The shortest day of the year is today and in many cultures there begins a time honored tradition of slowing down and engaging in a process of introspection. It is said that in ancient China at this time of year the emperor would order the gates to the empire to be closed for a ten day period. The people would be encourage to review the past year to look at what served and what did not and to make changes as the new year dawned. Though a large scale process like this seems far fetched from our busy cultural perspective perhaps we can apply this on a personal level. We can ask ourselves if we have been living life as an expression of our deepest intention or hearts desire. Are we doing what we came here to do or are we just too busy and distracted?
On a personal note it feels like this process started some time ago for me. My last blog was a couple of months ago and all of my social media posts have been less frequent. I recently completed a 7 day silent meditation retreat at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Oregon and realized how much I truly needed this break. I am very thankful for all that has unfolded in my life this past couple of years and at the same time something inside me was calling for a time out.
The meditation retreat was beautiful and difficult as my body was not used to sitting so many hours a day. I came away filled with a sense that I was on the right track and then felt dismayed at how quickly my reactive mind reengaged. The cool part was the lack of shame I felt about this! Nice to be human after all. I also saw how little attention need be paid to this fabricated sound track. Stop feeding it and it slowly withers.
Back to my point about the time of year. I am still engaged in this process of introspection and yes I am also allowing action to unfold. This action is not forced as it feels as if my heart and gut are speaking to me. I am making some small changes in my business and paying a lot more attention to my relationships and the effect I have on others. So perhaps there is an action piece to introspection. I'll let you know how it goes.
I am talking about paying attention at home, work or during social activities to others who may require assistance to complete a task. This is where the paying attention piece comes in. We often want to help and even though it may come from a genuine desire to do so, it is often not required. Be aware that proceeding in this circumstance may actually cause more harm than good by taking away an individuals opportunity to learn.
So how do I know when to offer my skills and experience to another. As you have heard me talk about so often the key is intention. Our intention in this case is simply to open our awareness, to allow an intimate moment with another being to occur. It's also okay to let them struggle a little before offering a hand up. On the flip-side if someone is constantly coming to you and asking you to do something for them that they are capable of doing themselves, it's probably time to say no!
There are many books written about the process of envisioning. Focus on what you want then create a vision board and look at it each day. Hold that thought in your consciousness and change will surely take place. This could happen or perhaps you will simply chase after the same old thing and get the same old result.
The truth is that we are a vision based culture and most of what we have been trained to envision is fantasy. The perfect home, car, job, date or mate. So many things to enhance our lives and make it all worth while.
So what do we do? We often double down on fantasy and ignore anything that might present the opportunity for a reality check. We can either continue to add more distractions to our day and keep ourselves deeply immersed in wishing and fantasy. Or we can start waking up to what is, and then begin asking ourselves what it is, that we truly want.
The answer, if it is to be authentic must originate beneath the level of our conditioned or reactive mind, in what I refer as our Intentional Core. Movement that originates here is often subtle and reveals itself gradually, more of a feeling sense. It may be strong though it is always receptive, as it invites life itself in, to explore with you.
On the level of the conditioned mind we are often seeking to escape into a better life, this drives us with an heir of desperation and fuels willful intent. You know the feeling of get it done regardless of who or what I need to push aside. If you have found that this is how you have often done things you will not be in the minority. We are trained into this and often lauded for this type of behavior.
The process of Intention Creation begins with quieting the reactive mind and opening ourselves to receive guidance, to view then enter open doorways to simply discover what is there. Not looking for anything and open to anything that may be presented. You will soon discover that this is a different way of operating. Everyone you meet every place you go is treated with a curiosity. It is important to pay attention as the universe will deliver the needed resource or information. What may be only tidbits or crumbs may have the makings of a beautiful cake. Next we will look at how to align our actions with our intention.
You find yourself with a group of people and you feel like you want to get out! This may be an example of your spidey sense tingling appropriately, but I would not bet on it! More than likely it is a feeling that you do not fit into this situation or that you do not belong. This is the most likely scenario and it is false. If you are there, than you belong and have as much right to be there as anyone else. Trespassing and B&E's aside, what I am talking about here, are human interactions and what we experience on a feeling level.
Now you may feel uncomfortable in numerous settings and want to checkout. I get that, having had that experience recently myself. The good news is that I checked in on the source of the feeling before I checked out. I stayed and no one reacted, though if they did that would have been their issue not mine.
Knowing that you belong gives you a choice. You can choose to stay or to leave instead of letting an unconscious feeling drive you way. Carrying this sense of belonging with you as you walk throughout your day will open doors for you. This is a real opportunity to begin to change how you interact with the world. I venture to say that this single practice will change your life. Are you willing to see how this works for you?
Money is not abundance though it can buy you a lot of stuff. Owning a lot of stuff may give you a feeling of abundance or of fear. Wait a moment you say, I am working pretty hard for my money so that, I will have enough to be secure and to provide for my family. Isn't that supposed to keep the fear away?
Yes, only if you are not afraid of losing it or of sickness or the ten thousand other calamities I witnessed today that are apparently affecting so many. I am after all tuned in to the 24/7 Disaster Network. Have to stay informed!
Have you thought about tuning in to the Abundance Network? What? There is an Abundance Network? Is that the the one with all the prosperity preachers and MLMers? Not exactly it's probably in a quiet room in your home I know that was where I discovered it in my home, or was it on a mountain somewhere? The truth is it's all around us and within us.
How can you tell if your prime motivation is driven by abundance or fear? I find it helpful to check in with my personal story and see what's going on. My personal story is the sound track in my head that guides my actions or sometimes keeps me stuck. We all have one! What is yours saying to you? Is it supportive and helpful or does it feel like a voice from your past that was pretty discouraging?
A voice from your past that feels pretty discouraging is the answer I hear most often. So I am not surprised if that's your answer. Recognizing it is the first step, reassigning it is the next. Is that possible? Yes, not only possible but absolutely necessary if you are choosing to live a full rich abundant life.
How do I reassign the old story can I erase it? Perhaps in time but the best way I know is to create a new more empowering story and then live into it. Remember no real change happens without taking action. I have witnessed this transformation occur within myself and thousands of clients that I have worked with. They reassigned their old story to their past where it belonged. Most of us let the old story guide our current lives and that is just wrong. You have the ability to change that and I can help.
About the Author
Behavior Change Coach and Author James Barfoot CHt holds certifications as a Master Practitioner of NLP and is a Clinical Hypnotherapist who is registered to practice in Washington State. He developed The Primal Toolbox a behavior change and coaching strategy based on a tribal models. James lives in Spokane WA.