Monday, August 24, 2015

Living With Intention

I have lately been thinking about how often I simply react to things without thought. The end result more often than not is negative, not positive. I am trying (when I remember) to behave more proactively, to live with intention. 

I've also noticed that I have a tendency to mentally remove myself from situations and view them as an observer (usually a snarky, cynical observer) rather than actually being in the moment and experiencing my life. I have started the practice of saying to myself "This Moment" to bring myself back, to remind myself to pay attention and not get distracted, to not insulate myself in the safety of not really being there. It is safe, to not really participate. I'm less likely to be vulnerable that way, less likely to get hurt, less likely to embarrass myself with visible emotion. I can act on autopilot.

I've become lazy about living my life.

I've become afraid to be fully present and engaged.

But that's not how I actually want to live.

I've also noticed a habit I have picked up of seeing people through a lens of cynicism, especially my husband. I've developed a tendency to assume that I know what people's motives are, and have tailored my responses around that assumption, rather than on what is actually happening or being said. This is disastrous. Who am I to say that I know what someone else's motives are? Who am I to impose my own opinion of who I think they are, or what I think they mean, rather than simply noticing and appreciating the complex, interesting, and unique individual in front of me? I'm not inside their head - the assumptions and the instant reactions to the assumptions have got to go.

I have been actively making an effort to strip away the years of mental conditioning that I have built up, and to see people with fresh eyes - a brand new perspective versus my same-old same-old point of view.  It's pretty exhilarating. I highly recommend taking your point of view and making it go all topsy-turvy. 

One frequent result of my old behaviors (which of course still exist - I am a work in progress, as we all are) was angry, frustrated reactions to things or situations that didn't really warrant anger or frustration. Unfortunately, anger and frustration all too often translate into a raised voice or a nasty tone, both of which I would prefer to eliminate from my life.

I read a blog post today that had an excellent idea for what to do once I've started down the road of negativity - telling myself to "Come Back." I don't have to continue down the road just because I started down it. I can stop and come back to where I was before.

Two phrases I am now incorporating into my life in an effort to be a human being that will be "remembered for my smile, not my scowl," a person who is "a safe haven, not someone to avoid" are "This Moment" and "Come Back."

Here is the blog post by Rachel Macy Stafford that inspired my own:

Come back.

"Come back.
Forgive yourself.
Forgive the one who wronged you.
Decide this isn’t over.
Decide you’ve only just begun.
Lower the bar. It’s good enough for the people who love you.
Scale back. Surrender the pressure to “do it all.”
Take ten minutes to do something you love.
Take an old hand or a young hand in yours. See loving memories and future possibilities in their palms.
Whisper: “Let it be. Let it be.”
Declare: “I cannot control, so let me release.”
Turn up a good song.
Call up a good friend.
Hug the person nearest you.
Hug the person farthest out of reach.
Put something of value in someone’s empty cup.
Put something of value in your own cup.
Walk outside and spot something beautiful.
Dig inside and find something beautiful you thought was gone."

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