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Monday, July 6, 2015

What Makes You Come Alive?

The world is currently going through a period of punctuated disequilibrium. It is time to say goodbye to the practices of the past; business-as-usual no longer exists. It is time to develop new and creative ways of looking at life, of thinking, of working and relating to one another. We are exiting an era, where greed, power and competition dominated; and entering an era, where a sense for beauty, an approach of caring and compassion, love, tenderness and kindness take over. It is time to work together to develop a place of peace where social inequities diminish and support for one another emerges. This is our time to stand up and be examples for what we envision for ourselves, and for humanity.
I believe that change begins with each one of us. So, let’s decide what makes us come alive and how we can incorporate whatever that is into our days, every day. How can we feel more alive in each moment? And when we build this awareness and take the steps toward bringing more meaning into our experiences, it will become contagious and spread to those around us, and those around them...and so on, and so on.
Think about your life and break it down into a typical day. Try to contemplate what goes through your mind during this day. We have a tendency to put others before ourselves…is this something that you are doing as you scan through your day? We are so accustomed to living as a slave to the list…what needs to be done, who needs our attention, where we have to go. Think about the things that are working for you - the time you spend that brings you feelings of joy, gratitude, contentment, calm or serenity…the things that fill you up. Really identify what those things are. How often are you doing these things? Is it often enough, or is it something that you feel you need integrate more of into your days. And then what are the thoughts and activities that you want to minimize or eliminate? The things that bring you down, add stress to your life, make you feel tense, angry, sad and deflated. How can you let these things go? OR how can you change your thoughts associated with these things - how can your reaction be different?
We need to make sacred space for ourselves. This doesn’t necessarily mean a physical space…rather a place inside of ourselves that we nurture and grow…the place where we hold our acceptance, love and gratitude for ourselves. We need to keep our awareness on filling this space each day. Instead of expending energy thinking about what is not right about ourselves, or what could be better, we can instead focus on filling this sacred space within us. The thoughts and activities that make you come alive will help you to keep this space full. Even 15 minutes a day doing something that makes you feel really good, really happy, really free…will make a huge difference in your life.
Something as simple as the shower or bath that you take each morning or evening can be a source of serenity. Instead of rushing through your shower, quickly shaving and shampooing your hair, all the while thinking about everything that needs to get done and how many minutes you have before you have to leave so you are not late….instead…get in, and breathe deeply, enjoy the feeling of the warm water running over you. Let your whole body relax and melt into it. When you wash your hair, really notice how nice it feels as you massage your scalp. If you are taking a bath, sink into the water and feel the weightlessness of your body, then carry that weightlessness into every part of you, especially your mind. Find a peaceful, stillness that you can recognize. Be aware of how you got there, then take yourself back to that place for a few minutes each day. If you start to feel stressed or someone says something that makes you feel uptight…breathe and bring yourself back to your peaceful place. Make your mind your ally instead of your enemy. You are in control. Thoughts don’t go anywhere if we don’t feed them. There is no technique…it’s just being aware. Awareness is the key. Be kind to yourself.
Be careful to not identify all the things that make you come alive that require other people. We need to be able to feel completely alive on our own. If your list relies to heavily on the input of others, it will set you up for disappointment and resentment. Keep this feeling in your control. This way you will be able to share your peace with those around you, rather than expecting them to create it for you, which no one can ultimately do anyway. This is something we need to do for ourselves.
Give yourself a daily dose of peace. Be guided by the longing for this peace. If you are sincere with this longing you will have what you need and want. Celebrate the areas of your life that are working. And shine the light on the areas that aren’t. Be honest with yourself. Get together with others and share...our shared human-ness is where we find friendship, intimacy and true connection.

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