New inspigraphic inspired by my first LinkedIn Post!
If we practice resistance, then when we get where we’re going, we will resist there too.
An experience of enduring fulfillment becomes possible when we are fundamentally, energetically, exactly where we are. Our thoughts may move in this direction or that, but if our energy is rooted here and now, we can experience our fullest possible expression of ourselves in that moment. That experience is inherently fulfilling.
One way of rooting ourselves in the here and now is to remember that we don’t know everything about everything. The only truth worth holding tightly to is the one that says we mustn’t hold too tightly to any given truth. Truth is never what we think it is, yet it can always be experienced here and now within the context of our capacity to understand the situation. With each experience, we understand differently, and so truth must be allowed to shift along with our understanding if we are to gain the full benefit of our experiences.
“Yet if my experience is one of resistance, isn’t resistance true then?” To a degree, yes. But you need to ask yourself what is causing the resistance: the situation, or your thoughts about the situation? I can think of few extreme examples of where it might be the situation. More often than not, it is simply our thoughts.
Our thoughts about the situation usurp our power by ignoring our role in creating the situation. Only when we take full responsibility for our part in creating the situation, as well as for our thoughts about the situation, can we begin to understand whether the situation even needs changing. Only then are we in a position to make a skilled assessment on how to change it. Otherwise we are simply spinning the roulette wheel again which will likely result in another dead end.
Why run that risk, when you can stack the deck in your favor?
My new “Fizzle” friend and inspiring blogger, Max Turner, recently wrote a great article about transforming your life simply by learning about the lives of exceptional people. It’s clearly a strategy that has worked wonders for Max, and I couldn’t agree more.
For instance, my decision to start my own consulting business seven months ago was the direct result of listening to “everyday” people who are doing exceptional things. I quickly realized that technology has quietly dismantled many “barriers to entry”, and no one had told me! I can now write, publish, and sell a book, and not have to pass through the formidable gatekeepers of publishing. So you know what I did? I published a book! Then another and another. My fourth one will be released later today!
But for me, learning about exceptional people will never have as deep or as lasting of an impact on our quest for transformation if we haven’t first experienced our own exceptional lives first hand. Along my journey, I discovered that “wanting” an exceptional experience of life actually interfered with my capacity to experience the exceptional life which was living me.
Quite unintentionally, I realized that an exceptional life starts with doing normal things in an exceptional way.
My best example: For years I thought that if I could just create a clean and happy home for myself and my family, that we would all be enduringly happy. The problem was, that strategy never seemed to work. We tried moving, buying nicer houses, nicer cars, nicer clothes, nicer vacations: all with no lasting impact to our baseline unhappiness.
Eventually I began to deeply resent that I was the one stuck doing all the household chores. It got to the point where I was so transfixed by my unhappiness that there was no room for creativity anymore. Late one night, in a desperate bid for peace, I surrendered all hope of ever creating “happily ever after”. That’s when things got interesting.
The next day when I was doing the dishes, it was . . . exceptional. My irreconcilable angst was gone, and in its place was an experience of pristine spaciousness. The smell of the soap, the playful bubbles, the warmth of the water, the concert of sounds, the sun streaming through the window lighting up my face, were all a source of aliveness and fascination. It was a thrilling discovery, and all I could think was: “What else have I been missing all this time?!?” Since then, I’ve transformed the mundane activities in my everyday life into opportunities for “exceptional”, and in response life has opened up exceptional opportunities for me.
Normality is not a malady in need of a cure. When we open to seeing the exceptional in the ordinary, our baseline experience of life is transformed, and we discover new opportunities everywhere. It all begins with you: what normal thing can you open to doing in an exceptional way today? Here’s 10 great pointers to get you started.
And when you’re ready for a high-impact approach to get unstuck and on track fast, send me an email: I can definitely help.
Unhappiness is a powerful driver of change in our lives. We sense unhappiness, or even simple unrest, and we take action to dispense of whatever we deem the culprit is. This action can seem to alleviate the perception of burden . . . for a time. Eventually that sense of burden is back again, and the cycle begins anew.
What if nine-times-out-of-ten the thing that needed changing was not contained within the situation but was instead contained within your thoughts about the situation? How much time, effort, money, and heartache would you save if the only necessary adjustment was simply a shift in perception? What if unhappiness was prompting you to learn something rather than change something?
The next time you notice unhappiness, don’t rush off to change what you are doing. Try instead to do what you are doing in a different way. Get curious: what can unhappiness teach us about happiness? Notice one breath consciously, sensing the expansion which that breath fails to relinquish in the face of oppressive unrest. If possible, offer a word of humble gratitude for the situation for prompting you to connect with yourself in a new way.
If the desire for change still remains, you are now in a space ripe for effective, compassionate action. Leveraging unhappiness in this way will reveal a creative, inspired, empowered course of action that aligns seamlessly with the intention you hold for your life.
Engaging mindfulness helps us clearly identify inconsistencies within our thoughts, speech, feelings and actions. We can then adjust our thought processes as needed to ensure our integrity in intact. Viewing our lives through the lens of mindfulness enables us to recognize which opportunities best support the overarching intention for our lives.
Now when we experience resistance to a situation, we are able to most effectively drive change. We accept “what is”, allowing us to first understand whether the issue needing changed is truly in the world or whether it is a result of inconsistencies within our thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions.
We then evaluate our intention to ensure that it is both aligned with our values and constructed in a way that sparks curiosity and discovery. Finally we look to see what, if anything, we can do to effect positive change in the situation. If it turns out there is nothing we can do in that moment, mindful acceptance helps us to remain open within the situation. This puts us in a place of empowerment and keeps us open to opportunities for change when they do arise.
Relative independence is something that can potentially be fought for, but relative independence will never fully quench your thirst for freedom. Until you experience fundamental independence, life will seem a worthy adversary and success will seem hard won.
At the end of your days however, you will likely realize the battles that consumed your life, the ones you fought hardest for, were but a diversionary ploy. As long as we are fighting those relative fights, we don’t have to face the one that we feel most ill equipped for and most unlikely of winning. We continue to choose the known and comfortable heartache over the daunting and avoidable unknown. We die never having known the rich fullness of life.
It is important to realize that the predisposition to settle for less is something that we inherited. Only when we become aware of how judgment defeats us can we even notice the option to make a different choice. Only then can we begin to experience fundamental independence, because the hardest battle was already won the moment our awareness disengaged from relative battles. Only then do we stand clear and drink deeply from our own source, at last quenching our thirst for freedom.
Want to know how? Here are some posts I’ve written that could help (in no particular order):
A common trap we can fall prey to in our everyday lives is the inclination to gloss over the pesky activities that create the foundation of our day. You know, things like brushing our teeth, washing our hands, eating, walking to our car, preparing a meal, cleaning, and whatnot.
As with any activity, what we practice we strengthen. Demonstrating a lack of intention with our mundane daily activities can only undermine the degree of intention we bring to other areas of our lives.
Despite how many times you may have performed an activity before, these innocuous activities provide a rich opportunity to demonstrate intention. Because they are impersonal, they provide a safe space for us to let our guard down and break free from any judgmental mind chatter.
My suggestion: Each morning, call to mind a single simple activity that you do throughout your day. Then, each time that you become aware of doing that activity (before, during, or after), notice one breath consciously. Allow your shoulders to relax, and allow any tension in your face to fall away.
Survey your surroundings and activity with a heightened sense of curiosity: What do you smell, feel, hear, that even one moment ago you were entirely unaware of? Slow down, and perform the activity at hand as if you were savoring your most favorite activity. As you finish the activity, perhaps offer a silent word of gratitude.
Your experience of life will be well served by weaving in these micro-moments of high intention. As you continue on in your day, notice how that high quality of intention spills over into other activities and transforms your overall sense of wellbeing.
When we achieve a goal, there is an initial wave of relief. We attribute that relief to getting what it is we strove for, but truly that relief is simply because the striving has come to an end: momentarily, anyway.
Striving is a habitual behavior, and if not kept in check, it will negate any possibility of experiencing enduring fulfillment. Striving at its core is a form of discontent. We look around our lives and decide something else is needed in order for our lives to be complete.
There is always more, though. With enough years spent striving and attaining, we come to a point where we feel like anything more is just more of the same. Life starts to lose its color and fascination, and haunting aloneness robs us of sleep as we stare into the nothingness wondering “is this all there is?”
This can be a time of ripe discovery in our lives if we recognize it as such, but far too often it is a missed opportunity. This silent epidemic of “hitting top” is a rapidly growing issue in First World countries, and persistent striving is just one of the symptoms. Due to its complex and varied nature, this issue of “hitting top” has only recently come to light as a new field of study. Because of this, there are too few advocates available to raise awareness and guide the afflicted masses out of that barren darkness.
To make matters more serious, because we live in such a richly diverse universe, it can take us far into retirement to arrive at that point of desolation. Along the way, we misattribute our waning zest for life to the aging process, and entirely miss the opportunity to take life to the next level.
There is a solution. With guided self-inquiry provided by someone who has successfully transcended that desolate void, we can discover the golden thread woven throughout our life experiences, transform our habitual thought process, break through that vapid plateau, and take life to the next level.
While there is a remote possibility of achieving these results through personal self-inquiry, doing so can take years or even decades, and by then we don’t have the time or energy to explore that next level of experience. Hiring an expert in the field gets us on track and up to speed quickly, allowing us the most possible time to fully explore both our inherent and acquired wealth in meaningful and inspired ways.
Want to learn more? Shoot me an email. I welcome the opportunity to hear your thoughts and questions on this most serious, and potentially transformational, experience of “hitting top”.
There is a certain thought process that was necessary in order to get us where we are today. That thought process served us well to a point, but inherent in that thought process were unseen limitations.
Eventually we reach a plateau where those limitations are persistently front and center in certain areas of our lives. As much as we try, we are unable to transcend those struggles, effectively limiting our experience of enduring fulfillment.
To take life to the next level, we need a different lens through which we view and interpret our life experiences. Self-help solutions are often explored for this reason, and may provide a marginal and brief reprieve from the persistent angst that undermines our capacity to thrive, but following someone else’s “recipe for success” will never lead us to our own.
In this way, a “different” lens is not enough to break through vapid plateaus: it must also be original to us.
Original insight into our life experiences becomes possible through sincere self-inquiry. Sincere guided self-inquiry from someone who has successfully bridged that gap accelerates that process. Guided self-inquiry get us off the bench and back onto the playing field, allowing us the most time to explore and engage our new found vision before the game as we know it comes to an end.
If you find you are struggling more than you are comfortable with, and you have not been able to make any genuine and lasting change in your life, consider seeking out a mentor skilled in the art of original insight. Even just a few conversations are often enough to transform our thought process, empowering us to take life to the next level.
Things aren’t always going to go as planned. Things are certainly not always going to go as we like or want. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. From our limited perspective, it’s not always easy to see how a seemingly “negative” situation may in fact be exactly the thing we need most. Our personal biases often blind us to countless opportunities to get where we most want to go.
The good news is that most any situation can be leveraged in our favor if we just learn to trust the process. Trust requires us to set aside our own ideas for what should happen, allowing us to stay open to all possibilities.
My suggestion: The next time you are faced with a “less than favorable” situation, use that as your cue to practice mindfulness. As you begin to feel agitated, notice one breath consciously. Allow for the possibility that there is more going on than meets the eye. Accept that the trial may be here to serve your highest interest. Get curious: How might this inconvenience be a bridge to where you are ultimately trying to get to? Trust, combined with curiosity, has the power to transform any obstacle into an accomplice helping you take life to the next level.
What if, from time to time, we engaged our chores and activities as if they were the most important thing we could be doing? What if we gave everything we are to those activities? How might that intention set the stage for us to give ourselves most fully in other areas of our lives? What might our experience of life be if we engaged the mundane activities of our everyday lives as an opportunity to practice surrender, acceptance, and gratitude? Not as something we “have” to do, but as something we “get” to do?
Only one way to find out.
Change that arises entirely in response to unhappiness doesn’t cure the unhappiness. At most, changing our situation staves unhappiness off for a while, but we will certainly face it again. My suggestion: face that unhappiness now and acknowledge your role in creating it.
The choices we make contain many unseen aspects, and some of those aspects will be “less than ideal”. When we choose a particular action, we choose even those aspects we had no way of accounting for.
When we take responsibility for the choices we made that led to an experience of unhappiness, we short circuit unhappiness. Now any changes we make arise from a sense of wholeness rather than lack. And while those changes may still contain “less than ideal” aspects, those unfavorable aspects do not interfere with our capacity to also experience the fulfillment woven throughout every experience.
Only when we understand that we can never make a fully informed decision can we stop trying to create fulfillment and start experiencing the fulfillment that is already here. Only then can we choose wisely, knowing that there will be parts of our choice that will challenge us to know ourselves most deeply and embracing that challenge sight unseen.
We tend to feel uncomfortable when we don’t have ready solutions for obstacles that arise. In an effort to escape the discomfort, we may latch on to the first solution we come up with even if there is still time to consider alternatives.
These moments of indecision are ideal for engaging mindfulness. Bringing awareness and acceptance to an experience of discomfort is far more empowering than employing brute force tactics to escape or avoid the discomfort.
Rather than rushing prematurely towards a solution, be patient. Notice one breath consciously. Set a time for resolution and don’t decide anything until then. When we learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable, opportunities arise that transform our experience of life from one of uncerrtainty to one of adventure. This extra time allows for genius solutions to arise: solutions that are more fully informed, and that deepen and accelerate our experience of meaningful success.
Our bodies as a whole pick up far more information from a situation than we can account for intellectually. Over thinking a situation cuts us off from our inherent wisdom. Mindful acceptance of “what is” boosts our intuitive capacity allowing for an integral response. In this way, we are able to make a more fully informed decision when we suspend our compulsion to over think situations and allow the moment to inform us.
Before you choose a course of action, notice one breath consciously. Consider whether a decision even has to be made in that moment. Remember that there is no one ultimate truth that applies to every situation, and that every decision holds an experience of discovery and first-hand learning. Once you choose something, follow through. This is where we deepen our integral alignment. Whatever it is you agree to do, do it. Even if it doesn’t work out as well as you’d imagined, there will be a wealth of learning that comes from the process of keeping your word.
Enduring fulfillment will continue to elude those who live their lives based largely on learned principles. That’s not to say that fulfillment is found by breaking rules, it simply means that each fresh experience provides us the opportunity to set aside logic and discover what is most valuable in that moment.
In this process, our values stand revealed. They are no longer strictly aligned with ideals of what is “right and just”, but include input from the situation at hand. It is a process of discovery that places first-hand experience above second-hand logic, and establishes an entirely different allegiance to our values. Instead of choosing a particular action because it connects us to established precepts, we choose it because it connects us to who we are within the context of that situation. This provides us with an expanded sense of self, and so leads us to an expanded experience of wholeness. That experience of wholeness is where fulfillment resides.
Once core values are identified, be sure to hold those values loosely. Like a birch tree in a driving storm, allow them to bend when necessary based on the situation at hand. Holding too tightly onto an ideal is exactly the mode of thinking that mindfulness attempts to transcend. Identify the value, then look to see how and if it shows up in each situation.
Mindfulness is a paradoxical and powerful path to an experience of enduring fulfillment. Mindfulness answers the question: How do I “accept what is” and “drive change”? Today we conclude our 7-part series on mindfulness.
We covered a tremendous amount of material in these past seven days. Let’s start with a quick recap:
- We began our exploration of mindfulness by noting that presence is always the case, and that mindfulness is a trustworthy vehicle allowing us to shift a point of awareness away from our worldly experience and onto an experience of unwavering presence in which experience unfolds.
- Through presence awareness practices, we began learning how to maintain a point of awareness a half-step “back” from the mundane activities in our everyday life. Throughout this primer, we used our breath as a tangible point of reference enabling us to achieve that.
- Next, I shared three simple ways we can accept “what is” when faced with an experience of resistance or oppression. Through word choice, gratitude, and surrender, resistance becomes our cue to engage presence awareness and shift out of a closed mindset, enabling us to transform situations from a threat to an ally.
- EDL Meditation is a great way to cultivate our capacity to stay rooted in presence awareness while accepting “what is”. Weaving these “micro-meditations” throughout our day helps us to stay rooted in presence awareness and acceptance. From this platform, when unexpected and otherwise “unacceptable” events occur, we are able to respond from a space of curiosity and discovery rather than react from limiting conditioned behaviors.
- The next stop on our journey took us to a discussion of integrity, and we shined a mindful light on the importance of ensuring our thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions are in alignment. Identifying and resolving inconsistencies within our thoughts and behaviors empowers us to navigate situations more skillfully. Ultimately, integrity provides us with a solid platform for us to identify an overarching intention for our lives that aligns with our values.
- Having successfully adapted our thought processes to better fit our current life situation, we finally arrive at an opportunity ripe for discovering an overarching intention for our lives. An apt intention will be one that opens us for discovery, and allows us to experience the fulfillment woven throughout every step of our journey. Now we can effectively drive change.
Accepting “what is” doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about an uncomfortable situation: it actually empowers us to respond to resistance with greater effectiveness. From a place of mindfulness, whatever we ultimately end up doing will be in alignment with our values and our intention.
In this way, change is no longer a futile reaction to unhappiness. Instead, change arises in response to accepting unhappiness and discovering where the true opportunity for change resides. From a platform of full acceptance, we drive change not because we are striving for an experience that seemingly eludes us, but simply because that change amplifies our experience of the fullest possible expression of ourselves.
Though this primer aptly touches on the core structure, there is a lot more to be shared on the topic of mindfulness. Keep in mind that while it only took 7 days to introduce these elements of mindfulness, full integration can take years. In my case it took me about 5 years to fully develop and integrate these processes, and arrive at a stable plateau of enduring fulfillment. One reason it likely took that long was that I didn’t have anyone spelling out the process for me, or supporting or guiding me as I took those steps. There was a tremendous depth of learning that occurred as a result of learning on my own, but if somehow my education can now help to fast track your own journey to mindfulness, I am more than happy to help.
If there’s something that you would like more explanation about, or if you feel I may have left out, please email me. It would be helpful to know how I can make this guide more useful.
So the question is: How do I “accept what is” AND “drive change”? Answer: Mindfulness. This series of posts is designed to introduce the key concepts to this paradoxical approach to empowerment. Today’s topic: Intention.
So far on our journey to mindfulness, we have explored how to integrate presence awareness and acceptance using EDL meditation. We also took a first look at the importance of foundational integrity. Today we continue our discussion of integrity as it applies to the process of identifing an overarching intention for our lives.
We can think of an intention as a sort of “mission statement” through which we filter decisions both significant and mundane. Intention empowers us to choose most skillfully, especially in those moments where we are unclear about what to do next.
Intention is an extension of integrity, which is why it was important to address integrity first. Once our thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions are in alignment, we are then primed to identify an overarching intention for our lives that aligns with our values and informs the choices we make.
While there are no real “right or wrong” answers when it comes to setting an intention, there are some key indicators signaling that you have identified one that will help you take life to the next level. For the purpose of this primer, I’ve identified four of the top indicators to help you in the process of selecting an apt intention.
First, an overarching intention sets us up for an experience of success at every turn. As such, it should be founded in discovery versus achievement. In this way, the only factor which decides success or failure are our own feelings about the result. Because it is an intrinsic measure, it is something we have significant capacity to effect.
For instance, my current intention for my life is “to fully explore, experience, and express creativity and insight.” Only I can decide whether or not my decisions are supportive of that intention. If I’m not living up to that intention, and I’m not enjoying that experience of not living up to that intention, then I am empowered to change either the intention or my behavior.
Next, An overarching intention for our lives helps us make choices when we are unclear about what choice to make. It helps us move past uncertainty and arrive at a decision that aligns with our integrity. Knowing there is no “right or wrong” choice, we rely on our integrity to inform us on what feels most right in that moment. If we do not end up happy with the results, that is an indicator that perhaps there are still some conflicts that need resolved amidst our thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions, or that our intention is not aptly aligned with our values. In this way, even a “less than ideal” outcome holds the capacity for refinement and enrichment.
Also, an overarching intention brushes the dust off the lens through which we see our lives. Everyday situations come alive when approached mindfully. Regardless of how many times we have performed a task, there is always something to learn. Usually we think of adventure as doing something new, but I have found equal if not more adventure in simply doing something old in a new way. An apt intention engages curiosity in every situation, and helps us look for what is different about this time than other times.
Lastly for now, an overarching intention for our lives opens up new possibilities, partly because we are not intent on needing one specific outcome, but also because it quiets fear and helps us step in the direction of discovery. Even if we fail to reach a specific goal, we will discover something new about ourselves and the world simply by stepping in the direction of that goal in spite of fear or uncertainty.
In tomorrow’s final installment, we will take a succinct look at how presence awareness, acceptance, EDL Meditation, integrity, and intention all fit together within the framework of mindfulness to provide us with a powerful, though paradoxical, path to empowerment.
So the question is: How do I “accept what is” AND “drive change”? Answer: Mindfulness. This series of posts is designed to introduce the key concepts to this paradoxical approach to empowerment. Today’s topic: Integrity.
To effectively drive change from a space of acceptance, we need to first clearly identify an overarching intention for our lives. However if we haven’t first resolved conflicts within our thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions, we will be hard pressed to identify an apt intention. Choosing an intention without resolving inner conflicts is like shooting an arrow at a moving target: we end up either consistently missing the mark, or hitting marks devoid of enduring fulfillment.
That critical alignment of thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions is more commonly referred to as integrity, and is an essential aspect of mindfulness.
Integrity and mindfulness have a symbiotic relationship. Mindfulness helps us engage integrity, and integrity helps us root more deeply in mindfulness. Mindfulness enables us to notice any inconsistencies or half-truths between our thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions. Once those inconsistencies are identified, we are empowered to navigate situations more skillfully with an eye towards alignment.
It’s an iterative process of trial and error which requires much fine tuning. During this process, it is important that we suspend “ideals” of right and wrong, and focus instead on accepting the fullness of the situation. From that space of acceptance, we are able to choose what feels most right for us within the context of each situation. Later, we can then explore the results of the action we took, and discover whether our decision brought us closer to, or farther away from, a sense of alignment with what we think, say, and feel is most important to us.
In other words, mindfulness creates an opportunity for us to ask: Did the decision we made set us up for an experience of expansion or contraction? Then we can ask: Does that expansion or contraction feel like something we want to experience more often? Integrity then becomes the “constant” in the equation of our experience of life, giving us a solid platform from which to step regardless of what the situation contains.
Eventually we learn that what feels most right in a given moment doesn’t always serve our fullest experience of ourselves. Armed with this realization, we are then primed to navigate the conditioned behaviors that arise in our day which, if left unchecked, lead us away from an experience of our fullest possible expression of ourselves.
From the platform of integrity, we discover that the roots of fulfillment transcend momentary gratification. The thought processes that got us to our current plateau will not help us take life to the next level. By challenging our decision making process, we open ourselves to an experience of life that far exceeds anything we could have imagined from our current mindset. It’s a fulfilling experience of perpetual discovery, as opposed to the classic “striving and achieving” that exhausts our resources and amplifies an experience of restless angst.
Tomorrow in part 6 of this mindfulness primer, we will explore how to effectively identify an overarching intention for our lives.
So the question is: How do I “accept what is” AND “drive change”? Answer: Mindfulness. This series of posts is designed to introduce the key concepts to this paradoxical approach to empowerment. Today’s topic: EDL Meditation.
Previously in this mindfulness primer, I shared insights on how to begin cultivating presence awareness. Then we explored accepting “what is”. Today, we are going to combine them into a mindfulness activity I call “Everyday Life Meditation” (or “EDL Meditation” for short).
Basically, EDL Meditation uses everyday habits and happenings as triggers for mindfulness. The crux of these micro-meditations is simply this: spontaneously notice one breath consciously many times throughout our day. To help us do that, we will use the situations, experiences, and mundane activities in everyday life as cues to awaken from a conditioned habit of complete identification with thought and activity.
We begin by identifying a cue, and when we become aware of that activity (before, during, or after), our only task is to notice one breath consciously. The key here is to select something that you do at least half a dozen times a day so that you integrate awareness, acceptance, and the breath regularly over the course of a day. This strengthens our awareness muscle, and makes us far more likely to respond rather than react when something goes awry.
The structure of EDL Meditation is simple: “Every time you become aware of ( ), notice one breath consciously.” Fill in the blank with anything that stands out to you as an effective cue. Below is a short list to get you started.
You will notice that many of these cues are rooted in resistance. Rather than resist “what is”, we use EDL Meditation to accept and align with “what is” by becoming aware of resistance and noticing one breath consciously. In this way, resistance becomes our ally on our journey to mindfulness, and EDL Meditation is the vehicle that takes us there. So let’s get started!
“Every time you become aware of ( ), notice one breath consciously.”
- Feeling burdened
- Checking the time
- Walking through a doorway
- Striving towards a goal
- Feeling disappointed
- Thinking something you’ve thought before
- Wishing you were doing something else
- Looking in the mirror
- Feeling afraid
- Entering an intersection
- Opening the refrigerator
- Checking email
- Questioning why
With EDL Meditation, we weave presence awareness and acceptance throughout our day. This helps us be more creative, inspired, and response-able, promoting greater experiences of peace, joy, and fulfilment.
Tomorrow we will briefly survey the aspect of integrity, and how we can use it to clearly identify intentions that are aligned with our fullest possible expression of ourselves.
So the question is: How do I “accept what is” AND “drive change”? Answer: Mindfulness. This series of posts is designed to introduce the key concepts to this paradoxical approach to empowerment. Today’s topic: Acceptance.
As mentioned previously, accepting “what is” can be difficult when we are faced with a challenging or uncomfortable situation. This difficulty is compounded when the situation involves another person as opposed to innocuous activities, so for the purpose of this primer, we are going to maintain focus on acceptance in regard to our activities.
Many activities in our everyday life can carry a sense of burden or hardship. This arises in part because our sense of autonomy is threatened when faced with a “have to” as opposed to a “want to”. That threat interferes with our capacity to experience fulfillment.
When we embody a state of acceptance, we transform situations from a threat to an ally. So how do we do that?
Years ago as I was first trying to swap out my conditioned patterns of resistance with open acceptance, I developed a whole arsenal of tools for aligning with seemingly oppressive situations. I needed a lot of tools at that time, and not every tool worked in every situation. Below I cover the top three strategies I used when I was first learning the art of acceptance.
One simple but powerful tool was simply changing the wording I used: instead of saying “I have to . . . (do the dishes, for example)”, I started saying “I Get to . . . “ That simple switch would change my whole energy. I would open to the situation, align with it, and learn from it. This simple swap was all that was needed to peak my sense of adventure and curiosity, even if all I was doing was the dishes. I know it may sound a bit ridiculous: it still leaves me in disbelief. But every time I engage this tool, I am always surprised that it still holds true as a path to alignment.
Gratitude was another original go-to tactic of mine. When I would become aware of resistance towards a situation, I would course correct by saying something like: “I’m so grateful for this obstacle for showing me more deeply to myself.” Just saying that would help me to relax and align with the situation.
Another powerful tool was surrender. Conceptually, surrender gives the impression of defeat or weakness, but I assure you there is no greater tactic for empowerment than surrendering fully to whatever it is that needs done. I recall one experience where I was cleaning my kitchen, and as I sensed resistance towards the activity, I had the insight to give myself over to it completely.
Part way through I recall feeling a sense of deep sacredness regarding the activity. By the end, it was as if I had cleansed my soul in the process of cleaning my kitchen. I was glowing, and filled with such an incredible sense of aliveness. Irrational: yes. But the lessons that unfolded throughout the rest of that day put it all in a context that actually makes a lot of sense.
You see, the intention I had practiced while cleaning carried over into every other activity. I was responsive and compassionate, and I could see that the intense quality I had brought to cleaning set the stage for intense quality interactions in all areas of my life. I saw how when there is intense quality in this moment, each moment will be one of intense quality, and the resulting life situation can only be one of intense quality and fulfillment.
Acceptance can be easier when we understand that the subtle empowerment woven into acceptance has little to do with the “thing” you are accepting and everything to do with that moment of shifting away from what you are doing and on to how you are doing what you are doing. That shift is the key to enduring fulfillment which develops as we strengthen and lengthen those experiences of acceptance and presence awareness. In this way, what we are ultimately accepting is not the obstacle before us, but our own sacredness.
Tomorrow, we will integrate mindfulness in micro doses throughout our day.