Last week, we talked about winter being a natural time of reflection and introspection. I gave you 5 questions to consider to help you use winter as your own season of contemplation. It is important to remember that this process only works if you give it time.
Think of it like starting a garden. You do not run out and dig deep holes in random places. The first step is to look at your land, the area you have, and begin to dream and imagine what your garden will become. Then you need specific information about how to grow a garden that accounts for a number of variables, including where you are, what soil you have, and what purpose the garden will serve.Only then can you begin to turn the soil.
Just as no two gardens have the same capacity to grow plants, no two people take the same path to growth. What you need and are ready for is going to be uniquely your own and cannot be compared to anyone else.
Gentle awareness, meditation and mindfulness are the keys to this process
Gentle awareness is simply paying attention to yourself with no purpose in mind but to notice. What are the thoughts that are in your mind? What are you doing?
Mindfulness is being intentional as you pay attention to the present moment without judgement or criticism. It is observing without trying to interpret the meaning of what you are noticing. It is a step deeper in paying attention to yourself.
Meditation comes in many forms. It can be silent, guided, visual, walking, painting or drawing, just to name a few. Try different methods to see what suits you best.
Begin by asking yourself again and again the questions I suggested last week. Use them like a mantra. A mantra is a statement or sound you repeat to help you focus on and go deeper into your awareness. Again, notice what pops into your mind, without judgement or fear.
1.When you find pleasure, how do you stop yourself from enjoying it?
Use visualization to help you answer this question. Imagine the last time you had pleasure and how it ended. Notice the feelings and thoughts. Catch that small moment when you made the decision to stop enjoying yourself.
2. In what ways do you prevent yourself from enjoying life?
Use gentle awareness and mindfulness to observe the ways you stop yourself from saying yes to fun and enjoyment. Notice the small hesitations that turn into saying no to yourself.
3. How can you find pleasure in your life?
Use meditation to imagine having fun. You may have to imagine someone else having fun while enjoying an activity or a meal. After you get comfortable with that, begin to put yourself in the scene. Imagine what it would take for you to keep pleasure and joy in your life.
4. What is the purpose of these behaviors?
5. What do you need to do to enjoy and keep pleasure in your life?
As you collect information, you will learn a great deal about yourself. With this new self-knowledge you will find the answers to these questions.
Use these questions as a way to look inside of yourself throughout the year. It is a process to gather information about yourself and your experiences. Your personal auto-pilot runs your life with old ideas and thoughts. These questions and your attention to them is a way to begin to turn off your auto-pilot and know more about your self.
Are you having trouble answering these questions? I can help, call me at (919)881-2001.