The Importance of Being Present
Why soothing your body and reducing the chatter in your brain is the key to your and the world’s ultimate happiness.
If you prefer to listen, here's the podcast version of this post:
This is almost like an introduction to my podcast in that it is truly the KEY to every positive change you want to make in your life. It is also the key to happiness and also the key to finding your life’s purpose.
What is it? Ready? Listen intently.
Consciousness: Feeling the feelings that are going through your body as they come. Being fully connected to that awareness and not “occupied” be a roaring sea of thoughts or rapid firing fears and analysis. Sometimes it’s like facing a roaring lion because some terrible awful stuff lives inside us in many moments of our life. Feeling hopeless, or worthless or afraid of what if’s to come. And yet, we must allow ourselves to feel those things - it's the key to building your ultimate life.
This is an episode with three parts. The general what, why, and then as a tool, I end with a meditation.
PART 1: The What
In order to be truly empowered you must understand your truth, look at it and move through the shit as it comes. You must be at the wheel of your life– meaning, be in your body. You must have presence. In a balanced state that allows you to be completely tuned in with your natural, breathing, energy-filled, identity-less body. Why is it key to do this?
Unconsciousness is where we lose the path we were walking. To look away, unplug, hyper-focus on the minutia and avoid uncomfortable feelings: THAT is what ultimately creates our greatest imbalances and prolongs pain. When we have a habit of “being unconscious” we also lose sight of the path we took to get here – Why do I suffer in these ways? Why am I so powerless? What’s wrong with me? In other words, we get stuck. It’s like forgetting you have hands to drive because you’re too afraid of looking down.
What you realize when you deliberately begin staying in your body and navigating through the muck that comes up, right off the bat - is its not terrible like you think it is. You realize, You are capable and you are strong – much stronger than you think, and you will always make it through the pain. It won’t kill you, and the pain won’t come all at once if you learn to MANAGE it properly, and when you use tools to do so - it’s over a lot faster than you’d think. The realest pain and greatest damage comes from prolonged unconscious running. It’s the slow wrong turns in life that take us a lot of years to get out of, and sometimes it’s too late: the years have been lost.
When you’re unhappy and you feel powerless to change– that’s pain. That’s suffering. It’s what makes the majority of the population suffer incredibly: so many feel depressed, hollow, frustrated, self-loathing, talentless. And that is all coming from being unconscious. From a feeling of powerlessness manifested from living away from the immediacy of your control.
Part 2: The Why
1. Hyper-focusing and never taking a break.
As a society we tend to get hyper focused. “Am I doing well as a person?” “Am I successful?” When will I get to the right level? How can I be more of what I want to be?” There are so many ways to shut off and plug in to our immediate place. We stare down and work harder. And quite frankly, it’s nice to not think about anything else than efficiency and progress. To not deal with relaxing and opening and losing control. It allows you to be void of anything but what you control. Life is easy that way. And thus we begin a habit that turns into a vicious cycle. We pour ourselves into things. Systems. Like work. Or the newest outfits. Or being at the right parties. Or watching the right content. It becomes a nonstop focusing on a job or an identity. All-things-external. That becomes who we are and what we do.
2. Stress relief
Part 2 of this habit is the stress that comes out of that hyper focusing. It begins to rule us. We chase harder and as a result, want very much to shut off. We’re heavily attached to stimuli and what that does is remove us from being just in one place: our body, feeling our feelings as they move through us in our current experiences. It keeps your brain set to “on.”There’s Youtube, Instagram, TV shows, Email, Facebook, Snapchat etc, and over all just a “plugging in” to other stuff.
So what happens when you do this for the majority of your life – never unplugging to say, take a walk in nature without your phone. You end up getting locked into a larger system of thought – that is not your own. It is now a part of a belief system that continually reaffirms your role and where you stand. You are not measured by you, the being – with blood and feelings and laughter and dreams. You are measured by you while plugged into this hierarchy that is your “label” or “role” according to everyone else.
You become same. A part of a mass system of thought. Manipulated into chasing things as a collective friend-group – together you pursue the next awesome purse, you pursue the right cultural knowledge, watch the right shows so you can share them with others. You lose yourself as an individual and without even noticing it you become a pattern – a loop. A brain that eats and breathes the system you have subscribed to. “I am like this.” Everything you see confirms your loop, everyone’s doing the same thing in every movie and every TV show – by you just passionately doing a good job at what you’re supposed to do: work hard, be social, share a lot, watch tv, work out, watch the news, strive for nice things and a house, the right car, etc. And without even noticing it – one day you are just continuously unconscious. Almost like an energy saving mode of thinking designed by others: you go to work, thrive at your system, reaffirm your worth, you come home and plug in to something else so you can shut off.
And in truth – you are VERY different. You have something different to say and different to express than everyone else ever born. When you are not allowing yourself a balance of consciousness, you might not allow that self to come forth – because it’s much easier to subscribe to what everyone else deems “good.” Plus, it’s scary to be different. There are no measures and therefore you are vulnerable to the world.
And what I want to empower you to do with this information – is begin to step out of the unconsciousness and deliberately seek presence. If that term is confusing, seek boredom. Quiet. Make it a daily part of your routine to spend a large chunk of time without plugging into anything – including your system of thoughts. Welcome discomfort that might come with feeling your feelings. All of them. That is what you want. Why? Because you will quickly learn that it is not as scary or hard to look at as you think it is. If something is coming up – it likely should. It holds within it a key piece of information for you to know. Something for you to confront.
Not only that - when you create space inside yourself and stop controlling every detail of your life, you open yourself up to the random and powerful light-bulbs that gift you insight far beyond your realm. You become like a divining rod for realizations that would otherwise never cross your path. You are open and therefore you receive.
Part 3: Which brings me to The How.
The how is whatever you want it to be – if you’re a beach person, go into the water and focus on the nature around you. If you like the mountains like me, go hiking and heavily invest in the sky and the birds. Listen and look – don’t analyze. Your goal is to be quiet. And listen to your own beating heart. Your tool will be custom to you but I want to close with a meditation. Meditation is a good way to begin training your brain into this style of being. Of non-thinking. It strengthens the muscle so to speak.
I know when it comes to past trauma the feelings are much more intolerable and intense. Mentally occupying yourself becomes somewhat of an addiction: because it’s the one place you’re not vulnerable. And that is a different situation – but you can and will move through the emotions – you must medicate each one of them with something that supports you emotionally. And use it with all of your might. For example yoga, therapy, a help group, breathing exercises. Be agro and consistent about it.
And for everyone – trauma or no trauma – create a daily habit of empty space starting today. And DECIDE that you are going to deliberately train yourself to move away from the hyper-focusing. SO THAT you can better grow your best self. And get to know that self.
Before the meditation I will pass along my closing..
The goal is to know thyself truly, which only comes out when you are given the empty space within: when you separate from other things, and allow what’s buried deep inside to come forth. You pass it as gracefully as you can by healthily soothing yourself.
Once you have that balance and that intimate awareness of yourself, your truth is clear. You are now honest about your dreams and can activate the best self you’re meant to become.
Once you keep walking through the fire with all your mite – knowing your vulnerability, soothing it as much as you can, but persevering toward your highest values, what happens is you come out the other end: bigger and brighter and stronger. You remember what it was like before all the thinking and worrying and thoughts about things that haven’t happened – before “you” got complicated. It is our thoughts that take away our ability to use our own power – that is what this is all about.
From a complete state of consciousness, your highest self makes the decisions. You do the work that needs to be done. It’s the key to being healthy, being in shape, being in love – of being on the path you want to be on. You let go of the crap that doesn’t matter because for the first time you can see how meaningless it really is compared to life. And peace.
And I’ll reiterate, with all personal growth: To look at the problems in the first place and say, “I want to change this.” That’s the hardest part. To be scared, acknowledge, I’m afraid to change, that is the hardest part. Just that part. Looking and acknowledging! Once you do that and you commit to doing the work involved anyway and you begin, the rest is all downhill.
And THAT is the secret that I am desperately trying to share with you via all my podcasts. I am removing the “what if” and the fear that might keep you looking the other way. Stop running and avoiding and decide to look. To move forward with every important change you need to make in your life.
Don’t feel bad that you have avoided anything thus far – there’s no wonder you run! Loss, change, hard work, the unknown – all scary things! There are parts of life that can really hurt and remind us we feel scared and alone, and not worthy – so to be totally aware and conscious can be challenging. It’s like deciding to burn yourself because it’s the only way out of a burning building. Pain? No thanks. I will keep watching television.
If you’re in a place in life that you didn’t want to arrive at – it’s likely because of living unconsciously. That’s how we go down a lot of the wrong roads, accidentally. We shy from pain, we numb, we look away – because sometimes it’s just scary.
The good news is that once you make a habit of moving through the stuff that scares you and being diligent about staying in contact with your personal truth – it gets easier and not as scary because you realize the pain stops, you grow stronger – and it’s never as hard as it was before you went through something new. A challenge helps you grow each and every time.
But that’s what we need to do: stay conscious, in our bodies- looking ahead. It’s how we know what we need to do - to honor ourselves, even when it requires something painful. Because though you should always stay in your body, there are a variety of ways to soothe that body – so that you don’t suffer.
When all of you is aligned behind your best interests, great shit happens. And your armada grows bigger each time you utilize a tool and witness that it works. CHANGE. GROWTH. STRENGTHENING. MOMENTUM. You empower yourself to care for yourself. You get better at changing! I speak from personal experience: I have established a habit of aligning my actions with my highest values, therefore I trust that I will be there for myself, despite the painful realizations I will have to move through.
And based on my path, my dream is to help you feel confident in yourself and your self-caring abilities – to feel so armed, that you will be brave enough to look at things. To accept things. To feel things. Even if they hurt. Because you will prove to yourself – “Hey me, I love you – and I won’t let you down. Let’s do this.”
With that – let’s do some meditation shall we?
For this part of the blog, you’ll have to take a listen :)
xox Smile friends! Sarah May B.