" Appreciate this experience to it's fullest. You have one chance to live this moment and you'll never get to live it again."
This week I took a step back to unplug from my business life and plug into myself. I went to the beach with my husband and daughter Aria and took time to check in reassessing what was going on inside. I want to first say that, for me, taking the time to stop always felt uncomfortable, unnatural, and sometimes a big "waste of time". Like all good things, it feels a little weird at first and takes time getting used to (especially for a work a holic and someone who wants things to happen instantaneously).
As I lay on the warm sand, I felt really connnected to the experience of "doing nothing" and asked myself "when did I stop doing this?" Why is there such a high value put on "doing more"? and "What REAL gifts do we allow ourselves to have when we say NO to more?"
Being more busy by no means equals being more productive and, even more so, does not relate to building a long lasting happiness. I learned this early on my entrepreneurial days when I found myself completely burnt out. I was hitting goals, having more time than I did in my 9-5 (though I filled it with empty work hours being frustrated instead of relaxing), and living the life I had imagined for myself. I couldn't ignore the fact that I was also more moody and would often be overcome by a yucky feeling of dissatisfaction even though I performed at the level I expected of myself.
My key recipe for happiness was in play but I still had a voice of unhappiness around me saying "this isn't enough" Or was it? I was fully immersed in my dream life, my heart filled with purpose, but something had been stolen from me in the process. The busy-ness had taken away the simple joy of a moment and the gratitude for the little things. Completely taken aback that all the things that I thought would make me happy were actually making me stressed and often times miserable, I decided it was time for a new resolution to redefine my version of success which now goes like this.
"If I am engaging myself in meaningful work, then I am successful."
The measure was no longer on how many things I checked off my to do list, but was measured by the heart. I learned how to cultivate the one thing that can change a negative into a positive in an instant- GRATITUDE.
By taking the time to stop, literally stop the mind chatter, self judgement, physical chaotic busy-ness, and neverending to do list, I was able to find a place, a mini paradise in my head that told me "ALL I HAVE IS ALL I NEED" and guess what? I really feel it. Being thankful for the lessons we are given, feeling secure, that you are taken care of, knowing that you have yourself and what you have is beautiful is a radical act of love that only you can give to yourself.
Watching so many fall victim to the trap of being busy, I thought it was an obligation to share what I've learned on my journey and tell you hey, we all go through this and we can go through it together. The important thing is to go through it and keep moving forward. Stopping has become a practice that I now integrate daily and find lots of value in and so can you. So these are some tips and life lessons I've collected to stop being the victim and start being the warrior I was created to be!
7 Helpful Excercises on cultivating an attitude of gratitude:
1. Mindfully Wake Up. Pay attention to your first thoughts upon waking. Try not to jump straight to your to do list or check emails on your phone. Verbalize, out loud, 10 things you are grateful for. If that is hard for you to do, in the beginning simply say "thank you" as you put your feet on the ground". Subconsciously, the thoughts you have and experiences you attract will already start out with positivity.
2. Gratitude Journal. If you can make a to do list, you can make a gratitude journal! I don't mean to force yourself to journal if it's not your thing, just a simple list or even mental list throughout the day. There have been many studies that show that keeping a journal of things your are grateful for has a high impact on happiness. It's a fact!
3. Power Symbol of Purpose. Find a pocket totem (whether it be something meaningful you collected that holds a key memory, a gemstone, or inspirational jewelry;) carry this totem with you wherever you go. When you find yourself in a funk, hold that totem, breathe in the life force energy, the goodness, the peace you felt when you received it. Try to remember that feeling, that memory, that purpose. Honestly, I know it's hard but this small step can change your life if you start making it a habit to detach from emotions and connect to purpose.
4. Anxiety Clearing. This one is physical! Exercise is your friend. Stopping is your friend. Making time to stop and move the energy in your body cultivates gratitude for your body, your vessel, your temple, to achieve all the things you dream about. One of my favorite ways to release emotions and allow gratitude to flow in is through Yin Yoga. Thank you body!
5. Unplug. Unplug from your phone and plug into your life. This one will bear you fruits of happiness for a lifetime if you choose to practice it daily. My body, or my mind more so, always felt like it was a waste of time to stop though my heart always knew it was necessary. Taking time to check in gives us the motivation we need to keep going. It connects us back to our "why" and just gives us room to breathe to be in a relaxed state of mind. The body functions best when it is relaxed and choosing to unplug throughout the day or for a period of time helps us to cultivate gratitude for why we do what we do with our lives. Spending time outdoors is a great way to get your body back into it's natural rhythm of healing.
6. Embrace the chaos. The universe is born in chaos. Keep your eyes on the bigger picture and you'll get through the test. Do your best in each moment and be grateful for what you receive without being attached to the result.
7. Reflect. Reflection is a form of meditation that helps us recognize the fruits of our labor. Since a lot of our everyday achievements aren't celebrated, it's important to give ourselves credit where we have seen a lot of growth on areas we are working to improve. It also allows us to dream and use our intentions for our future. All of this pours into the well of happiness that is yours.
These quiet moments, along with a practice of Gratitude, will bring clarity in who you are and what you want. It will bring to surface the answers that you know deep inside if you are still enough and are true to yourself. It will help you remember the dreamer in you and help you remember the visions you created for yourself.
I find peace in Gratitude and peace in each moment good and bad. I remember that all I have is all I need and that nothing more can give me more peace. That peace is always available to me. And I allow myself to feel deserving of my dreams again. Real dreams that included feeling happy with where I was at. Your dreams are waiting.
Smile and remember you have exactly what you need to be happy.