But, unlike other times when I react with emotion-by-default instead of awareness, I didn’t flip out. Didn’t roll my eyes. Didn’t say anything. I nodded a bit like a bobble head, took a deep breath and consciously acted deliberately with curiosity and wonder and kindness. I didn’t jump on the millipede bandwagon, nor did I flash to worry that I would be overrun with millipedes. I simply paid attention.
When we act with awareness, when we take a second to first connect with our core self before reacting to external circumstance, not only do we feel better but we also connect more deeply with others. We listen to each other better. We don’t fly off the handle, or overreact. Instead we become present and accepting.
Whether you are dealing with an unexpected insurgence of millipedes or bigger life stresses (if that’s even possible) like car-repair bills and health concerns and irrational bosses, turning inward to reconnect with your core self before reacting to the outer experience can help.
Not always easy to do. Right? When my husband washes four loads of clothes but “forgets” to fold a single shirt, when my Internet bill has arrived but the check hasn’t, when my arthritis flairs and I’m not sure how I’ll haul my backside to the bus stop, I feel the external stresses starting to seep in.
Thing is, it doesn’t help. When I become reactive, I have more stress, more anxiety, more pain. When I connect to my inner essence – the place within us all that is love and light and peace and compassion – I just feel better and then I do better and pretty soon those stressful moments of life, like millipede habitats, aren’t a big deal.
So how do we do this? How to we stay aware, clear, and connected to our core self, our inner landscape, even while the outer view is getting rained on?
Three tips for staying connected to your essence:
1. Get quiet. Carve out time for a little silence. Sometimes my quiet time has come in the bathroom (not kidding) or the shower. Other times I take a time out when stress flairs. Often I schedule it in – 20 minutes of solitude and silence after dinner, perhaps. Try it. Take a minute or 20 or 120. Just do it. Quiet helps us disengage from the background noise so that we can better hear our inner peaceful voices.
2. Trust that inner voice. And, while you’re at it, pay attention to those voices. Observe your thoughts and feelings notice the sensations in your body. Those inner voices and feelings offer important insights that will help you move a little easier through the external world. Usually, those inner insights come loaded with peace and love and compassion so you feel better too.
3. Practice noticing. The best way to practice awareness is to get in the habit of noticing your life when things feel good and easy. Throughout the day, build in moments of awareness. Pause for a minute or five and tune into all your senses. Become aware of your thoughts and emotions, your environment, any sights and sounds. Look for the unfamiliar in the familiar and the mysteries in nature. Explore with a sense of curiosity and wonder. When you practice becoming present and aware when times are good, it’s easier to draw on the practice when you are feeling the stress.
When we use these tips to align closely with our core self, all the other stuff gets easier and more interesting. Yes, even millipedes. With the tips above and a little conscious effort, you will become more present, more connected, more peaceful. Then you will begin participating in your experience rather than simply reacting to it.
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