Photo by net efekt
Aren’t we all in search of the one thing that could change one’s life? I think I found my answer.
Awareness. It seems to be a popular word lately. Or is it that I just recently became aware of it?
“Some people live their whole lives without ever waking up” The Peaceful Warrior
I just turned 41 last February, and this past year I have been thinking (out loud) that I’ve never felt so alive before. Can’t really say there is a point in time when everything changed, it has been more like a seamless process that continues to grow each day. There is though, a point in time when I felt I needed to stop living like this and started looking for something that could change it all. But what is powerful enough to change your life?
I actually believe it all starts by paying a little attention and getting curious. This past year I read amazing books, met some awesome people, put myself in situations where I can experience new things and took one of the best leadership courses in the world. My life is changing on a daily basis. I have come to realize that it all boils down to increasing your level of awareness.
We all want to make changes in our lives, but in order to make significant changes we need to wake up first. Be present in the moment and make constant decisions over what we think, say or do in each moment.
Some of the things I became aware of are probably things we take for granted or are so obvious we don’t even think about them. I became aware of the impact I have over my kids, of the insane level of procrastination I spend my days with, what I consume, my fears, how I don’t enjoy the important things in my life, how I have postponed my dreams to a date in the future that’s not even in the calendar, my anxiety and stress running my life, and so on.
It’s funny how I always thought my life was pretty noisy, between the kids, work, my wife… you get the picture. It wasn’t until I experienced complete silence, 24 hours of it actually, that I realized that most of the noise came from within, my mind didn’t stop for a second, constantly going to the past, the future, getting stuck in just random thoughts, never able to clear it and just be present.
I read that living in the moment takes practice, lots of it. The first step was when I started noticing a pattern in my way of thinking or how I have this negative way of speaking, how I never pay full attention when somebody is talking to me, how I’m always thinking what’s next and not focusing in the moment I’m living, or just negative thoughts beating me down all the time. Today I’m starting to caught those thoughts in mid air, to listen to a person without thinking what I’m going to say next, to actually sit and just watch my kids play, the other day I realized that there are birds signing every morning in my own backyard (I lived in this house for seven years…)
These are some of the things helping me raise my level of awareness:
Adopt a trigger
I have to admit, one of the books I read in the past year is The Power of Now and believe me, I have caught myself in the middle of a train of thoughts by just remembering Eckhart Tollie’s face a couple of times. I was laughing my ass off by myself while driving in the freeway when I realized what was going on, I laughed even more. But it wasn’t until I shared the story with friends, as a joke, that I made it my official trigger. Yes, I actually remember his face and it makes me stop for a few seconds, I even put a smile on my face when that happens. Hey, whatever works, right?
Don’t be alone
I am fortunate enough to have Andrea (my wife) as a friend and partner in crime on everything we do; we seem to be on the same page more and more. Sharing these experiences takes the whole thing to another level. I can’t even imagine what it would be to go through such transformation on your own while the person next to you is not even understanding what’s happening.
Don’t take it so seriously, just get on a comfortable position and purposely let your mind go, when you get frustrated because you can’t stop the train of thoughts, is because you are starting to realize what’s going on. Next thing you know, you will be getting rid of thoughts in just seconds. Bring yourself back every time.
For some of us, focus is a battle of it’s own, but what we can do purposely is just do one thing at a time. When I go play basketball with my kids, I leave my phone at home. No call is more important than that game; the rest of the world can wait an hour. Single tasking is beautiful, mostly if you’re a guy (imagine us trying to put makeup while driving and talking on the phone…).
I don’t ask God for anything but to give me the clarity, focus and the energy I need to achieve things on my own, just the simple thought of that makes me aware. Oh yeah… I should clarify that I’m not a religious guy.
Imagine how hard it is to replace or eliminate everything that’s happening in your mind, we have lived with all that our whole lives, these thoughts have roots inside you. You are seeding new ways of thinking in your brain and to keep them alive you need to constantly take care of them. Keep repeating the words and you are going to start changing your thinking behavior. Yes, little by little, but you’ll notice it.
Journal every morning
OMG. Do you know how many times I started journals? Most of them lasted a couple of days. Do you know what it does to simply lay down all your feelings and thoughts on a piece of paper before you start your day? Trust me, you’ll feel nothing at the beginning, force yourself to grab that pen and start and force yourself to continue until you start enjoying it. Believe me, now I look forward to those moments, it clears my mind to start with a blank canvas.
Don’t beat yourself up
Obviously you will not only become aware of what’s around you, I have found things about myself that I do without even knowing, and some of these things are not always that positive, the key is not to judge yourself, but to acknowledge them and make a decision about it.
I know this is just the beginning and even tough I’m barely waking up, I’m aware of the path, and for now that is enough.