We’ve been practicing paying attention. We’re increasingly aware when we do that all things are connected. We can use this practice to better understand (and improve) the way we relate to people, all people.
So, you broke up with your partner, quit your job, moved out of the house, went on vacation, stopped hanging out with that “toxic” friend, started meditating and/or made any other big decision to try to better your life experience and, low and behold, you’re still miserable.
Those habits, negative thought patterns
1. Well, first thing, you could consider is a celebration! You’re not alone anymore! Your higher consciousness, the one that looks over you, the one that whispers words of wisdom, the one that loves and protects and encourages you, is now here with you. You may recognize it as your intuition, the voice or reason or truth. With your help and with practice, it can and will guide you. So, celebrate! Do whatever you like to do to celebrate: bake a cake, have a party, take a day off to play, sing in the shower, have a dance party in your living room, get dressed up and buy yourself flowers – celebrate and welcome your insight, give it the real red carpet treatment!
2. Next, cultivate your new relationship. Start by spending quality time together: the wise, patient and loving you with the cranky, tired, doubtful you. Treat that less sophisticated part of you gently, like you would a newborn or a stray. Offer treats, speak softly and lovingly. Be patient, be kind. You could even have a little script prepared for when this self shows up. Try something like: “ Hello again (doubt, anger, shame) , I’m glad you’re here. I wanted to get to know you better. Could I sit beside you or walk with you for a while?”
3. Start noticing when you feel great, or good, or even, not so bad. When you do, pause, ask all 5 senses to pipe in and tell you more. To help stay focused, write it down. Be patient and persistent with this. Usually we are more attuned to some senses than others. In this practice, ask each sense: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch to seek out, notice, and report at least two things. Let your attention be fully immersed in this awareness of the senses. Enjoy.
4. Create rituals and establish routines around what nourishes you (refer to step 3 above if you need some ideas.) This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever sleep late or eat out. It does means that when you do, your system trusts that you will get it back. Theses rituals and routines assure that you have some reserves, some contingency for the unexpected. The truth is you are a divine spirit with a brilliant mind that is housed in a human body. And, that body is quite fragile, it has limits. You’re only every going to be so tall, only going to live for so many years, only every going to be able to stay awake for so long, go without food or water for so long, etc… I know this one can be kind of confusing, especially when we see what phenomenal influence it seems we can have on our health and longevity, our speed, and our tolerance for excess or deprivation, and for that matter, even our height! I have had several students report that they have gained inches with regular yoga practice! However, there are still limits in this lifetime, they have gained inches, not feet in height. The more willing we are to accept hat the body has needs and limits as well as phenomenal power and potential, the more consistently we will be able to build on our strengths, rather than having to expend all of the time and energy it takes to recover from mistakes.
5. Make space for creativity, rest, tantrums and other unexpected guests. No one’s very pleasant when they’re in a rush so slow down. Practice being unscheduled. During this unscheduled time, ask yourself how you’d most like to spend your unscheduled hour/day/week. Do whatever you can manage, save other ideas on a list for another time. Invite ideas, questions, friends and nature to share space with you.
Repeat these steps until you notice that you are both enjoying your own company and others until the path seems to be unfolding with more ease before you. Then, keep going…