In the Toronto TEDx talk by Drew Dudley, he explains that we all have immense power to be leaders everyday through lollipop moments. Dudley defines a lollipop moment as one “where someone said or did something that you feel fundamentally made your life better.” As a yoga professional, you’re in the position to create these lollipop moments for others on a regular basis.
This happened for me over a decade ago during a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Brazil. At the time, I was undergoing immense personal turmoil, and the strict guidelines to remain quiet only amplified that upset. My nervous thoughts now came screaming to the forefront of my mind in the quiet. After three days of being miserable, I made an appointment to see the teacher.
This older, reserved man in his late sixties greeted me with calm, peaceful eyes at our arranged time. The words I spoke to him were the first I had uttered in over 52 hours, and I began to tell the story of my sadness. I expressed that I surely must be in the wrong place if this much anguish and confusion was being experienced. Then, his words back to me (thankfully in English instead of Portuguese) are forever etched in my mind:
“My child, do not worry. You are meant to be here.”
I’m not sure what he said after that, but in my heart, I knew he was right. I decided to grit my way through the program. This perseverance softened into actual enjoyment of the stillness, and the silence created a distinct separation between who I am as a person and that of any passing circumstance in which I might find myself at any given moment. In that space and clarity, I realized my power. I realized my ability to make choices along my path. And, I was able to memorize a pattern of true alignment which could sustain me through emotional ups and downs in the future.
I’ve never seen that man again, nor do I even know his name. Yet his kind and guiding words were a lollipop moment in my life. Dudley proposes that most times we don’t even recognize the effect our words have on others. He challenges us to recognize the moments when they appear for us and to thank those who have made a difference in our lives. What he doesn’t discuss, probably because he only had 6 minutes on stage, is how we can be the vessel through which those moments are created for others. The rest of this post will explain just how that’s possible.
Photo Credit: Raw Pixel
THE BASIS OF A LOLLIPOP MOMENT
There are two main components of the lollipop moment that Dudley describes in his talk. First, there is a speaker who verbalizes words of wisdom or truth. Secondly, there is another individual who is able to receive this new idea or thought, and internalize it.
In order to make this lollipop moment life-altering, it helps for the speaker and receiver to be in alignment. But what does that mean?
The word alignment often conjures pictures of anatomical safety in yoga postures, such as keeping your front knee over the ankle in Warrior 2. Or, it might bring to mind having your shoulders back and down, with the collarbone broad while standing in Tadasana. While the intentional positioning of the body can lead to a safe physical practice of yoga, the word alignment extends to more than just the shapes you take in each asana.
Alignment is when you are:
- Connected to the best version of yourself
- Tapped into a power greater than yourself (whether you call it God, Spirit, or the Divine)
- Able to clearly see who you are and where you are going
- Appreciating yourself and your life
- Able to receive answers and solutions
- True to yourself
- Able to choose your next move, instead of reactively responding to your surroundings
- Satisfied in the moment, and
- Able to offer your own vibration, thoughts, and expressions despite circumstances
Essentially, when you are in a state of alignment, you are focused in the present moment and confidently aware of who you are and who you are becoming.
Photo Credit: Alicia Jones
THE VALUE OF ALIGNMENT
Alignment, as described above, basically comes from your connection to the flow of life Energy, or Prana. Consider how you would make some avocado toast for breakfast. You would pull out the toaster, set it on the counter, and then plug it into the electrical power source before expecting your bread to transform into toast. In reference to the lollipop moments, the toaster is the speaker and the bread is the receiver. But, in order for a change to occur, there must be a power source. Alignment is your connection to such a current.
When you are in alignment, so many wonderful results can occur.
Benefits of Alignment:
- Receive answers to questions
- Discover solutions to problems
- Decide your next move with clarity
- Feel empowered to make choices, instead of a victim to your surroundings
- Allow the evolution of yourself and others
- See the best in yourself in others
- Build momentum toward your goals and dreams
- Access the wisdom of the Universe, and
- Feel light, free, and confident on your journey
You might have experienced alignment at points in your yoga practice, or even that sweetness at the end of a long savasana. Because yoga uses conscious breathing techniques and physical asana to shift the prana in your being, you are more able to find alignment on your mat. As a teacher, you hold the safe space for others to find this alignment. And, you lead classes that help them remember what this alignment feels like so they can tap into it long after they leave the studio.
When you tap into the power of your own alignment and invite others to step into their greatness in such a space, the perfect foundation for lollipop moments to occur has been created.
Photo Credit: Casey Brooke Photography
CREATE FROM YOUR PLACE OF POWER
Through your connection with the love and appreciation of Source energy, you are capable of creating lollipop moments and meaningful interactions. While you might not be able to perfectly coordinate the place and timing of such events, getting into alignment prepares you to be ready whenever the moment arises.
When you choose to be in alignment, you are more aware of the words you are speaking and able to hear what others are saying. In your conscious positioning to make a difference, you embody a leader. This everyday stance of being a leader extends beyond results. Instead, you know your power to create, uplift, encourage, energize, and inspire. All of this power is generated from your alignment. Here are some simple ways to tap into it this week:
Find your Flow
The flow state, where you feel a sense of expansion and effortlessness, is another way to describe alignment. You might amplify the flow state for yourself when you are teaching, but there are lots of other ways to do so. It could be doing any activity that brings you great joy, like gardening or riding your motorcycle or playing with your grandchildren. See if you can fold some enjoyable moments in your everyday life that enhance your flow, and observe how your increased creativity, productivity and energy from alignment spill positively into your relationships as a natural result.
Say Thank You
Have you experienced a lollipop moment, where someone said or did something that changed your perspective or opened your eyes to what’s possible for you? If so, did you thank the person? I had another lollipop moment one morning when I was walking my dog down our quiet, tree-lined street in the mountains. My neighbor came out and we started chatting about life. My mother-in-law had just recently transitioned into non-physical and I was in a reflective, emotional state. She gave me a big hug–the authentic kind where it feels like you are being wrapped in a warm blanket by someone else’s loving arms.
She did nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, she might have gone the rest of her life not knowing the impact that one hug had on me. In this case, I didn’t even remember her exact words of comfort. I sent her a hand-written note to say how much that interaction meant to me. And, in doing so, I was able to confirm her powerful nature.
If you have contact with the person, or people, who have uplifted your life, consider telling them so today. It could be a letter, phone call, or email. And, if not (like in the case of my silent retreat), write a thank-you note in your journal. In doing so, you amplify the potency of alignment within yourself.
Immerse yourself in Leadership Ideas
A great leader is often defined by their capacity to hold a vision for the future and inspire other people to engage with that vision. But, as Dudley pointed out, many great leaders also uplift others in their everyday interactions. This level of leadership then becomes like an act of breathing–like it’s part of you and your DNA. One of the best ways to make this transition is to fill your mind with leadership ideas. This includes reading books like The Captain Class, Herding Tigers, and The Advantage.
What books do you recommend for other everyday leaders out there? Please share some in our comments section below.
Photo Credit: Neel Raj
ENJOY THE RECEPTIVE MODE
Lollipop moments are co-creative experiences and hearing from a place of alignment is just as important as creating from one. This receptive mode is a place where you are under the influence of appreciation and satisfaction. It’s where you are clear in the moment, and unconcerned with the outcome. Most importantly, it’s a place where you enjoy the benefit of being uplifted by those around you–both in physical form and spiritual nature. Some simple ways to ensure you’re able to receive this support are as follows:
Laugh out Loud
Laughter arises from the element of surprise in our lives. Usually, we think we know how the world works and what outcomes to expect based on our current perceptions. Yet, when we get caught off guard–in a good way–laughter breaks the limiting beliefs we hold about any given subject. In this moment of surprise, we activate the receptive mode.
Notice what makes you laugh this week. Purposefully watch a funny movie with a friend or family member. Infuse a little humor into your yoga classes. Have fun with your practice and with your loved ones. Most importantly, notice what new thoughts and insights arise from this expansive place.
Activate your Listening Skills
There is a common quote that says, “you have two ears and one mouth so that you can listen twice as much as you speak.” Said another way, when you are too busy speaking, you make new information impossible to receive. Some simple ways to activate your skills of listening include:
- Schedule time to meditate daily
- Focus on asking questions in your conversations
- Write a question in your journal before bed, and notice what new thoughts arise the next day
- Include moments of silence in your yoga classes
With a clear intention to receive messages of love and growth, and some conscious steps to listen more attentively to those messages, you’ll be amazed at the information you’ll receive to support you on the next step of your path.
The purpose of meditation is to shift your focus from the thoughts that normally fill your mind to the quiet, inner wisdom of love, peace, and knowing. Meditation can be easily incorporated into your daily life by setting aside a few minutes to give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to not think about anything or make anything happen. Enjoy the fact that you don’t have to solve any problems or answer any questions. Then, in the freedom that is experienced there, your natural rhythm of wellbeing can rise to the surface. It also puts you in the beautiful place to receive messages you most want, and need, to hear at the moment.
Photo Credit: Redd Angelo
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
You have immense power in your words and actions to influence those around you. When you take the time to find your alignment first, you amplify your ability to connect, inspire, and uplift others. You don’t have to do something huge or monumental to be an everyday leader. Just show up. Be yourself. Trust the process. And stay in tune with who you are as a magnificent spiritual being.
Do you have a lollipop moment that greatly changed your perspective or life path? We’d love to hear about it! Please send us an email, or leave a comment in the section below!
Here’s to a week ahead of meaningful interactions… and then next week, we’ll cover how to take this intentionality and integrity into your yoga agreements.
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