I work with mantras in my Soul Mantra jewelry line daily, but I also use these phrases as handholds that I can grab onto in the midst of my day when I need to ground and center myself.
A mantra is a phrase that you can use to invite in mindfulness to your daily life. You can also use it as a focal point for meditation, which is where the word mantra originally comes from.
Three ways to use a mantra:
1. You can repeat your mantra silently to yourself as you breathe and let this repetition be a space for your mind to rest while you meditate. It helps you enter into the silence meditation is helping you find by giving your mind something to focus on.
2. You can use your mantra as a touchstone during your day. When I want to pause for a moment or two and reboot myself a bit using a mantra, I inhale and think the words, and then exhale and imagine all that I need from the mantra surrounds me. Then I breathe all that in and say it again to myself. Doing this a few times creates some space between whatever is happening in my life and where I want to be.
3. You can use a mantra as a journaling prompt to help you peel back the layers of how you're feeling about something. Let yourself freewrite with the mantra as a jumping off point. (Freewriting means just putting your pen to paper and writing for several minutes without stopping.)
Here are 10 mantras to get you started. These are a few I turn to again and again, especially when I want to invite in more love in a moment... when I know I want to choose love.
I open my heart.
For the days when you feel yourself "armoring up" to protect yourself only to find you're far away from the beauty and joy that surrounds you.
How I use this one: Crossing my arms in front of me, I inhale, thinking it silently to myself while beginning to open my arms wide and away from my body. Then as I exhale, I bring my arms back to cross in front of me over my heart. This becomes a way of telling myself that even as I open my heart, I can set boundaries.
I can set down this story.
For the moments when you feel the old stories threatening to take over.
Setting down a story that isn't serving in the moment (or at all) can be a very powerful practice. Notice when the old stories come up and see what it would feel like to relax your shoulders and set them down. Recently, I shared about one of my own old stories and what happened when I made the choice to set it down.
There's room enough for everyone.
For the times when envy or jealousy arise, and for the times when your ego pushes you to move from a place of scarcity.
I find this one really helpful for moving through social media and the feelings it can bring up. Let these words push you to remember that we all have gifts and stories and hearts that we bring to every moment.
You can rest today.
For the days when you're physically and emotionally exhausted.
Because it is much easier to choose love when you aren't tired. Give yourself the gift of even just a few minutes of rest when the grumps make it feel almost impossible to choose love. And rest isn't only for the tough days. Sometimes the really good times can cause us to feel a lot more tired than usual. Listen to your body. Let breathing in this mantra invite in rest.
I allow love to guide me.
For the moments when you need to let the people in your lives just be themselves or when you need to invite in more trust.
This is one to say with your hand on your heart. Breathing. Trusting. Letting the love that is available to you in every moment guide you. Allow is a word that has been appearing in my life for a few months now. It becomes a whisper that helps me feel less uncertain as I navigate the relationships and decisions in my life.
I don't have to be right (even when it feels like I am).
For the moments when your ego wants to take over.
I pretty much added this one to the list because I want to remind myself of how helpful it can be. This is one that comes up for me in my marriage, but I find it's beginning to come up with my daughter in the moments when I feel like I have to "correct" her. I don't want to be that mom who says "because I said so," yet the moments come up when it's about to roll off of my tongue. I'm also her guide who helps her figure things out as she grows, and there are times when I do simply know what's best. This mantra helps me navigate the stuff that comes up with all of that. (Something tells me our world would be a bit easier to navigate if we all used this one a few times a day.)
Shanti. Shanti. Shanti. (Peace. Peace. Peace.)
For the days when you feel weary and worried that love won't win.
During my yoga teacher training, hearing my teacher chant these words became a place that felt like home to me. Whenever I need to reconnect with the love, the hope, that exists in that space where one person can make a difference simply by choosing love, I chant these words. You can hear me chant them at the end of this audio love note I shared a couple of years ago.
Know my truth.
For the moments when you know it's time to say how you feel.
Telling the true stories is something I feel very passionate about, but we also have to choose who we tell these truths to and think about the timing of our sharing. There is a difference between following a sometimes reckless need to "speak our truth" instead of sharing our truth from a place of love. This phrase, "know your truth," helps ground me as I make these decisions. While diving into my archives recently, I came across this post where I shared my "aha" moment about this phrase.
I can let in more light.
For the moments when it's time to shed something that no longer serves you to bring in more light.
Sometimes you're simply shedding the stuff that piles up each day. Other days you might be shedding the belief that you can't allow in joy because you need to protect yourself. And some days you have to shed the words of others that swirl around inside you. This line from Leonard Cohen, "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in," speaks right to this mantra. When we let ourselves open up to the beauty, even in the moments that feel impossible, there is always light. I use this mantra to connect with that light within and around me.
I can choose love.
For the moments when everything from the annoyances of daily life to the big tough stuff you see on the news pulls you far away from feeling love within you.
Can you let yourself choose love today? Instead of wondering, turn this question around to a statement and gently whisper to yourself that yes, "I can choose love today."