Have you ever had times in your life when…UGH!!! You looked back at yourself and you just couldn’t even recognize who you were, and you wondered what or who the heck inhabited you (were you possessed??) to make you behave the way you did; times that if you thought too deeply about, made you squirm in your seat with discomfort?
Indeed, I have had my share of moments where my heart gets a little racy with embarrassment.
There were times I behaved absolutely horribly! Although I hadn’t yet realized it, I was married to a likely psychopath, and being with him brought out things from inside of me that I never knew existed. For example, we would go to a family event and everyone would get drunk. It wasn’t the happy-let’s-celebrate kind of drinking…it was the you-kinda-irritate-me- and-I-have-to-drink-to-tolerate-you kind of indulging. Many times, whenever anyone was separated from the main group, they would gossip about the others. And I willingly took part! Following the party (his family party or any gathering we went to with friends or neighbors) the entire car ride home, my husband labored over his evaluations, criticisms and judgements of everyone. I cringe to admit that I would not only listen, but I would chime in! According to my husband, there was evidence against everyone proving they were stupid, wrong, inferior. He could find fault with anyone and everyone, and wanting his love and approval, I followed his lead. I became a top-notch Fault Investigator, looking for what was wrong with everyone and wanting to be first to point it out to him, because that was what we would talk about; it’s how he spent time with me. I got really good at it, so good that I started to turn away from my friends, because using this weird, new spotlight he gave me to shine on their faults showed me their imperfections, and in seeing that, my husband deemed them unworthy of my time.
I was so good at it I caused a huge rift between his sister and his brother’s wife by reporting to his sister the stuff his brother and his wife said about her, during an attempt to apologize for my part in it (because remember, during that period, I was totally a guilty character in the act). My aim at that time wasn’t to cause such a ruckus…I had actually been reading and growing and somewhere deep inside my soul, I knew that all of this gossiping and bad talk HAD to stop. I wanted it to stop! But I was in a circle of people that seemed to thrive on it, and the man whom I allowed to hold my heart rewarded me with so much love and attention for playing this game. And so I played, unconscious of my actions.
If I travel back further on my timeline, I now recognize that growing up, my family did the same thing, only out in the open, to each others’ faces. My mom and my brother would express their love to me by making snide remarks, cutting me down, ridiculing me. It was supposed to be funny, and I was expected to just laugh it off, because they were only teasing me out of affection.
They would make fun of my body, my brother saying comments about my big lips or big butt. Or the embarrassing day when I discovered I had started my first menstrual cycle and nervously told my mom only to receive her abrupt reply of “it can’t be your period. You don’t even have breasts yet!” They would make fun of my intelligence, treating me like I was some ditzy blonde (which then I started acting like one, even though somewhere inside me I knew I wasn’t). We all loved each other very much; however, this was the way we related.
When I take these two pieces, they fit together to make a complete picture of my subconscious programming. The circle started in my childhood and became complete when I was an adult. My reactions, my behavior all sprang from this invisible place where I learned that I will get love by insulting other people.
The funny thing was, even though this was my subconscious understanding, there was something deep inside me that never felt right. In fact, after my divorce, I found a journal I had written in over the years and read it for the first time. Question after question had poured out of my soul, wondering why I wasn’t feeling LOVE for some time…why I couldn’t feel connected to people anymore. I so desperately yearned for authentic, real love, but I just wasn’t feeling that vibe anywhere.
My husband’s sudden and unexpected abandonment forced me to dig deep into my soul, reading profound books, listening to expansive podcasts and going to evolutionary events. Eventually, I uncovered the disconnect: my life was being run by my subconscious programs. Every uncomfortable, heart-wrenching disappointment stemmed from these antiquated “programs” that were downloaded into my subconscious.
The only way to break free was to become mindful.
When I first stumbled on the word – mindfulness – it made me think of a bald man in long, flowing robes, sitting alone on a mountaintop. As my enlightenment progressed, I realized that notion was completely wrong.
- the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
- a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Awareness. Acknowledgment. Acceptance.
The most beautiful thing about being mindful is that it instantaneously stops your automatic subconscious programming from running the show. Instead, your authentic self, your soul, is in the driver’s seat. And this, my friends, is how you get different outcomes, experiences and results. This is how you change your life.
Take me, for example.
It might sound like I am blaming my ex, or his family, or my family for my behavior. I am not and I am also not the victim. I take full responsibility for my actions—even though the real “me” wasn’t actually running the show. However I do notice that I don’t attract people that operate that way into my life anymore. After our divorce, both my ex and his whole family completely dropped me and my daughter and have had zero contact with us. Even my family has minimal contact with me anymore, and when we do I’m generally the one reaching out to them.
Today, all of the people that I hang out with and associate with do not act like this. I believe this is my current experience because I shifted. I became aware, and I acknowledged and accepted every single piece of my life, present and past included, and now my life is filled with a completely different tribe! With my new clan, I never feel this internal battle within myself between trying to gain their love and attention versus showing up authentically as who I really am. I finally can just be myself, which is a person who does not put people under a microscope and condemn them for their shortcomings. I am surrounded by people who lift up, support, and embrace others, exactly as they are. Becoming mindful has indeed changed all of my relationships.
There are many ways to become mindful, a whole myriad of techniques…but if you are like me and you like things to be simple and uncomplicated, then let’s just look at the top 3 ways to immediately and effectively increase your mindfulness.
This needn’t be complicated. Just sit quietly with your eyes closed, in whatever position is comfortable for you. You don’t have to sit in a lotus position (although you may if you enjoy that), you don’t have to hum or chant or think of anything, or NOT think of anything. You just sit. With your eyes closed. And be. Just be there with yourself. Notice any thoughts that come up. Let them be there. Try not to follow them anywhere; just sit with them. Breathe. Feel any emotions or sensations and try to locate them in your body. Ask them if they are trying to tell you something. That’s it. The longer you do it, the more benefits you’ll realize. (I like to sit for 60-90 minutes) You might not feel anything “happening” while you are doing it (and that’s ok) and you might not be able to quantify exactly how this is changing your life, but such is the nature of meditation; it quietly intercedes on your behalf and gently changes your perspective, your focus, your awareness, during your day to day life. In small amounts, it looks like a couple of grains of sand. Collect them over the years, and you have a glorious sandy beach!
If you are need some inspiration to meditate, follow Kyle Cease’s journey, all captured in daily video installments, of what his daily practice revealed to him and how it changed his life:
2. Actively change your behaviors
This might sound strange, but it is amazing how tweaking your routine can yank you out of your subconscious and throw you into mindful awareness. If you sleep on the left side of the bed, sleep on the right tonight. If you put on both of your socks and then both of your shoes, try putting on one sock and then one shoe first. Take a different route to work. Instead of having coffee, have a cup of tea. It sounds crazy, but when you throw your body into the unfamiliar by even the slightest little tweaks in your daily grind, something inside of you wakes up and takes note. Brushing your teeth with the opposite hand, for example, will take your full attention. As you do these things, as you do anything, really feel your body. Use all of your senses. Notice the smells as you walk from the parking lot into your office. Feel the air on your skin. Use a different entrance when you have the opportunity to do so. Delight in the shrubs, flowers and trees that decorate the yard. Take your time and really taste your food.
Dr. Joe Dispenza explains why this is effective in this short clip.
If you notice your mind trying to hold you hostage with its incessant blather, whether it’s yelling at you about the past or trying to scare you about the future, take a deep breath and have a look around and see if you can notice at least 3 things that make you feel gratitude. When you are feeling grateful, your monkey mind can’t trap you in its tedious loops. Plus, you need awareness, acknowledgment and acceptance to really feel gratitude. Awareness + acknowledgment + acceptance = mindfulness. You can use gratitude in your every day moments, and you can up the ante by logging everything in a gratitude journal once a day.
In fact, celebs highly recommend the practice of keeping a gratitude journal. Here Oprah frequently discusses why it is so powerful and effective.
Why is a whole post about mindfulness jammed in the middle of a relationship series?
In order to have the relationship of your dreams, you first have to be awake, aware and in the driver’s seat. You have to be consciously running the show. You can’t be living life in the default zone of the subconscious programming you have received, unless you are enjoying the results you are getting.
Awareness. Acknowledgment. Acceptance.
This practice will bring you closer to who you really are, and will get you in touch with your true beauty, power and magic. A happy side effect is that you’ll be devastatingly irresistible! Aaaaand you will stop attracting people into your life that will fill all of your comfortable old roles in which you end up the hurt, abandoned, sad one when the whistle blows at the end of the game (or whatever your personal story happens to be).
Fun, yes? Are you getting excited? Well baby, buckle up! Now that we have the baseline practices for mindfulness, in the next installment we will discuss actively creating desired outcomes: making your dreams come true!
- Navigating the Churning Waters of Long Distance Love - May 25, 2018
- Dear, Sweet Surrender: Sometimes I need a Big Rant before I re-learn Myself. - May 8, 2018
- How I Became Larger & More Powerful than my Monkey Mind. - March 18, 2018