How do we change? Some of you have heard me talk about this before, but it’s so powerful, it’s good to hear it again.
Most of the time we learn through pain. I am no different.
There it was again, this sense of feeling trapped and helpless in my situation. Someone who means a lot to me had done something that rocked my world…..not in a good way.
This triggered old thoughts and behaviors, like “no one really loves me and I am a bad person”. I went into a downward spiral, feeling overwhelmingly alone and betrayed.
Before I knew it, I was in a dark pit, taking me to a scary place…… making me feel like this was the theme of my life.
Yet, some small part of me recognized that I had felt out of control like this too many times in my life!
There had to be a better way!
This led me on a journey where I discovered that there is an easier way to change old patterns than practicing psychotherapy. Don’t get me wrong, I believe it is invaluable to explore the origins of our thoughts and behaviors.
But it takes a long time…..and doesn’t always work.
I know……. I had spent my life exploring and analyzing and, still here I was, falling right back into my old patterns. It happened in a flash, like someone else was pulling all the strings.
You may recognize this. It’s not just something that only takes hold of me. I’ve seen this with clients, in classes and retreats.
A trigger sets off an avalanche of emotions and behaviors. We are feeling trapped in ourselves.
We don’t always recognize the fork in the road. I didn’t at the time.
Sometimes it’s an article, a workshop, a retreat or a person who has something powerful to share, but you aren’t quite ready to hear it all. That’s how it started for me, years ago.
However, a seed was planted. When the soil was ready, specifically, when I was open enough, when I had had enough pain, this seed began to sprout. From there it was almost magical. Information, people and situations showed up that guided me along and showed me the way.
Here is what I discovered: Being willing to stop, breathe and observe, changed my life.
It may sound simple, but it isn’t necessarily easy. It requires practice.
It’s a skill we have to develop, a muscle we have to grow.
We think we are our thoughts, we believe we are our feelings. Yet they are only a part of us, not the entirety. We are so much more!
- You are not your thoughts
We think, all day long, as long as we are awake. That is what our minds do…..one thought after another. Random thoughts, habitual thoughts, deep thoughts, shallow thoughts. Our mind analyzes, plans, remembers, likes, judges, compares, blames…… thoughts perpetually rising and falling.
We identify with those thoughts. If something happens, our mind jumps to certain thoughts and runs with those, like I’m no good, for example. You know that you can create a whole painful scenario from that one thought.
Yet, when you stop and watch your thoughts, you become aware that they are impermanent.
When we are willing to stop, breathe and recognize that we are thinking, when we step back and watch ourselves thinking, we can take back our power!
It requires a willingness to observe without judgment, like a scientist.
It is similar to lying in the grass watching the clouds or sitting by a river, just observing what flows downstream.
You recognize this is not you!! These thoughts are not a fact. You are so much more than these thoughts. They cannot take your equilibrium, your peace, your happiness.
Because, you see, just by being willing to observe your thoughts, you acknowledge their existence. Whenever we are willing to acknowledge something, it loses its urgency.
- You are not your emotions
Emotions arise from our thoughts.
We may not recognize when a certain feeling originated, what thought began the wild ride downhill. But if we are willing to step back and observe ourselves feeling a disturbing emotion, we create the space in which we can recognize that we are not this emotion.
There is no need to fight or resist what is there. Just breathe and observe.
This is not you! It is simply an emotion that arose from thoughts, which are floating in and out of our minds, because that is what minds do.
We may think that these feelings are facts, because we have felt them for so long. Whatever we think repeatedly begins to appear as fact. But that is not the truth.
Simply observing without judgment, allows us to move through whatever is there. You’ve heard the saying: “What you resist, persists.”
If we don’t resist, there is no need for anything to persist.
By simply observing your emotions, you will uncover patterns in you that are keeping you stuck…..in pain, in destructive relationships, in self-sabotaging situations.
Once we become aware and observe our thoughts and emotions, the resistance disappears and this creates a space for life to show up differently.
It has the power to change relationships, to ourselves and others. It changes what we attract into our lives.
It heals our life!
- You are not your thoughts. You are not your feelings. They are part of you, but not the entirety of you. Learn to be aware of them rather than become them.
- Like all things in life, we must practice this. You can’t wait til you need it and expect yourself to be proficient.
We had to crawl before we walked, we had to practice holding that spoon and aim for our mouth, we didn’t learn that new language overnight.
Practice by giving yourself time throughout the day to sit quietly, without distractions, to notice, to observe, to be…….like a scientist, without judgment.
Practice, when you are in conversation with others, when you are working on something, when you are watching TV…..
Just observing, not judging.
If you forget, it’s ok. Do it next time…..
Be kind and gentle with yourself…….and don’t forget to breathe.
To learn more, come to our classes http://www.mindfulnessevolution.com/events-and-classes/
or contact me http://firstname.lastname@example.org