Wednesday, June 25, 2014

100 days of Miracles: Mindfulness



Today I had the pleasure of reading a wonderful perspective piece on the 9-5 (actually often times more like 8:30-6)  lifestyle and the ways we consume because of it. Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed For You . This article I think pinpoints a huge issue for me on the fear of wasting my life being a cog in a machine and not completing the work my soul truly desires. Recognizing this fear in such clear terms is the key to my freedom from it.  The article gives a perspective on a man who returned to his conventional engineering job after a year of traveling and living on his own terms.  Because he is mindful of his actions, because he has lived a different perspective, his experience is valid and can help us to see where we are being mindless in our lives and where we can work to improve our meaning and satisfaction.


Hero :Elle Woods
Having been ill for 8 years now, I've had plenty of opportunity to be forced out of a 9-5 work experience. And I have fought it most of the time. My whole life I dreamed of being a cosmopolitan girl, important, informed, receiving income, and making waves in the world. My mom and sister were fabulous role models for me of a woman in the working world. However, I also carried with me a massive anxiety that I could not find some kind of work that would make me feel meaningful in the cosmopolitan world. I'm an artist and philosopher and a dreamer... and cannot, as much as I have tried to force myself to, be a salesman or someone who just follows orders to meet efficient work standards.  I have a tendency to question and test authority (for me it looks like two people working on puzzles together, for the person in authority it looks like insolence and disrespect.) I've had a few jobs that have crushed my soul, and I've had some jobs that I really looked forward going to.
This is what my fear looks like....


 I have some friends who have the job I think would be the dream job who still look at their lives as though they are just stuck in the machine. There are those who work that same job and feel like they are living their purpose in full, meaningful, satisfying bliss.  It's not about the machine, it's about your perspective.

When someone says "It's all about your perspective" though, I don't want that to look like an invitation to hate on yourself, bully yourself, or force yourself to suck it all up and put a smile on your face. My optimism and desire for a positive perspective have literally made strangers so mad at me they yell in my face. And I actually get it now. A shift in perspective is a Miracle. A Miracle is a shift from fear to love. If someone, or you, is stuck in the grind feeling gloomy and uninspired, it doesn't help to just say "buck up, buddy".

A change in perspective requires a shift in the whole mind brain body connection, which is why it is usually really good to go and try something different to get a change in perspective. Mindfulness to seek your joy comes from your personal willingness to find something that feels better.  Sometimes it means leaving that job. Sometimes it means creating a new definition or role for yourself at work. Sometimes you literally can just have a shift in perspective and the same damn thing looks and feels completely different. Don't force yourself to like something you don't like just because you think that makes you a good trooper, your soul will find a way to make that very painful. That's optimism out of fear. What I'm talking about is optimism and a shift of perspective from love. A new perspective will inspire you. "To Inspire" means to breathe life into... to bring to life your own life. Transform from a work zombie to a living, creating, master of your destiny.
 Martha Beck Perspective
Click Here to read Martha Beck's method to finding your Super Power
This can be really frustrating when you are in the thick of it. There are so many times I have just sat there and internally screamed "TELL ME WHAT TO DO!"... some tips for changing your perspective:
-again.. take a nap. sometimes we're tired. getting back for a second into no thinking space will help get you out of your current state of mind. Meditation is more meaningful because it is conscious, mindful perspective shifting, but it is sometimes really hard to do especially when things are really bleak.

me trying to open the door to all the answers....
- go somewhere you've never been before. Take a different route on your way home. Sit in a part of your work place you haven't before. Explore all the streets around your house. You don't need a ticket to Bali to shift your perspective, just the open mindedness to find something new.
- reconnect with something that inspires you. That movie you always go to, that book that takes you away, that game you love to play, right now I'm lost in an art book for world of warcraft, and it's getting the wheels turning!
- exercise. this goes a long with going somewhere new. runners, cyclists, walkers, constantly get new perspectives. if you go to the gym try a new class or a new way of working out. plus the endorphins will make you happy :D  (I can't do a lot of exercise but I walk, even if just around the block, and do yoga stretches every day. )

- be artistic... for me this is hard because I have pressure on me when I draw (from myself) to make it good. So sitting down with crayons or something out of your comfort zone, even legos or lincoln logs or jenga blocks, just to create something new just for the heck of it, can shift your perspective. I can sometimes be in a funk all day and then I cook dinner and chopping the veggies and finding new ways to make my chicken tasty gets me out of the funk.
- do whatever it takes to get some laughter going. Matt and I have found some joy lately in watching Vine compilations, mostly of animals and babies doing funny things.

-do something nice for someone else. Sometimes when we feel needy what cures that right up is to actually give. A little dose of good samaritanism or friendly generosity (no keeping tabs allowed) is an instant way to feel more worthy and more able to inspire change.

I have prayed so many times to be healthy enough to rejoin the work force. I have resisted so many times because I'm afraid to join the workforce. I turned instead to ask to be useful. Every day I ask, how can I be of use today? How can my efforts make things a little better today?  More than just getting a  job, I wish to be useful. To make someone's life better.  That for me feels better than asking for a job to help me pay off my student loans.

I especially love when the author talks about his coffees. The daily latte has been a topic of endless cultural, economical, physiological and psychological study. I think that's because it's a tiny example that is easy to look at in the context of our big, important lives.  I have sometimes spent £4 on a latte just for the purpose of getting me through 15 minutes of an unbearable work environment.  Last night I had a 15p cup of tea while watching the football match and I felt like I was living heaven on earth. It isn't about the price, it is about the mindset, the perspective, the miracle, the perception, the experience. This is where the power comes in. Knowing this, gives you the power to be mindful of your experience. As soon as you are a conscious witness of  your experience, that is where you can begin to see the change. I bring this back to the idea that "no problem can be solved on the level on which it was created.".

It's time for a miracle. A shift in perspective. A perceptual change from fear to love. Through all of this you might decide that you actually do have exactly the job you want. Or you may want a change. Or you may just pick up a new hobby that changes everything, or you may decide to slug it out at work and save up your pennies so you too can live on your own time in Australia for a year. But YOU are in charge, you have the power to make that choice.

(PS all stress comes from being in a mindset not in the present moment: either worried about some imagined future or lamenting a past choice. coming back to the present moment empowers you and eliminates stress.)

I hope today you feel useful, even if for a minute. I hope today you feel alive, I hope for today you can stop in your brain, literally say "slow down", quiet everything, and feel where your meaning wants to take you.

Hakuna Matata.




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