Sunday, March 6, 2016

Internalization of Experience

We all know that experience has a huge impact on you...the "good", the "bad", and the "indifferent" all have a molding affect on you and your next experiences.  Every experience shapes you, your outlook, your memories, your relationships, your path, your passions, your emotions.  But when you look deeper, you realize it isn't the experiences that are actually promoting these changes.  Your views, thoughts, labels, emotions, and responses DURING and IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING these experiences are what impact you the most.

These internal processes shape more than the external experiences ever can, for these internal processes will be forever linked to the experience unless we choose to change them.  The best part about this is that YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO ALTER YOUR EXPERIENCES.  So rather than saying, "I will surround myself with positive experiences," which oftentimes is beyond our control, you have the power to change your internal processes and create positive experiences from anything that comes your way.

As you begin to build memories of positive internal process during experiences, you have the control to evoke a positive change in your life forever, regardless of your external experiences.  Change your labels on past experiences from "bad" to "learning experience" and find the good in every step of your life's journey.  No time period in your life is "wasted time" or "regretful", because you lived those moments for a reason.  You learned from them, endured them to practice discomfort, met people you needed in your life, grew as a human, became the individual that you are today because of EVERY SINGLE STEP IN YOUR JOURNEY.  

Experiences is how you process them which gives them meaning.  So what meaning are you going to give them?  What power are you going to allow them?  Choose to give them the most positive meaning that you can fathom.  Choose to live each moment as if it is brought to you for purpose and assign that purpose in a positive way.  ONLY WHEN YOU CHANGE YOUR INTERNAL PROCESSES CAN YOU TRULY CHANGE YOUR SELF.  You must dig down to your core and expose your inner wisdom.  Expose the light inside that tells you there is more to life than the external.  

There is love.  There is learning.  There is positive growth.  There is change.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mind Control: Let it go

The only thing that can control your mind is you.

Think about that sentence for a minute.  Close your eyes and say it again.  The only thing…that can control your mind…is you.

That’s a powerful truth, isn’t it?  But with that power comes a bit of fear.  You don’t have the luxury of blaming your bad day on events in your life or on other people.  It’s only you and your perception of these events and/or people that are causing you trouble.

Let me give you an example.  Your car breaks down on the side of the road.  You are late for an appointment.  Now you have to call AAA, figure out how to get your car to a repair shop and you to your appointment.  You are frustrated, angry, annoyed.  You call your boss frantically.  You try to explain that you know he/she is mad, but you can’t get there on time.  You feel guilty.  Think of the feelings you would have.  Think of how worked up you would be.  You are having a bad morning.  

Now take that same scenario and choose not to be any of those things.  Your car broke down.  Okay.  Good thing you had AAA.  You are happy you found a mechanic to fix your car.  You call your boss and calmly explain your situation.  Whether he/she is mad is of no concern, as there was nothing that you could have done to prevent your lateness that morning.  You apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused and move on.  In the grand scheme of things, this is just a morning with a few extra things to handle.  Even just reading the words of handling the situation appropriately, doesn’t it FEEL nicer?

Of course none of these events are ideal; however, you are allowing your perception of them to affect your emotions.  If you take the situations as they come, you deal with each one singly with  grace, calmness, humility, and indifference, they hold much less power.  We cannot control many of the events that unfold during our day, just as we cannot control the people around us.  Surrendering this control allows us to better handle our reactions.  

Controlling how we see the world takes a lot of practice.  It does not happen overnight and it’s something that you will need to practice every day for the rest of your life.  Things will get us out of whack sometimes and we need to just return to that place where we surrender external control in order to take internal control.  

I control the way I react to this and I choose to be at peace.

Another example is the ending of a marriage.  It would have been very easy for my ex and I to both harbor resentment, anger, and bitterness, as neither of us acted 100% perfectly in our marriage.  It would be easy to feel like a failure, to feel guilty and betrayed.  Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where I felt all these things and I am sure he did too.  However, we both chose not to dwell in those moments.  We controlled the way we thought, felt, and acted.  I chose to see our marriage ending as, not an end of anything, but a morphing into a different type of relationship and circumstance.  I saw it as a chance to co-parent as friends who still supported each other through life’s up and downs.  I focused on the two beautiful children we made together and the many years we spent growing up together.  The rest didn’t matter.  We didn’t have the same relationship, so the things that transpired during it that weren’t ideal were simply let go…they no longer held any weight in the relationship that we had now.  Let it go.  Don’t let it have control over you.  

The best thing about having this view is that our children saw how to handle one of life’s most difficult situations with grace, love, understanding, and mutual support.  Staying true to ourselves and our commitment to happiness in life, we could teach our children the importance of this virtue in their lives.  Let yourself be a teacher.  Handle each moment, especially the most difficult ones with calmness and good nature.  As the Chinese culture points out, the bamboo is strong because it’s so flexible.  Bend with the winds that are being blown at you and you will remain strong.  Be rigid or try to fight to hard and you will break.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Set Your Compass: Have a Direction

I think that the whole point (which I have been missing thus far) is to have a direction.  It seems like a simple point, yet I haven't internalized it the way which I needed to.  Maybe some of you haven't either.

Without a direction, we make decisions based upon the immediate need.  We end up recreating the path we are on with small improvements.  It's like planting flowers along the circular path we are already traveling.

With direction, we make decisions based on the larger picture.  We focus on what matters most and make decisions that bring us toward that space which aligns best with our true goals.  It's like taking a journey through straight and winding paths, knowing the end result will be a beautiful valley full of flowers.

It's easier to live life making quick decisions, the easiest decisions, the most rational decisions, the most logistically sound decisions.  The decisions that in the moment make the most sense to bring the best outcome to the immediate needs.

However, if you ever want to really grow and continue to mold your journey to the one that means the most to you, the best decisions you will make will be the ones that are the hardest to commit to initially.  For those are the decisions that will get your out of your comfort zone and promote the most positive change.  It may not be evident in the immediate future at the time of the decision and that's okay.

The question you need to ask yourself is, "Does this align with the direction that I want to move in?"  If the answer is no, than you need to rethink that decision.

Sometimes life changes drastically, but more often than not, your biggest life changes happen gradually.  This is how it is supposed to be.  You make small decisions that amount to a change.  Think of your life 5 years ago.  Ten years ago.  How different was it?  If you made all that change in one shot, it wouldn't be molded into your life as effectively as it has. Without the journey, marked with small decisions, that got you to where you are now, the change you see wouldn't be ingrained in you as it is now.

So what is your direction?  Think not of where exactly you want to be.  Think of what the journey looks like.  Think of what qualities in life that you assign value to.  Think of what you REALLY want from life and think deep.

Set your compass.  The universe will provide you the path.  You don't need to worry about that right now.  Just know what you want and who you want to be and make your decisions based on those internal desires and passions. You will be surprised what your life looks like five years from now.