So you want to change the way you are, the way you think, the way you show up in life….. Congratulations!!! Now the real work starts…..
We talked in Part 2 (be do, be do) about how “challenges” arise when you try to make a change. Unfortunately, many times we label these as “tests” from some higher power to our will power. I know I am guilty of claiming that the Universe is really testing me today! Really? Do I not believe the Universe has bigger things to accomplish today than to “test” me?
I told you about our going off of sugar and how everywhere we looked, there were ads, promotions and flat out temptations. But they were there before we changed our eating habits. The stores and the manufacturers didn’t put them up overnight just to trip us up. It was us that changed. Our awareness became acute, and sometimes painful, as we navigated onto the new way of being.
Because this is a making a change in your spiritual outlook, it’s less tangible and seemingly “harder” to keep on track. What can you do to keep from getting stuck or staying stuck in your own story/excuses/drama? Such a good question!
Let’s take the intention that you are going to be a kinder person to everyone, and that really means E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E, not just the people you like or get along with. You can just about guarantee that within the first week, you’re going to get cut-off in traffic, someone is going to make several outrageous demands of your time, someone is not going to understand your side, you’re going to be pushed for time, and you’re going to have to do something you don’t want to do.
Will these things happen to you because you are trying to be kinder? Nope, the examples happen ALL THE TIME, probably multiple times a week. So, the fact that you’re changing your mindset didn’t bring more situations to you, it just opened up your awareness to these opportunities to be a better person.
Someone cuts you off in traffic — again. What’s your first reaction? Okay, probably not something we can print here. Is there something else you could do? I realize that non-reaction would be the best but let’s pretend that we’re not all to that place yet, shall we? Here’s just one suggestion: Take a deep breath, hold up your hand – palm to the person who just cut you off, and say “I bless you on your journey.”
The first time I tried this, I negated my blessing with an eye roll. It’s a process, I tell you! Not going to tell you that I’m a first class practitioner but I’m much better than I was! And it relieves my stress to realize that something is going on in their life that is creating an urgency that I don’t want to carry for them. If I don’t need to add to their burden, then that’s better for them AND for me! I don’t need their anger, fear, stress. I have plenty to deal with myself, thank you very much.
Outrageous demand of your time? I am constantly amazed that when I feel that I don’t have the time to do one more thing, several more, unrelenting things are dumped on me (things that only I can do) — just to prove that not only was there time for the original list, but time to take care of the additional list. I’m learning to not say “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time” for there is plenty of time to do all that is mine to do. The first thing to do is to realize that either this is really yours to do or it’s not. If it’s not yours to do, take a deep breath and firmly relay that belief to the person asking/demanding. If it is yours to do, freaking out is not going to help anyone. Take a deep breath, and another one, and realize that you can do whatever is necessary. Sometimes when things fall off of our proverbial plate, it helps us realize that maybe it wasn’t as important as we thought it was.
Have you seen a pattern starting to emerge? That “taking a deep breath” is what is known as a pattern interrupt. Pattern interrupt is exactly as it sounds, something that helps you break a pattern or habit in your life. They are as easy as taking a deep breath or as complicated as repeating a mantra (which isn’t very complicated) or moving a plastic bracelet from one wrist to another.
Will Bowen wrote a book A Complaint Free World . The goal is to go 30 days without complaining and when you catch yourself complaining, you move a purple plastic bracelet from one wrist to the other. That process raises your awareness of how often you complain or gossip. One of the points in the book is that our mouths are the buyers of what our brains are manufacturing. When the mouth stops buying what the brain is manufacturing, the brain will stop manufacturing crap. It is a fabulous process to work through! And it’s more difficult than you think. Most of us complain without conscious thought and gossiping is just out of control.
So, the first step to changing your ways is to be aware of what you are doing and saying. The second step is to have a check-in with yourself — is this how I want to show up in this situation? The potential third step (if the answer to the second step is “no”) is a pattern interrupt. Here are a few examples:
– Deep breath (or three)
– Say “Cancel-Clear” (I cancel those words and clear my intention)
– Move a bracelet or rubber band from wrist to wrist (I don’t recommend snapping the rubber band)
– Hand to heart, deep breath, connect with breath and heartbeat
– Say “I choose Love in this situation”
– Close your eyes for a moment and imagine water washing away the stress, the disappointments, the worries
Once you’ve interrupted your patterned response, you have a “do-over” to choose a better/higher way. This isn’t about how the other person will respond, because you can’t control them, this is only about your response. I tell you from personal experiences — when you change your reactions, people around you seem to change. Crazy, I know. When you break bad communication styles and poor-me routines, not only do you feel better, more grounded and centered, but you start creating better relationships and boundaries.
I hope this gives you a few tools to help you on your journey. Remember, the more you practice your higher way of thinking, the easier it gets — but there may be days when you want to chuck it all in. That’s okay….. take a deep breath, now another one…… and one more………. try again.