I'm no expert on the study of the mind, body, and spirit. I hold no official degrees or certificates. However I am an experienced human. I've lived and experienced the messiness and beauty of life. So disclaimers aside, let's hope that's enough to start. Before I decided to create the Live Well Explore Often mantra for myself and blog, I started to journal my daily experiences privately in 2014. It started out as a Travel journal and became a pleasant accident of manifesting self awareness. I genuinely grew in self awareness as I began to journale. I noticed a certain maturity in spirit. A need to unlearn past behaviors and to no longer feel the need to hide my authenticity. Being self aware is so refreshing. You make peace with ALL OF YOU and there is no more fear of judgement. Not from yourself. Not from others. Now of course my authenticity has not been consistent. I've caught myself falling off the wagon into old behaviors. But that's the difference - I catch myself falling now. I'm aware! I love that. I just regroup and gently center myself again. No Judging. I just keep growing.
I remember in my younger years (I'm still young now :-) ) I was super authentic. What you saw was what you got. I would neither conform or make apologies for my beliefs and ideals. The outside world's critical judgement of me (..and there were many) did not affect my inner world. But with time, peer pressure and masks worn to overcome trauma got in the way and I was no longer paying attention. But you know the cool factor about becoming self aware? It's organic. You don't set a stage or make a plan. But once it starts happening you will pay attention. Once you start paying attention, you'll find yourself making intentional changes in your world. I put together a "step like" list of some of the things I have intentionally chosen to adopt as I mature in self awareness. Like to hear it, here it goes -
It's a great way to purge my emotions and also reflect. I love to journal more so for the benefit of reflection. When I'm able to go back and read my past words, I gain so much Insight from it. It also shows how I've matured or declined from moment to moment and I identify my triggers. I find it's also a great way to filter my thoughts before speaking or acting on an emotion. I have found that if I write my words down before I address a situation, I am able to step out of myself and see them with renewed sight, edit, and initiate a mature response or action.
Go Somewhere You've Never Been -
At least once a year, go somewhere you've never been. It's so refreshing to visit a new location. To experience a different culture , learn the history, observe the people and environment - that's why I wanderlust. It's also an opportunity to try something new. Recently for me, it was going on a wave runner tour on a jet ski. I. Was. Scared. The fact my daughter was riding as my passenger while holding on to me from behind did not help my anxiety. What if I made a sharp turn and she fell off? What creatures are lurking beneath the water? Fear had a fierce hold on me. But one thing I've come to realize is that fear is a monster we manifest. It is entirely our own creation. You should also be able to kill the monster you created. That is unless you guys have formed some type of strong relationship bond; then that's just awkward. I'll look away. However, the interesting fact of my experience was the person I was most afraid for (my daughter) became my strongest ally. She noticed I would hesitate and slow down before a turn out of fear of flipping the jet ski. She also noticed that when our guide sped into a turn, his jet ski was less likely to dip and navigated smoothly. Once she noticed this pattern, as we approached a turn, she would yell out - "Speed up! Speed up!! Don't slow down! Woohoo we did it. That was fun!". I was thankful to have her as my cheerleader. You can be your own cheer team as well. Team one. When you feel yourself hesitating to try something new out of fear, say to yourself - "Speed up! Speed up!! Don't slow down now! We can do this!"
Be Mindful Not Mind Full -
Be present in your moments. Your life is not a party you get invited to. You should already be there.
It's the norm these days to multitask and fast track. There is an app for everything. Faster, Easier, Less steps, Multifaceted. We owe it to ourselves to actually enjoy, observe and be fully present in the moments before us. It's ok to leave work on time so you can actually have a sit down dinner with your family, or friends, or your partner. Ask meaningful questions about their day. Listen and engage. Put the phone away. Eat slowly. Relish the meal as it nourishes your body and spirit. Stimulate your senses with scenic walks and music you love. Life is a Party; and your participation is requested.
Invest In Your Passion -
I've decided to genuinely invest in my passion for counseling and become a certified Life Coach. I've been gravitating towards the idea but also hesitating at the same time. Travel is also another strong passion of mine. Once again, I always hesitate before moving forward with a planned adventure. Second guessing myself and investing my energy elsewhere. I've realized it's ok to invest more in the things you are passionate about. The things that make you happy. It's not selfish, it's self love. I know better so I do better now. It's a gradual process. Invest in your passion. The universe is waiting for you to accept your gifts and manifest them. Don't let her down.
Do it your way. With an app, in silence in a quiet room, on a scenic walk, cross legged first thing in the morning, cross legged in the evening - find what works and stay consistent. I'm trying to add Meditating as part of my lifestyle but I have a restless mind. It's always trying to churn out something! I can't shut it up! Then again, I've found when I take solo walks, my mind is more quiet as opposed to when I sit still, cross legged, on a yoga mat. Sometimes I simply get on my knees and just listen. I think nothing. I say nothing. I believe my Creator knows my heart. It's refreshing to just center yourself, relax your mind, and just be.
Set Boundaries -
I'll keep this simple. "Yes I can" is not the only answer. "No", "Nope", "I can't" are also options. If you don't make people aware of their limits within your life; they will set them for you.
Nurture Yourself -
Water your creation - mentally, physically, and spiritually. You cannot truly give your best to others until you start with yourself. You are number one on your priority list. Whenever I fellowship with like minded people, it elevates my spirit. I'm inspired. I'm encouraged. I crave it. Mentally I try to check in on myself often. "Hey, how are you doing? Be calm love. Everything will be OK". I know we would rather hear that from someone else, but I believe in self care so go nuts on yourself. Nurturing myself physically requires me to resist the urge to be sedentary. Couch mode is an art form of which I have perfected. It's important that I try to add some movement. I prefer cardio and Jillian Michaels. Now I don't particularly "like" exercise, but I love the way it makes me feel in the end. So yeah, get your blood flowing, burn some energy, stretch out those muscles and feel as loose and supple as possible. Make out with your partner and laugh - a lot.
Master Self Awareness -
This is the sum of it all. If you can be anybody in the world, be one person - Yourself. Being "somebody"to everybody is not intentional living. Wearing multiple masks to serve everyone differently can be stressful and anxiety ridden. Be yourself - consistently. Your authenticity will attract and maintain meaningful relationships. I also know that as you flourish with self awareness you may also loose some people - family, friends, associates - let them go. Don't seek to match someone else's life or goals. You are your own competition. Get out of your head. Or rather, get everyone else out of your head.
Address Your Past -
If you've experienced trauma in your past, I don't believe in simply moving on and never looking back. Address, Resolve, Renew. That is how I hope to finally heal. I have found out that as I chose to ignore my past trauma, it chose to manifest thick roots within me over time. The effects would start to show. My usual quick fixes and distractions will no longer work to numb the effects. That's when I knew it was time to do the real work - address, resolve, renew. It's not pretty, but it's necessary. Don't ever be afraid to ask for help as you navigate thru healing. There are many resources and therapy styles out there to choose from. It can be a long journey to resolution - I believe that's the hardest part. To truly make peace with your past , to wish it well as you move toward renewal; that's the ultimate goal.
Create The Life You Love -
Sometimes we will find ourselves seeking a nod of approval before we move forward with our life choices. It's understandable. You want to be understood. You don't want to be known as awkward or the weird one. You don't want to loose the people closest to you. So you sacrifice the dream. Don't do it. Don't sacrifice the dream for the sake of acceptance. Those who matter won't care and those who care won't matter. Live out loud and create the life you love. It's never too late to start. I'm living proof. I'm still doing the work as we speak. Never minding the critics. Keeping my spirit lite; my focus on my Creator and Myself.
So what steps do you try to take to foster Living Well and getting out there without fear? What are you most passionate about? Please share in the comments. I can't wait to hear your thoughts!
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