Reconnecting with my Seat of the Witness - 7 Day Challange
I had a couple set-backs this past week. My Yoga Beat class was dropped at the Fit House due to low attendance, and I got caught in a negative self-talk pattern of "I am not enough", for no reason other than feeling like I could be doing more in a few areas of my life. I find it quite interesting that I can know rationally that I am more than enough, that I am living the life I created, that growth takes time and patience and persistence, and that I learn most from my struggles, yet, if I am not consciously aware and mindful of my thought patterns I can still slip into a place of feeling sorry for myself.
Once I started to remind myself of how lucky I am, how grateful I am, and how proud I am of what I am doing with my life, I began to feel myself pull out of this slump. I had a few inspiring conversations with people close to me that brought more insight into what this negative thought pattern could help me break-through, in terms of another layer of my Limiting Beliefs.
The only difference between a pessimist and an optimist is perception; what they focus on over a considerable amount of time. Whatever you focus on you create more of. We are creatures of habit. If you consistently focus on where there is not enough, where there is struggle, where there is pain, where there is misfortune, where there is a lack of fairness, etc. you are feeding energy to that thought process and will continue to seek evidence that this is the nature of reality. But conversely, if you focus on what is working, where the bright-spots are, where there is beauty, love, connection, community, and positive growth, your mind will seek out more instances where this is the case. We see what we believe to be true!
My sister made the connection that it is somewhat like the Eye of Sauron in Lord of the Rings (I realize this connection could be dissected and many errors could be found - this is just a loosely made connection). The Eye is a powerful force of perception that can shine its light of awareness and create influence on whatever it focuses on, much like the Seat of the Witness we can step into in our own mind. In this example, the world in Lord of the Rings is like your brain. There is a story and action going on in every corner of that universe, but the eye can only witness and focus in on a small portion at a time. There are 11 million bits of information being processed in your brain each second, but only 30-50 bits of that can be conscious. Your "Eye of Sauron" scans the massive amount of information and stimulation and can narrow in on whatever is chooses; the battles, the negative forces, the weaknesses, or the beauty, the courage, and the learning and growth.
The more we can train ourselves to step back into the Seat of the Witness behind the scenes, detached from the emotional pendulum swing, the quicker we can recover from set-backs and the easier it is to learn, grow, and enjoy the moment for what it is.
As a way to keep this top of mind, I have created a challenge for myself to spend 15 minutes each morning, for one week, writing about what I am noticing, what I want to create and embody in my day, and what I am learning from the process. This follows the outline of looking for a Strong Beginning and a Strong End, and being flexible and flowing with the middle. We can't be all effort and we can't be all surrender. This practice helps frame the day with Intention while still leaving plenty of space to go with the flow. I set my clients up to practice this, and since my Mission is to lead by example and be vulnerable with the process, here goes...
Monday April 25 (Day 1)
I woke up feeling pretty damn good this morning. I had a great sleep. I ate really well yesterday, had a couple amazing sweat sessions, soul-fueling conversations, and overall balanced day. This definitely helps me wake up the next day feeling refreshed and energized.
Within two minutes of being awake today, I had grabbed my phone and was scrolling through social media. I see a friend has launched a new website that looks amazing. I see workout photos, creative workshops being launched and promoted, and free online training and webinars for aspiring coaches and small business owners. I notice the thought creep into my head, "That looks much nicer than what I have done" and "Am I doing enough?" Interesting. That comparison instinct is a sneaky one.
Today I choose to focus on being my best self in everything that I do. My mantra is "I am unique and create experiences and platforms for others to own their unique and brilliant selves".
Among the many things on my to-do list, I choose these three Actions to embody my Mantra....
1. Do one creative and organizational upgrade to my work space at home
2. Post once on Social Media, and otherwise, only scroll through once today for a total of 3 minutes
3. Work for 30 minutes total on each project/workshop coming up in the next two months
Tuesday - Day 2
I woke up excited to engage in this practice today. It gave me something tangible and creative to focus my attention on as soon as I blinked away the fog of sleep. It felt great yesterday to commit to being more present in my own life and not reach for my phone at every idle moment to check on the social media world. This realization made it easier for me this morning to not reach for my phone as soon as I woke up. I have been awake for 30 minutes and have solely focused on my own breath, which was supported by a couple minutes of gentle mindful movement before I sat down with my laptop. This routine feels good.
Yesterday I got my Actions done, except for the third one. I have quite a few projects on the go, and it was not realistic to work for 30 minutes on all of them. I have committed (to myself) to begin writing a book and develop an App, and I need to begin to work on both of these projects weekly if I am going to make some progress on them. To keep my Actions realistic, I need to choose 3 or 4 projects to focus on each day, instead of blanketing them all together and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work I am in the process of creating.
I had a couple meetings with clients tonight but both have been rescheduled to later this week and next week, so I have an open schedule. Today my Intention is CONNECTION, as I noticed yesterday that despite getting lots done, I felt a bit disconnected and in my head because I didn't get my sweat in until the end of the day and I had limited connection with the world outside my apartment and to-do list.
With Connection as my Intention today, my Actions are...
1. Get to a new group workout class today (Samadhi at 11am and Santosha at 430pm)
2. Get outside to sweat, go for a run in the early afternoon
3. 30 Minutes on creating the "story-board" outline for my book and 30 minutes on prep and promoting my YEG workshop
Whatever else gets done today is icing on the cake. <3
Wednesday - Day 3
I am feeling good today. I went for a run yesterday for the first time in a couple weeks and it truly brought me back to balance. Running is my best medicine. I felt powerful, free, and any residual stress from my downturn last week melted away. That compounded with two amazing Yoga classes, and a movie night with my little Sister Teresa and good friend Talia, made for a pretty incredible day.
I woke up to this image today (see below). My amazing sister Katie has three little kiddos and today is her youngest's Birthday. Audrey is my only niece, for now, as Katie is pregnant with another girl due early July.
Audrey embodies pure joy, courage, honesty, adventure, and love. She reminds me so much of me when I was a little stinker, before the world and hormones layer on self-doubt and caution. I truly hope that with her amazing parents and brave uncles and aunties, this little girl will stay the wild and confident ball of energy that she is today.
Today my Intention is to embody the pure joy and fun-loving attitude that this precious lady exudes. I choose to breathe fun and character into everything that I do. I will remind myself to smile and not take myself too seriously. I will play music in the background and let myself sing along and dance whenever the mood strikes. I will share my love with others and not hold back when my truth needs to be spoken.
1. Complete Cue Cards for YEG Workshop
2. Try my first class/workout at the Commune
3. Set a reminder in my phone to go off this afternoon, that will say, "Let go, just love and laugh it off"
Thanks for the inspiration my sweet little princess Audrey ;) xox
Thursday - Day 4
I had some odd dreams last night that had me feeling anxious when I woke up this morning. Even though I know they were just dreams, the residual effects of stress in my system seems to last longer than I expect it to. So first thing this morning I have to remind myself to let go of that unnecessary feeling of stress and embrace the new day with a blank slate. A little bit of coffee and gentle yoga will do the trick.
I have a fun day ahead of me. A couple of coaching clients, a meeting with a friend regarding a project we are collaborating on, and teaching my Yoga Beat class. I have had a fairly productive week and am feeling good about the momentum I have created. I am also feeling sore from an awesome workout at the Commune yesterday and I can tell I will need to stretch a few times today to get myself in good form for tonight's Yoga Beat class.
So today's Intention is Balance. I know I can't be all Effort or else I will not enjoy the day as much as I could otherwise. I have a long to-do list but I need to make presence and going with the flow a priority as well. Balance reminds me to slow down. To be efficient with the time I choose to work and relaxed and enjoying the moments I choose to let go.
My Actions today:
1. Pack veggies and protein snacks to ensure I am eating and fueling myself all day
2. Complete one hour of focused work before I leave the house this morning
3. Write out May Goals tonight in my notebook
*Starting Balance and Self-Care now with 5 minutes of yoga to connect to my breath and work through some of the aches in my body.
Happy Thursday everyone ;)
Friday - Day 5
I wasn't able to make time to write first thing when I got up, since I was up at 5am and taught a spin class at 6am. I am back home now, had a 20 minute power nap, and am now ready to get on with my day.
Yesterday was beautiful and full of intentional and meaningful connections and conversations. I absolutely love being a coach. The clients I am currently working with are completely different, at different stages in their life, with different struggles, interests, and needs. Yesterday I met with two clients, and it was a wonderful reminder that when I am other-focused and open to receiving signals regarding direction of conversation, my own stress or struggles melt away. I light up when I am intentionally serving and supporting others.
With that said, I am also excited to have a full day off tomorrow. The new workout classes I have added to my busy schedule and the occasional and unnecessary late night followed by an early wake-up has got me feeling ready for a day of R&R.
But today is what is real right now. I can officially let go of yesterday and I know tomorrow will get here without my focusing and calling it in. Today I have a couple coffee dates, another spin class to teach, and a yoga class at a private residence in the afternoon. I know we are all busy people and I am honored to know you are reading this blog and that others are making time to show up to the classes I teach. I don't want to take that for granted and I feel called today to truly appreciate what I have and who I am surrounded by.
So today my Intention is Gratitude. I will smile today when the sun touches my face. I will stand tall with my shoulders back and appreciate my strong and healthy body. I will breathe deeply and notice the smells I take in as I move around this beautiful city. I will connect with strangers passing by and do what I can to support and uplift others through kind words, meaningful gestures, and leading by example. Today I am grateful for the struggles I have had over the past couple of weeks because it has brought new depth and curiosity into how I can find more balance and grow my mind and body to the next level of development. I am grateful.
My Actions for today:
1. Write out my Goals for May (I didn't get to this yesterday)
2. Connect with a few family members and send my love their way
3. Finish up the tasks on my to-do list so that tomorrow can be a foot loose and fancy free kind of day ;)
Saturday - Day 6
I am feeling less inclined to sit down and write today. Not because I am not feeling well but because I am feeling really good about having a day without any commitments and I don't want to bring structure in where structure is not needed. But now that I am actually sitting and reflecting on my week and thinking about what kind of day I want to create, I see this as being a very beneficial practice to continue regardless of the day of the week. My Intention will embody less structure, as will my Actions. But continuing to practice looking for a strong beginning and a strong end, and allowing flow and flexibility for the rest of the day is enough structure to feel supported and create progress.
Despite feeling the urge to relax on the couch all day, I know that doesn't serve me well. It brings in other habits that I am trying to work on letting go of. So today my Intention is FUN. Simple. Realistic. Flexible.
My Actions are:
1. Take my time. Don't rush from one thing to the next. Truly enjoy each moment and allow myself to take the long way, go on tangents, discover what's around the corner, and keep my eyes and head up and open, ready to receive what each moment offers.
2. Connect with my brothers. Whether phone call or in person.
3. If I end up on the couch, finish writing my Brandedyyc article rather than put on the tv
That's it for today. I am feeling clearer and lighter already ;)
Sunday - Day 7
It feels good to finish what I started! Seven days of reflecting, writing, and posting my Actions each morning to set up my day. When I first left my full-time job and launched dopeame, I engaged in a morning routine every day for months. It was slightly different each morning, but it always involved setting and Intention and Actions for the day. Once I built up momentum and became busier, I let go of that practice. I don't think I need to bring it back in indefinitely. but a few mornings each week would be beneficial.
Over the past week I was reminded of the importance of noticing my thoughts early on in the day so that I can let go of thought patterns that are not helpful and choose the thoughts that will elevate me for the day. It has nothing to do with being aloof or naive to reality, it is all about change my perspective and knowing that yesterday is done and tomorrow is not worth stressing over.
Today my Intention is CHOICE, and my mantra is CHOOSE YOUR THOUGHTS WISELY. I am heading to teach spin in 10 minutes and then I have the day open to connect with friends and family and set my week up by getting an hours worth of work done. I want to continue the progress I have made this past week by noticing my thoughts all day and consciously switching gears whenever I feel my thoughts are deflating.
My Actions for today:
1. Set a reminder in my phone to go off in the afternoon that says something along the lines of, T.H.I.N.K.? Are your thoughts True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind?
2. Get one hour of focused and efficient work done
That's all I need today. ;)