big laboratory that is your life. You’re deciding the boundaries, the rules, where you’ll direct your resources to realise the outcomes you want.

You will always have more information after you try something than before. After that yoga class I realsied how competitive I was with others and that it was fun to be competitive with myself.

As always opposites are on an axis and mostly you’re notice your results are somewhere in between. This is the brand gap is between what you say you do and will do and what you actually do. This is where there’s room for improvements. Can I remind you a vision is not a place to be but a distant horizon that calls you into your future one milestone, one step, one moment at a time

Every experience is an accomplishment whether it’s a success or failure or somewhere on the axis in between.

I don’t know about you but I have come to relaise that showing up for the commitments I have made to myself are the hardest - we’re all so wired for looking good so we’re far more likely to keep our commitments to others than ourselves. But the promises i keep to myself those ones are the ones that have the biggest impact on my life

You see, life is the compound interest on what you do every day but it is who you are being that is whom you become.

So dignity you earn - it’s you, walking your talk whether there’s someone looking or not. It’s you earning your respect by being worthy of this honour and respect. ANd as you bestow it one yourself of course you’ll also see it reflected in your external world. Others will experience this dignity in you as you decide what you can rely on yourself for and they will come to knwo what they can rely on your for. You’re building your credibility, your value, your brand.

At this stage in the 7 step process, you’re still not certain you can do this yet.

It’s the apprentice stage you’re looking around at all these people who seem to be able to show up with consistency and ease. You’re in the compare contrast mode that you’ll never win. As soon as you compare yourself to others you’ll always feel like you’re the novice - because there’s always someone who further along on their path than you.

I recall at the end of the first week of teacher training and the teacher saying ‘promising’ about everyone’s efforts that week. I sensed this wry subtle smile in his tone. He was saying nice start let’s see if you can keep it up. We were given a 2.5 hour practice to do every day for the next 40 days starting with a 4 minute cold shower at dawn. WTF

We were building a daily practice and discovering if we had the grit to keep at it.

A good metaphor is like becoming a parent. You’ve gotten pregnant, you’re delighted and everyone around you is too. You’ve made it through the birth and now you have this tiny thing you have to take care of, that you’re responsible for. If you’re lucky there’s two of you in it and if you’re really lucky there’s a family and village to help you but for now it comes back to you. You’ve got this living breathing thing and you’ve got to keep it alive by feeding it, cleaning it, making sure it gets its rest stimulation. And you’ve got to take of yourself.

At first you’re afraid you’ll break it but as it grows there are moments where you’ll feel like breaking it - not really but it’ll test your patience - no matter what you do it won’t stop crying, no matter what you do it won’t do as you tell it to. You discover this thing you produced has a will of its own and it will not bend to your damni it. It will not comply with your agenda. Sweet divine mother of god and this parenting thing is relentless and you’ve see at least the 18 years stretching in front of you as this dark abyss. And so you begin to learn about surrender, giving up what no longer matters, prioritising what does - SLEEP - being in the now, being present, learning to pick your battles.

You’re learning patience and of course as soon as they smile or hug you, you melt and forget about all the transgressions, the tension dissolves in your body, and you love it so much you could eat it.

And there are days in between the perfect instagram posts that you feel exhausted, you scream, you shout, you walk into another room, you long for some peace and quiet, some you time, some moment where you can return it from whence it came or you could hand it over to someone else. And in between these thoughts you feel guilty for even thinking this. How could you think this about your beautiful child who irritates the f*** out of you. You must be a bad mother, father or maybe you’re just a bad person. People who see you on instagram, on the street at parties thinking you’re doing a reat job but you feel like the biggest fraud. Only 2 minutes before you arrived you were screaming at your partner - scowling at your child.

How long can you keep this pretense up.

How do these other people do it how have generations of people done it you feel isolated and alone but hey step back a minute and look at yourself - you are doing it you are showing up the child is still alive and mostly it’s kinda cute and happy - well some of the time anyway and it is growing and even thriving

You see this can be applied to being a young creative when you think everyone seems to be able to churn out ideas faster, better and more original than yours, or a new manager maybe one elevating from being a creative to being a creative director, or a young doctor, yoga teacher, carpenter. We’ve all been there. Now you’re no longer on the tools but managing those damn creatives insert profession/trade who are -

Now everyone seems to be able to problem solve better or analyse allocate the resources faster and more effectively to get the best outcome.

Top tip - keep going, practice makes progress remember when you were the young mother or the young creative - we’re all making it up at first, trying failing trying geting part of it right, trying again. We’re always apprenticing to something, just like we’re on top of other things and somethings are no longer useful so we let them go.

Dignity comes from the discipline of showing up to practice whatever you are choosing to do, regardless of how you feel.

You are learning to serve the master not the moment.

You are committed to your future SELF not how you are feeling in this moment. You are committed to your infinite game, to being a benefactor of your future self. And as you do this consistently you are learning how quickly you can shift your energy for the better, how quickly you forget about your shitty mood once you get down to work. If you’re smart you’re also learning energetic tools that can change it fast and give you the boost you need to get you into the head space you need to be in to be most effective.

You’re learning what works for you and what doesn’t, what you prioritise and what inspires and motivates you to keep going, how much rest you need, how much play, how much time you’re willing to trade for the house, the clothes, trips, experiences you enjoy

You’re learning what environments, what kind of people, work, places, experiences inspire and delight you. You’re becoming an expert in you. You’re learning what you will delightedly and willingly show up for, when you feel expanded or contracted.

When and where and how to stand up for yourself and what to let slide because it just doesn’t matter.

You’re likely learning through these experiments where you spend your time, energy and resources and where your beliefs are different to what you thought you believed, what others might have suggested your values, beliefs are and what’s good for you.

Remember you are not here to live someone else’s dream.

Meanwhile you are becoming an energy manager on your way to becoming an energetic master. Our society has sold us that we need to manage our time to be more productive but as the yogis have known for aeons it’s energy that needs our attention so we align the tasks to our energy to get things done in way less time.

In your day to day you’re learning you still take care of your child even when you’re tired or you’d rather sleep in. You’re learning that your morning meditation helps you get through your day kinder and with more ease. You realise a little time preparing for the meeting means you’re less anxious and your contribution will be more considered and valuable. You’re learning to negotiate and schedule time for yourself because you’re better when you’re rested. You are experimenting with how often you need to make time for just you and your partner to connect beyond the pressures of work and life needs. You’re learning you really care about seeing your friends regularly without children. You may be learning you’d prefer a movie and takeout and the stress of organising and going to a restaurant is just not worth it or you love to get away. You’re learning you’d rather more time than the stress of more clients and more money or you set up your business so you can scale up scale back depending on the demands of your life at the time. You’re learning the more you are clear on who you are and what you want the easier it is to ask for it and create strategies to make it happen.

And as you’re learning you beginning to believe you have got this, you can do this. You stand a little straighter, you hold you head a little higher as you practice and you make progress. You know at first you were experimenting, trying it out, but now it’s your become more comfortable, you have the systems, process and practice to find your flow within it. You can feel the difference in your nervous system. You’re less anxious, there’s fear of failure. You’re clearer in your YEs and way clearer in your NOs. There’s less proving and more space for exploration. You’re less concerned about getting it right and more about trying new techniques and tools. You can stretch beyond your comfort zone because you’re trust yourself your process and your practice and know it delivers.

You’re learning what tools work for you and how to how to apply your tools and techniques more effectively. You learning how your mindset follows your energy - what works and what doesn’t. You’re beginning to acknowledge that outsourcing your happiness makes you dependent and reactionary to others moods, actions and their validation. You realise the cost of this and when you do it you find yourself back at square one but because of your disciplines and devotions you recover faster.

Can you see how the yamas and niyamas are at work here. By treating yourself and others with respect, kindness, and compassion you are cultivating a sense of dignity that will benefit all aspects of your life.

  1. Satya - Truthfulness: Being truthful and honest with yourself and others is a fundamental pillar of earning dignity. As a successful and ambitious creative leader or entreprenuer, you know your integrity and reputation are essential. And honesty starts with self, then with others as the foundation of self-respect and respect from others.

  2. Ahimsa - Nonviolence: Respecting the rights and boundaries of others is critical to showing dignity. In a high-achieving environment, it can be tempting to trample over others to get what you want. However, by practicing nonviolence, you demonstrate respect for others' rights and space, and you become a better and more respected leader.

  3. Asteya - Nonstealing: Honoring others' is an important aspect of dignity. You are successful and ambitious because you work hard for what you have. Therefore, it is essential to honor others' efforts in the same way. By avoiding taking credit for others work or what does not belong to you, you show respect for others and their belongings.

  4. Brahmacharya - Moderation: Practicing self-control and moderation is at the centre of the discipline of freedom. You are succeed because you know how to apply yourself and focus on your goals. balance is a crucial element here. Whether with work, relationships, or personal affairs, the mantra everything in moderation and even moderation in moderation applies here showing respect for yourself and others

  5. Aparigraha - Non-attachment: Relationships to material possessions, people, and outcomes are part of the human experience however non-attachment to these allows energy to flow and displays dignity. Leeting go of the need to control and possess you show respect for the natural flow of life and honor your true self.

  6. Saucha - Cleanliness: Maintaining a level of elegance and beauty in your physical body and space reflects your dignity. As a successful woman, taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and puyschically serves you and others well.

  7. Santosha - Contentment: Being able to hold the space for joy and contentment under all circumstances is a challenge for all of us. It brings us into the present where we can be all in and not attached to a future outcome. You have worked hard for your success, but sustainable joy and happiness is found in the here and now. This inner confidence and contentment shows you hold yourself in high regard, radiates positivity to all who encounter you and magnetises those who resonate with your vibration.

By incorporating these Yamas and Niyamas into your life, you can cultivate a sense of dignity that will benefit all areas of your life, including your work, relationships, play and wellbeing.

So that’s dignity for you We'll talk about divinity next week. It's not what you think :-)

Until next time, my wish for you is moments of where you're feeling it, your pure and absolute dignity

If you love these themes and topics there are two ways to work with me and some tools you can use in your day to day.

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