Here at THE/THIRTY, we believe in the power of intention and self-love. Self-love wears many coats. Sometimes it looks like forgiveness—for yourself and for others; sometimes it looks like accountability; at times it looks like rest; other times it looks like movement. But the key to self-love in all its forms is quiet self-awareness. You have to be with yourself before you know yourself. After this self-knowledge comes acceptance and, later, love.
If that sounds like weird, hippie spiritual jargon, it kind of is. You might be thinking Uh, I live in this body and brain every day—I know my myself, thank you very much. We don’t mean your brain or your body, though—we’re talking about your soul, your spiritual self, your heart self. Call it what you will; you get the point.
It can be hard to access this self in our manic lives. Most of us don’t roll out of bed and wonder how our soul self feels today. (We should, but let’s be honest here; we probably don’t.) Instead, we need reminders—reminders to check in and think beyond our brains and our bodies. One of our favorite ways to remember is a good, powerful mantra.
To find out how to work with mantras, we caught up with yogi and THE/THIRTY contributor Alexis Novak. Read on for her tips and favorites.
What is a mantra? “Mantras are simple phrases that help point your moral compass north. They help to reset and remind yourself of your innate goodness. They gently bring positivity to the forefront of your mind,” Novak explains.
How do you incorporate them into your daily life? “I have a list of zen slogans from one of my favorite books Training in Compassion by Norman Fischer on my bathroom mirror. I point to one each day and work with it. It helps me keep my mindfulness practice digestible and focused each day.”
What are your favorite mantras at the moment?
"Don't poison yourself."
“This means all forms of toxins, especially self-centeredness. We know our own bad habits and how they negatively affect our lives. ‘Don’t poison yourself’ is a great little reminder when making small or large choices throughout your day to choose ones that serve your best self.”
"Don't be tricky."
“This is one of my FAVORITE mantras because it helps me catch myself when I slip into tendencies to manipulate or shift situations to avoid perceived pain.”
"Don't expect applause."
“Wow—doesn’t that one take your breath away? This mantra reminds me to do things for the greater good and not for the approval of others,” Novak says.