For decades I’ve been observing how people present themselves to the world as they ‘live’ their lives. In short, how they process information, choose to take action with that information and the outcome of that action. Along the way I’ve observed their reactions to those outcomes that run the gamut of happiness (short or long term), disappointment, emotional or physical pain and suffering, acceptance or rejection of responsibility for the outcome, and possibly stubbornness in considering changing the way they approach a situation. Ummmmm, I think Einstein shared a definition of insanity along those lines.
One day the ah-ha moment hit me: What would happen if we took personal responsibility for learning about how we think and feel (physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually)? What if we could figure out ‘triggers,’ signs or patterns that, when acknowledged, might shed light or serve as data to consider actions we could take towards helping ourselves live our best life possible? Life Lessons 101 was born that day.
Life Lessons 101 consists of 4 ‘simple tools’ to create and live your best life on all levels. It provides a framework to learn about you:
- how you act and react consciously or unconsciously,
- helps you to figure out the ‘triggers’ that when tripped inside of you, sets off a chain reaction that might cause you to jump to conclusions, say something that might have been better left unsaid, make decisions that aren’t for your highest good, bring about negative self-talk, and ultimately cause dis-ease in your body that brings about disease and illness;
- provides ‘data points’ to consider areas that you might want to adjust to support your best life; and
- offers easy ways to calm your nervous system, bring health and well-being into your life and find a route to create your best life.
Here we go!! Each of the 4 lessons will be presented in its own column, so visit often!!
Life Lesson 1: Be an observer in your own life.
It’s amazing what you can learn about others and more importantly about ourselves when we slow down and ‘observe’!! It’s a simple 1st step towards caring for ourselves. Remember that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t show up completely to live our best lives, offer our best in our work and play, or be there for others. It’s a piece of being a healthy human to ‘care for others.’ ‘Caring for others’ can span from sharing love, affection or fulfilling your ‘role’ within your family unit; to caring for an aging or disabled loved one; to managing a work team or department; to your role as a volunteer in your community or church; to serving on the board that guides your HOA; to your profession as a professional caregiver (nurse, doctor, social worker, aide, teacher).
Steps to take to implement Life Lesson 1:
- Stop at least 3 times a day to ‘observe’ yourself. That literally means, put your ‘technology’ aside (yes, I dared to say it), stand still and consciously ‘feel’ what’s happening in your body and your mind. Recall the last ‘thought’ you had before you stopped to ‘observe.’
- Observe your body and mind: Are your hands or jaws clenched, does your back hurt, is your neck tight, is your belly grumbling? If you ‘choose’ to stop at the same 3 times each day, a lot can be revealed. If your belly is grumbling at 10 a.m. every day…is it because you’ve had 5 cups of coffee or is it because you interacted with someone (a neighbor, a relative, a co-worker) who might be considered a ‘Negative Nellie or Ned?’ Ummmm, interesting…there’s a pattern that’s developing that might reveal that that interaction might not be serving you well…
- Make a mental note of ‘isn’t that interesting’; don’t ponder it. I love the word ‘interesting.’ It’s a wonderful word that isn’t negative or positive, nor is it a judgement…it just ‘is’; don’t give it ‘energy.’ It’s simply an observation that provides data as we explore our body’s reactions to our day’s activities. Think of this exercise as a ‘treasure hunt for personal information.’ We’ll use these data points/information as we approach Lesson 2 in the next article.
Keep in mind that ‘consistency’ is a key towards getting the most out of this exercise; we know the more we repeat an action, the closer that action becomes a habit. Yes, you read that right…I’m recommending that you start creating a habit of ‘observing yourself and noting what you’re feeling/sensing/thinking.’ Trust me, it’s going to be invaluable.
One way to create this habit is, at the beginning of each day, put 3 elastic bands on one wrist. Each time you ‘stop to observe,’ you move an elastic band to the other wrist. At the end of the day the 3 elastic bands will be on the other wrist and you’ll have 3 data points of observation available to prepare for Life Lesson 2: Decide what you can control and what you can’t, know the difference and act accordingly.
Have fun on your personal treasure hunt to learn more about your inner and outer workings and together we’re working to develop a plan of action to create your best life.
Until next time…
Joan Marlow is a life and wellness coach, alternative health practitioner and educator. Her desire is to support you as you transition from ‘what is to what can be’ in creating and living your best life; consider her your ‘life transition advocate.’ You can reach out to Joan on her website www.peacefullyhealing.com or on Facebook under Peaceful Easy Healing.