Waking up to the voices in my head before the alarm goes off can be unpleasant. The stream of thoughts, potential worries, and demands for the day ahead are incessant and energized already. The energy of these unpleasantries has left my motivation to greet the demands and worries deflated. All this and my eyes are barely open!
As I take my time, stretching and settling into my body, the thoughts turn from subtle threats and mild manipulation to flat out bullying. “Time to get up,” “if you’re late, they’ll be mad,” “now you’re just being lazy, you got plenty of rest” Do any of these morning wake up thoughts sound familiar? I don’t know about you but I don’t enjoy beginning my day with someone like this. Whatever happened to “good morning, beautiful, how did you sleep?”
The incredible part is, some days I listen to these thoughts. If someone came into my room and started criticizing me the way the thoughts in my head do, I would ask them to leave. Maybe not so kindly, either. I would see how untrue their messages were. I would see through the bully into someone who is scared and doesn’t know how to ask for what they need in any other way.
So why, I wonder, do I take the not so nice commentary from my inner bully? Some habits go unquestioned and just become routine. Believing and following the thoughts that go through your mind might be one of your ingrained habits, too. Beginning to notice the thoughts leading to the actions I take creates room for empowerment choice. Being a victim to the thoughts and beliefs in my mind is no fun. Noticing when I have a mean and nasty message in the forefront provides an opportunity to slow down and assess if this is something I really want to perpetuate. Would I take this guidance, direction, or criticism from someone outside of me? Would I say this to someone I love? If not, then why am I giving it power and control in me? Why do I say it to myself?
Waking up to the way we speak to ourselves can change the way we live. Take a time out now and checking in with your thoughts. Are you speaking with gentle encouragement to yourself about yourself? Is there a positive regard in the tone of your thoughts, both about your self and your life? Or is judgment streaming through? How does it feel in your body when you think these thoughts? When I speak kindly to myself, I feel better physically, I have more tolerance for the people around me, I am aligned with the truth that I am supported by life. When I speak to myself with judgment and criticism, I want to get as far away from myself as possible. I have decided that I want to be someone I want to spend time with. Choosing thoughts that are loving and accepting feels good. By giving myself the encouragement and patience I share with those I love, I become great company. This is much more appealing that being dragged through my day by the leash of inner criticism.
Do you want to enjoy your company more often? To feel better? To have a clean, clear and inspiring mental environment? A few times throughout the day, take a mini break and check in with your thinking. Choose to be kind, to be honest, to be loving. If thoughts come that don’t feel good, choose new ones! If you wouldn’t say something to your niece or nephew, it likely isn’t something you want to keep saying to yourself. This practice is a simple and effective way to bring more awareness into your daily life and create new habits. Regardless of what the mental chatter has been so far, consider this to press the refresh button and start over!
Here’s to waking up with a smile.
In the flow,
(Let's be in touch! Contact me here.)
When life is changing, transformation is happening, and reinvention is in full force, feeling grounded might not be in the present picture for you. While embracing the unknown, stepping into new arenas and treating yourself to adventures is über-empowering, having some stability in the midst of change is a vital part of self care. Conscious ritual has the capacity to bring stability and comfort to any cycle you are in, including the more turbulent periods of life.
When introduced to the concept of ritual in my beginnings of recovery, I didn’t think I had any. I assumed ritual was reserved for spiritual or religious matters, certainly not the kind of life I was living. Then, upon closer examination and an opening mind, I realized how full of ritual my life was. Over time, by paying more attention to my actions and choosing self care, routine and ritual began to show up more visibly. I started checking in with mentors and friends regularly, attending mindfulness and recovery groups, and connecting with the natural world. Finding my way to a more consistent self care has been a path lined with ritual. Today, there are practices I have that make it into almost every day. Feeding my body, walking with the pooch, taking in a daily meditation from a favorite book are just a few. Regardless of how I feel, what is on the calendar, or whether I am in the mood or not, showing up for simple ritual enriches my spiritual and self love connection.
Consciously engaging an activity, however simple or grand, builds up my self care bank account.
Delegating a few moments to mindfulness and self reflection, spiritual learning or joyful service adds to my self esteem and self worth, too. The discipline and commitment of showing up for myself reinforces the belief that I am worthy of love, of participating in activities that add to my health and well being. The practice of loving myself, enjoying life’s pleasures, and slowing down enough to reap the benefits of what I do is the heart and soul of ritual.
Nearly every night I write a gratitude list. This is one of my favorite things! I have a daily calendar hanging on my wall. In the evening, after finishing dinner and winding down, I automatically go to tear off the page and grab a pen. After many months of showing up and reaping the benefits of this practice, it has become an automatic. Reflecting on the day I am completing as I hover over this 2” x 2” square, I notice what comes to mind and heart.
What am I grateful for? What brought a smile to my face, a laugh to my lips, an unexpected joy or opportunity to show up for another? Five items is the minimum. Some days, I keep it very simple. More nights than not, I fill both sides of the page with reasons I am thanking life. When I am complete, I fold the page and add it to the polka dot crystal vase on my counter literally brimming with gratitude lists from nights passed. This is a ritual I love. It calls me to show up, to embody the person I strive to be, to see through the lens of gratitude rather than complaint, to get honest and reveal sincere truths and vulnerabilities, to receive the gifts I am given. Taking an inventory of my day through the eyes of gratitude is rewarding and oftentimes fun. When I have difficulty coming up with items for the list, I have the opportunity to see what it standing in the way of thankfulness. This, too, is a gift, although sometimes I grumble at the mirror holding up the defects wedged between me and happiness. This ritual even permeates my daily escapades. I’ll find myself noticing thoughts, encounters, interactions and synchronicities throughout the day, making a mental note “that will go on the list tonight!”
What does ritual mean to you?
Do you have a practice that motivates and inspires you? Maybe you walk your dog every day, go to the same coffee shop and talk it up with the neighborhood elders, pray and meditate in the garden, light a candle with your evening meal, or call a family member to say goodnight. The details aren’t as important as what the ritual brings about. Does it empower you? Does it add more of what you want to your day? Does it share love and positivity?
Take a peek at your calendar and identify one ritual. Becoming more mindful of the rituals you are already practicing will allow you to choose which you want to continue and some you might want to change. Perhaps it is time to savor that daily practice you already engage in a little bit more. Have at it!
In the Flow,
Inspiration shared is happiness multiplied. I say YES to inspired happiness.
Don’t be too timid or squeamish about your life. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. ~ Emerson
What a dare!
Experiments require us to embrace change.
Change is constant, afterall.
We all know this by now. Right?
Sometimes change is fun. Oftentimes it also stirs fear, anxiety, and other emotions that feel unmanageable or uncomfortable. The reality is that change introduces many unknowns. It also brings a truth to the surface: we don’t have control over everything.
One of the key components of recovery is reframing. Perceiving change as scary, unsafe, or bad might be a habit of yours. I know I catch myself defaulting to this from time to time. Using the power of reframing guides me back to some empowering truth: change is healthy, change is exciting, and change is safe. From here, I find that change can even be fun! Moving with change is the ultimate experiment.
Change = Experiment = Adventure
What is your relationship to change like right now? Does fear surface or is a sense of excitement and trust present when you reflect on cycles of change?
Invitation: Choose one change happening in your life right now. Imagine this change or transition is an adventure hand-picked for you to get you to an even more fabulous version of living. How does it feel to imagine this change is a stepping stone to get you where you want to go? Practice seeing changes as experiments and adventures.
Experiment! (Emerson dares you.)
Darcy Helene Meehan
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas