NOTE: This is a guest blog by the inspiring Michelle Ghilotti!
You could say I DIG kindness because I’m a yogi, a Mom or because I was picked on in seventh grade.
The truth: I really DIG kindness because I developed a practice of kindness in the most profound way:I gave it to myself.
I suffered from severe post-partum depression and decided to try my first down-dog. That’s when I met my medicine.
I breathed deeper in my first practice than I had in almost a year. I had been beating myself up since I had given birth. I shouldn’t be feeling this way. I’m doing this or that WRONG. y child is losing because of me, etc. etc.But the more I released into how hard the practices were on my physical body, the more I flowed in and out of class to my gorgeous imperfection.
It was through this love affair with yoga that I opened myself to the teachings of “ahimsa” or non-harming. Loving leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King based their lives on this idea. As a loving leader with my own eight-pound “cause” I thought I needed to take ahimsa in as well and not harbor ill will…towards myself.
Because anti-bullying is not always about standing up to others. It can be about standing up to yourself. It’s about getting in control of your narrative. And that’s what I realized on the mat.
It had to start with me.
I got control of my narrative by creating “Momtras.” Heard of mantras? The phrases you repeat to focus your mind on what you want to bring into your life? Well, Momtras are the same thing just focused on helping you be the Mom you want to be.I created these fruitful phrases and realized quickly they were helping me do a very important thing: chase negative thoughts with more positive ones. “It’s like a kindness system,” I thought.
What’s now a tattered, seven-year-old piece of cardstock holds the Momtras that helped me focus my compassion. They still live in my wallet as a loving reminder of the seasons of life and my perfect imperfection. Because to say that we as Mothers and leaders are perfect is a myth.
We lead best when we channel our inner guru. We hold power in our thoughts. We can choose those that bully, or those that BEAM and cheerlead us the entire way, through it all.
Today, my kindness campaign continues. As a “Walking Momtra” I choose thoughts with a focus on what I need to bring into the present moment. It’s from this base that I can then affect the happiness of everyone I love.
In digging deep, I found a self-love that continues to bring me and my family tremendous joy.