When I first started meditating, I mocked the notion of a mantra. A lot.
I thought the whole idea was silly, contrived and sort of pretentious. And then I (finally ) began my morning meditation practice and quickly learned a mantra was the one thing that tamed my monkey mind.
Try as I might to quiet my thoughts, the only way I could focus and empty my head was through chanting a phrase. A mantra.
Flash forward to motherhood. While I didn’t mock the ‘hood as I had the mantra, I definitely entered this phase of life less prepared than I could have been. I had zero clue parenting one tiny human would be as stressful as it was and I quickly saw I possessed few skills for self-soothing in this new situation. I was overwhelmed and felt I had only two options: fall apart or fall back on what I already knew worked to calm me.
I knew this personal mantra would be different from my meditation mantra (I needed this one to soothe yet energize me ) and still, in a small way, be the same. A group of words capable of creating transformation. A snippet of phrase that empowered me to create the life I desired. The profound difference with my new, personal mantra was it reminded me I could make it through challenging moments.
My first personal mantra was pretty self-explanatory: You got this.
It perfectly worked in all situations (colic, teething, colic, lack of sleep, colic, etc.) — until it didn’t any longer. My daughter grew. I went back to work. Our lives were still hectic and at times stressful, but the type of frazzle had changed. It was then I realized personal mantras need to be fluid.
You got this no longer worked. I needed more and I needed different.
My new personal mantra originated from my yoga practice. It’s a reminder for me to breathe into challenging situations and not to fight them. Its repetition-reminder no matter how challenging a moment in life may feel, it isn’t forever.
My new personal mantra is: It’s just a hard pose.
Many days I use it more than I’d like. All days I’m grateful I have it at the ready to carry me through stressful periods.
Personal mantras are highly personal (hence the name, huh?) but there are 3 Tips I offer when asked how I created mine:
1. Make it a phrase you’d actually say/use. No stilted, Shakespearean language unless that’s how you speak on a daily basis. Slang, etc. is welcomed.
2. Make it positive. Use positive phrasing (I’m a rockin’ mom instead of I won’t yell at my kids) makes all the difference.
3. Use your mantra consistently. Unlike some things which, when overused, lose efficacy - personal mantras grow more powerful from use.
Do you rely on a personal mantra? How has it worked for you?
Are you now sparked to create your own? What might your words or phase be?