Mental awareness

Any time I face a problem or stressful situation in my life my mind overpowers me.  My mind actually turns against me.  It uses all my insecurities, doubts, fears and resentment against me.  I allow the negative thoughts to linger and I dwell on them constantly while concocting plausible solutions to get rid of the negativity.  This continuous habit of almost 30 years has got to go.  I need to do something immediately about it so that I can either stop the negative flow of thoughts or increase the amount of positive thoughts.  But, first things first, I need to understand how the mind works and its purpose.

The mind is a tool that is supposed to help you solve problems, follow direction, create things and it serves many other functional purposes.  If used correctly, the mind can create beautiful masterpieces or solve catastrophes.  All in the same breathe, however, the mind also loves to complicate things, plan, over-analyze and fabricate future possibilities based on past experiences.  This tool needs rest just as much as it needs nourishment.  We all nourish our minds daily with new information by learning new tasks, reading a book or maybe going to school or by training to update our skills.  But rarely, do we set aside time to turn off the mind and allow it to rest and just be.  Because, it is during these rest periods that we develop mental awareness.

Now that I know what the mind does, I ask what is mental awareness?  My interpretation is, the ability to set aside pride and ego and be still.  Mental awareness is being conscious or aware of the thoughts that are occurring inside you, both positive and negative, and allowing the right voice to guide you.  We all have two voices, our inner voice and the voice in our head, or our mental voice.  The mental voice creates fear, doubt, resentment, hate, jealousy, greed and etc.  The inner voice guides you and speaks the truth about what actually makes you happy.  Mental awareness occurs when you allow the inner voice to overpower the mental voice.  The ultimate goal while developing mental awareness is to rid yourself of the mental voice during the rest periods so you can hear your inner voice speak.

Mental awareness develops through practice.  Practice of consciousness of your thoughts.  It is the ability to stop certain negative and hindering thoughts from processing.  Mental awareness is developed by paying less attention to the complications and problems created by the mind and allowing those thoughts to pass.  But let’s be honest, this is very difficult to do and requires a lot of patience with yourself.  Have you ever sat alone and tried to shut off your mind only to have a magillion thoughts flying and racing through your head?

So, how does one develop their mental awareness?  You have to consciously want to focus your attention on the positive thoughts you have while allowing the negative thoughts to occur and pass without putting too much attention on them.  Sounds simple enough right?  Well, it’s actually a lot more difficult than you can imagine.  I have been personally trying to develop mental awareness by following 10 simple conscious thoughts while I sit alone and allow my mind to rest.  I allow these thoughts to occur but do not put any emphasis on them, and then they pass and don’t control my life or decisions.

Here is a list of 10 conscious thoughts I use to help develop mental awareness while I rest my mind:

  1. DON’T dwell on the past
  2. DON’T waste time feeling sorry for yourself
  3. DON’T give away your power or control
  4. DON’T waste time and focus on things that you cannot control
  5. DON’T worry about pleasing everyone
  6. DON’T fear change
  7. DON’T repeat the same mistakes over again
  8. DON’T give up after failure
  9. DON’T expect immediate results
  10. DON’T resent and focus on other peoples success

So to recap, by choosing to focus on the negative thoughts you fuel the mental voice.  The idea is to fuel the inner voice.  In order to fuel the inner voice you have to rest the mind.  Once you rest your mind you begin to allow deep thoughts to develop.  While allowing both positive and negative thoughts to occur, you practice mental awareness by choosing to concentrate on the positive thoughts, which is essentially guided by your inner voice.  You start to notice that negative thoughts can exist without it consuming your whole mind or life and thus not controlling your decisions.  As you practice choosing the positive thoughts you apply mental awareness.  Thus, finally allowing your inner voice to speak and guide you.

Time to reflect:

Next time you’re using your tool, the mind, allow some much needed rest time.  During your rest period allow yourself to have any thoughts, both positive and negative, pass it, and just be still.  The more you practice doing this, the stronger your mental awareness will be.  But remember, you have to keep practicing otherwise you will go back to your old ways and your mind will control you again.  Good luck!

 mindbodysoul

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives”. ~ Henry David Thoreau 

Let it burn

The past week I have not been able to blog as I’ve been living in emotional hell.  Everything that I worked so hard for in the past 5 years literally amounted to absolutely nothing.  All in a matter of a week my entire life turned upside down and through no fault of my own.  Everything I worked for was taken away from me.  Everything I earned was stripped from me.  It makes me question the universe and my spiritual path.  Is the universe helping me or is it testing me?  Either way, it doesn’t feel good.  I feel so disappointed by the universe.  I feel like asking why me, why now, why does the universe keep testing my faith in myself, humanity, and everything else.  

I feel so angry, dejected, disappointed and abandoned by the universe.  I am burning up inside with feelings of hate, hate for myself and this world.  I cannot believe that the universe that I believed so much in would turn its back on me.  I don’t understand why this lesson presented itself to me.  I don’t need anymore lessons, I just need to catch a break, is that too much to ask for?  These feelings aren’t going away.  These feelings are lingering and creating darkness in my life.  Darkness that I don’t want and need.  This darkness is plaguing my mind with negativity.

After feeling sorry for myself for a week, I realize these feelings aren’t going away.  So, what is a girl to do?  Let it burn!  Let those feelings of hate, disappointment, abandonment and negativity burn so bright that you use it to fuel you.  It’s weird because I literally woke up today, thinking screw these feelings.  Screw the world/universe and its signs.   If I am supposed to feel this way right now, it’s because I am supposed to use these feelings for a purpose.  I am supposed to feel this exact feeling of hate to fuel the fire inside of me to move on.  Since I can’t get rid of these negative feelings, I might as well use them.

I want to let my aggression out and scream at the universe, screw you for not having my back.  Screw you for giving up on me.  Screw you for proving to me yet again that I am completely alone.  Screw you for making me doubt myself and my abilities as a spiritual being.  I will NOT allow you to make me feel like I need to give up on myself.

The burning sensations within have overpowered me.  I have never been so determined in my life to be in a better position than now.  I can’t explain to you how liberating it is to know that your only fan in this universe is yourself.  That feeling of fighting for yourself, your values, beliefs and your existence when nobody else would fight for you, is powerful.  It’s almost as if, I had to feel the anger build within to develop this now, strong exterior.  So what if everyone else has given up on me.  So what if no one else believes in me.  So what, ’cause I have too.  At the end of the day no one else is going to live my life for me.  I might as well pull a Kanye West and be my biggest fan.  Even if the whole world doesn’t like me or want to see me succeed, I WANT TO SEE ME SUCCEED.  I WILL SUCCEED.

Today, I learned a valuable lesson.  Even if everything around me in my exterior world is against me, at least my inner being is with me.  I can control those feelings any way I want.  I can manipulate those hateful feelings to fuel me and motivate me to become what I always envisioned I would be.  I will use the hate to drive me to become what I was destined to be.

Time to reflect:

So, I leave you now by asking, have you gone through periods in your life where negativity has overpowered you?  How did you cope with it?  Were you like me?  Did you throw yourself a pity party for some time only to realize that it won’t do you any good?  If you have negative feelings building up inside of you, my only suggestion is, from personal experience, let it burn!  Let those feelings burn so hard and turn it in your favour.  Use those feelings and free yourself.  Use the hate to drive you.  Use the disappointment to guide you.  Use the abandonment as leverage to become your biggest fan.  Be who you want to be and prove to the universe that no matter what happens, you, the individual, will NEVER give up on yourself.

mindbodysoul

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn”. ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Do what ya’ know

Arghhhhhhhh!!!!!!  I’m a Jill of all trades and master of none.  It’s so frustrating because my whole life, I was the girl that was good at almost everything.  I could dance, sing, play pretty much every sport and do it well, party hard but still maintain good marks, I was nerdy but still fashionable and popular and it seemed like my whole life would be a shinning beacon back in my high school and university days.

You know what my problem is?  When I have too many options I just fall short and don’t know what the heck to do with myself.  I get all worked up and confused about who I am and my deepest desires.  I start comparing myself to everyone else who seems to know exactly what they want and how far they are going.  I even start mimicking them and trying out the things they are just to see if I am good at it.  More often than not, I find that I am in fact good at it but don’t follow through with the full actions because I realize that isn’t who I am.  After trying to copy others and failing at finding myself, I get into a frump and throw myself a pity party and sulk for a few days, maybe even weeks.  It’s scary to feel lost especially when you’re relatively talented, smart, and driven.

Have you ever felt this way before?  Where, some may say, you are so blessed to be good at so many things, all to feel like those good things are actually the worst qualities about you?  Or have you ever felt like you don’t know enough compared to others?  Or maybe, what you know isn’t good or important enough?  Take me for instance, instead of taking pride in the collective knowledge I have, I create doubt in myself and my abilities because I compare myself to others that I, quite frankly, shouldn’t be comparing myself too.  I look at others with envy as they embark on their journeys with their careers, family, self development and etc.  I focus so much of my attention on what I don’t have because I am comparing myself to others, that I forget what I do have.

So what do I have and what do I know?  I have a lot of skills and I know a lot about a lot of different things.  So how do I use that to my advantage?  Simple, I keep collecting data that interests me.  I continue to research topics that excite me and fuel my passion.  By allowing myself to be me and doing what I know, which is constantly trying new things, gathering new information and exploring alternative solutions, I can turn myself from being a Jill of all trades to a master of ONE thing – which is being the master of constant improvement.  I know how to constantly improve and that is what I will keep doing.  Eventually, I hope to use this master skill to help me financially and succeed in achieving my dream.

Time to reflect:

Take some personal time and look inward.  Turn whatever you think you know into a powerful tool.  Use what you know to guide you and do you.  Don’t allow yourself to get mad at what you know.  Don’t allow yourself to feel inferior because of what you know or think you don’t know.  Don’t compare yourself to others who may be experts in certain topics.  By focusing on what others have and what you don’t have, you may miss something valuable.  Because at the end of the day, what you already know can end up being the most important thing you need to achieve your goals or success.

mindbodysoul

“Work for a cause not for applause. Live life to express not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.” ~ anonymous

Connect with Inspiration

Let’s face it, you can’t expect miracles to happen just because you found your source of inspiration.  How many of us are inspired daily by the people around us yet we do nothing to change ourselves.  We take a brief moment out of our busy day to acknowledge “wow that really inspired me to go out and get fit, buy a new car, make more money, or etc.”  But rarely do we, after acknowledging that source of inspiration, act on it or proceed further.  We stop dead in our tracks because, the truth is, we don’t know what to do next.

For example, one day you watch one of your peers, who is normally shy, get up on stage and belt out a song and it’s incredible.  You are so inspired by her you want to go out and get started on something…but…you…don’t know….what that something is….This is the reality for most of us…we temporarily feel a high and concentrate so much on that high that once it’s gone we don’t understand how to proceed.

The key is not to just focus on the inspiration itself, but to draw from that inspiration and connect with it.  There is a reason why you felt inspired at that moment.  There was a spark of something.  And we need to consciously focus on what that something is.  Ask yourself, what exactly inspired you about that performance.  Maybe it was the idea of a shy woman who, is generally an introvert and never speaks out, had the courage and conviction to go out in front of a crowd and perform like magic.  Maybe you connected with the fearlessness she displayed for those brief few minutes and you enjoyed watching her do something she loves and is naturally good at.  Those things that you saw in your source of inspiration is actually a reflection of what you want to see in yourself.  Think about that for a minute.

Think for a moment, maybe, what you saw in that person, was a mirror image of what you see yourself doing or are capable of doing.  I’m not saying you’re going to go out and perform a song and blow the crowd away.  But what I am saying is, you too, can have that same courage and conviction doing what you love.  You too can have that same fearlessness while you approach a goal or task  that you’ve always wanted to tackle.

Maybe you want to lose 50 pounds and show off your sexy new physique to the world.  That confidence, courage and fearlessness that you see in someone else is what you wish to have.  And you can be like that if you take the time to reflect and allow yourself to connect with your inspiration.  Go deeper than that momentary high and thrill you get from observing your inspiration and start connecting and being your inspiration.

Once you’ve reflected on what it is in them that you value, appreciate and admire make a conscious effort to see how you fit in.  Knowing where you stand, how you fit in and how similar you are to your inspiration is a powerful tool in your life.  Your awareness of yourself will drive you to finding answers to the questions and doubts you have.  By connecting, it is that much easier to act on your inspiration and follow through with actions that will help you get closer to your goals and finally be like your inspiration.

Time to reflect:

Next time you feel inspired, try connecting on a deeper level to see how similar you already are to your inspiration, then follow through and act on it.  As you keep applying this technique, prepare for the magic to unfold in your life.

mindbodysoul

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”. ~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Bread crumbs

Every so often throughout life, we leave behind tiny bread crumbs.  These bread crumbs signify checkpoints, clues, progress reports, or information pertinent to the final making of who we are.  These crumbs are vital.  They are the missing pieces that connect all the dots.

Have you reminisced and tried to understand certain qualities or attributes about yourself?  While trying to figure it out did you ever notice that sometimes, things just make more sense when you look at your life backward?  Yes, I know what you’re thinking.  We live life forward and we shouldn’t have to keep living in our past or looking backward.

But, in order to understand yourself and who you are and where you’re going, you should make the time to analyze your life backward.  What I mean is, look back and pick out those things you once overlooked while living your life forward.  Those crumbs of unfinished business or interests that once peaked your curiosity.  Those “failed attempts” that didn’t work at that moment, but, now that you’re looking at it from a different point of view, might actually be more useful to you.  Sometimes throughout life, we leave ourselves certain gifts or clues that unintentionally end up helping us in more ways than we admit too.

Take myself for instance, I have a very sporadic but sometimes predictable personality.  I easily get bored, and am possibly suffering from ADD.  I constantly strive for change and like to try new things.  I like and am interested in so many things that I dabble in whatever I can get my hands on.  In the past I tried so many different activities and courses and spent so much money taking lessons and workshops to help develop skills I lacked.  For example, I loved graphic design and always wanted to learn about Photoshop, Illustrator and etc. so I self taught through Lynda.com.  I also loved website development and was fascinated with IT so I took courses at school.  My passion is fitness and trying outdoor activities and I generally enjoy physical labour so I volunteered and helped serve food to the homeless and taught classes on wellness and fitness.

No wonder I feel so lost, my attention, skills and pretty much everything is spread out too thin.  I spread myself so thin in the past I couldn’t focus on any one particular thing and master a specific skill and continue actively with the above mentioned activities.  This demotivated me and created failures.  But, that very same attribute I have of wanting to try new things and constantly changing made me gain valuable information that I didn’t even know about until now.  The fact that I tried many things and failed was, actually, a blessing in disguise.  I didn’t know it at the time, but those failed attempts were my baby steps, or practice steps I needed in order to develop myself and my skills.  Had I not tried out those failed attempts then, I would not be closer to being an expert.

In the past few years I utilized my past failed skills to help further propel myself.  The skills I developed from graphic and web design helped me build company websites for the businesses I run.  My time spent volunteering developed my social skills and priorities about what I specifically want to do to help myself and this world be better.  I developed curriculums and utilized my graphic skills to create study and training manuals.  All the things I tried at one point, helped create me.

Time to reflect:

Look inward, have you left certain bread crumbs along the way to help yourself figure out who you are.  I am sure that when you look back at your life, you will be able to see some things about yourself you never noticed before.  Take a few moments to look at what once peaked your interest and analyze some of your past failures.  That course you once took or those mistakes you once made could in fact be a blessing.  If you look, I promise you, you will find your bread crumbs.  You will find those gifts and clues you left behind and they will ultimately help you reach your full potential.  Soooo, what are you waiting for?  Go for it and enjoy the hunt!

mindbodysoul

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing”. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Powerful Books

I naturally love to read, write, research, collect data and then analyze the said data and concoct interpretations or insights about that information.  From a very young age I always kept a diary, or as I say in my adult years, a journal.  But it was more for personal use.  I love to go back through my personal writings to read about how I felt, what I experienced and to revisit the memories I built.  Writing is my outlet to allow my creativity to flow and keep things organized.  It is something I do simply and only for me.  But just as important as writing is in my life, reading holds an even greater influence in my life.

Reading a book can be a magical experience.  You can literally sit in your bedroom and experience travelling through space, time or into another dimension.  The power of your imagination takes you to new heights based on the words you read off of a page.  A book has the power to change your life.  A book has the power to change you.

Have you noticed that a book does not discriminate.  It cannot tell you not to read it because it doesn’t like how you look, or talk.  A book has only one purpose and that is to teach.  It will teach you things, take you away to far off places and teach you about different cultures.  A book will teach you, most importantly, about yourself.

Throughout the years I’ve come across some very influential books that changed my life.  For the past 5 years, however, I’ve been on an inward journey toward self-development.  I went through a divorce and had to find my identity.  I attempted to self heal and learn about topics that made me curious.  Anything that literally tickled my fancy I picked up and read.  At first I was intrigued by topics on history then religion quickly followed as I tried to sort out my own personal demons.  I am fascinated by every religion and set out to read and try to understand the various religious books as a means to connect with a higher power.  I like to make my own judgements based on what I personally know and learn.  After going through my religious spell I opted for a more scientific explanation of understanding my purpose and place in this universe.  I researched high and low and found books that touched on religion and how science refuted the existence of religion.  This created a growing curiosity and led me to  books on spirituality which fuse science and religion together in a happy medium.  I learned about consciousness and the mind, meditation and yoga.  After a few discoveries I started to look more inward and realized I need to pay more attention to my health and fitness.  I turned to various health and wellness conscious books to help me improve physically and to understand my priorities in life.  I then read books on abundance and wealth which focused on creating wealth and building an external world to match my inner world.  Finally, I pursued topics about leadership and entrepreneurship to help train me with the tools necessary to be successful as a business owner.

I read and read and read till I couldn’t read anymore.  I just had to shove as much information into my head as I could because that’s just the type of person I am.  So after all that reading what have I learned?  A lot!  But, I don’t want to talk about what I learned.  I want you to go back and look at what you took away from the books in your life.  What books were you lucky to come across?  If you are searching for answers to certain questions, I may not be able to answer them, but, what I can do is open up your mind to certain books that have the ability to change your life.  Take a look at some of the most powerful books that I have been blessed to come across (in no particular order).

Most Powerful Books:

mindbodysoul

“The value of a book is what you take away from it” ~ anonymous 

Fantasy vs. Reality

I live in two worlds, a fantasy world in my mind and the real world in which I am present and physically live in.  There is a clear emotional, psychological and spiritual gap between these two worlds.  Over time it has become increasingly difficult to maintain the visions and realities of these two very different places.  Battling between the two worlds and trying to discover who I am is proving to be quite difficult.  Why are there two worlds to begin with and how do I choose to live in a world that allows me to be the greatest I can be?

Let me first draw you a picture of my fantasy world.  It’s a place far off in my mind, it’s Earth as we know it but with a few changes.  The world has a radiant positive energy about it, where people have become conscious and aware of the mind, ego and spirit.  It is a world where everyone meditates, does yoga, eats healthy, helps one another, lives clean and isn’t so concerned about material and monetary gains.  In this world, there is nothing that I cannot do.  I can be anything I want to be. I am an entrepreneur, philanthropist, teacher, guru, student, public figure, and etc.  In this world I have the ability to change peoples hearts and minds and guide them to ultimate happiness.  I can motivate others to reach a level within themselves that they never understood.  In my fantasy world, I am an inspiration.  Again, this is just a fantasy.

However, this is a far cry from what the reality actually is.  I know that by admitting to the world of my current reality I may lose credibility and professionals reading my views may deem me unreliable or incompetent.  But, I have to be honest and I have to share what is real.  In the real world most people, including myself, are not conscious and fully aware nor are they practicing healthier lifestyle principles.  In the real world I am a single, divorced woman with no children, but, I am a sister, daughter, cousin and friend to quite a few.  I feel inadequate and inferior to my peers and the many celebrities, athletes, professionals, and etc.  I am fragile and confused and lack direction in my life.  In my reality, I am a Jill of all trades and master of none.  I live with my parents and my brother and my greatest accomplishment thus far was graduating from post secondary studies and buying my very first brand new car.  Soooo, I don’t really have a lot of cards in my favour to be this amazing inspirational person that I dream of becoming.  In my reality, I am just a simple, ordinary, maybe even below average and lost human being.

When I read the two paragraphs above, it almost seems as though I suffer from multiple personality disorder or that I’m just crazy.  How can one human being feel so different on the inside while her surrounding REAL world proves to be completely basic and void of any greatness?  I need to understand why I created two worlds.  The reality is that I was unhappy in my REAL world and thus conjured up a FANTASY world in an effort to cope with my shortcomings.  My FANTASY allowed me to create a world where my weaknesses didn’t exist.  But, there is a real disconnect between my FANTASY and REAL world.  The disconnect occurs because of a confusion of who I am .  What is stopping me from being the person I envision in my fantasy world?  Is it the lack of money, social skills, the right connections, or the adequate professional training?  It’s actually none of that.  I am my own limitation. By choosing to focus solely on what I lack versus what I am and can be creates an emotional, psychological and spiritual gap within my own being and hinders me from pursuing opportunities.  Focussing on the bad only fuels the fear that already exists within and creates a divide between reality and fiction.

So as time goes on to maintain my sanity, I realize I have to make a conscious choice of who I am and want to be from my two worlds.  Do I accept how I feel in the REAL world or do I believe in what I can be from what I conjured up in my FANTASY world.  I cannot physically leave the REAL world unless I die of course.  But I can emotionally, psychologically and spiritually close the gap and choose to live out my FANTASY.  In my fantasy world, I like who I am, what I do, where I’ll go, the lack of fear within me while having the presence of confidence and peace of mind.  In my FANTASY world I can finally be ME.  I have to make a conscious choice to close the gap between my FANTASY and REAL world and know that there is no separation. I have to accept and choose to live in a world that allows me to bring the power I have and feel in my FANTASY world while living out my reality.

Time to reflect:

Ask yourself if you live in two worlds?  Do you live in a FANTASY and REAL world like me?  Do you feel like you have a lot more to offer given your REAL world limitations?  If you do, close that gap of what you think is or can be and just be, do and live.  I strongly urge you to consciously CHOOSE to live in a world that will make you the person you want to and can be.  Choose to be the greatest YOU.  It is a choice, and the sooner you realize that, the happier you will be.

mindbodysoulIt is by choice, not by chance that we change our circumstances. ~ Nadia Sahari