We all have had those great moments in life, where everything just seems to click, the sun seems to always shine, and everything just works out perfectly. Our jeans look amazing on us, the person in front of us at Starbucks buys our coffee, stranger compliment our smile, and that adorably sexy boy at the gym always strikes up a conversation with us.
I love those moments. So good.
But, we have all likely had the moments where life is hard, things don’t work out and it’s like a permanent rain cloud is following you around with the single purpose of ruining your day. You know? Every light turns red, your debit card doesn’t work when you are running late, your crush doesn’t return your text messages and you seem to break out in a war zone of pimples over night before a huge presentation at work.
I do NOT love those moments.
But, they happen to us all. Life happens and it can be challenging. While we can’t always control the circumstances, we can always control how we react to it. Attitude and perspective will always lift us up and take us far.
But what about a step before that? Before the change in attitude, the choice in thoughts and the choice of perspective, how do we get there?
To get there… it is awareness.
It’s awareness first.
Awareness might sound like a no brainer. I mean, DUH we are in control of our minds, so of COURSE we would have the awareness of what is going on.
Meh. Not so true.
Sometimes we react, sulk and just are, with out really realizing what is happening.
How do we combat that? With tools and ideas to help strengthen your ability to be aware of whats going on around you. When you can do that, you can then react appropriately and choose your perspective in a way that serves a better version of you and life.
Check it out.
- P.A.I.N. ~ Pay Attention Inside Now.
Most of us are just use to living with pain. To some degree of another, we allow it and accept it as a presence in our lives. Maybe our lovers act cruelly when they go out drinking with their friends or maybe our boss talks down to us regularly. Regardless of the degree you hurt, or the reason, pain is your cue to PAY ATTENTION INSIDE NOW.
Your body, soul and mind are telling you something isn’t right. Listen! Instead of just blindly accepting it as the way things are, go inside and become aware of what your heart and soul is asking for. And when you hear it, don’t disrespect it by doing then opposite.
2. Repetitive thought patterns and automatic phrases.
“I can’t do it… ” , “Figures…” , “But this is the way it’s always been…” “I can’t afford that, I’m broke…”
When you think the same thoughts and say the same phrases with out even taking inventory on why, then you are stuck. And being stuck is not being in a place of awareness.
When you are in awareness, thoughts move around you freely and you are curious and contemplative about them, before you choose them as yours. Yes, in awareness you get to choose which thoughts you keep. YOU are in control of your mind, not the other way around. If you find you always default to the same “why me” or “of course this would happen” type phrase, then slow yourself down.
Look at how quickly you might speak or think, with out really even knowing why. And then, try choosing a different phrase.
Instead of saying “Sorry I’m late, I’m always late” notice how automatic that is and just choose differently. Maybe you choose to say “thank you for waiting for me” or “I value your time and patience and I will be different next time we meet.” You have the power to choose, and you can choose to be powerful, not reactive. Be aware of what patterns you live, they will always show up in your phrases, words and thoughts.
3. Breath. It always comes back to your breath.
I know this will be cause some people to roll their eyes, but I can’t stress it enough. To strengthen your awareness, it all starts with your breath. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
In the beginning, it might be hard to notice your breath and take a time out to “just” breathe. Our bodies are so amazing, they do this automatically for us… we don’t have to think to breathe! So why should we stop to think about our breath!?
Because everything will slow down when you consciously take in a deep, slow sip of air. When you notice the length of the inhale and the stretch of the exhale, you can slow down time. When I’m fighting, or even just training for a fight, I always remind myself, if i can control my breath, I can control my mind. If I can control my mind, i can make better decisions for getting out of trouble, tuning into my couches instructions from the corner, and be more in tune to how her body is moving, in order to predict what might happen next.
In this sense, fighting is no different than everyday life. If you can control your breath, you can control your mind. Which takes us back to the second idea on this list, which is controlling your mind in order to choose better thoughts and phrases. Ultimately a better life.
You could set a alarm on your phone to go off a few times a day, so to remind you to take 5 long slow breaths. Eventually you won’t need the alarm to remind you. When ever I am getting worked up and stressed out, I purposely take the biggest, slowest breaths I can. At least five of them. It helps me control my mind and any hurtful thoughts that might be terrorising me. And when I can control my mind, I am back into a strong state of awareness. And a better way of living.
To really live in a state of awareness, we need to be present in the moment we are in. When we start story-telling to ourselves about how something in the future will go, what that person is probably thinking of us, and why things happened the way they did in the past, then we are out of the present moment and miles away from awareness.
To help myself become more aware, if I find my thoughts rambling off to some far off place, I stop and start listing all the things that in this moment I am grateful for. “I am grateful that my car just got me safely to work. I am grateful there were no accidents on my commute. I am grateful the sun is shining. I am grateful that there is wifi at work so my phone will still receives message. I am grateful for my hardworking staff” Etc etc… you have to be where you are, when you are there, to be grateful for what is. Being grateful for what’s around you, brings you into a state of awareness that again, will strengthen your ability to react appropriately and choose a perspective that serves you.
5. Why, why, why
This one was suggested to me and it’s somewhat of a new practice that I am still dancing with. How it was explained to me was this: we need to know our motives. Before we act on something, we ask ourselves “why?” and then to that answer, we ask again “why?” and then to THAT answer, we again, for a third time, ask ourselves “why.” I was told that if I can come up with three strong, loving reasons to act the way I want to, then to go ahead and act. But if my answers aren’t rooted in love, do I really want to act that way? I need to be aware, to have that pause and reflective moment, to really move my life in a direction that is aligned to what I want.
Awareness is something that takes practice. In fact, it is truly a life long practice. The more that life changes, the more we will need to be aware of the changes and how we deal with it. Of course we want to choose a perspective and a reaction to life that is positive, happy and uplifting to us. But in order to choose, we need to first be aware.
I hope these ideas serve you. Not one single person out there is perfect. Not one. So don’t go expecting yourself to be the first. Life will always have it’s challenges. The goal is to come at life with all the tools you can, to make it be more consistently enjoyable.
You got this.
Sending love, hugs, and butt slaps…