Mother told me I wasn’t good enough so I never felt good enough.
When was the last time you sat still and recognized your accomplishments? I’m not talking about physical things like the amount of money you make or the big house you live in with the fancy car in the driveway. I’m talking about the expansion of your soul and the life lessons you’ve learned. If the evolution of our soul is a fact of life, we will want to keep evolving and becoming more aware so we can live a more harmonious and rewarding life.
Cancer Truths: “We’ve got it all.” Have you or a loved one been told by a doctor, “we’ve got it all?” Before you start reading any further, I need to warn you my lovely peeps that today I’m going on a rant because I’m sad and I’m pissed off with the lies my peeps are hearing from their doctors. I am about to tell you some home truths about cancer and share a beautiful story of a twin sister’s unconditional love. I hope this story will encourage you to dig…
Mind Your Own Life
We’re three weeks into the New Year and how would you say it’s going so far? Keeping those resolutions? Have you lost ten pounds? Joined a book club? Quit smoking? Are you taking the stairs more often? While those are all perfectly nice resolutions, they may never get you where it is you really hope to go in your life. But I know something that will get you there, something that, if you stick with it, can truly and completely alter the course of your very existence.
MIND YOUR OWN LIFE
What does this mean exactly? It means paying attention to the life you have right now. Right in this moment and the one after that and the one after that. What does your life look like? Are you happy with it? If not, you can create a better one. Not through half-hearted resolutions but through intention and mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply being purposefully present with life’s experiences; from the very small to the very big. It also means being aware that your mind has bad habits. Most people “live” their lives every day with the same thoughts running through their mind over and over like a record that keeps skipping on a really bad chord. When you think the same negative, depressing, angry, bored, sick, self-defeating thoughts every day, you create a negative, depressing, angry, bored, sick, and self-defeating life. You may think you’re fixing a salad, but are you present in that moment? Are you purposefully present with the experience of making that salad? Are you noticing the colors and smells of the produce, how the knife sounds when it slices though a carrot, how your fingers feel when you rip the lettuce? Or are you thinking about how much you hate your job and wish you could quit but know you’re not smart enough to move up the ladder and so you’ll probably die miserable?
Once you start being more mindful of your life and in your life, you will feel calmer and have more clarity. You will be able to recognize those thoughts that are from your higher self, and those that have a knack for bringing you down. When you are in dialogue with your higher self, you can begin to proactively create the life you want.
Here are some simple ways you can practice being more mindful in the New Year:
Our Minds Wander so Focus Yours on What Matters Most to YOU.
Most of our lives are busy and chaotic and there are numerous distractions around every corner. Because of these distractions, our minds have a tendency to wander instead of staying focused. When this happens, it’s important to remind ourselves what really matters to us and set an intention to focus on that. For instance, if having true connections with friends is something you cherish, then the next time you are with a friend, create the intention that you want to be fully present during your time together. You’re human, so your mind is apt to wander even when in a conversation with a dear friend. Just gently bring it back to the present moment.
Don’t Judge Your Thoughts
Be kinder and gentler with your own thoughts. Think of them as your children. You observe your children, you guide them but you don’t judge them. If you have a negative thought like “I’m never going to pass my exams,” acknowledge the thought and understand that it’s just a thought and let it go. If we can respond to our own thoughts without judgment, we can stop the cycle of one negative thought leading to another and another and another until we become dark, miserable people.
Stop and Smell Whatever Flower You’d Like
I can tell you from personal experience, mindfulness and hectic schedules don’t mix. We all need to slow the pace of our lives if we want to be more present for them. At every possible opportunity throughout your day, take time to slow down and be more present. Listen to the buzz of the overhead lights. Smell the coffee brewing down the hall. Look at your hands and really see them. Even the smallest mundane tasks like washing a Tupperware lid can have tremendous meaning when you are present in that moment.
Taste Your Food
When’s the last time you really tasted your food? I mean really tasted it and felt it in your mouth? Most of us just inhale our meals without really tasting or enjoying them. We eat in the car on the way from Point A to Point B, at our desks during our lunch break, and then in front of the TV at night. No good. The next time you eat, really eat it and be fully present in the experience. Notice the textures and the smells as well as the taste. This is an easy and satisfying way to practice mindfulness.
Get Out of Your Boring Routine
It’s hard to be fully engaged when “involved” in the same old activities we do every day. That’s why it’s important to get out there and try new things, meet new people, and have new experiences. Being fully present in the moment is much easier when those moments are filled with adventure, excitement and wonder.
What are some other ways you practice mindfulness in your daily life?
It Truly is a Wonderful Life
I love this time of year for many reasons, one of which is getting to watch my favorite holiday films. “Miracle on 34th Street” is a favorite, as are “A Christmas Story” and “Holiday Inn” with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. But my very favorite Christmas movie has to be “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And I am not ashamed to admit that every single time I see it, I cry like a baby.
I think most of us cry like babies when we see the film; not just because everyone lives happily ever after, but because deep down, each one of us connects with the film’s real story and the hope it offers: that every life is precious and has purpose.
Remember when Clarence the angel said to George Bailey, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” If George had been successful when he jumped off that bridge, so many things would have been different in his absence. Bedford Falls would have eventually turned into Pottersville, and Zuzu would have never even been born!
But George’s life impacted more than just his immediate small town. Had George not saved his brother when they were boys, his brother wouldn’t have become a war hero and saved other lives.
How often do you stop and think about how your life impacts others? Does your life have meaning and purpose, or are you walking through your days in a daze? When I was told I only had a few months to live, I very quickly stopped taking LIFE for granted and realized how precious mine was. And I quite suddenly had a new, incredible sense of purpose. Well, two senses. My first sense of purpose was to not die. My second sense of purpose was to help others do the same. I am thrilled to greet each day and when my feet hit the ground, they may not always hit it running, but they hit it smiling. Life, when it is valued and has purpose, truly is wonderful. It’s the most incredible gift in the world.
Find Your Purpose in the New Year
Every single human life has purpose. If you are on the planet, your life has purpose. If you are reading these words, your life has purpose. Here’s the tricky thing about finding your purpose – sometimes it comes during a tragedy or period of crisis, and when it comes, it comes with guns blazing – there’s no missing it.
But, those purposes that come in still ways are often sensed but hard to really know or see clearly. Like a songbird in the forest – you hear its call, but no matter how hard you look, you can’t find it amid the surplus of branches.
Sometimes in order to “find” your purpose, you have to stop looking and just get out of your own way so it can make its presence known.
Be an earth angel and go volunteer somewhere. You’ll feel good that you’re doing something important with your time and you’ll get a sense of appreciation for your own life and all you’ve been blessed with.
Move your body more. When we feel stuck spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, it can help tremendously to move the body. Don’t roll your eyes at this. I’m not saying you have to go to the gym every day and workout for an hour. What I am saying is simply move. Walk around the block. Punch a punching bag. Get some rollerblades. Jump on a trampoline. Movement has a magical way of unblocking us so inspiration can flow into our lives.
Find quiet as much as possible. Your soul is trying to speak with you but you can’t hear it above the din of life. As often as you can, find a quiet space, sit, and just BE. You don’t have to chant, you don’t have to focus on your breath, just listen to the sounds around you and let whatever thoughts you have enter but then leave your mind. Don’t obsess over one particular thought. Just be still and listen to your life – you never know what it might tell you.
I am so happy you and I have connected this year and I am honored that you are bringing me along on your personal journey. I hope that the new year brings peace and purpose into your life.