Getting to know yourself can produce some surprises as you learn to SEE yourself and your individual ways of being. I am sure this was evident in your first exercise.
Before giving you your next exercise, I thought I would share a quick story about one of my toughest challenges with change.
When we have a conflict in beliefs with another person it can often be the toughest form of change to deal with, as we are required to choose our attitude in seconds. More often than not, we react without thinking and forge ahead unable to see how our ways of being can contribute to a mood.
If you have read any of my previous blogs, you will remember that my biggest challenge with my shadow (dark side) was my hidden anger and how at times I would lose my temper when angry. Before I took on my personal Dare to Ask Journey, I hated this part of myself. I felt shame every time I had an outburst. I carried deep guilt when I did. I blamed my father for teaching me this way of being. I wanted to change but I didn’t know how, as I often just reacted without thinking in the moment.
A few weeks ago I enjoyed a fun evening with one of my brothers and his wife. Over dinner that evening, my sister-in-law and I got into a discussion which saw us travel down a path where we were faced with a conflict of beliefs. The mood started to get tense as we shared our thoughts on our individual beliefs. Aware of the shift in mood, my brother and my partner suggested we leave the topic of discussion alone. My sister-in-law turned to my brother and expressed her desire to speak.
With that I took a conscious moment to stop and reflect on my way of being, as I witnessed what I thought was her courage to ask. I sensed that it was possible that neither of us had been fully grounded enough to listen as we attempted to “force” our individual beliefs onto each other. In my moment of conscious reflection, I leaned back, grounded myself and chose a conscious attitude of courage, in the hope that it would support a change in mood.
I turned to her and listened as she shared her thoughts on the topic of discussion. She did so with the passion of her beliefs. I listened. Once she had finished I thanked her and asked if she had capacity to listen to me. She expressed agreement. I too shared the passion of my beliefs. I felt heard. Once I was finished, we merely stared at each other and in that moment I sensed that it did not matter that our beliefs were in conflict. What mattered was that we held a courageous space of love for ourselves as we shared our individual truth.
With that we let the conversation go and continued to have a wonderful evening together.
I know only with years of practice that when I am triggered, I can ground with Self and be present for united energy that affords peace in myself. However, I can still revert to frustration or anger at times, but know that I no longer carry stories of shame, guilt or blame as I share my truth or self-correct. I know that in learning to see, accept and love my light and my dark side, I have grown to see, accept and love all others, allowing them to be themselves while they choose their own attitude.
I admit that I had to learn to see myself more clearly in order to choose to change my way of being. And while the journey from there to here saw me shed many tears of pain and frustration as I judged myself and others, the benefits of now being at peace keep me on this daring journey of life with an attitude of courage as I own my individual truth and allow others space for theirs.
Exercise 2 – Focusing on an Intended Change that You Want in Your Life
Intended outcome of this exercise:
- To cultivate an awareness with a significant change that you want in your life.
- To map out an action plan for this change.
- To ensure you have individuals and tools in place to support your intended change.
- To consciously note resistance or obstacles.
Over the next 2 weeks undertake the exercise below. I invite you to break the exercise down over a week or more so that you can contemplate and fully reflect on what you have discovered about yourself.
Once again, when journaling, let the thoughts flow onto the paper as fast as they come out of you, with no attention to spelling or grammar. Remember there are no right or wrong answers, only a process of self-discovery and understanding.
- Journal about a significant change that you want to bring about in your life.
- Visualize, and then journal about how your life will look;
- Ten years from now with this change.
- Five years from now with this change.
- One year from now with this change.
- Journal about individuals in your life who will support you with this intended change. Share with yourself how you will ask them for assistance and support during this time. Remind yourself to dare to ask that they not judge you, but merely support and reflect back what you want.
- Journal about individuals in your life who might resist this change. Journal about the emotions / resistances that come up for you when you acknowledge their potential resistance. Journal about how you can bring an attitude of courage, as opposed to fear, if you are required to engage with these individuals during this time of change.
- Record any other tools or support that you think you will require to bring about this change.
- Note any other resistance or self-created stories of “I can’t because….”, “If only I had….” or “I wish……”.
- Take 7 days after journaling about this intended change and meditate in silence for 10 minutes on each of these 7 days. Connect with your soul in the silence so that you can hear what it wants to say, separate from what the mind has recorded above.
- Notice any thoughts that might come up about what you have recorded in your journal above.
- Do you see any shifts happening?
- Are new thoughts or stories presenting?
- Do you notice any stories of resistance?
- If so journal about them after each meditation session.
- After this 7-day reflection period, journal about how you will deal with unplanned change or unexpected events that might arise during this 12-month period. Note for yourself how you can integrate these possible unplanned events in order to ensure that it does not derail your process.
Plan and action:
- Next map out your short-term action plan for the next 12 months. Give yourself one main objective to achieve per month over these first 12 months. This will ensure that you achieve the first part of your dream one year from now.
For those of you who are working with a friend or a group, this is a good time to catch up and share what you have learnt about yourself.
The technique I recommend for these group gatherings is as follows.
- On getting together make sure you have a stick or small object of sorts that can be passed around.
- The person holding the stick or object is the only person allowed to speak.
- Allow each person 15 to 30 minutes to share all that they have learnt about themselves so far and how they intend to manage their intended change.
- Any person can start – I usually recommend drawing straws so that the process is random. The first person speaks and after they have finished, honor them with 3 minutes of silence. While in silence, the stick gets passed onto the next person. This person then gets their 15 to 30 minutes to speak with 3-minutes of silence thereafter, and so you continue until everyone has had a turn. During this time of silence, notice what thoughts come up for you. Do you judge the speaker’s story? Do you have thoughts of wanting to help them? Do you have a desire to tell them what they can do to get it sorted? Remember – they are also here to learn to SEE themselves. The intention is that you merely hold a safe space of acceptance for them as you allow them to listen to themselves. Group conversations / sharing can take place once everyone has had a turn to speak and all others have listened deeply without interruption at any time during the process. If you have advice, input or suggestions for anyone in your group, remember to thank them for speaking and to first ask if they would like to hear your suggestions or input before you share your thoughts on their life journey and their individual choices.
- Remember you have gathered together to learn to SEE and hear yourself, free from judgements of self or others. The intention is simply to be present in body and soul for each other with the mind free to absorb whatever the speaking person has to say, free from a reaction, an action, a judgement or a desire to shift their way of being.
If you are doing the exercise on your own, then sit in front of a mirror and talk to yourself for the 15 to 30 minute period, looking at yourself in the eyes. After you have finished speaking, keep looking at yourself as you connect with your soul in silent contemplation for 3 minutes. Thereafter, thank yourself for your courage to SEE yourself.
Note: If you are in a group it is usually good to have a timer to manage your process. Most of us have timers on our phones so it is easily manageable with everyone managing their own time. Make an effort not to be too rigid as some individuals will want more time while others might require less. Always be yourself as you allow others be themselves.
Once you have finished this last exercise sing, dance, have a glass of wine, but undertake a ritual that you enjoy, alone or with your group, to celebrate and honor the courage it takes not to deny any part of your life and your way of being.
Then rest and don’t take yourself too seriously until we meet again in two weeks when I’ll be discussing Suffering: The Choice to Suffer or Not.
In the interim if you have questions on this topic, either submit your question here (link) or in the comments section below or on FB (link). Likewise, if you have a story you would like to share about how you deal with change, then please do so on the same links above.
I love you all for your courage.
Warm love and regards