Many of the negative emotions that we experience come as a result of reacting. Even if there is nothing external to react to, we may be stuck in patterns of reacting to our own mind activity, reacting to our own thoughts.
“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”
– Eckhart Tolle
It is so easy to fall into cycles of judgement towards our own mind activity, especially when thoughts arise that don’t align with our highest desires or expectations, and once we are stuck in these cycles it is often difficult to see any way out through the shrouds of illusion. But, it is important to highlight the key word here, illusion.
(Although this is in regards to our internal, this goes for external circumstances as well.)
If we attempt to fight or judge an illusion, the illusion will only grow, for we are then feeding it our energy and attention, we are then reacting to it. We are the masters of our own minds, not the other way around. The only power our minds have over us is the power that we give it.
No matter what though, love and compassion never cease to overcome all forms of negativity. It may sound cliché, but it is true nonetheless.Often the simplest of truths are the ones that are closest to it. My advice, from my own personal experiences is: Always choose love, and there will be no regret.
“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.”
– Nancy Willard
I’m sure that many of you have heard the saying, “sometimes the questions are more important than the answers,” as have I; Before I realized the extent to how true and impactful this message actually was.
For example: Whenever I feel feelings such as fear or anxiety arising within me, I simply ask myself the question, “What am I so afraid of?“Whenever I ask myself this question, all feelings of fear and anxiety dissipate within me.
Another example is when I catch myself having a difficult time being genuine or authentic with my words, or simply not sure which direction I want to go in. Whenever I feel this way, I pose to myself the question, “What are my true intentions?” Whenever I ask myself this question, a sense of clarity comes over me, and I am able to honestly work towards and communicate my goals and expectations.
These are just a couple of examples that I use often within my own life, but the power of questions don’t just apply when asking questions to myself, but sending a question out to the universe as well. I have found to be true that whenever I send a question out into the universe, even if the answer may not be direct, I always receive an answer in some form. Although from my own experience, I would say that the simplest and most effective way to use the power of questions to benefit one’s life is by posing them to themselves.
One does not have to verbalize the question that they are posing to themselves out loud in order for it to have a positive impact, asking the question in the form of internal thought is just as effective, if not more.
The possibilities for the questions that can be posed are endless, whether it be from something as vague as “What do I want?” to something as specific as “What am I feeling?“. At the end of the day, pose whatever question calls to you! We are all on our own individual journeys and thus are looking for our own individual answers that relate to our own individual experiences, so we will all have very different questions to ask, and that is the beauty of it.
The truth about self-discipline is that one simply has to do it. There is no thinking when it comes to making decisions that honors oneself, they either make it or they don’t.
There are many spiritual and metaphysical practices as well that require self-discipline like: yoga, meditation, journaling, educating oneself, and so much more. (although self-discipline can be practiced throughout anyone’s everyday life)
The more one practices making decisions that are aligned with their highest intentions, the easier it will then become to make these decisions. When one remains consistent with their word, then these decisions are no longer a struggle to make; they then become automatic, ingrained as a pattern within our subconscious.
For me in the beginning, I can admit that I had to force myself to become accustomed to such practices of self-discipline. Although looking back now, I am grateful for the ways in which I pushed myself to reach my highest potential.
Below, I list some of the healthy ways in which I was able to establish self-discipline in order to better myself.I hope it helps.
Getting to Know My Patterns
We all have patterns that run through our minds on a daily basis. These are the same patterns that influence our behavior, as well as the decisions we make throughout each day.
These patterns can be something from eating a sugary snack with a cup of coffee every morning, to smoking a cigarette whenever stress hits, to procrastinating every time one has to do work that disinterests them.
Yes, eventually the intention may be to reprogram these patterns to something that serves us, but nonetheless, the first step is simply becoming aware that these patterns even exist. Once we are aware, we can then take the steps to stopping these patterns through self-discipline.
Stop Playing the Victim Card
One of the most difficult shifts to make, yet also one of the most impactful, was realizing that it was time for me to stop playing the role of the victim and to take accountability for my actions.
As I became more and more aware of how much I unconsciously played the victim card, I also realized how much power I gave away in the process of doing this. I wanted to rise up to my true power, yet I was simultaneously contradicting myself by claiming to be a victim.
To make this shift, I first had to realize that I could not pick and choose when I created and when I did not. I had to make the connection that I was in control of the experiences that I brought into my life. If I wanted to accept the good, then I also had to take accountability for my mistakes.
This aspect of adding self-discipline to one’s life is so important, for it involves honoring one’s own words and intentions. To be consistent with your word is to keep the promises that you make to yourself.
It is so easy (and also very common, it happens to the best of us!) to begin a practice or to set an intention for ourselves in order to establish a set routine, just to have it discontinue as time goes on.
Of course it is never intentional to discontinue said routines, but we often tend to forget soon after, or sometimes manage to find an excuse in order to make ourselves feel better about discontinuing.
The truth of the matter is that being consistent simply requires dedication, determination, and yes, self-discipline. But the good news is that one does not have to rely on anything external in order to implement whatever routine it is they would like to establish, because no one has the power to push and motivate you more than yourself.
The initiative I took that helped me the most when it came to being consistent, in addition to simply taking action in the present moment and doing what it was that I wanted to achieve, was dropping all excuses.
I then made the connection that if I was going to maintain self-discipline, it would be for me and my own good; To love and honor myself through genuine and consistent actions (and although I am speaking from my own personal experiences, this can go for anyone).
Making the Right Decisions
Lastly, it cannot be broken down into a simpler form: Make the right decisions.
As I stated above, I realized that making excuses for myself was simply a waste of time. If I wanted to make the right decisions, I came to the conclusion that all I had to do was make them.
This may sound simple, but that is only because it is. I would spend so much time thinking about whether I wanted to make a decision or not, that I would end up making no decision at all; Or I would simply allow my impulsivity to take control and make the decision that I was used to (which was often not the one that served me).
I then reached a point where I was tired of my own excuses, and was hungry for change.
No matter what though, through it all, one must not forget to love themselves unconditionally through the process, and to remain patient and forgiving with oneself as they continue to practice and learn.
So I encourage you all to be the best yous that you can be, because we all deserve to be our best authentic selves. All my love, I hope this helps. Namaste.
“Just listen,” is not as easy of a task as most make it out to be. Listening is an art, a skill that can be mastered.
How does one listen? I have always found it interesting that from a very young age, we have constantly been told to “listen” and to “pay attention” without ever being taught how to. Even as adults, we so often neglect the importance of what it truly means to listen.
Listening is an art, and trust me, it takes a lot of practice. There are a lot of aspects that come into play when listening to another speak.
Investing All of One’s Attention Into Listening
I would consider this to be the aspect of most importance when it comes to listening to another. Directing one’s attention towards one thing at a time requires intense focus, practice, and self-discipline (especially within the fast-paced society we’ve constructed for ourselves).
When listening to another, it is of utmost importance to give them all of your attention within that moment. If one is simultaneously attempting to complete a separate task, or if their mind is wandering the entire time, then their attention is not being fully invested in what the other has to say, and they are therefore not listening.
Being present goes hand in hand with investing one’s attention into what the other has to say. If one is not fully present for the other, whether it be focusing on what is to come, or focusing on what has already passed, then they will not be able to comprehend the message that the other is trying to convey within that moment.
To be present with someone is to be grounded within the moment, to connect on a deeper level; A level deeper than the identities and mental-constructs of what we expect others to be. It is important to do this so one can accurately become conscious of what the other is actually trying to communicate, instead of formulating one’s own misinterpretation of what the other was originally intending to express.
Maintaining an Open Mindset
If we hold onto the assumption that we already know what the other has to say, then we are also implying that whatever the other has to say is not important, or does not matter.
I always remind myself that regardless of what the other is trying to communicate, their feelings are valid, and they deserve to be heard. This does not mean that I have to agree with or believe everything that they have to say, but by no means does it suggest that I have to disregard their thoughts and feelings.
One cannot truly listen to what another is trying to communicate if they have already established a presumption in their mind of what they are going to say. If one listens with an open mind, letting go of all preconceived notions and expectations, then they will be able to effectively hear the message that the other is attempting to convey to them.
Acknowledging the Beingness in Another
Lastly, acknowledgement is so powerful. It is important to acknowledge the beingness and conscious aspect of the other as you are listening and present for them. The other is not simply an object existing only to serve, the other is a living, breathing, human being with thoughts, feelings, and perception just like you and me.
Once one practices becoming aware of the fact that how we treat others is equally as important to the way in which we treat ourselves, and that what others choose to express to us is equally as important to what we have to say, we then are able to communicate from a place of compassion and higher awareness rather than placing the importance only on the points that matter to us and our own objectives.
With enough proper maintenance and basic knowledge on the subject, composting is indeed a very simple and low cost D.I.Y. project that anyone can do.
As I began to spend more time weeding and clearing out my yard in order to start up a garden, I contemplated ways in which I could enrich the soil so that it would benefit anything I decided to grow there (and so I could simply nurture the soil in general).
One of the simplest and most efficient (as well as cost efficient) ways in which I found to do this was by composting.
What is composting?
Composting is the process of recycling organic matter/material in order for it to decompose and produce a nutrient rich fertilizer to add to soil.
What I have come to learn is that there are a variety of techniques when it comes to starting a compost. Although there are many different machines available to support this process, such as tumblers, tray units, and compost kits, I can say that from my own experience and research thus far, none of these products are even necessary to start your own compost project.
How to start a compost?
The two simplest ways that I have found to start a compost are:
Creating a designated pile in your yard
Using a plastic storage bin to store the material
I will add details below on how to regulate the process, but these are the basic methods.
Creating a Pile in Your Yard
This is a very simple method.
All you have to do is designate a spot in your yard that is easily accessible, yet still out of the way since these piles do tend to smell after a while.
Once you have chosen a designated area to start it, lay some twigs or grass clippings down on the earth and simply begin by adding material. You will want to occasionally turn and mix the pile as it starts to accumulate material, you can do this with tools such as a pitchfork, rake, or shovel.
If you want to keep the pile a little more tidy, you can expand the project even further by constructing an encasement around the pile itself out of wood, specifically hard wood pallets (side note: wood pallets are also very good for making pallet gardens). To add your own touch to it, you can also get creative and paint the pallets before you construct the encasement.
Using a Plastic Storage Bin (This is the method I am currently using.)
This method is also very simple to start, and it avoids a lot of mess and is good to keep in easily accessible spaces.
For this, all you need is:
A Plastic Storage Container (preferably with a lid)
A Drill (or anything that can poke holes through the lid of the container)
To get this project going, all you need to do is find an easily accessible place to store the container, drill/create holes in the lid at least 1-2 inches apart for air circulation, and simply add material to start the compost.
How to regulate/maintain your compost?
Although composting is a simple process, maintenance is still required.
To maintain a compost, all you have to do is:
Once material starts to accumulate, remember to turn the pile occasionally (I do this once a day).
For the storage container: You can do this with a small shovel, or simply by picking up the tub and shaking it till it is thoroughly mixed.
For the pile: As I wrote above, you can mix the pile with a tool such as a shovel, rake, or pitchfork.
Make sure there is an even balance between moist and dry materials.
This is important, you don’t want your compost to be too wet or too dry. Make sure to keep an eye on this and to add more moist or dry materials accordingly.
The compost should be ready to use when all the contents have fully (or at least mostly) decomposed. It should have a dark and rich appearance, giving off an earthy scent. Once it has reached this state, it will then be ready to incorporate into your soil.
To live in a constant state of gratitude is to be content with all-that-is.
Only when we make peace with all-that-is are we able to rise above, or overcome all that we consider to be negative in our lives. The situations within our own personal lives that we consider to be negative are only negative because we choose to perceive our circumstances through that lens. When we create a shift and recognize the reasons to be grateful for all that we have, we then begin to realize that where we are is actually pretty good!
Give to receive. That is law.
Whatever we give is what we shall receive. Whether it be love, judgement, fear, or gratitude; Whatever goes around comes around.
The power of living in a state of gratitude typically tends to be pretty underestimated. I’ve found this aspect of my life to be so important now that the last thing I say before I go to sleep and the first thing I say as soon as I wake up in the morning is “Thank you.”
When we teach ourselves how to be thankful for all that we have, we also open ourselves up to allowing and receiving that same type of positive energy. If we only focus on the things that are “wrong” in our lives, then that focus will allow those types of experiences to continue.
I know how easy it is to slip into the ego’s tendencies of complaining about all the things we claim to dislike in our lives. I know how easy it is to slip into thinking about how good our lives would be “If we just had…“, and I know how easy it is to slip into negative ways of thinking when things don’t go our way; But it is still our choice whether we want to focus on the positive or the negative.
It is, and always is, that simple of a decision.
Some ways that one can practice living in a constant state of gratitude are:
Starting a Gratitude Journal
This can vary from writing a list of at least 5 things you are grateful for every day, to keeping a journal dedicated to gratitude.
Saying “Thank You“
This can be saying “Thank you,” right before you go to sleep and as soon as you wake up in the morning, to simply becoming aware of saying “Thank you,” to people in general.
For Every Complaint, Find Gratitude
Every time you catch yourself focusing on complaints, become aware of at least one thing that you are thankful for. Make the shift.
These are just a few examples that work for me, but like always, the list can go on forever and it is important to follow whatever path works for you personally. All my love and best wishes, thank you.
The moment one “tries” to be a certain way is the moment they get lost in the process.
The beauty of simply being is that one doesn’t have to try or do anything. This is what some would call, “going with the flow”. It is the art of intentionally transitioning into a state of allowing and acceptance.
When we try to act, or even think a certain way, we are also unconsciously establishing the implication that we have to do in order to be.But we are already complete as we are.
Although it is important to recognize that through this natural process, awareness is powerful.Being is not simply giving up and falling into a state of unconsciousness, in fact, when we are in a state of being we are becoming more aligned with our higherconsciousness. When we allow things to flow naturally, it is important to do so with the presence of awareness so we also become conscious of the things that were once running behind the scenes as unconscious patterns.
So being is not simply a doing in order to gain a temporary sense of relief from our lives, it is a way of living. Once we begin to live life in this constant state of flow, it creates the shift into becoming our natural state. There is no more trying, there is no more “If I could just achieve this, I will finally be complete,” there just is, and that is a beautiful thing.
Our egos love to convince ourselves that it is easier to remain stagnant than to initiate growth and rise above limitations; But staying stagnant is suffering, and the limitations do not exist.
If one feels as though they are lost and don’t know where to go next, the best thing to do is something.
Whenever I felt as if I was stuck in one place, not knowing which direction to go in next, I would realize that it was time for something to change.
Instead of waiting for some magical solution to come into my life, I always found it easier to take control and make something happen.
Some of the things that helped me to take action within my own life, that are easy for anyone to take control and do if they are feeling stuck, are:
Clean and Reorganize Your Bedroom
This is a great way to initiate a shift within one’s life. One can get rid of things that no longer grow them, serve them, or make them happy within their own personal space.
It feels good to let go of things that you feel as if you’ve grown out of, as well as getting rid of things that may carry an energy that holds you back mentally. Although more than anything, it feels good to create a space where you feel at peace.
Start a Garden
This doesn’t have to be an all or nothing project. One can take the initiative from going out and weeding, to starting a compost bin, to potting a flower and nurturing it every day. Don’t be afraid to get creative and involved with it, do whatever calls to you personally. Enjoy and be present during the process, as this is also a way to connect with nature.
Start a New Diet/Detox
It helps to start out small, like eliminating certain things from one’s diet (which is what I did in order to nurture my body). Some of the things I took the initiative of eliminating from my diet were:
It is important to do whatever works for you personally, and not to forget to love yourself through the process!
Create a Daily Exercise/Yoga Routine
This can be finding an exercise or yoga video that you like and practicing it every night before you go to sleep, or even something as simple as taking a walk once a day. As I wrote above, anything is better than nothing, as long as one is taking the initiative with the intention of doing things differently.
Read a Book or Learn Something New
One doesn’t have to pay for a class or wait for knowledge to come to them in order to learn something new, there are many resources and ways to educate ourselves right here within our own homes. It is up to us though to initiate this process and become open to learning new things.
The list can go on forever… But at the end of the day, initiating some kind of change feels much better than staying stuck.