Have you ever sat with a friend and they keep going over the same old negative stuff and don’t seem to be able to get past it?
Have you tried talking about a past issue, made some progress and feel like you have hit a wall in working it all out?
Can you openly talk about “it” without getting emotional but you think about “it” every waking moment with no respite when you are asleep?
Is everyone telling you to “get over it” and “it’s time you moved on” but it’s still stuck in your story and you feel like there must be something wrong with you?
Talking about past hurts and trauma is great and can help a lot of people and sometimes though it is not enough. Sometimes talking about it doesn’t bring the relief you thought it would or it only takes you so far.
That’s because your body still remembers what if felt like at the time.
Every experience we have from pure joy to absolute trauma invokes an emotional response which gets stored in your body at the cellular level. For example, when we experience the exhilaration of climbing to the top of a mountain or the warmth of a loved ones hug our body remembers elation, laughter, joy, love. Physically we stand tall, are relaxed, and feel pretty good with a warm glow spreading in our bodies when we recall the moment.
“You have got to be in it to win it” are the words mumbled the morning after the $50 million lottery is drawn and people in the game check their tickets over breakfast.
By the time breakfast is over and the email alert hasn’t pinged or the phone is silent there is resignation in the voice because “some other lucky so and so won it …. oh well maybe next time”.
The thing with playing lottery is that you can choose whether you want to spend your hard earned moolah on being “in it” or to spend it on something else. And yes you DO have to be in it to win it. Never a raffle prize was won without obtaining a ticket first.
What about the game of life?
Each morning you get up you have purchased another ticket in life. Some people hold a shiny golden ticket full of possibilities, opportunity and prizes, like the one the child in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory had. Whilst others hold a dull and lack lustre ticket like the one you take at the delicatessen as you wait in line, waiting as others push in anyway.
The difference between the lottery and having the golden ticket in life is the amount of winning tickets available and the expiry date.
The lottery, footy raffle, and a TAB ticket all have one thing in common. That is the availability of winning tickets. There is only one set of winning numbers, one winning raffle ticket and only one greyhound will make it to the finish line first.
In the game of life anybody can have a winning ticket …. There is no limit and there is no expiry date.
Why is it that some people always seem to be the lucky ones, get all the breaks and seem to be holding the golden ticket?
There is nothing lucky about holding a golden ticket. ....
The days of reading maps and plotting courses with sextants and compasses have largely faded into the past. In the 21st century, technology has made finding our desired destination as easy as the click of a button. If you are in an unfamiliar city you can use a navigational aid to successfully arrive at your meeting or appointment. By searching for “nearest restaurants”, your smart phone will find one for you then proceed to tell you how to get there, and how long it will take depending on your mode of transport. It even does a risk assessment of sorts and produces a number of routes with information about tolls, roadworks or other obstacles along the way. Very little thought from you is required and no resources except you and your device.
A little less automatic and requiring a bunch of collective thought and resources depending on the complexity is a work or business project. Generally a Project Manager is engaged to undertake a project at work or in business using some level of project management plan, or roadmap. There is a project destination in mind (outcome or deliverable), a plan is developed from a whole bunch of inputs, a set of actions are produced , along the way progress is monitored via a set of milestones (smaller goals) and at the end there are a set of measures which determine whether you got to your destination. The course taken on the roadmap has considered resources required (time, people, cash, and infrastructure), the potential risks or roadblocks and strategies to mitigate them, and how the Project Manager will know that the project has met expectations and the project destination has been achieved. When things come up that throw the plan off track, the team can go back to the roadmap and make the appropriate decisions and tweaks required to get back on track.
Earle Nightingale, author of The Strangest Secret audio series said: “All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination”.
So what about your life?
So far there is no technological device in which we can access a satellite to determine where we are now with respect to our life journey. You can’t just type in the destination (the life you want to live) and then .. cool … up pops a road map.
Staying mindfully in the moment – or miss them all together!
Our son recently got married and when we sat back afterwards and people started asking us for photos I realised that I had been so in the moment with the whole day that I had not taken ONE photo!!
Coming from a family whose grandmother made sure we posed for at least seven photos every time we met for a birthday or anniversary this was completely out of the ordinary.
Being in the moment is about having all your senses switched on and experiencing each second as the moments unfold. When you are in the moment you smell the smells, feel the emotions, hear the noises, and catch the glances and smiles. It means occasionally locking eyes with people in brief moments of deep and personal sharing and feeling like you are part of something bigger than yourself.
Sometimes we get so caught up in life and it’s busyness and about worrying about the future that we forget to enjoy the moments. Life is so fast paced now that we can be trapped in the cycle of always thinking about the next thing.
You may have just dropped the kids off to their sports training and your mind is already turned towards what is happening for dinner and getting them to do their homework. You race off to fill that gap when they are there to fit something else in. You go back, pile them in the car and go home to make sure all the nightly routine is done without a hitch and then you fall into bed wondering where the day went.
Did you really even connect with them? Did you have a conversation about their day and REALLY listen? Did you give them a hug?
You might go for a daily walk like I do. Some days you find yourself planning the day ahead and being so in your own mind that you walked past someone without even acknowledging them or you didn’t see the flock of black cockatoos pass overhead on their daily journey, or wave to your friend as they drove past on their way to work.
On days like that something is usually weighing heavily on your mind and you walk in auto mode with your head down and eyes directed on the ground, not seeing or hearing anything going on around you. You are home before you know it and don’t feel any more relaxed than when you started out.
How many times have you missed the moment because you have run to get your camera or have been distracted by fumbling to quickly get the phone out so you can take a photo of the moment?
You end up asking everyone to “do it again so I can take a photo because I missed that!” Then you miss it again, only seeing it through the mechanical lens with your mind thinking about whether you got it all in or if the light is good enough. Everyone groans because they have moved on to the next moment already.
Some moments are so fleeting in their spontaneity there is no way to recreate it. That moment your child took their first step, witnessing the look on their face when they won the race they were in, catching the wildlife moment on your safari trip in South Africa.
What makes you feel more alive?
Being in the thick of the moment, seeing, hearing, touching, smelling OR looking at life through the lens of a camera?
Sure, get that photo that reminds you of the moment you were part of which will jog your memory of the more juicy and memorable moments you experienced. Just don’t let it take away from living the moment in the moment or worse still missing it all together!
Here are 5 steps for staying mindfully in the moment by focusing on your breathing:
Step 1 – Notice how you are breathing.
How you are breathing is a pretty good indication of whether you are in the moment or not. If you find yourself holding your breath you are probably off with the fairies thinking about something that has happened or worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. Your teeth may be clenched and your body tense.
Step 2 – Look up and look around
Put the camera down and look at and listen to the person you are with. What are they wearing, what are they saying, how are they feeling?
If you are on your own and in auto mode with your head down and your mind is caught in a tangle of what if’s and what for’s, look up and look around. Where are you, what is going on around you?
If you are at work, stop thinking about what it is you need to do next and start listening to and focusing on what is happening right now.
Step 3 – Take a deep breath out
Stop. Take a deep breath in and fill your belly then let it out at your own pace. Feel your shoulders relax, your jaw slacken, your neck release. Feel yourself settle into your own person again as you become aware of what is happening in the moment.
Step 4 – Continue with what you are doing.
Step 5 – Notice and correct (Repeat Steps 1 – 4)
Throughout the day just take a moment (no pun intended) to repeat the steps. Being aware or mindful about your breathing helps you to cope with stress, regain composure, and stay calm during the day to be fully in in the moment. There is no right or wrong. Whenever you remember or notice you are caught up in the daily pressure of life gently refocus your awareness on your breathing and go through the steps.
In reality it only takes less than a minute to bring yourself back into the moment.
ABOUT YOUR BREATH
Breath is life. It is a fundamental necessity to living. To get to know and understand your breath is to strengthen your relationship with life itself. Your life!!
Breathing is our link to survival, without it we cease to be able to live in our physical body.
Did you know as adults we take up to 30,000 breaths a day when at rest and up to 50,000 breaths if you add in some daily exercise.
How many of those do you take notice of?
You are invited to contact me to find out more.
My passions are nature, people, and building cultures of cooperation, harmony, sharing and reverence for life. I enjoy working with people to help them understand themselves and others so they can reach their full potential in life.