My Theme For 2015

Man, it is so easy to get comfortable in our safe ways.

We are creatures of habit. A big part of our life is routine and staying sheltered.

And at times it is needed.

When we were young, our parents, teachers, and coaches made sure we were safe. We were not prepared to protect ourselves, so others helped us through that stage. The environment we were put in was often not chosen by us.

Growing up, we are taught to get safe jobs through school. If you’re like me, you were easily influenced during these years and listened to this advice. We then find ourselves in those steady, corporate jobs and become scared of other options. I almost hear “Hey, it’s not as always greener on the other side” more now than the alternative. That is Fear poking it’s head.

But if there is one thing I know, it’s that change will happen whether we like it or not. It’s the basic principle of nature.

Your environment will change – sometimes it’s a new school, a new jobs, a new house, a new city…

Those you spend time with will change. People will come into your life. Others will leave…at times unexpectedly.

The way I look at it is we only have control of our response to change if it occurs externally. We must look out for ourselves and those we care about. We have to overcome change at times, while other times it comes as a pleasant surprise.

But often, the problem is our resistance to this inevitable change that occurs. We think we’re the center of the universe during these times. We try to fight this force because it is disturbing our safe environment that we are finally comfortable in.

But here’s the thing – Mother Nature doesn’t care about your plans. She has plans of her own.

So taking all of this into consideration, I was trying to decide on a new approach, and at first I thought – Embrace Change

This isn’t too far off from where my theme ended up. Embrace Change is definitely part of my theme. I really like the idea of being open to change because a part of me is often scared of what is to come. But that lead me to the issue that is even more at the heart of what I want to accomplish – Fighting My Resistance to Change

It’s a slight frame shift. I felt this to be more empowering because it puts more of the accountability on me to do the work.

Resistance is a big part of this personal battle. Embracing change is more of a passive concept. To me, it implies staying open to the external change that will occur in my life. I want to focus more on the self-created change. Noticing my natural defenses to this change and fighting/rewiring those faulty impulses is more of what I’m after.

So that is my 2015 Theme – Fight My Resistance to Change so I can eventually embrace both change that is forced on me, as well as create the necessary change I desire.

Change isn’t good. Change isn’t bad. Change just is.

Time Is Killing Me

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There are times when I allow my visions and plans for the future determine my emotional state. This leads to anxiety when my current state is at odds with my plans. When I am in these states, relationships and work are often on my mind…one of the two usually dominating my attention – and eventually emotions.

Too much of this is not healthy.

This is probably what Buddha continuously felt that led to this revelation:

Do not dwell in the past, Do not dream of the future, Concentrate the mind on the present moment.

The best way to dig myself out of these destructive states is to be consciously aware of them. That means having the understanding of how my mind works, and breaking the negative cycle early on. Do not let your emotions control you. You have power over them if you choose. Often, it just takes finding an approach that works for you.

Like most things, easier said than done…

After a lot of trial and error, I have found a few tactics that have worked for me:

  1. Writing – I am so glad I have developed this habit. Writing down whatever is on my mind onto a piece of paper can be so relieving. Just let it come out. You’ll then notice a couple of things. (1) That whatever is going on in your head is often very trivial (2) That the emotional intensity you were feeling from this anxiety is greatly weakened.
  2. Sleep/Nap – Often these problems occur when you’re deficient of sleep.
  3. Meditation – There are so many forms of meditation you could practice. One that I just learned that works well anywhere is Box Breathing – 4 seconds in – hold for 4 – 4 seconds out – hold for 4 – Repeat.

You may notice that time is at the heart of these anxieties. It is often not the actual person or job that is causing the issues, but straying away from your internal plans or experiencing the feelings of losing precious time.

I’ll take a quote from Nietzsche:

Glance into the world just as though time were gone and everything crooked will become straight to you.

This simple – yet powerful – thought exercise can work extremely well too.

We must focus on what we can do now. Ask yourself if you can take immediate action on your current anxieties. If the answer is NO – then you must let it go at that moment. It is serving no purpose.

Many times I have resistance towards this process. But only a couple of minutes of this can do wonders by removing the thought(s) that are consuming my attention.

I encourage you to try this next time you’re stressed or feeling anxious. Write down you problems. See things differently. Rest. See what works for you.

We all have our problems…

But there is beauty in the ability to mitigate and eventually overcome them.

2/13 Note To Self – On External Events, Adapting, and Making Time

2/13 – A personal note written quickly on Friday afternoon 

Don’t let external events or other people determine your view of the world. Don’t let them distract you. Or let them set limits on you. Don’t let them decide where you’re going. Don’t let them determine your impact in this world.

We humans are great at adapting. It is the reason we are still alive and kickin. We would be the prey of a predator or the victims of famine. Adapting is a great advantage. But with that, there is also a downside. We adapt to what others have done before us because it works. We adapt to similar behaviors that are often destructive. We adapt to what our friends and acquaintances see as a right. It’s ying and yang.

The problem is there is no time-out in our society to take time and evaluate what is really going on. We are chess pieces on a board that is often already deciding our next move. That is, unless we step back. Unless we see things from a different angle. A different point of view. Some quit their jobs, travel, and find themselves. Others can’t because of the dependencies in their life, whether those be self-induced or forced upon them.

Some may argue they don’t have time. But there is time. Eliminate the unnecessary and find the time because it is essential for you. Gather your energy and create your own version of this life. You have the power to do that. You can choose where to focus your attention. You can choose who to surround yourself with. You can adapt in the best way you see fit. Make the time to see through all of the mess and your mind and vision will become clearer. Then comes action.