EVOLVE YOU Cultivating Sisu for 2019

January 6, 2019

Welcome to 2019 - For most of us it appeared 2018 was a real challenge. Full of twists and turns that made many of us question our choices and decisions and sometimes even losing sight of our values, passions and, intentions along the way. 


2018 provided for me an array of worthy insights including; to try and not sweat the small stuff quite so much, to look and listen more carefully, to be willing to receive, to have faith and trust that things will unfold when the universe thinks your in the right place, value everything, the importance of consistency in rituals such as prayer, tarot, positive psychology and practices that will embrace and cultivate a higher degree of self-care in my evolution. 


As we now land in January most of us feel obligated to kick off the new year with creating a string sometimes shall we say unrealistic and possibly unauthentic goals. Only to then end up realising at the end of the year we might not have done quite so well with them. So this year instead of maybe reverting to this old familiar pattern of obligatory goal setting to feed the FOMO (yes, it’s a real mental disorder, thats on an increase - see my presentations available on my website for further info).


So how do we get real about what we need to stay with and what we need to let go of? An effective practice is to stop for a moment to look back and see what you become more aware of out of your challenges in 2018? For these are your signposts to what you need to pay more attention to and in the process will help choose what you want to keep and what you want to release this year to create the right goals that are in alignment with who you are now. 


These signposts will help you create a foundation of intention/s what we refer to in the yoga philosophy as a sankalpa - focused and sacred intention for liberation birthed from attaining knowledge from our reflection and learnings. 


Our world is changing forever with the rise of technology and AI, climate change, global financial instability, trade wars, terrorism, wars, refugee crises and of course BREXIT here in the UK. AI, is a hot topic and one of the biggest challenges we face. Quietly these AI - control systems have perniciously crept into our everyday life. Many prominent scientists, physicists and innovators such as the late Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk have all issued warnings highlighting AI as being more dangerous than nuclear weapons. According to the Wall Street Journal, 85% of all trading in the financial markets is on autopilot – controlled by machines and algorithmic models.  


So how can we navigate these changes without disappearing down an ever ending rabbit hole. In order to show up for these new and constant challenges we need to show an interest and intent to be free, in order to gain true Self-knowledge. As Yoga practitioners, teachers, students and spiritual seekers we are lucky to have access to a unique set of tools in our LIFE rucksack which can help us do just that. Some of these include the intelligence from the philosophical teachings and self-care practices to understand and adapt to these new challenges with a strong but open heart.


Sisu is a unique Finnish concept and is regarded as a special strength and persistent determination and resolve to continue and overcome in the moment of adversity an almost magical quality, a combination of stamina, perseverance, courage, and determination held in reserve for hard times.

One way of cultivating the essence of Sisu (from the Positive Psychology tradition) could be to reflect on the Eastern teachings of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras where he suggests that the three ways of attaining knowledge (Pramāna) towards experiencing understanding and liberation can be explained as; 


Pratyaksha = direct perception or cognition


Anumāna = inference, reasoning, deduction


Āgamah = authority, testimony, validation, competent evidence


One source text the Ātma-Bodha, reflects the mechanics of liberation – of freeing oneself from whatever it is that is holding us back, can be used to find a way forward. The first step according to the teachings of Ātma Bodha, is establishing an interest in attaining liberation – at least a gradual

freeing of oneself from thoughts, actions, weaknesses and addictions.  Setting the Intention is the first step. 


Bearing this in mind an interesting question to ask is how can we use this concept of liberation to address for example Dependency on technology?  Have you ever tried a digital detox? reducing screen time and dependency on social media or using Alexa can enhance your creativity, self-esteem and connection.


For example did you know; 


34% of people have checked Facebook in the last ten minutes.


Two in five adults (40%) first look at their phone within five minutes of waking up, rising to 65% of those aged under 35.


66% of UK smartphone owners in a study self-reported suffering from ‘nomophobia’, the fear of losing or being without their phones at any given time – obsessively checking to make sure they have their phone with them, and constantly worrying about losing it somewhere.


Perhaps then by using the teachings and practices of the East and West can to help us cultivate the quality of Sisu to navigate our world in 2019 in a more mindful and inspiring manner and in the process build a brighter tomorrow. 



To read more about Applied Researcher Emilia Lahti and Sisu research below.  


















freeing of oneself from thoughts, actions, weaknesses and addictions.  Setting the Intention is the first step. 

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