Why are we just going through the motions when there’s so much more to do and feel?
I followed a squirrel today. It led me into a rabbit hole. Before I knew it, I was lost.
So I tried to find myself and I took a break.
Time for a shower.
Is it just me, or do your best ideas come when you’re in the shower too?
It never fails.
I get all soaped up, then BAM!!!
I’m Blinded By The Light – the light of inspiration, that is! (See what I did there? For an extra point, because we’re all secretly keeping score anyway, who sang this and what year did they sing it?) 🤓
The rabbit hole I’m referring to is my iTunes library.
Initially, I went in there to upload some digital files I recently purchased to help me find my inner calm with my youngest child (Ever hear of a strong-willed child? Weeeelllll, mine might win the gold medal for his ability to push every single one of my buttons #sayseverymom). 🥇
I ended up coming across some of my old music and that was the only invitation I needed (like I really needed one) to follow the squirrel.
There was a time in my life when I listened to mostly country music (we all go through phases, ok y’all!). Kenny Chesney didn’t have any idea he was supposed to be my husband. Tim was already taken. And Garth, well, he was going through an identity crisis.
Pre-identity shift, Garth released a song called The Dance.
You remember that song. The one that got played at every wedding and graduation for the next 10 years.
The one that’s actually a perfect metaphor for life.
How many of you (ahem, us 🙋🏼♀️) have lived through an experience, just going through the motions, where at the moment it sucks ass to be in?
The pain is almost too much to bear.
The struggle is real, as in really real!
Maybe you lost your job or decided to take the plunge and start your own business. Maybe you lost a loved one. Maybe you were diagnosed with a life-threatening dis-ease.
The details don’t matter, because the underlying emotions and beliefs begin to accumulate, and fester if not dealt with. The shit builds up!
The way to deal with it is simple…dance.
It won’t work if you’re just going through the motions.
Do the dance.
“And now, I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain
But I’d have to miss, the dance”
I knew at that moment, sitting on the deck…
I knew I would lose you. I knew I would be a single mom too.
I still chose to…do the dance.
I didn’t want to miss…the dance.
So while this time in our lives may be a bit challenging, all of us will come out on the other side one way or the other. Are you just going through the motions? Do you want to come out kicking and screaming like a baby, or do you want to come out dancing?
I choose to…do the dance.
Have you ever stopped to look around and realized that you were feeling totally joyful and grateful in that moment? If not or if it’s been a while, it may take shifting perspective.
I used to have a really hard time finding joy or gratitude. I was Negative Nelly incarnate, the keyword here being “was.”.
So there I was, riding the lift up the mountain in a seat all to myself. My boys wanted to ride with their friends, so I got a few moments of peace and quiet before meeting them all at the top.
As I was enjoying the peace and quiet, looking around at the beautiful blue sky, the lush green trees, and the white glistening snow, I looked up to the top of the mountain and realized that I was feeling so content and joyful. I was grateful for that moment.
And then a thought popped into my mind as I noticed the patchiness of the snow in certain areas. Thankfully this time the thought that popped in was positive and empowering.
I saw smooth parts, rough parts, parts less traveled, and parts heavily traveled.
It reminded me of…life itself.
I began running a movie in my mind of some of the things I had experienced in life (I’m not the only one who does this, right?). I remembered some pretty amazing experiences and some not-so-amazing experiences. I remembered some fun times and some not-so-fun times.
What I began to realize is that this mountain that I was staring at was a perfect metaphor for what my life was all about up to this point, and would continue to be.
I then realized that even with all the undulations and inconsistencies in terrain, the mountain still stood tall and strong, unshaken. So did I.
Because shifting perspective moves figurative mountains—of negativity, fear, doubt, anxiety, and depression.
I stood tall, strong, confidently badass. I haven’t always been this way. It’s taken shifting perspective and some serious work on my part, and it’s been worth all the effort because I found a moment of joy that at one point would have passed me by. This time I reached out, grabbed it, and claimed it for my own.
I’ve been doing that more often, and ya know what? It’s a pretty cool skill.
Have you ever wondered why balancing life is so hard? There’s balancing work and play, balancing being a parent and fulfilling your professional dreams, balancing a checkbook (adulting…gasp!).
All this balancing can be a real challenge. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a little hard work, the constant struggle is real for most of us. At the end of the day many of us collapse in bed, hoping to shut our brains down long enough to recharge our bodies, just so we can get up and do it all again the next day.
I got caught up in the rat race so much that I eventually developed breast cancer. I took that as a sign that I needed to slow down and reset some priorities. Like so many, my cancer diagnosis was the wake up call I needed to slow down and pull my head out of my ass.
I thought I was doing well enough to get by. I had no idea the complexities of what it means to be a conscious human. Then one day I was introduced to the idea of the mind/body connection.
The part that hit me square in the chest was the idea that there are four bodies.
Of course there’s the physical body-that we all know because well, we’re here and someday when we die, our physical body goes away. Many believe we have a soul, or spiritual body-that part of us that goes to heaven or hell (or to the next life). Another body-the mental body, has gained some recognition through the idea of mental health and it’s really only looked at when something goes “wrong”. The last body-the emotional body, in my opinion isn’t explored nearly enough. In my experience it’s this body that has the most effect on the mind/body connection.
The cancerous lump I found in my breast was directly over my heart, the thing I was most disconnected from. Before I was diagnosed I had been battling depression and anxiety for many years. I also had lower back problems that sometimes kept me from doing the things I loved doing. According to Dr. John E. Sarno in his book “Healing Back Pain-The mind/body connection” the most common cause of back pain is Tension Myositis Syndrome which is linked to anger and anxiety. I was finally putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
Through my research I have found that all these connections could be made by looking at how well my four bodies were being cared for. If you think of each of the bodies I described as legs of a chair it’s easy to see how one “broken” leg can make the whole chair unstable. When another leg “breaks” the stability is decreased even more. If three legs are broken that destroys the chair and it’s no longer usable. For me three of my legs were broken and cancer was about to take out the last.
I couldn’t let that happen. I had two little boys to raise as a single mom. My husband passed away six weeks after I was diagnosed so I couldn’t let my kids go without both parents. Now it was time to pull up my boot straps and start implementing some of the things I had learned from my research (which is always ongoing and part of the process).
Fixing the broken legs of my chair has been easy when I keep it simple by looking at the four bodies. I have found that when I pay attention to each leg every day I find harmony in my life that takes very little effort, as opposed to the constant balancing act I was trying to perform before my life turned upside down.
When you give just a little bit of love to each of the four bodies, they give you tons of love back. So here is how you do that:
Leg #1: Your Spiritual Body
No matter what religion you practice there are ways to feed your spirit. Whatever that looks like for you, give yourself 15-30 minutes a day to focus solely on this body. Some days it may be sitting in meditation, other days it may be going for a walk. Whatever it looks like for you keep your spiritual body in mind as you perform whatever task you’re doing.
Leg #2: Your Mental Body
Our mental state can be improved simply by learning something new. Rather than coming home from a hard days work, where you may have lost the capacity for mental acuity, take 5 minutes to sit quietly and concentrate on your breathing. This will help perk you up so you can take 30 minutes to read a book or some other form of literature to get your mental juices flowing. Things that are learned over time, say 30 minutes a day, have been found to stick with us a little more than cramming it all in at once.
Leg #3: Your Emotional Body
Getting in touch with your emotions and allowing them to have a voice can help you become more emotionally intelligent. Feel whatever you’re feeling in any given moment. You don’t have to act on that feeling unless you choose to. I like to use the S.T.O.M.P. method when I’m starting to feel upset, flustered or overwhelmed. Yes, there are negative emotions, and it’s the negative emotions that then to lead us to make disempowering choices. The S.T.O.M.P. method is really easy. S-stop what you’re doing, T-take a few deep breaths, O-observe your body, your thoughts, your emotions, M-make a mental picture of how you want to be, P-proceed consciously. If proceeding consciously means you go beat up on some pillows for five minutes then go do it. The emotion obviously needs to be released.
Leg #4: Your Physical Body
This one we all know how to care for, we just don’t always make the healthiest choices. Eating clean and healthy, little to no packaged foods and moving your body, whatever that looks like for you, are the easiest ways to care for our physical bodies. Things like rest are important too. I like to take a nice hot bath with epsom sale, essential oils and crystals once a week to show all my bodies some love.
When you make the legs of your chair stable you can count on that chair to be there every time you sit down. It doesn’t have to be a big production to put some little things into practice. Jeff Olson explains it well in his book “The Slight Edge” when he says that little practices over time yield the biggest results.
It’s all about the baby steps.
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Cultivating a growth mindset vs fixed mindset can make a world of difference in your life. So if you find yourself stuck in negative thinking, the good news is you can change.
What’s the old saying about guarantees? There are only 2 things in life that are guaranteed-death and taxes? There is one more…change. Nothing stays the same forever, not even the stars in the sky.
One of the most powerful ways to create change is to shift one’s perspective. This is true when it comes to establishing a growth mindset vs fixed mindset. When you go from a fixed negative mindset to one of growth and expansion, you create possibilities in your life. You open doors and windows that were once closed. You get to dust off the cobwebs and set the wheels of creation into motion.
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset Explained
Someone with a fixed mindset will avoid challenges, they stay in their comfort zone. They typically give up easily, allowing others to overstep boundaries, then become resentful. They either ignore feedback or take it as a personal attack. They become threatened by other people’s success, or even jealous of it. They try too hard and end up overcompensating for their insecurities, only to have things blow up in their face like when a beach ball pops up out of the water.
Someone with a growth mindset embraces challenges, they run towards them because they know they will become stronger in the process. They give their best effort, always, and they learn from feedback because they don’t see it as them failing at something or being attacked; they see it as an opportunity for learning. They are inspired by other people’s success and they model that success. If they don’t know something, they figure out how to gain the knowledge to get the job done.
The big question is, how does one develop a growth mindset vs fixed mindset? There are a few things I share with my family, friends, and clients that I’ve learned along the way. These tips have helped me come out of the depths of depression and anxiety so I can step into a place of learning and growth, a place where I have more emotional intelligence. This place is where I learn from my emotions instead of allowing my emotions to get the best of me.
There’s even an easy way to remember these tips…R.A.C.E.
A simple and effective way to start looking at things differently is to notice the positive things that happen throughout your day. Right before bed take a few minutes to do a “recap” of your day. Play a movie in your mind from the moment you wake up until the moment you begin the exercise. Notice all the positive things that occurred-the yummy smell of your coffee as you get ready for work, the smile on a stranger’s face, the ease of your commute. Consciously look for the positive.
2. Acknowledge and celebrate
Anytime something positive happens, stop and acknowledge it. Celebrate it. Do the same thing with not-so-positive things. If something happens that throws you off, find the positive in it. This world is full of duality so if there’s something you perceive as negative, start turning things around and find the other side of the spectrum.
3. Change your dialogue
There’s a saying in the Hawaiian culture that when translated says, “In the word there is life, and in the word there is death.” The words we use have energy and vibration that help us create our reality. If you are seeing nothing but negativity, try speaking in a more positive way and see what happens.
4. Encourage failure
There really is no such thing as failure if you really think about it. When you take what happens as feedback, you can course-correct so the perceived “failure” becomes a great learning so you can grow.
Now that you know how to change from a fixed mindset to one where you’ll learn and grow, you’ll be able to create the life you’ve always wanted. Cultivating a growth mindset vs fixed mindset makes all the difference. You’ll create a life abundantly filled with joy and purpose, whatever those look like for you.