Stop for a moment, and take a look around you…
And as you stop for a moment, imagine you’re lifting your head up and out of the rat race and take notice to see if you can actually recognize just how fast life is moving around you.
Merely 100 years ago, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest man made structure…
To put things into perspective, recognize that just one hundred years ago, the Eiffel tower was the tallest man made structure in existence, women were just gaining the right to vote and the average life expectancy (at least in the US) was about 50yrs of age.
Just 50 years ago, the mini skirt emerged (or shrunk…)
And man had just walked on the moon! It’s just 35yrs since the internet was discovered, and look at how much life has changed since then?
If you want even more proof take the time over the coming Easter break to check out some movies made in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s compared to ones made today.
Apart from the lack of technical quality abundant in today’s films the pace of the older ones feel so much slower. (Note this has nothing to do with the overall value of the movie just their pace).
Was life better or easier or more stable…?
Life wasn’t necessarily better in those days, just more solid, more clearly defined.
We mostly knew who was who and what was what, even if we didn’t like it.
More recently we’re learning to live with worldwide crises in global warming, terrorism and refugee migration along with the collapse in global financial markets.
These powerful shifts are being reflected at personal levels too.
Greater stress levels, relationship challenges, career changes, financial meltdowns, international travel opportunities and the sheer mass of information available.
Information that is beyond comprehension even 25 years ago, at the click of an electronic mouse or tap of the screen on a mobile phone, all presenting choices that are available.
Now, more than ever before in human history has our potential for connection and achievement been greater.
And, these technological and intellectual advances are increasing at an an accelerating rate, but is our ability to manage and integrate all this keeping up?.
How do we cope with this degree of challenge and change and stay sane??
In amongst all this how do we not only sustain but grow our relationships, to keep personal vulnerability and intimacy deepening and nourished?
More than ever before, we’re required to stand up personally or sink beneath the waves.
As individuals, it is becoming crucial to see and believe in more of our wholeness and strengths than our inadequacies and burdens.
So whilst life is changing on the outside it is vital that we shift on the inside as well.
Getting into comfortable relationship with our inner reality is where our resilience, our energy, self belief, sense of connection amongst the disconnection, our inner tranquility and pleasure will come from.
From here we’ll be able to transition into not only a more stress free but a more inspired and meaningful way of being.
From farming to Tantra…
Or the business couple who traded long hours for a more sustainable business model and gained a life.
Or the couple who moved house from a place that no longer felt like it served them to somewhere that breathed new life into them and their relationship.
Or the woman who moved beyond her abusive past and stepped into a place of love and security inside herself…
And the truth is, it helps to go a little bit crazy along the way.
By ‘going crazy’ we mean being willing to be at a place of inner discord, even feeling like we’re falling apart.
Seeing what we used to believe in as maybe not making so much sense any more.
And doing so with our highest possible level of self awareness, so we see it clearly.
And surrendering to the process.
We call it going crazy because most people will tell us we’re crazy to go there, that it’s better to avoid it.
Being in The Void…
This is the place Eastern mystics call The Void – where there is a high level of awareness with little external action.
It’s a bit like seeing ourselves as a jar of water with a layer of soil at the bottom that’s been shaken up- all seems chaos, with nothing making sense.
Yet if we stay present enough with ourselves, long enough to see and feel what is really happening, we will also see our life affirming choices appearing through the chaos more clearly.
The soil will settle back into a creative new pattern and the water will become clearer than before.
Being in the Void can be extremely uncomfortable. It can last for a few moments, a few hours, days, even weeks to months but it is crucial to allow ourselves to touch into it.
For this is where we go beyond what we already know into new and unforseen possibilities.
Nowadays we can tolerate a much higher level of inner discord, or stress, than we used to.
Our days can have complications never dreamed of by our grandparents or even our parents and our resources for distracting ourselves from it have grown exponentially.
We also have more ways to ‘appear to’ avoid our stress than ever before.
We can suffer more with less motivation for change.
But the reality is the stress impacts us whether we realize it or not.
Stress can be defined as ‘an overload of mental or emotional strain greater than we can be with or process at the time’.
Life defeating choices that help you numb yourself out to reality:
- Blaming the world and everyone in it for your troubles and doing nothing about it.
- Pushing down or avoiding your stress through any number of addictions
- Having that extra biscuit for morning tea
- A bottle of wine at dinner rather than a glass
- Staying too long at work
- Spending time on your phone, ipad, social media, or book
- Zoning out in front of a tv screen
- Indulging in self flagellation ie. negative judgements
- Dragging on a cigarette in the belief that it will help
- Reaching for Panadol or some other legal or illegal drug to help you ‘cope’ or relax
- Frequent masturbating, especially with porn
- Daydreaming, sleeping in
- Gossiping about others rather than examining ourselves
- Picking fights, arguing, sulking
- Gambling, getting hooked on the buzz of the win
- Engaging in extreme sports
Most of these activities are not inherently ‘wrong’, it’s where we’re doing them from in ourselves that counts.
Whether we’re doing them to avoid feeling, to avoid that little voice in our heads that’s telling us we’re avoiding life, avoiding looking down into our glass jar…
If we’re really asleep, maybe we’ve even drowned out that little voice and replaced it with something like ‘I deserve this’ or ‘I’ve tried so hard’ or ‘It is the only way I can relax’…
Rather than living from avoidance (or the fear that lives underneath it) how can we make more life affirming choices?
By finding ways that nurture us whilst building our self awareness (ie. Stop bullsh…ing yourself!) such as:
- Practicing feeling in a positive way by moving into it rather than away from it
- check out this great talk on addictions by Jeff Foster
- Shifting your energy by doing some kind of physical activity- walking, jogging, bootcamp, cycling, dancing, yoga, swimming, Osho’s active meditations are great, (download them free from osho.com)
- Getting out in nature- the local park, nearby bush, on the back lawn in your barefeet
- Walking with mindfulness to your local cafe for a coffee
- Doing some housework or gardening
- Having a mindful shower or bath
- Sitting in front of the TV or movie with the intention of chilling out
- Listening to relaxing or uplifting music
- Journalling- writing what you feel without judgement
- Using affirmations
- Putting on some aromatherapy
- Dancing freestyle to your favourite music
- Preparing and eating a nutritious meal
- Getting out and talking to someone new
- Self pleasuring or making love
- Exercising whilst consciously releasing anger on your breath or your voice
- Getting professional help from a counsellor or coach
- Having a massage or exchanging one with a friend
- Snuggling up under a blanket, in the dark, maybe next to a candle and just being with yourself
- Sleeping alone
- Spending real time with a good friend
- Expressing yourself through art, craft
- Do an act of service for someone, giving freely to another is a great heart opener
- Singing, playing music, chanting, sounds
- Creating a ritual for whatever is troubling you. Eg. light a candle, write a letter on your pain and release it by burning it or your own unique version of letting go
- Share your challenge with a friend or support group, just ask to be heard rather than seek advice. Talk about yourself, using ‘I’ language, focussing on hearing and feeling yourself fully
- Fully experience something beautiful- like a sunset, a starry night sky, a church, flower, painting, a young child, even the amazing complexity of your own hand. Beauty is very transformative
- Spending time connecting with your ‘higher power’, whether that be God, Goddess, Spirit or your own deity.
Each of these activities will bring you into greater connection with and understanding of yourself, often intuitively ie. surprisingly.
From this place explore your desires for life, set intentions for what you want and most importantly follow up on them.
This is a great place to reconnect into your relationship from.
Stop bullsh…ing yourself, get into the driver’s seat of your life as the wheels spin faster and make the most of it…