How to Turn the Bad into the Good. ~ Sufey Suryanandi

Via elephant journal
on Oct 18, 2012
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Photo credit: manop

The sun shines on everyone and the rain falls on all of us, too.

There will always be days that are cold and gray. There will always be obstacles, worries and fears.

But how we choose to interpret our world is entirely in our hands. Thunder and lightning don’t judge you. They just do their job. You can fear them, hide away and scowl darkly as the clouds…or you can have a cup of hot cocoa and dance wildly in the rain!

So for those gloomy, doomy days…

1. Go back to gratitude. No matter how badly things are going, we usually still have it pretty good. I like to remind myself that I’m pretty darn lucky to be breathing. I drop everything else and indulge in a big, juicy breath of air. Maybe a few more. Ahh.

Divert your attention to something to be grateful for: sunshine, functioning lungs, freedom of speech, shavasana, pianos, coconuts, happy babies—whatever you enjoy is fine. Just de-prioritize the pain for a moment. Think of something nice.

2. Detach and surrender. Don’t take anything personally. If somebody lashes out at you, it speaks more about who they are than you. Accept their emotions with compassion. Nobody has the power to make you miserable.

If it’s just a series of unfortunate circumstances, realize that it probably won’t matter in a week, a month or a year—so why let it bother you now?

So you had a flat tire and missed an important meeting. So someone spilt coffee over your brand new white shirt. So your lover left you. So you sliced open your finger and you’re bleeding all over the new carpet.

Just breathe. Let it go. Cry if you want to. Maybe call an ambulance. It’s no biggie. You’re still a good person, even if you’re late, dirty, heartbroken and missing a finger. Forgive yourself. Forgive others.

3. Learn the lesson. If you live with constant appreciation for all, bad days are rare. If something is consistently negative, it’s time for change. Self-reflect. Make goals. Baby steps rock.

If you’re late, do something to be on time. Set your clock ahead. If you’re too busy and overwhelmed, cut something out. Learn to say no. If your relationships with others are in turmoil, analyze the problem in a positive manner. Instead of “I should have” try “what will I do better next time?”

Prioritize your wellbeing. Write it down.

Be aware of the energy you put out into the world. The people around you are a reflection of who you are, so choose your surroundings wisely. Be kind. Be honest. If you screw up, apologize. Learn. Move on.

4. Embrace opportunities. Bad things happen to good people for good reasons. Take them as a chance to spice up your routine, see from a new perspective or grow into someone even better than your already awesome self.

I really did slice my finger to the bone this week. It was scary and painful and I was frustrated that I couldn’t do my regular asana practice. But I realized it was a sign to rest more, so I spent the extra time in meditation, pranayama, napping and reading “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”. I gave thanks for the healing process. It was blissful.

Think of every experience as a wonderful challenge on this epic adventure of life. Own it, baby. Remember, you’re never given more than you can handle. So if it was a tough week, the universe must think you’re pretty badass, and I think you’re pretty badass, too. Keep on rockin’ this world.

Sufey is one happy little yogini. She’s very grateful for sunshine, coconuts, baby brothers and daily blessings from the universe. She would love to connect with you on her website, Facebook or Twitter. Om shanti!


Editor: Jamie Morgan

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18 Responses to “How to Turn the Bad into the Good. ~ Sufey Suryanandi”

  1. greateacher says:

    I appreciate that the author is taking a risk to write.

    I find lack of depth in use of so many platitudes and that everything has a lesson in it. I challenge the author to live through years of serious illness and then blithely tell people to be positive and that their energy is a reflection of them. Serious debilitating illness or injjury leaves people wrung out and in times when lawsuits are involved stress, strain, strange twists with auto insurance of the hit and run driver to the injured driver who cant work and in serious pain take stamina and deep long time which little platitudes to be cheerful fall as though whips on already searing bare open flesh wounds.

  2. sufey says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, what strength you must have to survive that. I send only love and great respect your way.

  3. staceyp says:

    Lovely. Your positivity is refreshing.

  4. sufey says:

    I appreciate the kind comment! Thank you for reading. 🙂

  5. emma says:

    youre so cute i miss you

  6. Duncan says:

    love that you practice what you preach

  7. Michael says:

    Sufey, you are a living example that positivity positively affects everyone around you. Keep it up.

  8. sufey says:

    As are you, thank you for making me smile! Blessings! <3

  9. Timmy_Robins says:

    The perfect recipe for happiness …or denial.

    I have to agree with greatteacher here … I dont think you would have the same cheerful , naive attitude if you actually had experienced the really bad , awful things that life brings to ones door sometimes.

    You should try hanging out with cancer patients or burn victims sometime …you´ll see how silly all this fluffy bunny new age stuff really is .

  10. sufey says:

    I agree that my positive experience with life has gifted me with a cheerful, naive attitude. I am very thankful for this attitude every day.

    This silly fluffy bunny new age stuff (gratitude, compassion, self-reflection) seems to work pretty well for me and for the countless other inspirational individuals (both throughout history and alive today) who taught me their ways. Some of them have suffered similarly traumatizing experiences as what you've described above and became stronger because of what they went through.

    I don't understand how analyzing your personal struggles, accepting them, and using them as an opportunity for growth is comparable to denial. I’d be happy to hear your explanation.

    Sri Swami Satchidananda is much more eloquent than I. This is what he said in reference to yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ (the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga) in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:

    “The entire outside world is based on your thoughts and mental attitude. The entire world is your own projection. Your values may change within a fraction of a second. If we remember that, we won’t put so much stress on outward things.

    That is why Yoga does not bother much about changing the outside world. There is a Sanskrit saying, “Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha mokshayoho.” “As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind.” If you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated, you are liberated. Things outside neither bound nor liberate you; only your attitude toward them does that.

    That is why whenever I speak to prison inmates I say, “You all feel you are imprisoned and anxiously wait to get outside these walls. But look at the guards. Are they not like you? They are also within the same walls. Even though they are let out at night, every morning you see them back here. They love to come, you would love to get out. The enclosure is the same. To them it is not a prison, to you it is. Why? Is there any change in the walls? No, you feel it is a prison; they feel it is a place to work and earn. It is the mental attitude. If, instead of imprisonment, you think of this as a place for your reformation where an opportunity has been given you to change your attitude in life, to reform and purify yourself, you will love to be here until you feel purified. Even if they say, “Your time is over; you can go”, you may say, “I am still not purified, Sir. I want to be here for some more time.”” In fact, many such prisoners continued to lead a Yogic life even after they left prison, and they were even thankful for their prison life.

    So, if you want to have control over the thought forms and change them as you want, you are not bound by the outside world. There’s nothing wrong with the world. You can make it a heaven or a hell according to your approach. That is why the entire Yoga is based on chitta vritti nirodhah. If you control your mind, you have controlled everything. Then there is nothing in this world to bind you.”

    We see the world through our own lenses. We can choose to suffer or to find joy. Isn’t that a wonderful, empowering thought?

    I believe in seeing beauty, or at least opportunity, in every moment. I believe in choosing to be happy.

    I know that happy people make me happy. I know that my attitude positively influences those around me. I don’t see any great value I would bring in being more cynical and negative about life.

    If this is your idea of silly and naïve, I am all the more glad to be young, inexperienced, and unwise. I hope I never grow up to be broken or jaded regardless of what happens in the future.

    Thanks for contributing to the rich discussion, Timmy! My blessings to you. ☺

  11. Timmy_Robins says:

    I guess in such a relativistic approach to life anything goes . I think it works more as a brainwash that gives you the illusion of immutability than as a tool for self analisis . The immutable being 'everything is good', 'no biggie' , basic goodness, etc …
    But I actually think this attitude is dishonest , emotions have a biological basis therefore there is no such thing as not feeling negative emotions ,they cant be avoided. You can work on how to act on them that is true.

    The fact that you seem to be so afraid of negativity just shows how this philosophy is based on fear and not on acceptance.

    Your story about you talking to prisoners doesnt sound very believable but in case you didnt get it from a book then:

    I actually think that your approach to the prisoners is condescending and it just shows your lack of understanding of what being locked up really is like and at the same time your superficial , simplistic rationalization fails to acknowledge the feelings of the prisoners themselves which I think is really sad and offensive.

    This actually shows how this relativistic philosophy keeps you out of touch from the realities of others. I don think you are helping them , you are not showing them how to work with their negative emotions , you are just showing them how to deny them.

    You are not actually listening to them , you are indoctrinating them , brain washing them into thinking that being in jail is no biggie.

    How do you know what compassion is like when you dont know what undiluted , raw suffering is???

    The fact that this philosophy is based on a total denial of an objective reality makes it a useless tool to understand the suffering of others. It also ignores the biological basis of emotions and mind and therefore lacks a complete understanding of how and why emotions and thoughts arise.

    "This silly fluffy bunny new age stuff (gratitude, compassion, self-reflection) seems to work pretty well for me and for the countless other inspirational individuals (both throughout history and alive today) who taught me their ways. Some of them have suffered similarly traumatizing experiences as what you've described above and became stronger because of what they went through."

    They can teach you a lot of things but their experiences are not yours, so that is just borrowed knowledge.

    Finally , I have to say this is just my opinion so no biggie ehh?? 🙂

  12. sufey says:

    Thanks for the reply Timmy! I appreciate your opinion on this.

    Not everything is good, you are absolutely right there. There is pain, there is suffering. I'm not saying to deny what you feel. It's fine to cry, scream, to be angry, sad and depressed. We must feel these emotions in order to appreciate the good ones. However, eventually there comes a time to let go and move on, or to take these experiences and see them as a tool for bettering yourself rather than a shameful crutch to be victimized by.

    The intention of this post was to be lighthearted and ease up unnecessary day-to-day problems many burden themselves with, not to deal with the extreme cases that you describe. I will never experience the same life as anybody else, nor will I ever understand completely what they have gone through. I don't judge anybody by how they interpret the world. All I can do is keep an open mind and offer a helping hand in my simple, superficial way.

    The story about talking to prisoners is not mine, hence the quotation marks at the beginning and end of the excerpt. It is from Sri Swami Satchidananda's commentary on The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Yes, it may be an overly simplistic take on the whole situation, but the message is strong. I’ve explained moving on enough up above so I won’t re-address it. It may take years to come to terms with personal struggles. It may take a lifetime or more.

    But it’s a lovely thing to be able to find moments of pure joy within simple things: the curves of an apple tree, the soft hum of busy bees, the way a drink of water tickles your throat as it slides down to your tummy.

    In having gratitude for little things, every small detail can become a source of comfort, and life is more enjoyable. In having gratitude for obstacles in our life, the challenges become much more bearable.

    I wish you a beautiful day with the whole of my simple, silly, naïve and relentlessly cheerful heart. Om shanti and good morning!

  13. Timmy_Robins says:

    Oh , sorry didnt see the quotation marks , it was a large quote . 😉

    I totally agree with you , moving on is important.

    "But it's a lovely thing to be able to …." Couldnt agree more .

    Have a great day too!! 🙂

  14. sufey says:

    Thank you kind sir!! <3

  15. Timmy_Robins says:

    I must admit that arguing with a lovely person like you is really hard! 😀 )))))))

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