I question myself sometimes.
I don’t always get an answer.
I wonder if someday I will find out that everything I think I am, the truth is, I am just the opposite. It is interesting to consider the physiology of the body where the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa; and how everything that we see with our two retina is upside down but when our brain processes it they are combined into one image flipped right side up. We normally have general concepts of who we are, but if we get to know ourselves scientifically, we realize that everything we think we see and know and believe in this physical realm is literally upside, backwards, and/or an illusion.
Even that which we like to believe is supported by our science, such as our concepts of what is solid and still, we know is still illusion in some way since what we perceive as “solid” is composed of atoms, mostly empty space and constantly in motion.
So, how are we to think of ourselves and our world? Who do we think we are anyway? A better question is What do we think we are, and shouldn’t we make it a priority to find out?
I don’t have any specific answers as to how to kick start that sort of journey, because I realize how different things are for each individual. Self-exploration is personal by nature, so we could not all possibly agree on what we are. We can agree, however, that it’s a good time to stop seeing ourselves and the world in such surface level ways. And to stop simply believing everything we’ve been told is our reality. See for yourself. Look for yourself. Live for yourself. Learn for yourself.
In a reality where left is right, up is down, and outside-in is really inside-out – it’s probably a good time to gain new perspective.
One of the most difficult things to do is Start Over. After years of pouring our heart, love, time, energy and resources into a project, goal or relationship – it seems so defeating to just halt mission and abandon ship. But sometimes, it is necessary to do.
Rather than continue to go down a path that is not giving the results that we want, it may be better to take a moment to think about alternative routes. We know that there are many ways to reach a destination, so we need not be so stubborn to continue with a way that is clearly not working for us.
Sometimes the ego becomes the ruler, and we do not want others to think that we have failed. But changing directions does not indicate failure. It means that you have checked inventory, completed an evaluation, and concluded that there is a better way. Do not be afraid to take the better way once you identify it.
Sure, the changes may require you to utilize your public relations skills when people inevitably ask you, “What happened?” But like any good P.R. representative, you will already have your response prepared based on the information that you choose to release to the public. They do not have to know everything about why you decided to make changes in your plan; but what they should know is that you have taken the steps in order to put yourself in an even better position to achieve your goal.
Time and time again it has been proven that being successful is a state of mind; which is why you can give a mentally poor person a million dollars and they will soon be poor again. But if you take a million dollars away from a mentally rich person, they will find a way to make it back.
It is a powerful thing to have enough confidence in yourself to choose a different path that you know will still lead you to greater things. Regardless of what others think about your decision, you are able to move forward with the indispensable knowledge you gained from experience – Sometimes you have to start over, to win.
Things happen so quickly. The mind processes information and responds to stimuli at rates so fast we can’t even keep up with it. There’s no conscious participation in making the heart beat, causing the blood to circulate or sensing things in our environment. It occurs in all its complexity, guided by intelligence beyond our own and without our input; making us living and functioning Beings.
Why then, is it such a scary idea for us to trust that things will be okay? Even if we do not stress or obsess about it, it will be okay. Even if we do not divulge all of our fears and doubts to a listening ear, it will be okay. Why is it so hard to trust that once we’ve done everything we can do to resolve a situation, even if we put it down and walk away from it for a while, it will still be okay…
The problem is, we have Selective Faith. It’s like selective hearing when a person seems to only hear the bits and pieces they want to hear; or selective memory where an individual seems to only remember what’s convenient for them. Someone with Selective Faith is strong-minded and confident when they can see the solution in sight or a feasible plan in line to resolve a problem; but breaks down and moves into fear-based living when they don’t know how things are going to work out and haven’t yet seen any resolution on the horizon. These people often talk about how good and all-powerful God is in one breath, yet complain that they don’t see a way out of their problems in the next. Those who are not believers may still exhibit Selective Faith because even if they feel there is no God, they claim to believe in the power of themselves and their mind in one breath, yet express panic at the sight of oncoming trouble in the next.
Fact is, we’re still here. We’ve been face to face with death before (whether we know it or not), yet we’re still here. We’ve been terrified to the point that we thought the bottom would fall out of life at any moment, yet we’re still here. Many of us come from backgrounds and cultures where there were tremendous attempts in centuries past to extinguish the fires of future generations, yet, we are still here. Not because of our own doing; But because there is an Ever-Presence in our lives, the same that keeps the heart beating without our help, keeps blood flowing without our help. The same that was there for our ancestors and that will be there for the children that carry our DNA a thousand years from now.
Don’t let “Faith” become cliché to you. Don’t let the severe overuse of the word cause you to forget its essence. Always remember the reason that it should permanently, not selectively, be a part of your life experience. It is through the faith of those before us and their connection with Our Creator, that We are still here.
In a thousand years, we will be “The Ancestors.” Regardless of how many bills we have to pay, regardless of the pressure we are subjected to, regardless of the opinion of others; Let’s make sure we do our part by living consistently empowered lives so that our strength continues to be passed to the future as those in our past have done for us.
There seems to be a misconception that relationships are only supposed to end if interest is lost or the love is gone. It is obvious it’s over in those cases and breaking up is a no-brainer. But what about those times when the love is still there? The desire is still strong, but the person keeps hurting you or overstepping their boundaries? You don’t really want them to go away, you’d prefer they just change for the better… but they won’t. This is a dilemma.
When the pain outweighs the happiness, there is more disappointment than joy, and the negative feelings surface more than the positive; one finds themselves having to ask whether or not the relationship should continue. Your Spirit screams NO this should not continue! Then the little voice of the heart and mind says “But I love him/her… “
How many people have been in relationships that they knew undoubtedly needed to be over a long time ago, but remain in it under the pretense of being “so in love” with someone they know isn’t good for them? ME! I’ve had my share. That’s one hand raised. Any others?
I’m not referring to the standard relationships that have their ups and downs, but to those that have become predominantly draining, negative and maybe even abusive (including physical, mental, verbal or emotional abuse).
We have to stop using our watered-down and skewed perceptions of what love is as the excuse to remain in unhealthy relationships. Once a connection with someone begins to take more from your life than it adds to it, its time to let go. And if you’ve stayed in an unfulfilling situation for too long because you LOVE THE OTHER PERSON so much; try something new and remove yourself from the situation because you’ve decided its time to LOVE YOURSELF even more.
From the outside looking in, it’s easier to spot someone who is in a relationship with someone who is sucking the life out of them. But when it is us that is in the situation, we tend to rationalize our reasons for remaining in a relationship that is not enhancing our lives.
Learn how to recognize energetic/emotional vampires. They don’t always do it on purpose, but these type of people will suck the life right out of you under the guise of being in a relationship and loving you. If loving someone exhausts you, or hurts more than enhances you – its healthier to love yourself enough to let it go.
You stare at yourself in the mirror intensely as you lean over the sink in the bathroom at your office. Is that sweat on your forehead? Yes it is. Your heart is beating faster and you realize this is a slight anxiety attack just before you have to give a presentation to your administrators. Although you have spent plenty of time researching statistics and collecting data in preparation of selling your idea to this group of stern decision-makers; you now realize that you did not take the time to focus on the way you would present yourself.
The above is a common scenario where one realizes that intelligence alone is not enough when it comes to connecting with people in professional situations. When its time to close deals, attain new clients or get approvals to implement new ideas; much more is being looked at than how much knowledge you have. It is imperative the individual is sending a message to their audience that conveys they are competent and able to lead any team to accomplish the proposed vision. No one will be convinced by a sweating, bumbling, shaking presenter behind the podium who cannot seem to pull it together.
The key thing to remember is that every person may experience a bit of nervousness anytime they are being put in a position where they may be subjected to the judgment and critique of others. It is a natural reaction but the difference between those who are successful in these situations and those who are not is that one group finds their center and pushes through the tension; and the other does not. Here are a few ways to make sure that you are not in the latter:
Affirm to yourself that you are already familiar with the material.
Repeating this in your mind and in the mirror will allow the idea to sink in on a subconscious level so that you do not experience extra tension from fear of not remembering what you need to present. Just make sure that you have actually familiarized yourself with the material! That’s the easy part. The more challenging part is fully processing the fact that you are knowledgeable on the subject so that you don’t have to concentrate on it so hard. Then you can focus on more important things such as keeping your breath steady. This takes us to the next suggestion…
Do breathing exercises to relax yourself and set a comfortable breathing pattern.
We always hear about the importance of being able to control our breath because it helps us control our minds. You want to give the mind something to focus on, so by directing it to the way you are breathing, you are killing a few birds with one stone. The physical benefits of the deep inhale and exhale are that it will slow the heart rate and allow more oxygen to the brain which will naturally put you more at ease. As the mind is focused on the breathing pattern, it does not have as much time to wander on to self-defeating thoughts or ideas that would create more anxiety. In addition to the internal effects, externally you will be projecting a warm, calm and balanced disposition.
See yourself there before you get there.
Mostly everyone is familiar with the technique of visualization. Athletes, public speakers, political figures, performers and many others understand the value of envisioning the entire scenario in the exact way they want to experience it. Doing this gives us a sense of familiarity. When we engage in the actual activity, our mind will go back to what was visualized previously. We feel more confident since we’ve already had the experience in some way; it helps us feel that we are prepared with what to say and what to do. Be very detailed and thorough in your vision. You will want to see yourself moving through the entire situation, from the time you walk into the room and greet the audience to when you are answering questions after opening the floor for feedback.
Clear your heart and mind through meditation.
Know the difference between visualization and meditation. Find somewhere quiet, turn off all distractions, sit down in a comfortable position and be silent; that includes silencing your mind. Instead of doing your visualizations in this moment, you want to dedicate some time to clearing your mind. The thoughts may be swimming around your head but you are not focusing on them. You are looking past them and searching your heart. Determine what you feel there. Fear? Courage? Love? If you sense fear in your heart, try to let go of any of the ideas in your mind that are causing this feeling. Feel free to ask your Higher Power to help you release any negative emotions and to fill you with confidence while you’re in this space.
As you inhale and exhale deeply, focus the mind on your breath and notice how you begin to experience something too deep inside of you to be explained here. Find that place of peace. If you don’t find it the first few times, continue over time until you do. It exists in everyone. It is from that place within you that you connect with how powerful you really are. As you realize this, the self-doubt and self-consciousness will dissipate. The more you are able to connect with yourself in that way, the more trust and appreciation you gain for yourself. When the day comes for you to speak with eloquence, confidence and to be self-assured; your mind will reflect back on the state of realization and peace that you attained for those moments and you will be empowered as you stand before any group of people.
We have all met book-smart individuals who seem to have everything going for them intellectually, but don’t reach their fullest potential. When you look a bit closer, you notice that they would prefer not to speak up when they have good ideas. They would rather not be in front of large groups of people. They seem to shrink when face to face with intimidating characters. You realize that they lack the inner-strength and confidence needed to excel socially-demanding environments. It is about being able to connect with others. It is about knowing who you are and feeling comfortable enough with yourself to let others know too. It is about breaking through all psychological barriers so that you can effectively express yourself in a way that others will believe in your competence and will be willing to work alongside you to help accomplish your vision.
Whether in professional or personal settings, these suggestions can be practiced by making them a part of your daily routine. This way you will always be prepared to rise to any challenge, even the unexpected ones. You will want to spend more time on your visualizations when you are specifically aware of upcoming events. The more we practice, the better prepared we are on GAME DAY.