Friday, June 29, 2012
When we are having issues in some area of our life, it is obvious that we need to change something. We are clearly off in some way and that is what is causing strife in our lives. Often times, we look to change something on the outside. If we just do X,Y or Z, that will fix the problem. We will be happy. This really is not the case though. All the things outside of us serve as triggers of what is going on inside of us. If we really want to change, we need to work on ourselves, not changing the outside circumstances we find ourselves in. Nothing on the outside can ever solve our problems.
Outside changes are only a part of what needs to be done to resolve whatever it is you want to resolve. I know a lot of people who feel stuck in life think that moving to a new location and getting a fresh start will be the answer to all of their problems. As someone who has spent an extensive amount of time living and traveling abroad, trust me, this is not the answer. Since all of our issues result from within, your issues will be with you no matter where you are physically located. You will not leave your problems at the boarding gate, I assure you of that. This sort of experience can no doubt produce wonderful changes in you, but for most of us, the issues that plague us having nothing to do with our geographical location and moving somewhere else will do nothing to address them.
Now, this is not to say that making changes on the outside will never have an effect, as they surely can produce some pretty good results that will get us on the right track. If you are a recovering drug addict, cutting ties with friends who still use is probably a good thing that will help you stay sober. If you are extremely introverted and sensitive to noise and chaos, moving out of the city and into the countryside or a quiet suburb will probably have a positive impact on your well-being. If you are feeling stifled and looking to live a life of adventure, leaving your one-stoplight town to live in a foreign country will probably make you feel more alive. If you have low-self esteem, finding a great relationship will probably give you a boost. Ideally, the outside changes will serve as a catalyst to self-examination and the inner work to address the root causes of your problems.
If you are really looking to make positive changes in your life or change yourself, you need to be willing to do the internal work or you will just get partial results. The outside changes may temporarily suppress the issues but they will rear their ugly heads again in time. You will get stuck in a pattern of jumping from one change to the next trying to find that magic path to happiness and you will always be coming up short. Nothing outside of us can ever make us happy, that all comes from within.
One of the biggest blocks to pursuing the things we want is thinking about all the other people who want the same things. We get into a competitive mindset and think that there is only so much to go around, that we cannot possibly get a piece of the pie. We think of all the other people pursuing the same end and we think that we do not stand a chance.
This mindset of competitive thinking is kind of poisonous really because it will stop us from living our lives as we truly want. It will implant the idea that we cannot get what we want, that there are only limited possibilities.
You need to get into the mindset of thinking creatively, of knowing that there is unlimited happiness, money and all that other good stuff to go around. What other people want and what other people are doing will not impinge on your success. You can align yourself with the things you want and bring them into your physical reality.
I can give you a perfect example from my own life. Freelance writing is one of my income sources and there are lots of writers out there checking the same websites every day, looking for leads. I frequently check for job postings at a very high traffic site that deals with all things blogging. Lots and lots of other people checking that job board every day. I have been doing some serious work with law of attraction as of late and I have been a bit of an attracting machine if I do say so myself.
I have gotten quite a few jobs on that site, more than one might expect. All have noted a high volume of applications and how mine just stood out. Does it mean I am the best, most special writer in the world? No. But it does mean that they were drawn to my application for some reason, that out of all the people, they picked me. Now, I have not gotten every job I have applied to? No, but I have gotten a lot—a lot more than I would have anticipated.
This is a perfect example because this is one instance where one might feel discouraged, that they should not even bother. There will be so many other applications, no way they will pick me. Maybe not every time, but if you are aligning with an energy that is conducive to bringing you the things you want, you will get what you want in some form and it will usually be the perfect type of opportunity for you.
This type of stuff is not logical, it requires a different way of thinking and being. It requires faith. It requires us to get out of competition mode and start getting into the mode where we become an active participant in the creation process. Stay focused on what you want and do not give your attention to what is happening outside of yourself, most importantly all the people you feel in ‘’competition’’ with.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
I think most of us can relate to the experience of waking up and having our brain go into instant overdrive. We think of all the things we need to do. We may feel anxious thinking about things left undone from the day before. We want to hop online to see if that email we were waiting for has arrived. We get a sinking feeling thinking of what awaits us once our feet hit the floor.
I have learned that how I think and feel makes a huge impact on my outside experience. Getting into a good mental space right at the start of the day has been one of the most effective tools for me in terms of promoting my mental well-being and attracting more good things into my life. I make my living online and I still have not fully kicked the urge to hop on the computer right when I wake up in the morning…I will admit sometimes I give in if I am waiting on something particular, but I am getting better at it. It happened just a few minutes ago and even as I am writing this, I feel that urge. Being particularly aware of this inclination this morning during my meditation, I decided that I was going to write this blog post before I did anything else. Yay for me, I stuck to it!
Starting off the day with clear minds or as clear as we can make them --we are only human after all and we will not always feel the endeavor was successful – sets the stage for a smoother experience. If we can slow our minds down a bit, we will see that we can choose how to view what the day holds for us and we will choose a better perspective. We will feel less overwhelmed. We will feel less worried. We will alter our approach.
For me, meditation is what does the trick first thing in the morning. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Maybe writing out a list of things you are grateful for is what does it for you. If it makes you feel better, then it is good. Do what works for you. Do not use the excuse that you do not have time. I know for most people, if they need to be out the door by 7 and it takes them exactly 38 minutes to get ready in the morning, they are not setting that alarm any early than 6:22. Get up a few minutes earlier or spend a few minutes less watching the morning news show or putzing around on your smart phone….check Facebook later, it will not kill you.
If we can get out of that frenzied mental state that hits us as soon as we regain consciousness, it can literally change your life. I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but it is true. Our life experience is dependent on how we think and our perspective and this activity will change them for the better and a better life will naturally follow.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Often times, things do not go as we planned or we experience unpleasant situations. In most cases, we get consumed with the negative and focus all our attention on being annoyed, angry, frustrated, agitated, pissed off -- the list could go on and on. We are not feeling good and we feed off of that. We may complain, have a running dialogue in our head about all the things that are bothering us, feel sorry for ourselves, focus on all that is wrong, all that is lacking, all that we do not like. Understandable of course as it is natural to prefer certain circumstances over others. But, if we can work on shifting our perspective in the moment, we can alleviate a lot of this suffering, maybe even completely eliminate it. We can learn to go with the flow and accept the moment rather than fighting against what is. I am getting better at this shift though I still need some practice and luckily life presents plenty of opportunities for that practice.
I thought to write this post after a recent experience I had on my journey through SE Asia. I had booked a bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and let's just say the travel agent was less than forthcoming about the quality of said bus. They were using the term VIP quite loosely it seems. Having taken overnight long-distance buses in Thailand before, I was expecting something quite different than what I came across when I got dropped off. As the driver pulled into a gas station, I figured he was stopping to refuel since there was no way the old-ass bus parked off to the side could have possibly been where I would be spending the next 12 hours or so. Well, I was wrong about that. Old, dirty, stained, no blanket, no pillows, small seats, no snacks -- nothing like the buses I had taken previously. They did play the movie Bridesmaids, however, which redeemed them a bit, but not much. Travel tends to make me cranky and the condition of the bus coupled with my annoyance at being misled by the travel agent did not get the trip off to a good start. I was quite annoyed.
After stewing for a bit, I started to gain some perspective. Yes, it was understandable that I preferred to travel in more comfortable conditions. But, I was not in danger of dying from lack of snacks and a cozy blanket. I was traveling the world, a dream so many people never make the effort to actually realize. Instead of riding on that uncomfortable bus where I could feel every bump, I could be on my way to a job I hate, stuck in the daily morning traffic jam. Someone in this position would probably want to slap me for complaining about something such as this and understandably so. When I viewed the situation in this way, that shitty bus seemed a lot more tolerable. I shifted my focus to things that made me feel good, that made me feel grateful and my mood lifted.
While we may not make this successful mental transition every time, letting this idea permeate our consciousness will help us do it more often. Next time you find yourself getting annoyed at something, think how the situation could be worse. Think of something positive. You are waiting in line at the DMV...annoying as hell but not having a car would probably be more troublesome. You are stuck in a long line at the airport...again, annoying as hell but better than being stuck at work dealing with irritating clients, co-workers and bosses. You get the picture.
So much of our daily suffering is triggered by these types of small things, things that in the grand scheme of life, are really not that bad. If we can learn to look at these situations differently, it can make a profound impact on our lives.