Archives for the month of: January, 2012

I’ve found a couple simple actions I am realizing I can take to bring myself back into the present moment… here’s hoping they might help you as well:

– Return to your breath.

When it comes down to it, breath is, at its core, our life force. We can survive a few days without water and we can go maybe a week and a half or so without food… without breath, maybe a few minutes. (Unless you’re super human… in which case, you get maybe seven minutes. Since seven is lucky and all, that sounds about right. Even super humans run out of luck when they try to test the universe. Most of my friends are super human, and we all try to at times. The universe tends to win…) When I find my mind wandering into thoughts of the unknown, into worrying about the future (which, for me, often manifests in feelings of anxiety), what am I learning to do is return to my breath. Breathe in… breathe out.

Breathe in… breathe out.

I inhale for a count of seven (or eleven, depending on what my body tells me), and then a count of seven (or eleven, as the case may be) on the exhale. I remember that my breath is what sustains me. It is what allows me to exist in this present moment, and when I remember this, I am filled with thoughts of gratitude. I am thankful for this life and am reminded that this moment is what matters. It’s all I have. My heart rate slows and anxiety diminishes. Plans and musings about the future evaporate into the atmosphere and I am left with only myself and my breath… this is all there is, and I am thankful for it.

– Write a reminder to yourself and tack it in a place (or, multiple places) where you will see it and it will be most beneficial to you.

For me, my mind tends to wander a lot when I’m driving. Sometimes positive thoughts about my life and feelings of thankfulness, sometimes reflections on experiences I’ve had {sometimes these reflections are related to whatever music I might be playing… Railroad Earth tends to elicit wonderful feelings for me – I’ve found myself driving through the mountains and crying tears of joy while blasting some Railroad Earth. Go ahead and picture it, it’s awesome. Even more awesome when I’m living it. I digress…}, but sometimes I find myself worrying about the future or what’s to come, or what will happen when I get to wherever it is I’m driving.

So, I have a sticker on my visor above my head that reads, “In The Moment Of NOW” at which I will glance whenever I find myself starting get a little anxious.  This does the trick for me in an instant… I remember where I am RIGHT NOW and I return to that place (this place, I guess I should say.) I stop worrying. And I breathe in the blessings of the moment.

This sort of thing requires repetition in order to really be able to flip a switch, but I would say its benefits started for me after about a week or so after putting this sticker in my car… I started to get used to it being there and after the first couple times of glancing up at its message, it became habit. I will read the words out loud to myself at times: “In the moment of now”, I will say. And I breathe, come back to the moment, sometimes turn my happy music up just a little louder and look around me to remind myself of the beauty that surrounds me. This grounds me and I quit my worrying. I am okay.

Your message to yourself may be different than mine… it could be as simple as “Smile”. Whatever it may be, follow it. You know yourself and will learn to know what works for you. This is part of the path to loving yourself: trusting that you know what you need.

– Find a pen. Find some paper. (I keep a notepad and pen with me {but this wasn’t always the case… I’ve learned my lesson and let enough musings that I could have expanded on pass me by. I think this means I’m really doing this writing thing. Word.} in part for this reason.) <- Weird punctuation like this is fun for me… I think that means I’m exactly where I need to be.

Write down three positive things about yourself and three about someone you love. Be honest. (This brings you back to the moment of now because you are forced to consider how you really are, right now (if you’re being honest with yourself at least you are) and you’re thinking positively. This positive thinking elevates mood and our worries of the future and/or things we don’t have control over seem less intense and more inconsequential compared to what’s available to us at hand. ‘What can I do right now?’.) <- More fun and weird punctuation.

(Also, this takes you outside of yourself and gets you thinking positive thoughts about someone in your life who you love and the things about him or her that probably brought you to feel that love in the first place. You are removed from your issues within your mind and are feeling good about (and thankful for, probably) someone who’s lucky enough to have your love.

– Find your mantra.

This is similar to writing a message to yourself to glance at but instead, it’s verbal, and it’s a phrase that you’ll repeat to yourself to help you find what it is you need. I think we all, on some level, know what it is we need. At least we do when we fully decide to be honest with ourselves. And we’re either addressing it or hiding from it. This mantra helps to bring us right back down to reality because it was something we found at a moment of clarity… and helps brings us back to that place when we’ve strayed and are feeling a little lost. For me, it is this: “We all want the same things. We all want to be happy and to be loved.”

Here are a couple others that I feel would work well:

“I am love, I am LIGHT.”
“I am happy. I am happy. I am happy.” (If you don’t feel it, fake it ’till you make it… and it will. Or you’ll start to feel ridiculous repeating this over and over and hopefully start to laugh at said feelings of ridiculousness. Life is silly… so laugh!)
“I AM SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!” (If you’re screaming this at people, especially at inappropriate times, you probably are.)

Get creative with it, get happy. Get it.

[I know I will continue to add onto this list as I find develop other positive habits such as these and will update accordingly.]

Take care of yourself today, hug someone, smile at a stranger, look up at the sky, breathe deeply.

You are loved!

Advertisements

I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile. It’s something I’ve started to consider as something extremely positive for my life… a reversal of habit that I feel like will benefit my my most forward evolution.

I’m recognizing that learning to let go of expectations before immersing myself in a new setting is what makes that immersion the happiest. The happiest, the warmest, the fullest, the most hug-me-close-then-release-me-softly-into-the-world-with-a-blessing-est, the best it can possibly be. Because without expectation that a certain event or series of events will take place, I allow myself to be fully present in the moment of now. I’m not hoping for something not to happen or wishing for something else to happen or wondering why something I wanted to happen isn’t happening. I’m open to whatever is happening… right now.

Because I didn’t expect something or some specific outcome, my mind isn’t attached to that expectation. Rather, my mind is present in the here and now, laughing and dancing and loving all the characters in the novel that is my life as they should be… just as they enter the page and for all the moments in which they exist within this story.

This, like many things, is easier said than done.

I sometimes like to think of the mind as a collection of little muscles that can each be strengthened. This is one little part of my mind, one little muscle, that contains the habit that I’ve gotten into somewhere along the way to here to think into every damn situation before it happens and envision it just how I wish it to be. The strengthening of this muscle over time has, at times, cause somewhat of an adverse effect on my experiences – so I’m making a point, now, to instead develop and strengthen an opposing muscle, one that creates in me the habit to live in the present moment. To force myself back to now… to stop creating a future moment in my mind and instead to create positivity in the reality of today.

Now, let me say this — I’ve stepped into situations with what can be described as a positive outlook while also holding specific expectations and I’ve had great times… sometimes even some of those specific expectations are realized. That’s happened, for sure.

But sometimes, in those scenarios, I recognize myself as not totally present in the now. Possibly because I’m feeling grateful something I had previously worried about didn’t happen… or I’m comparing something that just happened to what I had previously pictured… or because I’m waiting for the next thing to happen [because everything’s going exactly as I had hoped (planned?), so when’s the next thing that I hoped for (planned for?) going to happen?].

Instead of imaging a specific scenario and developing a subconscious hope (which manifests often in an expectation), what is most beneficial for my life is focusing on how I’m bettering myself right now. And knowing that things will be good. Because most likely, they will be.

That’s when I get the most out of an experience.

I’m not saying I won’t think ahead about things. About my life. I do, and I always will. But more so in an arbitrary way; in an excited, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN AND I CAN’T WAIT TO FIND OUT BUT I’M GOING TO TAKE IT AS IT COMES AND RIGHT NOW FINISH THIS DELICIOUS SANDWICH I’M EATING type of way. And that’s what manifests. The positivity that comes from knowing this: wherever I am, I will be okay.

I know this because I know myself,

because I trust myself,

because I love myself.

But I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect certain things to happen. I didn’t expect to have a certain sort of conversation with a certain person, to feel a certain way. And so if those expectations aren’t filled, I’m not let down. And if they are fulfilled, I experience them fully, as they are – not because I had imagined them. I get to enjoy them for the first time, for the best time. Then remember them in years to come, for just as they were.

[Although, there is something to be said for imagining things however you choose… because your mind is your own and your memories are based on your own interpretation of your experience, so, may they be whatever paradise you dream up.

Does this negate this whole post? More on that another day.]

I meant to write this on New Years Day (is that supposed to be capitalized? I feel like I should know that.) but was sort of busy raging a mountain party to welcome in the new year… I know you’ll forgive me. Also, I forgive myself. So there’s that.

Moving along…

I want to write a couple resolutions for myself; affirmations I wish to adopt into my life and put into practice in 2012. If the growth I’ve experienced in 2011 was any indication of what’s to come, things are on the up and up.

I’m grateful for that.

I passed around a new, blank journal I received for Christmas at our get together on New Years Day and everyone wrote things that they’d like to embody in 2012 in it. There’s some beautiful stuff in that book… I kind of love these people I’m lucky enough to call friends. This list is a continuation of what I wrote for myself, but is also influenced by what I’ve learned from these wonderful humans who blanket me in their love.

In 2012…

  • I will judge less and listen more.

Judging someone before I truly know their mind and soul doesn’t really benefit anyone involved. And, does that even ever happen? Do you ever know someone’s mind… someone’s inner most wants and needs, fears and desires? Do you ever truly know someone’s soul? I’m not sure you can. Not fully. The layers of a person, of ourselves, go deeper than we can possibly ascertain. I think the ultimate goal is to know yourself. And one could spend a lifetime doing that. So if it takes a lifetime to know yourself, how long might it take to know another?

Exactly.

And therein lies my resolution: I will work to not judge another human being as I can’t possibly know the depths and the core and scale of where they are truly coming from. Maybe all people really want is for someone to know them… and while this might be impossible, I know that listening sure as hell helps.

This leads me to my next resolution…

  • I will see every person as a friend.

If I’m not judging, this makes it much easier to love. And doesn’t everyone want love? I think so. Because loving someone feels awesome. And the feeling of knowing you’re loved feels just about equally as awesome. (It’s also much easier to strike up a conversation with someone if you see them as your friend already, before even knowing him or her. Just a little side note, to make social situations a little less stressful than they can sometimes be… especially those which exist right outside of our comfort zones.)

We’re all in this together. So, let’s be friends. (It will things a lot more fun, I promise.)

  • I will see time by myself as an opportunity to grow.

I’ve struggled with this a little bit, especially recently. I’ve lived essentially by myself in the mountains for the last six months. There have been times where I’ve felt lonely. And then I try to stop and think about it: we are all alone, really. We are born alone and one day we will return to the earth from whence we came… alone. And if I can’t be comfortable in my aloneness, how comfortable can I truly be with others? Being able to be alone and feel okay about it is the first step on the road to loving myself. At least for me, that makes sense.

And… if you don’t truly love yourself, I have a hard time believing you can truly and fully, with confidence and without expectation, love another. When I’m at my lowest, I attribute my existence in that place to feelings I’m experiencing about myself… it’s not based on how anyone else is making me feel. What’s that one quote? …ah, yes: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And the reciprocal is true as well: you’re only going to feel your best if you can go to a place within yourself, a happy home that exists within your soul… a place you can retreat to when you need a little pick-me-up, a reminder of the divinity we all carry.

Sometimes when I feel lonely, I recognize I’m experiencing constraining thoughts of what I might be missing elsewhere. A good friend told me recently to remember that whatever I’m doing is the most awesome thing to be doing. This year and always, I’m going to work to internalize that.

“i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am not aimlessly existing see
i am in perfect harmony with universal energy
and i am truly free when i accept my own divinity

The path to loving myself is under my feet, and 2012 feels like a good year to pick up my pace. And maybe dance a little more, too. [The first day of the new year I danced for about eight hours straight and it was the best day I’ve had in a while. I’m just saying.]

  • I will remember that we are all magnets… we attract the same energy that we expel.

And this goes both ways. I’m over putting out negativity into the universe. There’s enough of that already. From here on out, I will strive to embody only love and light. We are all made of it. So let’s return to that, to those roots. It’s true that when I see someone dancing, loving, experiencing enjoyment in their life, I see their light. And it makes me happy. I see in others what I see in myself… that dance, that love, that joy, comes out in me. Because that person’s magnetized energy attracts all of the same thing in me. I am so grateful to those that bring that energy out in me, and I only want to produce and expel and attract the same in others.

“if you look at me close enough you will see a dark stormy night
and what is night without it’s polar opposite of sunlight
so if you watch the way my hands sway
you’ll see the light of day
and everyday is a testament to the sediment of the earth’s core
it’s ever spinning enormous force so if you look at me just right
you will see a spark of the source
but the most fascinating thing about this, and it’s true
is that if you look at me close enough, you see you
it’s only what you perceive how you believe the space between
you and me
that creates reality”

)))(love)(((

and finally…

  • I will listen to this song more; its message speaks to me, and internalizing it will come with time… I know this to be true.

***

Blessings to you in 2012!