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Reflect Out Loud

"The unexamined life is not worth living." – Socrates

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wellbeing

Be The Driver of Your Mind

The mind is like a vehicle that you use to navigate through life. You command left, left it goes. Right, right it goes. There are times, however, where your mind is the one navigating you rather than the other way around. You become lost in the stories in your head. You remember the past, rehearse for the future and on, and on the rambling continues to the point of overwhelm. Some of us are so lost in our minds and so controlled by its power that we can’t even fall asleep. The mind is riding us.

The mind is a powerful tool with tremendous potential. Use your mind for your service and wellbeing. Don’t let your mind take you away from the present moment as it replays old memories, blames you, guilts you, judges you, abuses you.  Don’t let your mind tell you negative, limiting stories that say you are not enough, not capable, and that you will not achieve your goals. When you catch yourself falling victim to the mind, interrupt it saying, “Hey, I am the boss here, not these limiting thoughts. I choose to love and believe in myself at all times. I am enough. I am present.” Command your mind! You are the driver and the mind is the vehicle – not the other way around. Drive your mind through roads that are conducive to your highest potential. If you see the mind getting out of control, like a car that begins to veer from its lane, guide it back to the present and loving path. Be the driver of your mind!

The Extraordinary Ordinary

“If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?” – Unknown

Much of our life is made up of ordinary moments. Eating, brushing our teeth, walking, cleaning, sleeping, bathing, running errands, taking out the trash, doing laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, driving the kids to school, doing homework, and on and on and on.
The bigger, less ordinary, moments in life like getting married, reaching the top of your career, graduating college, moving across country, buying your dream home, among other grand achievements, happen with less frequency. When we live our entire life neglecting ordinary moments because our mind is too busy chasing after peak moments, we fail to enjoy the entirety of our life experience. Like a hamster running on a wheel, we fervently chase, chase, chase the next moment because right now, just as we are, is not quite enough.

All too often I catch myself feeling frustrated because right now my apartment is too small. Right now, I have debt to still take care of. Right now, I am not at the top of my career. Right now, I am not exactly where I wish I were. So what do I do? I spend time neglecting my ordinary moments chasing after the next moment. I beat myself up and don’t feel good in the here and now. This state of mind blocks me from seeing the beauty in the ordinary. It inhibits me from realizing that although I am not yet experiencing the bigger, more defining moments of my life, it does not mean that my life isn’t already big and momentous in and of itself in the present.

Each day, I realize more clearly how important it is to my wellbeing to simply enjoy the journey without getting worked up about the destination. Life is not about chasing moments, though it’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of chasing. It is easy to get stuck in not feeling enough because right now you are just not there yet. The funny thing is, there is no there – there is only, always, here and now. It is always in the now moment that we will experience anything, ever. To live a happy and satisfied life, we must carry happiness and satisfaction with us in both the everyday standard moments as well as the bigger more rewarding moments. If we place our happiness on any future desire then most of our days will be gloomy because we will always have more average days than peak days. We will always be waiting for happiness to happen in some future time while our present suffers. It is in the here and now that we have to find our joy. It is in the ordinary that we have to see the extraordinary. It is in taking out the trash, washing the dishes, walking the dog, driving the kids to school, brushing our teeth, washing our hands, doing the laundry, walking to work, and all the other little things that we have to participate in with joy. The joy we experience in the extraordinary is the same joy we can carry with us when experience the ordinary. Life will be joyous not just because of the great things you will achieve, but it will be joyous because YOU in and of yourself are great and joyous. Feel it! 🙂

Rumination

Rumination, (thinking deeply about the same thing over and over again) is helpful in the sense that it reminds you of some unresolved issue. However, rumination can be detrimental to your wellbeing because it inhibits you from letting go and healing. Picking at the same old wound will never allow it to heal. Replaying the same old story in your head will keep you stuck like a CD with a scratch on it. You can’t move forward and grow if your mind is stuck on what happened two years ago. Letting go of the story in your head will allow you to begin to unburden yourself and become free of limiting thoughts that keep causing you pain in the present moment.

It can be hard to let go of the story in our head when we have become so identified with it. It is like a little piece of us. We think something like, “I will never forget the mean comment Jane made about me.” And then you keep thinking about Jane and her comment over and over again because you have chosen to commit to the thought that “I will never forget the mean comment Jane made about me.”

Holding on to the mean comment Jane made about you is not in any way serving you in a positive manner. What good is it doing to your mind, body, heart and overall wellbeing? None.

Let go.

So how do we let go of our limiting thoughts?

Practice non-attachment. When a repetitive thought comes to your mind, don’t feed the thought. Don’t become identified with it. Allow it to just pass through you. The thought will die if you do not feed it further energy. If you let the thought pass through you like a cloud or the wind, it’ll just pass without affecting you. Recognize that you are not your thoughts – you have thoughts, but you are not the thoughts. You are the awareness of your thoughts. Use your awareness to shine light on repetitive thoughts and realize “Oh, hey, there goes that bad thought again. I will just let it pass because this thought is not who I am.”

You can also practice meditation, which is getting the mind to become totally still. It quiets the analytical voice that is always playing in your head. You don’t have to meditate for long periods at a time. Even 10 seconds can help you become still. Start small. Focus on your breath. Breathing deeply calms your heart rate and brings your body to a state of relaxation. You can do this anywhere at any time. We all have at least 10 seconds to dedicate to our wellbeing.

Practice affirming rituals that remind you of who you are. When repetitive thoughts arise, interrupt them with affirming thoughts like:

I am consciousness.
I am in control of my thoughts.
I let go of old limiting thoughts.
I let go of painful memories.
I release all that does not serve me.
I am free.

You can repeat that to yourself like a mantra as many times as necessary until your mind becomes refocused on the truth of who you really are! You are life itself. You are not a scratched CD. You are not a song on replay. You are not your memories. You have memories, but underneath those memories you are pure consciousness first.
May you find peace in letting go.

Gratitude

After standing on my feet for several hours, I began to notice how wonderful my feet really are. I began to notice how gracefully they support me all day no matter where I go.

I started to thank life for my feet. I began to see how I take so many things for granted. There are times where I focus so much on what I am lacking in my life and forget all the blessings that I already have.

Having a sense of gratitude is so important to our wellbeing. Thankfulness allows us to see the good that we already have and refocuses our attention on the beauty that is currently present. There is nothing wrong with wanting more from life, but it is crucial that we remember what we already have.

I started a gratitude journal. I recommend it. Even if you don’t write in it every day, take some time throughout the week to focus on what you are grateful for in your life. It could be the smallest of things, like the wind blowing in your hair. It could be the sunrise. It could be your coffee or tea. Anything that brings you joy; anything that serves you. You can even be bold enough to be thankful for the challenges that have strengthened you and opened your eyes to new knowing. Whatever it is for you, give thanks. There is always, always, always, something to be grateful for.

I am thankful in this moment.
Thank you, feet for supporting me and taking me from place to place.
Thank you, brain for being the source of my functions.
Thank you, hands for making this post possible.
Thank you, lungs for allowing me to breathe this air.
Thank you, bed for allowing me a comfortable place to rest.
Thank you, weather for being so pleasant today.
Thank you.

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