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  • Writer's pictureFrancesca Matteoda

“Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life” – Mark Twain

This post is a self-reminder about staying positive. I’ve been going through dark times recently, maybe some of you have too, so I hope this post will help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel if you are struggling, or help you stay on the right path if you are not.

I’d like to start by saying that I was very proud of myself for how I handled lockdown. All around me, friends and family were really struggling with having to stay indoors 24/7, but despite the harsh conditions we set down at home (eating separately, sleeping separately, no physical contact whatsoever) I thrived during lockdown. I went on a diet and lost 10 kg, I resumed my daily yoga habit that had been put on the back burner due to other, more pressing events, I started meditating every day again (yet another habit that I’d dropped out of in the previous months) and generally felt really good about myself, although naturally there was the odd day here and there where I’d feel a bit fed up with the situation.

The state of emergency lasted just over 3 months in Spain, and just as we started having a little more freedom, I started to crumble. It was gentle at first, a few days of not feeling very happy, moments of frustration here and there, but gradually these “off moments” started happing with relative frequency. I’d catch myself getting caught up in gloomy thoughts, I stopped meditating daily. I didn’t decide to stop, it just happened. I started arguing with my mother and my husband, I went from moments of complete apathy to utter frustration at not being able to go on holiday or live my life as I would like to. I hit the bottom on August 1st, when Facebook kindly reminded me of all the holiday photos I had posted on that same date in previous years, and to top it all I had a huge bust up with my mum. It was (almost) entirely my fault, I overreacted and all but bit her head off. We’ve made up since, but this sudden outburst of rage and the subsequent flood of tears and feeling of guilt really got me thinking. And then, by chance (as if there is anything like chance!) this morning I came across the aforementioned quote by Mark Twain, which I think is absolutely marvellous. If you start your day feeling miserable and allowing negative thoughts to take over, you are not giving yourself the chance to have a good day.

What constitutes a good day? Obviously, the answer is subjective. In my book, right now, a superb day is one where I get out to the park for a walk before it’s too hot, do some yoga, meditate, and manage a dip in the pool, but it’s difficult to fit all those things in and work, clean the house, look after your elderly mum, cook all the meals, etc., so for now, I’m happy if I manage to get some yoga and meditation in, and either a walk in the park or a dip in the pool. However, what’s really important, is that I’ve decided not to beat myself up about it if I don’t manage. Sometimes things go wrong and you have to change your plans. The great thing about yoga is that it improves your physical flexibility, but also works on your mental flexibility, so after years of practice it gets easier to adapt to changing situations and to accept them (doesn’t mean you love them, but you just get on with things). I think that’s why I coped so well during lockdown. So now I hear you asking, why did I throw a wobbly yesterday if yoga is so wonderful and I am so flexible? Well, I’m only human  And yoga isn’t a miracle cure for anything. It helps tremendously on all fronts (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional) but it is not miraculous (despite some claims I’ve read from dubious gurus around the world).

I think I’ve been rambling long enough. I hope that all of you and your loved ones are well and happy, but if you are not, then please take some time for introspection, do some yoga, and never forget that there’s always sunshine after rain, no matter how long the thunderstorm lasts.



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