“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.”
We spend so much time worrying about what we did yesterday, or what somebody else did yesterday. Perhaps, on the other side of the coin, we worry about what we are going to do tomorrow, or in a year, or in five. Not that there isn’t a benefit to reflecting on past lessons or looking ahead and setting future goals, however, once those goals are set, it is time to focus on what can be done now, today, to work towards those goals. Even if it is only a micro-movement.
Want to write a song? Sit down for 5 minutes at the piano or with your guitar. Want to travel the world, start reading travel books and planning where you want to go first and what it will take to get there. To climb a mountain, you need to take it one step at a time. We spend so much time just staring at the mountain, or talking about all the ways we are going to or possibly will go about climbing it. All the pros and cons to choosing to climb the mountain, and what will happen when we get to the top? We spend so much time with the what if’s, that hours, days, even years may go by and we have yet to actually begin. Then, we get frustrated as to why we haven’t reached the top yet. Well, you can’t reach your goal if you don’t take that first step to begin with…
In order to really become an expert at anything, research has shown that you need to practice for 10,000 hours. That is 10,000 hours of deliberate, non-interrupted, focused and alone practice. Practicing in a group doesn’t count, because usually then the practice is group orientated, not necessarily working on the specific task that will improve your performance alone. Practicing while multitasking does not count. (More on multitasking to come…stay tuned…)
Focus, concentration, these are the aspects needed to really give a task your best try. Yet, in today’s day and age, we are concentrated on so many things at once, in actuality we are not concentrating on anything really. Television and social media perpetuate this trend. If one really is active with their Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Pinterest, Instagrams and emails throughout the day, they are not ever actually in the moment. They are spending so much time sharing with the world their every thought and action, and then in addition to sharing, they are dreaming about what is yet to come, or what has transpired, that there is no time left to wake up out of their dream worlds and just take note of where they are right now. To become aware of who and what you are doing right now, not tomorrow, or in ten minutes, but now.
The trick to this is to practice mindfulness, step back from your thoughts and feelings, don’t judge them, but just notice them, be aware. Be alive, be awake, observe, contemplate. The more distance you give your thoughts, the more freedom you have, and the more you can see them as just that, thoughts. Not actions, just thoughts. Negative, Positive, it doesn’t matter, because once you step back, the thoughts lose their power, and then you are back in control. Here, Now.
If the thoughts are negative, you have the power to challenge them. Who’s voice is that anyway? Your own, or someone else in your family possibly, that inner critic always has something to say. You can choose whether or not to listen. On average, there exists a ratio of 3:1 for positive thoughts, where it will take 3 positive thoughts to negate a negative one. As humans, we strive for improvement and self-growth so much, intrinsically, that we tend to lean towards negativity. But if you challenge these thoughts, even better, challenge each negative with at least 3 positive statements. What the heck, maybe even 5, or why not 20?
The more you practice mindfulness and positive thinking, the easier it will be. Yet, this cannot be done in a dream world. So the first step to mindfulness and conscious awareness is to Wake UP! The past is gone, the future has yet to be, the only thing that matters is here and now. The present is just that, a present! Wake up from the dream of life and start living.
“Oh, it’s time to start living. Time to take a little from this world we’re given. Time to take time, or spring will turn to fall. In just no Time at all.”
- Stephen Schwartz (Pippin: The Musical)