Looking within

One of my all time favorite books is the Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. As luck would have it, the book club that I am in chose this book as October’s selection.

One of the quotes from the book really stood out to me and was actually used as a discussion point:

“This is the essential difference between a spiritual minded person and a worldly person. Worldly means that you think the solution to your inner problem is the world outside. You think that if you change things outside, you’ll be okay. But nobody has ever truly become okay by changing things outside. There’s always the next problem. The only real solution is to take the seat of witness consciousness and completely change your frame of reference within.”

So how does one do that?

How can I change my internal reference of the outside world and myself?

I think we always look to change things on the outside because its safe. Its far easier to walk away from an uncomfortable situation or to blame someone else rather than accepting that the answer to the solution could be as close to my own heart.

There is definitely a time and a place to walk away from an unpleasant situation. If you are dealing with an abusive spouse, a dead end job or a friend that is sucking the life out of you.

But I think when we get in the habit of always walking away, closing ourselves off or changing our external situations, we never allow ourselves to truly look our own ego and fear in the eye.

Its easy to blame others for the way we feel.

We point the finger at others rather than actually taking a moment to look inward and ask ourselves why we feel the way we do. How can we quiet the voices (fear and ego) in our minds and take our focus inward and evaluate what can be changed on the inside in order to view things differently on the inside?

Can we talk about the ego for a second? It acts just like a child. The more attention you give it, the more it wants to come out and play and the harder you try to ignore it, the louder and more annoying it gets. Its a real piece of work.

In order to change our frame of reference within, we must not allow the ego to take control. Ill be the first to say that my ego wants to rear its ugly little head every waking moment of my day. My meditation and yoga practice helps keep it at bay, but its still a constant struggle to completely ignore its incessant chatter.

Although our ego is a normal part of the human condition, we have to be able to live a life that isn’t completely ruled by the actions it demands of us. We have to be able to say “I see you, I hear you, I know what you are trying to do and now its time for you to shut the hell up as I have no use for you.”  Obviously, that is much easier said than done but you get the point. Its a constant battle to fight our ego, but one we must be willing to fight every single day.

When we can shut the ego up, and connect to who we are on the inside, we can find peace within ourselves and we no longer need to change things on the outside. Our perception of the world is influenced by the truth we have found on the inside. We no longer feel the need to blame others or run from situations that are sticky or uncomfortable. We can stand tall in our truth and know that just as the world is not perfect, neither are we. And we can find comfort in knowing that sometimes, its just as easy as quieting our minds for a few moments and connecting to our breaths to find that connection to ourselves.

Connecting to ourselves is pretty powerful stuff. I invite you to spend some time doing whatever it might be that allows you to find this place within. For me, its meditation, yoga, journaling, sweating it out and deep conversations with friends over a bottle of wine. Whatever it is for you, open up space within to grow and expand and the next time a situation arises that leaves you wanting to quickly blame others or run in the other direction, ask yourself “what can I learn about myself from the experience?” Its a game changer, friends. Just try it.

Release the Grip

the other day i was taking a yoga class taught by a dear friend. she had us start in fish pose where you lie down on your back and place a block between your shoulder blades. she invited us to close our eyes, allow our bodies to relax and take a couple of deep breaths. in that moment i realized just how much tension i was carrying in my body. holy moly. i took a deep inhale and the minute i exhaled, everything started to soften and my body completely released its grip that it was holding onto so tight.

i started noticing the same thing in my daily activities. i realized that i am always so wound up and my body carries so much tension. but, the minute that i acknowledge it and allow the breath to completely flow through my body, i can fully allow my muscles to relax.

like most people, I’ve had an extra amount of stress lately. instead of dealing with my stress, i typically allow it to continue to bottle up inside of me to the point where my body starts to revolt against me. this is not good for me and it’s definitely not good for those around me. i can be quite a pill when i am stressed out.

getting clear on why i was stressed out and making the necessary changes to correct that has been huge. i know i need plenty of “me” time to release, recharge and reconnect. this includes: yoga, running, getting a good sweat, reading, journaling, binge watching Netflix, and most importantly, meditation.

finding time for myself is not always easy but i know its critical to my overall well-being. if i am to release the death grip that my body carries, i have to make decompressing time a top priority.

what about you? take a moment to check in with your self. are you carrying around unnecessary tension? is your body begging and pleading to release its grip? if so, what are your stress relievers and how can you make that a top priority today?