I am 1,000 % absofuckinglutely certain that I should be recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the biggest idiot on the planet for repeating the same damn mistakes over and over again for most of my adult life. Life on repeat can be brutal.
Why am I so susceptible to making the same mistakes over and over again? Whether it’s ruining a diet with three glasses of wine, running credit card debt on a bunch of useless stuff I never needed in the first place, trusting a friend who was way less than honest or sacking up with an ex. What possesses me/us to continue to do things that get in the way of what we truly want? Is it fear of the unknown? Fear of what life would be if we didn’t do the things we did on repeat? Maybe. Perhaps it’s a matter of finding the holes. The holes we keep falling into. The mind-numbing, soothing and relaxing way our brain feels after a glass or two or three of wine. Or the familiar, comfortable and easy way it feels to slip right back into the arms of the one you once loved. I need to look at the benefits of my biggest mistakes.
Read: How to be honest with yourself and get more done, for some decent advice on how to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Harmful Habits & Slipping into Default Mode
When we do something right, a pathway is created in our brain. Unfortunately, a pathway is also created when we something wrong. We basically build habits this way, both good and bad. So the reason we keep making the same mistakes is that we slip by default back into existing neural pathways.
Achieving Ego Free States
Sometimes I feel like I need a complete rewiring of the brain.
Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.
It seems that individuals under “treatment” transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states . . . and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance. Read more in The New Yorker: The Trip Treatment
If you have ever been accused of “overreacting” and you think something is wrong with you because someone told you so, then this 10-minute watch is critical for your growth. Bottom line: Reactions are NATURAL. Overreacting is a warning sign that you have been hurt badly. You have to HEAL that, not shame it away.
When Our Minds Run in Circles
Reading, learning and practicing how to meditate to calm my mind, I am focusing on what Buddhists call “maitri”
Maitri – practicing loving kindness and awareness to all your thoughts. Read: When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. The purpose of meditation is not to find your bliss, but to befriend and let go of all thoughts – the good, the bad and the ugly. To accept them all with loving-kindness, with maitri.
The Benefits of Being Socially Selective
I just don’t have the bandwidth, headspace or patience for anyone right now. That is quite alright in my book. Sometimes we need a little solitude to sort things out. I just wish more people were fluid in silence.
Comment below if you agree and have a great Monday.
Distraction is the main problem for us all – what the Buddha called the monkey mind. We need to tame this little monkey mind. Tenzin Palmo
As entertaining as it can be, please don’t feed the monkey mind.
I strongly believe it is everyone’s responsibility to create a firm daily devotion to committing oneself to life long learning and the continual development of waking up with honest self-awareness.
“Our emotional selves are children. And they never grow up. We just learn how to parent our emotional selves better.”
Yes my parents gave me good guidance, but they couldn’t possibly have told me everything. Here are a few lessons I am learning along the way . . .
- This moment, right here, right now is the only one you have. Feel it, see it, taste it, hear it and take it all in. Be here now. The book by Ram Dass
- Hold sacred an unconditional, nonjudgmental relationship with reality as it is right now.
- omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis All things change, and we change with them. Adapt every day.
- Trust your basic wisdom.
- Everything takes time. It’s okay to live life on your time. You don’t have to run with the herd.
- Watch how you talk to yourself. Realize when you are too self-critical. Stop the pattern. Break the loop.
- Do not worry about how others look at you, what they are thinking or whether you fit in. Being “normal” will get you nowhere.
- When all else fails, be kind.
- Again, try to be gentle and soft with yourself and with others.
- Stop pressuring yourself. Rushing anything simply ruins it. Slooooooowwwww down.
- There is rarely ever anything to be nervous about. Face what you think makes you weary. Get curious about that.
- Remember you are a miracle. Nothing short of a miracle.
- Time is precious. There is none to waste.
- You have what it takes to try anything you want. There are many options, choices and directions you can go. Experiment with your life.
- You are dying with every single breath. Appreciate every single moment. Even the most annoying ones.
- At any given moment, everything is always as it should be. Acceptance brings serenity.
- You can not control everything.
- You must control the way you respond to others.
- Get to know what triggers your strongest emotions. There’s the work that needs to be done.
- At any given moment, you will know the right thing to do.
- Be thoughtful about everything, even if others are not.
- You don’t have to be larger than life, famous or popular. You simply have to play your part in this wonderful life to the best of your ability, every day.
- Do something ridiculously fun every single day.
- Whatever action you take, whatever word you say, make sure it decreases pain in the world.
- People may disappoint you if they aren’t working on themselves. Forgive yourself for being impatient with them. For they no not what they do.
- Anger and resentment are poison and will manifest into physical ailments. Let go everyday. If you feel yourself getting overly heated and enraged, step away for awhile. Retreat, think, respond.
- Your emotions are important for they tell you what to do. Yes, some of them are signals, but they are here to guide you, not take over your day and life.
- Some emotions are false, yes they are you, trying to protect you, but don’t fall prey to every single one, over reacting to situations is usually related to an over sensitivity to past trauma. The problem arises when you start to react in a bigger way than justified. Read: How to Stop Overreacting.
- Stop making up doom and gloom stories about what might happen in the future. Not everything is going to be a disaster.
- When in doubt about what to do, do something good. Good for you, good for others.
- Open up your heart, be real, be vulnerable. Life is not meant to be lived in the safe zone.
- The painful moments are the lessons. Move through your problems by facing them for they will tell you a lot about yourself. What haunts you must be addressed. Release your tendency to run away, to seek pleasure before pain.
- Have an unconditional, loving relationship with the world. There is no escape, no exit. There are lessons to be learned every day. Everyone you encounter is your teacher. Pay attention. Pema Chodron.
I would love to know what lessons you learned on your own. Share below in the comments.
Shedding Some Light on Just How Damn Annoying Life Can Be
Working with The Monsters in Our Mind & NOT Becoming a Fugitive To Our Fears
On a more pleasant note. . .
When we Don’t Grow Emotionally
For Example . . .
Leaping Before You Look
Becoming More Discerning
What’s this About The Importance of Self-Value?
And More about Self-Love
Decreasing the Pain in the World
And in the word’s of William Shakespeare. . .
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
Your fate is in your beliefs and behavior, and how you respond to life events.
Those who have been reading know that I am working on improving my behavior. Here I share a few things that have changed. These are new perspectives that have helped me grow.
1. I have let go of trying to change or control others. You just can’t. Change yourself instead. Besides, it’s more interesting and rewarding. Life changes, when you transform. You heal, life heals. It is that simple.
2. Realize that feelings should be processed not suppressed.
3. Give up suffering needlessly, no longer worrying about worst case outcomes. The truth is, life is full of surprises. You must be wise enough to know that life doesn’t always produce what you wish would happen. It’s typically creates what is most likely to happen. Prepare for that.
4. Learn to listen and observe more, to understand what is really happening around you.
5. Take stock of this moment while mindfully paying attention to the here and now.
6. Choose to be more responsible of all that is happening in your life. I am beginning to own mine. It makes me feel stronger. More accountable. Even a little more in control.
7. Understanding that you should embrace your eccentricity. It’s what makes you, you. Don’t be worried about being different. Appearing normal will get you no where. Stop behaving as if you are seeking the approval of others. Seek approval from yourself.
8. Please continue to release all that no longer serves you. Let the useless go. People, places, things.
9. No more delusional thinking. Experience reality for what it is, not what you wish it was. That is kind of like #3.
10. Seek clearly without judging. Then you will see it most realistically. Reality is your friend.
11. Honor yourself and your desires.
12. It’s not necessary to share every little emotion, thought or feeling with anyone who will listen.
13. Forgiving and letting go. Put that on repeat. It is so freeing.
14. Cease to react to every little thing that happens.
Have you ever thought back on some of the most important decisions you’ve made in your life and wondered “What was I thinking?” I certainly have. When we are reflecting on how we got here, perhaps we should be asking “What was I feeling?” What state-of-mind were we in, that led to the some of the poor decisions made?
You see, when we make decisions based on emotions from fear and anxiety, we create a recipe for disaster. Deciding to do something because you are afraid of doing something else or fear you will have no other choices or options at all, will get you absolutely nowhere.
Better decisions are made when you arrive at conclusions with a sense of strength and courage. The outcomes of those decisions will help you grow and evolve with increased clarity and self-improvement. The more thoughtful your decisions, the more quality you will have in your life. I promise.
You begin by becoming more emotionally intelligent – while understanding the role that your emotions play in everything you decide to do. Allowing any and all of your emotions to channel the way you move forward is not the best course of action. You don’t just listen to your gut. That is not enough. You must first think, feel, consider all options and then make a plan. A plan to deliberately move in the right direction.
When we make decisions, like where to work, who to marry, who to befriend based on deep-seated emotions of fear, insecurity, and anxiety, we never make the best choices.
And please don’t doubt this one bit. The more well-thought out decisions you make today WILL lead to an improved life tomorrow.
Bike riding around Greenpoint, Brooklyn yesterday, this quote, in the window of Word, the bookstore, really resonated with me.
Oh and these emotions and feelings we speak of, they are so complicated, aren’t they?
So how do we begin to understand our emotional triggers, the things that we feel that scare us, make us feel useless or violated, maybe even shameful and guilty?
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in an effective and positive way. A high EQ helps individuals to communicate better, reduce their anxiety and stress, defuse conflicts, improve relationships, empathize with others, and effectively overcome life’s challenges.
Our emotional intelligence affects the quality of our lives because it influences our behavior and relationships. EQ is synonymous with self-awareness because it enables us to live our lives with intention, purpose, and autonomy.
Why Running Away From Your Feelings Will Keep You Stuck in the Same Place
Running away from intense emotions of pain, anger, and resentment is what we do sometimes. We numb these feelings with a smoke of this and a sip of that. It’s such an easy way out, but only temporarily. Why do we stuff our sorrow and run from our feelings? I truly believe not many of us want to feel our suffering, but suffer on we must.
If we would just consider that inside each moment of suffering is a superb amount of life teaching. A whole world of emotional education to help us grow. It begins with learning the process and ability to express, dismantle and adjust as you strengthen your locus of control.
What you need to do is understand that what is actually happening is your world right now and how you feel about it are two DIFFERENT THINGS COMPLETELY.
You must urge yourself to develop the ability to differentiate your feelings from what is actually happening in any given situation.
Life is what it is, not what you think, feel or believe it is. That is just you painting the dark cloud of your emotions on top of the situation and changing it into your story. Your emotions are just a response to what is happening at any given moment, they are not what is actually happening. Whatever you are feeling about anything, whether it be good, bad, sad or pleased has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on at that moment or what the outcome will be.
It is up to you to understand what issues you have inside that are trigging your troubled (or pleasant) emotions.
This applies to everything. For example, your spouse may be drinking too much, getting sloppy and lashing out at you. That is what is happening. How you feel about this situation may be sad, angry, frustrated and deeply concerned, which in turn will have you creating a story in your mind. A story of victimization and loss. Those feelings may or may not drive you to do something, but they are not healthy for you. When you remove your emotional responses, you will realize you have options. You have an option to remove yourself from the pain your spouse is causing you.
A Better Way to Navigate Your Emotions
Sometimes it is a good idea to overcome your frightened emotions by meeting them head on in order to improve. This would include things like forcing yourself to speak in front of a group in order to get over the fear of public speaking. Yes, the obstacle can become the opportunity, but on a day-to-day basis, it is wise to do the following as you learn more about how you can manage your emotions.
Know What Triggers Your Emotions
Place yourself in favorable situations and avoid those that trigger heightened responses.
In other words, stay away from people that get your angry, places that make you feel uncomfortable and situations that somehow have the power to upset you. Become more aware of what makes you “fly off the handle”.
Make Things Easier for Yourself
Especially when you are learning something new in the beginning. For instance, if you are trying to learn how to draw, sing, act or run your own business. Look for ways to simplify the process. Make it easy to start.
Implement with Strong Intention & Attention
The key to any transformation (read: change) in your life, is to focus on your intention and attention on what you are trying to achieve. Keep your eye on the goal and don’t let your competitive nature get in the way. This will help manage things like jealousy and resentment as well as perceived obstacles in your way.
Inspired by 10 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by @BriannaWiest
So why did I start this blog in the first place? I started because I knew I had to grow. I knew I had to grow emotionally, spiritually, professionally and physically. I knew that if I didn’t grow and change and adapt, I would be stuck.
I don’t want to be stuck and I don’t want to stay the same. It’s not serving me well.
At each level of your life, the world demands a different you. A better you. The more (healthy) risks you take in life, the more life asks of you. Life asks for an improved version of you. What does that look like? It looks like YOU with more skills, more love, more patience and more self-awareness. Not just a new wardrobe.
Growing and moving in this positive direction requires that you adopt a proactive mindset. Stephen Covey’s Proactive vs. Reactive language choices. From “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“.
There is something remarkable about growing better each day and discovering parts of yourself you never knew existed. This won’t happen if you aren’t willing to try new things, meet new people and put yourself out there.
Learn and read and watch inspiring people. Visit inspiring places. This starts with a wish list. I urge you to write down ten things you wish you were doing right now. Trips you wanted to take, classes you wanted to attend, movies you wanted to see, books, etc. It all starts with a desire.
Learn and read and watch inspiring people. Trust me, if you listen attentively enough, everyone is inspiring in some way, shape or form. Some may inspire you to change your attitude because you don’t like the way they behave. Yup. Even some of the most negative people in your life are teaching you something.
Turning Things Inside Out
Sometimes it is a good idea to take a look at your negative emotions and try to turn them inside out. Ask yourself what’s good about constantly being worried and afraid? Maybe it’s saving you from taking too big of a risk, like living beyond your means right now? The fear is real. Don’t negate that. But remember to find out why.
Ask yourself what’s good about feeling like you may become irrelevant? Maybe that’s you telling you to start learning new skills.
Ask yourself why you are so mad and frustrated that you still haven’t lost those sticky, pudgy 15 pounds? Maybe that’s you really telling you to become more disciplined with your life. To be more proactive rather than reactive about your life.
Growing With Your Pain
I am learning so much from Pema Chodron (she is a very wise Buddhist nun). I carry this little book with me wherever I go. It fits in my purse and I read her wise advice throughout the day.
A Fugitive From My Feelings
Oh this whole emotional growth, this is a big one. A difficult, frustrating and challenging part of my growth. Something that gives me the feeling that I might just start having those frightening panic attacks again. Nooooooooooooo!!!!
Instinctively I KNOW that the doors to my life are going to bust wide open when I begin to start facing my feelings. I mean actually feeling them for the first time. You see, for most of my life, I was a fugitive from my feelings.
For those of you who are looking for alternative ways to feel fully alive and present in your life, yes 100% radically accepting life as it comes while putting your best vibes forward, I strongly, highly . . . no I URGE you to listen to Tara Brach’s podcast. Listen to any of them, but one of my recent favorites “Sure Heart’s Release”
I would love to know “What Are You Unwilling to Feel?” – comment below.
Until tomorrow . . . .
This morning I imagined what the 80 year old version of myself would tell me, if I asked her, “What do I do now?” “What should I focus on?”
What wisdom would she have, nearing the end of her life? What would she have focused on today?
She’d tell me to bike more, write more, film everything. Tell everyone I love how much I love them. Hug more, kiss more. Squeeze them tight. Use my creativity to connect with those I love and those I will love in the future. Arms and heart wide open, she would tell me to vulnerably step into the world and be me.
She’d tell me to fuck fear. Let go of the negative thoughts. Skin the skeptic. Look for the beauty in all. There are so many good people to love, sweet creatures to care for and wonderous places to inspire. Find them. Get out today and connect on purpose. Smile, it’s a great heart opener. It’s your super power. Laugh. Enjoy life to the fullest each moment. Find your tribe. Seek out those who inspire you and meet them with open arms. Exercise. Move your body. Play outdoors.
Seek what you want to find. Chase what makes your heart beat. What makes your heart pound out loud. Friends, food, books, music, work. Go out there and get it all.
Be thoughtful and intentional about everything you do. Your writing, your film, your drawing. Do it on purpose and with a purpose.
Think first, but don’t regret anything. Try not to hurt anyone, including yourself. No time for that. Problems will come and go. It always works out in the end. Stop getting so angry and frustrated. Sail through the storms. There is no time to waste.
Life is a banquet. There is so much to choose from. Taste it all.
Visit friends, follow the inspiring, touch and taste everything that draws you in – that pulls you closer. Feed your curiosity.
Let go of control. Just love.
A few months ago I began stripping away all that no longer serves me in my life. What is that suppose to mean? Without boundaries, I let way too much in and life got way too crazy. I was tired, pulled in a million directions and honestly, I allowed it. Frankly, I didn’t know how to say no.
I said yes to everything and everyone. It’s not a good idea. Well sometimes, in the beginning saying yes is good, like when you are building a career, but too much yessing can lead to real chaos and letting people down, including yourself.
I am moving towards a minimalist lifestyle that will give me the freedom to go and do what I want without the burden of having so much to take care of, including a house too big, a life too wide open and the collection of twenty years of unnecessary, unwanted “things”. Things I don’t use, wear or want any longer.
I started by cleaning out twenty years of clutter in the attic. It was exhausting and energizing at the same time. While I am not one to hold on to things, like memorabilia, my daughters had piles and piles of grammar and high school “stuff” they had collected throughout the years up there. I even made it a moment. I asked them all to come over for a memory lane party. They laughed at old love letters, praised their early art work and cringed at their eighth grade diaries. They didn’t want the stuff either. The memories they decided to keep are tucked away in the corners of their mind or on Instagram. The rest they let go of along time ago.
Clearing away the clutter for me also involves displacing anything and anyone (eew, that sounds harsh) that is no longer useful, helpful, valuable or lovable in my life. You see, I began to feel like others were pushing and pulling me in too many different directions, while my priorities were left on the back burner. I am now older and wiser and know that whatever time I have left on this planet, I would like to deliberately create some moments of creativity and adventure before it’s too late.
So what am I going to trim down, clean up, give away and simply remove from my life?
Frumpy Frocks & Spontaneous Purchases. Starting with my closet, shoes, sweaters, shirts, bags, dresses and worn out jeans that I have not even touched in six months or more. Good will and good riddance. I want to create a really fun “uniform” to wear. Something I don’t have to think about. That’s one less decision in the day.
Space Fillers & Dust Collectors. Souvenirs, books, artwork and other knick knacks that are no longer aesthetically pleasing to me. If it does not spark joy, I just don’t want it. I haven’t read Marie’s book and I won’t. The sparking joy was my review take away. It makes sense.
Crazy Makers. People that require special handling, those that need kid gloves and jokers that confuse me. Anyone that I find annoying or that appears to be even relatively unstable. You know, I have been a magnet for the crazy makers for many years. This also includes anyone who bores me, those that aren’t original, open-minded or interesting or genuinely fun to be around. The self-absorbed, stuck or painfully sad. Anyone I don’t have a true kindred enthusiasm for or feel I can growth with as I adventure on. Yeah, they’re gone.
Obsessive Worrying & Ruminating Thoughts. Negative thoughts that clutter my mind, that make me feel less than I really am. Small thoughts. Sad thoughts. Critical, mean self-talk. No more worrying, because, “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.” Read on: 12 Toxic Thoughts You Need to Drop for a Better Life
Shitty Projects & Confused Corporates. Work that feels stupid, repetitive and ridiculous. People that go round and round because they don’t have a blueprint. Working with incompetent people. Things I just don’t want to do that I don’t have to do.
Excess – too many of any one thing. Rooms in my house, blankets on my bed, uncomfortable chairs, hard pillows, greased-bottom pots, scratched pans, broken cups and any sticky old debt on the credit cards. Oh to simplify and simply live with just what I need.
Random Files & Duplicate Photos. Files on my computer, my “filled-to-the-brim” email inboxes, old notes, usb drives with old brochures and dead campaigns, duplicate photos, and old contacts in my phone. People that I no longer talk to.
Crackers, Chips & Junky Food. Food and drink that makes me feel sluggish, fat and tired. Nah. Doesn’t serve me well at all. I never understood why they called it comfort food, expect for warm dishes of mac and cheese or mashed potatoes.
Time & Energy Wasters along with Old Fears & Everyday Frustrations. Good bye time, energy and money wasting activities. Waiting on lines, calling customer service, meetings in person that could have been Skype-d. Drives to stores when Amazon delivers. Anything that makes me feel like I need to be doing something else while I am doing that. Like commuting.
Mediocre Netflix Series & Silly Youtubers No, I just can’t. This is no way to fall asleep at night. I no longer enjoy watching crappy HBO shows just because everyone else is binging on them.
Bad habits. Yeah, like relaxing with two glasses of wine before I go to sleep. Fading into Facebook as my head hits the pillow. Any excuse not to work out. Answering the phone most of the time. Being too nice and polite to time suckers. Being neurotic while calling, emailing and texting the same message to one person.
Packing My Schedule. Yes, I am clearing out the calendar and filling it up with dates I save in the future for things I want to do. Wrapping up old projects and getting rid of the guilt. End commitments with a clear conscience.
One of the most difficult clutter to clear is that which we think we are suppose to keep. The inherited heirlooms, the mementos, the sentimental shit. I don’t make photo prints of photos any more, so shouldn’t I just digitize the old ones?
My new mantra everything should have value. When we begin to desire to clear out the old and useless, we are getting ready to heal, grow and begin a new. Getting clear about what you do want is a process of trial and error.
When you’re stuck in a state of ambivalence, you must do whatever it takes to break the impasse.
I am concerned about filling it all up again. I am a big believer that new habits must replace old ones in order to grow.
I will watch the slow the accumulation of possessions, for to live is to create and consume. It cannot be avoided – especially in our society and culture. But if the influx of possessions into our homes can be slowed, clutter can be managed efficiently.
To slow the accumulation of things in our homes, we need to change our mindset and begin evaluating our purchases differently. Realize that your purchases cost far more than the price on the sticker. Each one will also require time, energy, and effort once they enter your home. Before making a purchase, begin asking yourself these questions:
- Is this item really needed?
- Do I have a place to store this when I get it home? Do I want to lug it around with me?
- How much extra work will this possession add to my life?
- Am I buying it for the right reasons?