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Posts Tagged ‘trust’

Tune-out Shut-down

In Mindfulness on April 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm
closed computer

No electronics – including phone!

From Saturday night at 11pm until 245am on Monday morning, I went entirely without electronic communication and almost completely w/out verbal communication. I spontaneously designed a mini-silent retreat at my own home on an ordinary Sunday. Well, maybe it wasn’t so ordinary since I was actually able to disconnect so suddenly and easily. I had no social or work obligations pending, I live alone, and my children were with their dad for an overnight. A friend prompted me to go deep to hear more clearly my inner voice. She had recently observed me doling out wonderful heart-felt advice to mutual friends while seeming a bit disconnected and shut-down when it came to matters of my own heart.

For most of my life I’ve considered myself an extrovert. I’ve always made and kept friendships easily. I’ve been seen as a leader who speaks up as well as listens and people tend to gather around me. And if I’ve got an issue or problem, I quickly gather the sisters and girlfriends and talk it out. Beginning in my early 30s, I’ve been going through a lot of transitions – becoming a mother, changing careers, learning to co-parent, embracing my singleness, starting my own business. As the years go on and the transitions get more weighty, I’ve realized that seeking advice outside of myself is the least effective way for me to find any solace or direction in the situation. Perhaps I need to more consciously embrace the introverted parts of myself and stop crowding out my inner voice with outside advice. All the answers lie within my own heart. And the answers usually make sense to no one but myself. Excessively talking it out and asking others opinions puts me in the position of defending myself and what’s on my heart. I find myself resisting other’s ideas not because I am trying to be contrary but because my  heart is saying ‘no, follow me, listen to me!’.

When I was about middle school age, I would almost obsessively ask for my mother’s opinion on the most mundane issues – should I wear the neon pink shirt or the purple one? should I put the Johnny Depp poster over the head of my bed or the foot of my bed? side ponytail or regular ponytail? rosesShe would resist giving me an answer but I would force her hand and then, inevitably, ALWAYS do the opposite of what she suggested. Why did I insist on asking her opinion? Was this the age where I stopped trusting myself to make the right decision? Until the last 5 years, I thought I had lost the ability to listen to and trust my own heart. As I look back on my 20s, there were plenty of moments of clear-as-day instinctual messages coming right up to the forefront of my consciousness. Things that I just KNEW. And, yet, I did not trust myself to act on this knowing. I needed outside counsel, outside approval, I didn’t have the confidence to defend my decisions or realize that I didn’t have to answer to anyone who expected me to defend my position.

So, about Sunday…I had the time and space and I was given the suggestion. At 11pm, I put my phone on airplane mode, turned off my computer, and took a bubble bath. After my bath I meditated and went to bed. I woke in the morning and went to yoga class. I had a minor whisper conversation with my friend who was on the mat next to me (and she had seen my Facebook post about going silent!) and then quickly left after class so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. The rest of the day I took a long walk on the beach, journaled, read a book about becoming spiritually naked (which I am attempting here by telling you of my day of silence). My phone stayed on airplane mode and charging in my bedroom all day. Although I was not tempted to open my computer, I did find myself thinking about meal preparation and eating even when I was not hungry – perhaps to quell some restlessness or boredom in me? On two occasions I had a mild attack of panic because I hadn’t told my ex that I was going off-line. What if he was desperately trying to get a hold of me because the kids…what? Needed absolutely nothing from me and were in safe hands? I started imagining all the group messaging conversations I was missing between my girlfriends.

I was starting to feel insignificant and not needed by anyone. Every time I started to get too far into my head with projections and assumptions, I turned to my journal and reaffirmed my purpose for this day. It was to quiet my mind, quiet the outside influences, quiet the planning and projection and get very real about what was on my heart. candle and rosesI come from a long line of doers and busybodies and as I am still in transition with quite a few big things in my life (aren’t we always just going from one transition to the next?), I have to consciously resist the urge to constantly DO and instead just BE. If I don’t slow down, I’ll miss the next set of instructions (from my heart) and the opportunity to take effortless action. If I insist on continuing with my perpetual motion machine, I might still end up at the same place but I will have wasted a lot of energy and missed out on the joy of living in the flow. After dinner, I meditated, finished my book (I almost tweeted from my kindle that I finished it – terrible!) and fell asleep early. Maybe because I fell asleep early or maybe because I was having very vivid dreams, I awoke at 245am and could not get back to sleep. So I turned on my phone and went for it! Checking email, texts, and Facebook for some sort of confirmation that I was missed, loved, needed. There wasn’t much action. Apparently the world did not stop spinning on it’s axis because I decided to tune out and shut down for a mere 24 hours.

I feel calm and confident and more deeply connected to myself after taking the time to limit outside influences and instead rely on myself for the next right action. I have the ability to validate myself. I feel alone and singular and empowered. It feels good.

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Living a Sepia-Toned Life

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on April 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm
gratitude genius

From Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Fire Starter Sessions.

I’ve never been a black-and-white kind of thinker. You might say I am comfortable in the gray area but that evokes a kind of dullness. I prefer the gentle warmth of a sepia-toned life. My line of work, my physical appearance, or other observations of me by others prompt such assumptions as: I’m a vegan (I’m not), I never eat sugar (I do), or I sell salmonberries (I don’t!). I admit to having very healthy eating habits but I don’t follow a dogmatic approach to eating nor do I ever say ‘never’ (hmm, did I just say it?). I feel we can all learn to trust ourselves enough to live mindfully in the Sepia Zone. It’s the area between black-and-white-rule-following that is warmer and more inviting and nothing is out-of-bounds. I eat a plant-based, no-sugar diet like…80% of the time. I’m making that number up – it could be 90% or 75% – the number doesn’t matter! What does matter is that this is my diet the VAST majority of the time. It’s not painful or steeped in willpower. It’s just present moment awareness and mindful decisions that involve trusting myself and my body. This approach feels easy, joyful, and appreciative to me as opposed to strict, disciplined, and degrading. I am not the type to eat a daily dessert so when I want to treat myself, I go big. If you are the type that would rather have a treat more often but are concerned about the nutritional impact, then check out Chia Pudding and Choco-Chia Nut Spheres.