It’s been a lonnnnng couple of years, wouldn’t you say?
I mean: First, a pandemic — which alone is a first in this lifetime, and more recently, the war in Ukraine, inflation, impending international upheaval and security, and a feeling that we are perhaps going back in time instead of progressing forward.
I don’t want to be negative, but the truth is that NONE of this even speaks to the challenges you have faced personally… perhaps a job changes, relationship challenges, struggles with health, finances, and whatever else you personally have been facing.
Nope. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but things do not appear to be looking up at all.
But….. Just because it doesn’t seem that the world is looking up does not mean YOU cannot look up. In fact, you really must. It’s the only hope and possibility for reprieve that we have when it feels like everything “out there” is spinning out of control.
The world is changing, and there’s a good chance that the world we are going to be living in some years from now could look significantly different than the world we live in today. The world, in so many ways is out of control — and at the very least, is out of YOUR control.
So what CAN you do?
I’m about to tell you, but before I do, I feel it is important to say that what I am about to say to you is likely going to feel rudimentary. It isn’t particularly profound or outside of the realm of what you already know to be true. But knowing it between your ears is different than living it. Being able to repeat something doesn’t mean you’ve embodied it.
So, what CAN you do? Now THAT is a very good question. It is a question that begs us to turn our attention within. As my teacher says, “you can’t control your mommy or a tsunami!” As if to say — anything outside of yourself (aka the world) is not where you ought to turn your attention when you start to feel the “spin”.
Instead, you turn your attention within. For what is going on inside IS within your control…. And given that’s where you LIVE… it’s a darn good start. And it’s the most PROMISING place to start.
So then. Let’s get at it, shall we?
I’m going to go straight for the jugular: If you want change, YOU are where change happens. Your life. Your choices. Your moment to moment decisions… and like I said earlier, it’s not rocket science. It’s simple.
So, I’m going to lay out a few “basics” for some ground work… and then I am going to go broad, and all the while I am going to keep this all very practical.
Start SMALL. Don’t concern yourself with BIG changes — instead, notice the small things.
I’m going to share with you a few of my “go-to” practices and t you might choose one of mine, or implement some other ideas that fit you and your lifestyle.
1. Sit every morning for THREE minutes . Three minutes. First deepening your breath and then steadily bringing your focus on the physical location of your heart. Breathe into your heart and say “thank you” for everything for which you have gratitude… your feet that carry you, the birds that sing, springtime, your eyes that see, the roof over your head, laughter, snuggles from children, critter paws, friendships, parents, fresh picked flowers and weeds from your walk in the forest.
2. Make a commitment to eat REAL food. This means if it doesn’t look like the way it was “made” from the earth, don’t eat it. You can find real food everywhere — even at the gas station…. like a little bag of almonds, or an apple, or an avocado. Expand your vision of what you can eat for a given meal and notice how the options open up, and then make it a habit to bring real food with you and to only eat real food. If there’s no real food — don’t eat. I know that might seem extreme, but almost always the one piece of real food you find (like the little convenience store bag of dry roasted nuts, as just one example) will give you a hefty heaping of healthy fats and proteins, and quite honestly, this is all you need until you can get to your next full, REAL meal. Real food — in comparison to highly processed or packaged food — will make a huge difference in your energy, your mood, your perspective and your overall vitality.
3. Move your body — everyday. We forget (or maybe we don’t know) that it is actually easier to do something every single day than to make the commitment to do it 90% of the time (e.g. 5 of the 7 days a week). So, make the commitment and keep it super simple — like walking for ten minutes or stretching to two songs, or only checking Instagram when on the exercise bike… (which means you’ll either only check it once a day, or you’ll be on your exercise bike more frequently)! Whatever the case, make an ALL-IN commitment to something little and let it be non-negotiable. Non-negotiable means you can’t talk yourself out of it. (Think of it this way, when was the last time you were “debating” with yourself as to whether or not you were going to brush your teeth today? It’s the same thing — make it so small and part of your routine that it becomes as natural as brushing your teeth.)
4. Just 5 things. I have begun to do this practice of making a “short list” of the five things that I am committed to working on today. They can be personal or professional, for my family or my community. They can fit into any category at all, but they are the “5 things” that I commit to keeping my attention turned toward — clean the fridge, prep food for the week, go for a hike, get a massage, call my mom, clean the house… you name ’em — but only 5 of them. And for me I find that there are the “big three” and a couple extras… meaning, there are three that are big ones to check off my list or work toward completing and then there are a couple others that aren’t so huge but still important.
5. Practice kindness. One act, one person, just one. Choose someone in your life with whom you want to connect today and do so wholeheartedly. Write a note (does anyone even do that anymore?), make a phone call, make it a point to serve throughout the day… Just one person and put both feet in, both ears, both hands and your whole heart. If it is someone you are with regularly, see if you might anticipate their needs or desires, or if it is someone far away, call or Facetime them and tell them you love them and ask them to share with you the details of what is happening in their world.
That’s ALL I’ve got for you — just a few ideas but these are both small and HUGE at the same time. Now, you might choose to take these five things and make a plan for yourself. Steal mine or write your own… but either way, start small. SO small that you even wonder if it is going to make a difference, and then don’t waiver. THIS is how you get control in an out of control world. It isn’t “out there” where you start to reclaim a sense of agency over your life. Nope — it has to start from the inside out…. THEN… from there, you will feel more resourced, more available to your life, and have more energy to tend to hopes and dreams, and all the other stuff life asks of you.
The last word is this: this world is uncertain and unpredictable. And from where I sit, it feels a little volatile and out of control. So, I am here to say — take back the wheel. Take it in both of your hands and hold on lightly and let go lightly….. keep your eyes open and keep long, deep breaths coming into the lungs. We simply can’t know what is going to happen out there. But IN HERE… (pointing to your heart) this is your domain… this IS in your wheelhouse, and it is where anything good that you ever do begins.
So, if you want more of where that came from, be sure listen to this week’s podcast and download my getting started guide below:
The hardest part is knowing where to start…
This little “Getting Started Guide” holds a few favorite practices to lighten your load and get you headed in the direction of living your best life. Why on earth would you wait? You can start now! Simply enter your information, and I’ll send it to you right away.