Most clients are ready to make change once they have committed to partnering with a Health Coach. They are ready to join the race, ready to create and achieve their vision but when we begin talking about a plan, taking first steps, etc., they aren’t sure of their beginning. They can’t find their starting line.
I regularly refer to this quote from Richard Moon, “You can’t get there from not here”. To take a first step, we have to know where we are. We have to find our starting place. Bhante Gunaratana, states in Mindfulness in Plain English, “You can’t make radical changes in your life until you begin to see yourself exactly as you are now.” How do we do that? We wake up! We begin paying attention to our life, our actions, our reactions, our habits, how we are living. We get real about how we got where we are and how we are going to get where we want to be.
Sleep Walking through Life
When you get to work can you easily recall what you had for breakfast? Can you remember details of your commute? If on Monday someone asks you about your weekend, do you remember what you did? What where the highlights? Did you spend time with others? When asked “How are you?” how often do you respond, “Busy!”?
If you are not awake and paying attention to the moments of your day then what makes up your experiences? Susan Salzberg explains in Real Happiness The Power of Meditation, “what we allow ourselves to notice – literally determines how we experience and navigate the world. Attention determines our degree of intimacy with our ordinary experiences and contours our entire connection to life. The content and quality of our lives depend on our level of awareness. Whatever gets our attention flourishes.” She purports meditation to be the solution. It is time to wake up and experience your life.
Meditation and Mindfulness
The word “mindfulness” is everywhere. Resources are abundant. Google “mindfulness” and never run out of resources. Neuroscientists and psychologists continue to demonstrate that with meditation the adult brain is capable of neuroplasticity, that is forming new cells and pathways. Brain scan studies show that meditation strengthens areas of the brain associated with decision-making, memory, attention, emotional and body awareness. Big business is getting in the game. As Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff designed the layout of his company’s flagship new building in San Francisco, he brought in Buddhist monks for help. “Mindfulness Zones” are throughout the building. Coaches arrange for players to practice meditation. When Phil Jackson was LA Lakers head coach, he had players learn meditation to improve focus and teamwork. He believed mindfulness assisted players’ ability to pay attention to what was happening on the court moment-by-moment, to be awake. Mindfulness and mediation are everywhere. I could go on and on with research, benefits and application.
Some sources are questioning the safety of mindfulness. A few of the articles reviewed included, Is Mindfulness Harmful?, Is Mindfulness Dangerous?, Can Mindfulness Meditation have Negative Side Effects? I struggle with these articles. Yes, making a commitment to sit with thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. that otherwise may be pushed down and ignored can create challenges. Coming to attention, being aware each moment, understanding your experiences and offering compassion to yourself … this is being awake in your life. This is another tool or form of exercise to improve your health and happiness. If you begin a running program and experienced pain or discomfort, you would visit a physician. If you uncover negative or harmful side effects initiating a meditation program, consult with a physician. Please, talk to someone.
Interested in learning to sit in formal meditation? I highly recommend, Mindfulness in Plain English. Gunaratana tells all with great clarity … What Meditation Is, What Meditation Isn’t, The Practice, What to Do with Your Body, Dealing with Problems, etc.
Alarm Clock to Wake-up for Your Life
Could it be that simple? Can we set an alarm clock to wake up to the experiences of our life? I say, without question, “Yes!” I struggle with seated meditation. I am a mover, a doer. That being said, I have still found many ways to set my mindful awareness alarm clock. Nowhere have I seen it defined that mindfulness requires a seated practice. Mindfulness can be active. You can smile and move and enjoy the moment. You can be alone or with friends or in a room full of strangers. What if instead of looking at mindfulness as one more thing to fit into your already busy day, you treated it as part of your day? What if you played games, created activities, crafted tools to connect you to your day? Think about it, when are you most engaged in the moments of your life? What happens when you start a new job, learn a new skill, travel to a new town? Do you find yourself more awake? When your life is filled with distractions what suffers ~ regularly late, frequently misplacing your phone or keys, missing events, feeling poorly, etc?
So what is the alarm clock for waking up to your life? Try new things! Get outside of your comfort zone. In How to Train a Wild Elephant, Jan Chozen Bays, provides 53 activities to become more mindful each and every day (i.e., Use Your Nondominant Hand, Smile, Waiting 3 Rings to Answer the Phone, etc.). These tasks may sound silly but try brushing your teeth with your nondominant hand for the next week. Notice how you are no longer mindlessly brushing your teeth. You are awake and paying attention to the task. Waking up in one area of your life will gradually spill over into other areas of your life. Try it. You will be amazed.
Speaking through personal experience, waking up to my life and paying attention has effortlessly reduced distractions. Stepping outside of my routine and my comfort zone has automagically shifted my connection to ordinary experiences. Active mindful awareness practices led me to my starting line.
What tricks have you tried for waking up and living your life?
Interested in discovering your alarm clock and learning activities for waking up to your life? Check our website, PoeWellnessSolutions.com for FREE Waking Up To Your Life webinars.