I remember Madd Libs from my youth… those pre-written stories where the verbs, nouns and adjectives were left blank so you could fill in your own description and create your own nonsensical narrative. We create our own crazy stories about ourselves everyday. “I should be______”. What are your words? I should be…..thinner, more organized, less moody, more motivated…. the list is endless isn’t it? The litany of “I shoulds” parades in our mind like a herd of elephants, leaving no room for what we ACTUALLY ARE. Even as I write this article, the “should be” gremlin is on my shoulder announcing that I SHOULD be doing my morning practices. And I am aware it is making me tired to think this way. The thinking is separating me from the part of me that feels deeply that I need to write this morning. This is part of what drains our energy away, this disconnection of what we think we should be doing and what we feel in our hearts is right. We are aware of it when we see it outside ourselves, when we are speaking with someone and we can tell they are a million miles away and not paying attention to a word we are saying. Then we watch a TED talk of someone who inspires us and we can feel their 100% alignment in what they feel, think and are doing and it is very powerful. So how do we change the “ I shoulds” to the “ I am” ? Have you ever tried to give something up only to have it appear everywhere you look with an uncanny frequency that could only be possible because you are trying to distance yourself from it? Reigning in our monkey mind is similar. When we bring our attention to wanting to change the way we think, it shines a light on the frenetic ping-pong game of thoughts bouncing from the the past and jumping to the future. As we sit with the insanity, it slows, it will give rise to feelings situated underneath the heard of elephants. Complete acceptance of our current state of being and all of our feelings —even if they are negative allows us to tap into our unity which is very powerful. From that state of complete acceptance of all the parts of ourselves, even the negative we have an effectual base from which to create the changes in ourselves we truly want. This is accomplished through mindful meditative breathing practice. It is a continual daily process that takes time and attention as does anything that is worth our while. The beauty about mindfulness and breathing is that no matter where go, there you are and you can bring it with you: waiting in line at the grocery store, driving, washing dishes, eating. Change up your story today with “ I am ____” and fill in the blank to embody who you truly are.