19 Jan Little Shifts, Big Impact!
We spoke in an earlier article that perspective and sharpening sense of awareness can enhance quality of life and live a life more purposefully and meaningful- in all its spectrum of colors and shades.
A little shift in perspective can make a big impact. Now just imagine if we widen the lens of perspective and awareness and can view things from a more “wholistic” view point giving us the ability to make better and more fruitful choices that will impact us in more positive ways.
Limited perspective and awareness may only be giving you a fraction of the results you want and even limit or contract the way you live your life and approach new situations and stop you from living your life and dreams fully. As I discussed in an earlier article on perspective and awareness in relation to the Practice of Ashtanga yoga, many of these perspectives are inherited as a result of bio mechanics and also learnt as a result of our upbringing and environment (social factors, culture, religion, politics …). Reflect upon this for a moment… isn’t it crazy our behavior and what we consider our identity is a manifestation of all these things we have inherited and so firmly ground ourselves in and take for granted as the ultimate truth? So whose truths are actually these so-called thoughts and ideas we keep as closely guarded as infinite. This definitely creates a sense of separation from one another, is ego driven and keeps us trapped in our limited thinking and comfortable bubble.
It may be as simple as wanting to simplify the way you live your life, be more transparent and effective/clear in the decisions you make and have more time for yourself to enjoy the simple pleasures in life rather than being inundated with administration and being overwhelmed with tasks, not being able to always speak the truth, not being able to say no, holding on to toxic thoughts and illusions about yourself or even others. Needless to say, we could all work towards living life more harmonious towards ourselves and towards others for the betterment of this planet. A small drop in the ocean will definitely make a big ripple and impact to those around us.
Now, when we look at all the horrible things we see on the news, wars, terrors, murders, hatred, anger violent we can feel quite small and powerless. How can we help whilst I am sitting here comfortable in my pj’s and blanket, sipping a nice cup of water? (This is exactly what I am doing now;) But it boils down to 1 thing… We cannot think on the global scale of wanting to eradicate poverty and war as we are 1 individual human being so this is the task for those operating on such a scale to think on this global and national level; such as the government who are responsible for such actions on part of the country, and who have the power to influence such thoughts on this level. We can argue, for instance, poverty exists as a result of those operating on a global scale and who have the power to eradicate poverty, but rather decide to choose to invest billions in chemical warfare and defense. So as an individual we can only be the drop in the ocean and do our part the best we can to live consciously, wholly, and try and be the best version of ourselves so we can send out this energy of peace to radiate outwards and within ourselves.
To truly step out of the shadow of ingrained habits and create new conditions upon which we can tap into the reservoir of infinite energy and create a sustainable life which is grounded in Respect, Integrity, Self-worth and Kindness (R.I.S.K) takes skill-full and daily practice and we can approach this by taking little and meaningful steps…below I have outlined some little but impactful points you can incorporate In your daily life to start making a big ripple in the pond as we approach 2017
There’s no doubt about it, the intentions we set and the perspective that shades our growth will determine the very actions we set forth. We have the power to choose how we react and act towards situations and this will create and determine the path laid before us. Ultimately, we are at the control of how we navigate the sea of our life. And it amazes me when I reflect upon the fact that; out future is determined as a result of either habitual and ingrained patterns without our full awareness, or it can be shaped from a new dimension…creating every moment in the presence of NOW, moment by moment, breath by breath, fully conscious, and a chance to change those ingrained habitual patters that have so long tied us down and kept us trapped in a bubble.
So here are a few small and simple steps we can incorporate into our daily routine in 2017 and let this be a year of directing our energy towards being more present, conscious and alive. Living fully, more simple yet effective; achieving your dreams, and releasing old negative patterns and forming/reinforcing new positive habits.
- Do something that feeds your mind with passion, creativity, joy and peace. Start painting, go skiing, join a dance class, Tai chi, yoga, running or any activity or hobby you have always wanted to start. Just do it! And stop procrastinating! Building daily practice and repetition with discipline starts to create a strong foundation and fertile soil for strength of mind and will power. Not easy to jump straight into a daily practice so set a weekly frequency and build your practice up slowly. Make a plan, write it down and visualize it and stick by it. Weather you feel lazy, tired or lethargic at times to stick by the plan, stay focused and disciplined and as with most things it will become a positive ingrained habit and give you the tools you need to work on other aspects in life. Stick your plan up by your bed or on your fridge so you can see it daily so it becomes a visual mantra and sometimes you just have to tell yourself when you start dwindling away from your plan – Just do it! Focus…and go!
- Do something new and exciting that encourages you to step outside your normal sphere of comfort zone. I have found by doing things I feel afraid of, such as moving countries, going to a workshop In another country alone, travelling, skydiving etc… gives me the liberation to overcome my fears, meet new and interesting people I would not have otherwise which also adds to improving the quality of my ideas and thoughts. Talk to a person you have wanted to speak to for a while. Have a tattoo. Go crazy and wild (within reason of course) but do not delay any more and deny yourself to living a more vibrant and full life encased with fear and anxiety. Facing your fears and anxiety and being fully present and aware of it, helps to dissolve it and replace it with new energy which you never thought was once possible. So stop eliminating yourself from the possibility that it is achievable or possible for you, go forth and see what happens and learn from each experience you face and challenge yourself with. Keep an open and honest mind to each experience.
- Break it down little by little. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by big tasks. Chop it up in small manageable chunks, create a time line if this helps and do things step by step, with joy and in a good frame of mind. If you’re not in the best frame of mind, why even proceed to complete a task with stress or anxiety. In those moments, do things which create an atmosphere of peace; meditate, listen to music and come back to the tasks when you feel you can give your best and honest self. As such, do not approach new things with the mind set of past conditions as this will create pre conceived ideas which are not necessarily true for future conditions. The future does not exist and the past is the past that we learn from and keep as a reference point to use eloquently when required. But each situation, in the present moment, has the opportunity to be given its full respect, full awareness and attention so you can create a new learning experience. Let’s call it a chance to evolve and move forward rather staying trapped in ground hog day, projecting past ideas and conditions on new situations unnecessarily.
- Be honest to your-self. Listen to your intuition, inner guidance and voice. It is easy to say yes when really we mean NO. We tend to inundate ourselves with too much. Saying NO is not necessarily a bad thing. Its ok to create space, accept projects which you know you can give your true heart and full incentive to and so you are not piling up too much and then stressing about it later and rushing through not giving it your full active awareness and attention it requires. Also, speak your mind of the ideas and thoughts that you have to offer. Sometimes we are scared to speak up and find our ideas foolish or too far-fetched. Personally I have been shot down many times for “thinking to big”, or having what some consider “too far-fetched dreams”. My answer is always, why not! Be the best and unique version of yourself and do not be apologetic for that. It’s time to innovate and create and not everything will work out, and that is also ok- learn from all the lessons and apply where necessary what you have learnt.
- Chose tasks which enable you to be the best version of yourself and allow you to stay focused on your path what-ever that maybe for you. This does not mean running away and hiding behind a curtain when presented with what you may consider difficult or challenging tasks. However, assess the quality and impact it will give you. Does it resonate with you? Does it feel intuitively good, yet challenging and complex? Giving you the ability to learn and push your boundaries, yet, move closer on your path or goal. Reflect and ask questions, meditate upon it before rushing into each and every thing. And, as discussed in an earlier point –if the tasks seem to big; break it down into small manageable chunks and work on it step by step.
- Allow room for mistakes. It’s easy to punish ourselves and stay trapped in fear as we don’t want to make mistakes and look foolish and feel embarrassed. Mistakes are a part of life, and as long as we reflect and learn from them we can start to grow and develop new reasoning, thinking skills and apply them critically when required. In time, a bad decision is not going to ruin your life and it will not even matter soon enough. Sometimes we feel our mistakes and issues are too significant and too big as it is happening to us. Stepping outside of your-self and seeing the issue from another view point will let you know how insignificant it actually is. The issue really stems from not caring about mistakes that have been made, not reflecting on them, and not learning from it. Ask yourself important questions- what went wrong?, what do you believe was a positive in the equation?, what could you have done better? and that’s where growth comes from and we can start to have wider perspective in new or similar situations we are presented with.
- Have a good solid power nap. Sometimes our mind is telling us we can do more and our bodies are trying to catch up as we drag it through the day and circulatory system is trapped in between. Create a perfect harmony between mind, body and circulatory system by listening to what your body and mind is telling you and give it the food it needs. Sometimes a good solid power nap is required. Finding the perfect balance between effort and effortlessness. Only you have the potential and the inner resources to determine where is your center of balance and harmony. Sometimes you just need to go the extreme and bring yourself back to find out where your balance point is. Ashtanga yoga has been a great practice for myself personally in finding balance between effort and effortlessness and finding more harmony and balance in my life and listening to my body and mind more skillfully and intelligently.
- Seva: selfless service. It’s easy to constantly work on ourselves, find harmony, achieve a level of peace and so forth, but what good is that if we cannot extend our service of compassion and heart out towards others that truly need our help. Invest in giving your time to those that may need a little support or are struggling. It’s easy to run away from this and think, it’s not my problem. Stepping outside of your own world and giving time to those that need it definitely gives a new perspective, makes you more humble and keeps things in better check for you in regards to trivial circumstances and problems you may be facing. From a simple act of smiling to a stranger, donating some money, giving food to a homeless person to volunteering. Reach out and listen to some-else’s story and we become appreciate of the little wonders and miracles we have in our own lives and problems can seem more trivial and unnecessary.
- Loosen up the button a little. Don’t take life too seriously and for granted. We have 1 “life” in this physical representation on Earth right now, its impermanent so let’s make the most of it- laugh more, do crazy and wild things, enjoy life in its full capacity and smile and don’t be too contrived and rigid. Definitely leads to a more joyful and healthier mind and body and we can take this joy into are daily actions and do things with love and passion
- Take time to breathe consciously. We tend to forget that we breathe and never fully harness the power to use breathe in its full capacity to nourish the body and soul. It’s the one thing we have common with everything in its full entirety (the universe and everything within it) and the only thing that is separating each other is the borders within the framework of our human body which gives us our individual expression. The breath helps to reduce anxiety, improve blood circulation, rid body of harmful toxins, and induce life force. I find the breath one of the most important and interesting parts of living which is not defined by time (past, present or future). In my next article I will talk in more detail about the power of breath and give some breathe awareness techniques that we can take away and apply easily. However, take a few minutes a day (minimum) to really be there with your breath, noticing each inhale and exhale and how your body responds. Invite the breathe to the parts of the body where you feel stagnant energy or stuck. The Power of intention is quite remarkable and where you place your intention that is where the breath or Prana will go and then we can start to release blocked energy. Take a moment also to breathe in the back of the heart expanding the back of your lungs as we normally concentrate on the front of the body and allow the breathe to move into the parts of the body which we normally are not aware or conscious of.
- This one is my favorite: watch life as it happens and be in awe…. The beauty of the moon, the dew lifting of the grass in the morning, the birds singing as the break of dawn parts, the transition from night to day (if you wake up this early 😉 watch the white fluffy clouds float by. We can learn a lot from nature, how impermanent and ever changing everything is just like our thoughts. How simple and elegant animals are. My kittens for instance remind me to be grateful of the little things in life. Life is truly beautiful, magical and a miracle if we closely pay attention to taking a moment to look around and reflect on what is going on.