Posts Tagged ‘Conscious Living’
I was talking to a friend today about how she’s trying to teach her kids about their feelings. This body map exercise is a great tool to teach kids….they think its fun and get emotionally smart at the same time!
How do you know what you are feeling when you are actually feeling it? Wait, back up. Do you ask yourself “hmmm, I wonder what I’m feeling right now”? That would be the best way to start. Take a breath and ask the question. Then listen. What do you hear? What sensations do you notice in your body? Keep breathing.
Right now I’m feeling my even, spacious breathing flowing through me with ease. I feel a little smile on my lips and a little tickle in my lower belly. My body feels solid and strong.
If I was sad (I try this on), I feel pressure in my chest, tears behind my eyes and pricklies on my face.
If I was angry (ouch!), my jaw is clenched, my neck is tight and sore and my teeth are ready to grind.
If I am afraid (I’ve been here before), my breathing…
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What’s your typical day like? Are you crazy busy running from one commitment to the next? Is it habit to schedule schedule schedule without taking a breath to check in with how you’re feeling……….is this what I really want to be doing?
All those hours add up to days add up to weeks add up to years……
How are you spending your hours, your days…..your life?
Are you willing to take a breath, take some time for yourself to wonder, to ask the question:
Does the way I spend my time match my values of what’s most important to me?
Here’s a quick exercise to give you some insight:
Draw a circle and divide it into 8 pie shape pieces. On the outside of each section put a label representing something that’s important to you….for example family, work, friends, health or fitness, sleep, volunteering, a hobby, etc. Put whatever comes up for you with no editing. There are no wrong answers.
Next, within each section put a dot representing the amount of time you spend towards that part of your life. At the center of the circle is 0 and at the outer rim is 10. Do this for each category.
Now, connect all the inner dots. Look at the visual representation of how you spend your life.
Does it fit with how you’d like it to be? Does it match your values, what’s most important to you?
If so, Bravo!
If not, now you have an idea of where to start making some shifts.
You already taken a step simply by taking the time to do this exercise.
You’ve just given yourself a gift. Enjoy!
I was planning on attending that meeting tonight. I imagined myself sitting with this particular group and wondered to myself, what do I want to contribute at this meeting or what do I want to contribute to the event they are planning? I thought about the volunteer opportunities involved. I had whole body “no’s” to taking a leadership role this time. I had a full body “yes” to agreeing to show up for the event and help out the whole day. The thing is, I know I have great leadership skills. I’ve been there, done that, and I really like to lead. I also want to be fully engaged and use my leadership skills doing something I feel passionate about. So, there are times I say no. I have a few moments, well, maybe a few more, where I consider the “I should because” way of thinking. But I am so clear that when I say yes because I think I should instead of saying yes from that organic absolute “yes I want to” place, I create stress for myself. I create stress because I am out of integrity, doing something for the wrong reasons instead of honoring my own knowing of what I want. I have an absolute no to doing that.
I have a withhold. I have made the successful transition to being vegan for about 2 years now, but I have been holding back from saying much about it here. After I read about the realities of food production in the world, I was passionately determined to not participate in factory farming. It was Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer that initially motivated me to make the decision to stop supporting the meat and dairy industry. I was so appalled at what I learned! I had never before been ready to face into the reality of where my food was coming from with my eyes wide open. Friends and family have asked if it was my bout with breast cancer that influenced my decision to be vegan. I don’t have a conscious knowing that this was what ignited my interest, but I am aware that I had just completed my treatment around the same time that I chose to read Eating Animals. What I know is that I felt an impulse and curiosity that I was very drawn to follow. What’s matters is that I listened to what I really wanted and followed my desire to learn about and ‘try on’ being vegan. I’m so glad I followed my impulse. I felt (and still feel!) such a delicious whole body yes decision to be vegan, for my health, the animals(WARNING: GRAPHIC AND DIFFICULT TO WATCH) and the environment.
I haven’t written much about this here because I thought you would judge me. (Yeah, so?) Think of me as radical! (I am!) And then of course, I would cry. Smile! You wouldn’t trust me to be your coach if you knew. After all, vegans are those weird, hippie people who just eat granola and sprouts, right? Bigger Smile! Being vegan has given me another opportunity to be a very tall and proud sunflower in beautiful bloom. I delight in fully owning my authority, my authorship of my life, which now includes caring about animals such that I don’t want to contribute to their suffering or violent deaths. I choose to eat consciously to support my best health and my best energy. I choose to care about the my environmental footprint and do my part to make it smaller.
Why does conscious living equal being vegan for me? I am so clear I am living in integrity, doing the right thing, taking right action, for me. I feel deeply aligned with my values of nonviolence, living in awareness and taking 100% responsibility for the life I am choosing to live. I also feel loving, accepting and respectful of every person’s right to choose what they eat. (Of course, I always wish they would eat less meat!) Most every vegan used to eat animal products at some point in his or her life. Being vegan is about compassion and education and advocacy, not about making judgments.
Being vegan has also opened up a new avenue for me to express my creativity. I savor the joy of writing, coaching and vegan cooking. I continue to educate myself about living and eating compassionately. I feel so grateful for all the vegan bloggers and activists in the world who teach me so much everyday and motivate me to do more to make the world a kinder, smarter and more aware place. If this leaves you with any desire to explore veganism and lean in that direction, check this out.
Ahhhh. The joy of fully revealing!
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss
In this world of abundance, the only thing that is scarce is complete attention. Certainly, the world is busy busy busy and so complete attention to your partner when they are talking is especially loving and kind and RARE. Noticing your friend, your mate, your child, your colleague for as long as is needed and honoring the information that you receive when you really listen is a special gift indeed.
How about giving full attention to YOUR OWN physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and creative needs and wants? Does that make you giddy with the thought?
Take those mini moments, you know, when you briefly notice that the position you are sitting in is no longer comfortable, and you ignore it? And then, sometime later, shortly or longly later, you notice you feel achy or tight or actually in pain because of your position and you finally change the way you are holding yourself. How long do you wait when you realize you are thirsty or that you have to go to the bathroom before you get up and take care of your self? Or push your way through when you really need a nap or, perhaps not going to bed when you were tired because the clock said it wasn’t your bedtime yet.
How about when your belly is rumbling with fear and you are scared to say what is true in your relationship “I’m scared to tell you how I really feel because you might not like me anymore.” “I don’t like Chinese food.” “I want a long lasting, loving committed relationship, not a casual one.” “I don’t want to go out with you anymore.” “I don’t want to get married.”
How do you know when you need some intellectual stimulation? Do you find yourself drawn to the news or some form of reading or learning? Do you try and start a stimulating conversation with everyone you encounter?
How do you allow yourself to tune into your need for creative expression? Do you doodle on paper or tinker in the garden or putter in the kitchen or dabble in paint? How do you know?
What do you hear in your head or feel in your heart or notice in your body that tells you what you most want and need in any moment?
Are you deeply listening? Or are you discounting, ignoring, overriding the truth of what you know?
Give the people you love and yourself the most incredible gift of your complete attention.
Your life will be so much richer for it.
You might say believing there are no mistakes is just a rationalization. But in all sincerity, can you know for absolute certainty that something was supposed to happen one way and not another? In the moment, you might be convinced something was a mistake. Or you might think so in retrospect. You certainly might strongly wish that IT had happened differently.
How does thinking that something was supposed to happen differently than it did help you, or anyone else? Usually, it just makes you feel crummy, helpless, or resentful. After all, it’s over and done with.
But….if you get used to thinking that there are no mistakes, and that there is something to learn from whatever happens, you will feel empowered and easefully centered with whatever happens.
Remember you get to choose your perspective. Choose openness to learning and you will flow with whatever life brings.
What have you been thinking of as a mistake, something you believe shouldn’t have happened the way it did, that you could instead ask the questions: “What can I learn from this?” and “What do I most need or want to learn from this?”
There’s a wonderful gift that New Year’s brings, that sense of a fresh start, an opportunity for new beginnings. It is invigorating and hopeful and exciting. But after the celebrating and toasting and appreciating, the sneaky underbelly of the New Year exposes it’s dark side.
The dark side is the New Year that not always so gently reminds, urges, cajoles and shames us into setting resolutions to change all the things we don’t like about ourselves. Or at least one or two of them.
Can you feel the hands on the small of your back pushing you forward as you flail your arms and drag your heels?
Can you hear your inner voice “shoulding” you into setting particular intentions that are “GOOD FOR YOU”?
Yuck! No wonder so many good intentions to make changes in our lives fail after a short time.
These are intentions that come from somewhere outside of you, from the myriad of influences that have taught you how you “should” be. They’re actually not YOUR intentions, they’re someone else’s that you have inadvertently taken on.
Intention is “a willingness to have a certain experience”. Intention is an “aim that guides your choices”.
How do you know what experience YOU really want to have?
How do you know you are aiming towards what YOU really want?
Here’s some hints about setting intentions that are really your own and that you really want to experience:
If the intention you set feels like a “should” or a “need to” instead of a “want to”, it’s not really yours.
If you notice a pushing or a pulling feeling in your body when you think of the intention instead of an energizing and exciting and at the same time deeply resonating and grounding feeling, it may be too much, too fast or not really yours.
If you notice a sense of dread, of having to gear up, get ready, this is going to be really hard, holding your breath kind of attitude towards the intention then maybe it’s too much, too fast or not really yours.
Is it possible to make changes in your life without forcing yourself?
How about an intention for all your intentions to be truly your own, set with love for yourself with awareness and honoring of your own pace? Are you willing to have that experience?