If you are a professional striving to improve your life then it all comes down to a simple fact – you need to make changes. The key to progress is change. The key to reducing losses or increasing profits is change. The key to improving health requires changes. A better life means change.
The problem is, we are hardwired to avoid change, especially when we have stress in our lives. With increased stress comes the need to seek comfort and security. And that’s ok if your stress is just a temporary, one off occurrence. But, if you have systemic stress in your life well, that’s not good. So change is required. And therein lies the problem. You need to change but you’re too stressed to change. Do you see the contradiction in this strategy?
We’ve got to find ways to break the insanity… Break the cycle. Otherwise, stress will lead to more stress until you collapse or expire. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Fortunately, it’s December 1, as I write this entry, and we are quickly approaching an annual turning point in the year. The Winter Solstice coincides with many cultural traditions. Traditions which can be comforting or stressful.
This is a great time. For many it is the peak of a social calendar. For some it is a time to collapse, avoid, hide and run. For others, it’s a time to reconnect with traditions and ceremonies.
It can be a time for re-invigorating or a time for depleting.
Here’s my thoughts.
Take this time of the year to leverage the seasonal intensity.
Do it differently this time. Choose to be out of your comfort zone. Create better traditions.
The holiday season is one of the most iconic times of the year. Many of our behaviours and beliefs, good or bad, are reinforced through rituals at this time of year. Especially in our ever materialistic, consumer driven western culture. By adhering to these rituals, we are making it harder to break free of our known restrictive habits.
Since everyone is different it starts with a deep, inner exploration of your truths.
• Do you typically over indulge? Then this year commit to extreme restraint in some area.
• Do you typically run and hide? Then this year commit to engage with others. Participate more.
• Do you typically comply with external expectations? This year, set boundaries. Be congruent with your own truth such as budgeting (spend more or less),
• Do you typically give give give and feel depleted? This year, treat yourself to spa time.
These radical departures from your typical holiday season will affect all your inner structures by softening them up and preparing yourself for real, progressive change.
So to begin, we must start by grounding. By grounding we reconnect with the simple sensations that are immediately occurring. Essentially, we are striving to be in the moment. Notice what is going on right now.
Common grounding techniques can be achieved through Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, and simply setting quietly in nature.
The following simple meditation can be done anywhere and takes from one minute to one hour to do depending on how much time you can set aside. Start by setting upright in a comfortable position. Feet planted squarely on the floor, shoulders back, head lifted as if magical helium filled balloons were attached to the back of your head – gently pulling your head upwards. With eyes closed, take a few easy deep breaths in and out and then begin by following the slides below.
Once grounded, you can choose to see your current beliefs, fears, and habits in an honest and non-judgemental way. So ask yourself, what do you really need to change? What is really preventing you from doing better or being a better person? (material solutions such as a new car or nice pair of shoes are probably indicators that you are not delving deep enough into your current self study.) Write down your answers.
Some answers may be:
• I need to re-set my priorities with health being higher on the list.
• I need to increase my confidence and eliminate a key fear.
• I need to deal with a lingering trauma – seek closure.
• I need to expand my capacity to love, care, connect with myself and the greater world.
Courageously embrace your greatest fears or angers or pains. Same applies to a physical problem. Hold it gently. Bless it. Then release yourself from them. Trust that you possess the ability to heal and rejuvenate your heart.
Now wilfully rise up. Bring yourself up from a lower identity to your highest sense of self. Create a mood of love. Add to this a dash of kindness, appreciation, connection and joy. Take it higher than you have ever experienced. Push yourself to go as high as you can.
Practice lifting yourself up to this higher mood regularly. Especially in the mornings as you awaken. The more you do it, the easier this task becomes.
In this mood, see the world with hope, abundance and trust in the goodness of yourself and others.
In this mood, commit to new routines, new traditions.
This can be a liberating season of change.
Step into the New Year with this refreshed outlook and then start building a vision of a better future.