My family just landed in Costa Rica after a weekend with Tony Robbins at his Unleash the Power Within seminar in Dallas, Texas. Tony has been a virtual figure in our home for years through his books, videos, and audio courses. We've implemented a number of his teachings and techniques in our personal growth and were excited to pump up the volume by experiencing him in person. And boy did it!! Not only was the convention center rocking with exciting music, all eight thousand participants spent hours jumping, dancing, hollering, and rejoicing in our greatness.
Those of us who sneak under the radar of social taboo get away with never having to face how much of our lives we are wasting away at the bottom of an ice cream tub or in the grips of a video game console. And that, in the end, might be our greatest loss - for we can escape the pain that got us there, and thus miss out on the lessons that pain has to teach us.
Every time I try to get to bed at 9pm, the time I know will get me the best quality of rest, the best hormone production, and the happiest mood, I get nagged by the feeling that I’ll be missing out. Everyone is up to something fun and exciting, and I’m going to bed? It’s like trying to put a little kid to bed while a huge party is going on in the living room. Good luck!
I'll admit it. I bite my nails. Sometimes more and sometimes less. I'd chew them to pieces during college exams and still do when I have, say, a blog post due on a tight schedule. And it bothers me. I have all sorts of judgments of myself when I do it, or when I see others' broken nails and bleeding cuticles. I really should stop, don't you think?
My dad used to smoke. A lot. It’s one of the reasons I had asthma as a kid. And then one day after a gnarly visit to the hospital, he quit cold turkey. I saw smoking not only as the source of my breathing issues, but of my father’s date with destiny. Every time I came anywhere near a smoker, I held my breath and felt my blood boil. Didn’t they know what they were doing to themselves? What they were doing to me?
Thus, it came as no surprise that my first inquiry using The Work of Byron Katie revolved around smoking. The question is, what was worse for me, the second hand smoke or the first hand anger?
Watch this video to see what happened during the inquiry...
In my daily life, I teeter between wanting to wallow in the swamp of life's challenges and wanting to pull on my galoshes, hold my head up high, and strut through the muck like a warrior queen. It's the dance between playing the victim and taking ownership of my life. And though there's sooo much chocolate frosted comfort in wallowing in self-pity, there is no lasting joy, no fulfillment, and no growth there.
Do you ever find yourself upset, but aren't sure what you are upset about in the first place? I find that my mind can evade my detective's glass and scurry about like a hamster gone loose. I've been facilitating others' personal growth for years and find that I'm not alone. Many of us get lost in the maze of our own thinking. It's like the ego wants to suck us in so that it can sap all of our energy in its web of misery.
I come from a family of very strong women. They've always inspired me to grow and to push myself to ever greater heights of self-actualization.
My mother in particular is a pillar of strength of character. She sets audacious goals for herself and blows everyone away with how she is able to not only achieve those goals, but keep reaching to greater ones. If there is one mantra that she dished out when I was growing up, and to be honest, still to this day, it's this:
"Anything you put your mind to you can do."
The problem for me, though was that, for much of my life, it felt like my thoughts were ruling my mind, not me. I for one, was never able to turn a switch and get my mind to stop thinking. It’s like if I tell you not to imagine a blue horse, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll have a blue furry friend braying his way across your mind’s eye. It always seemed that an innumerable number of thoughts were racing through my head. Many of them, to be honest, made me quite miserable. My favorites are “I’m a failure” and “I’m unlovable.” I’ve noticed I’m not alone there. Those thoughts are among humanity’s top 10 all time hits.
So I’d either succumb to the misery my thoughts created or go into fight or flight trying to run away from them. I was either in prison or an escaped convict. And neither of those positions puts you in the driver’s seat of your life, in a state of calm, mindful control over yourself and your actions. So, the question is, how do you gain control over what you put your mind to?
Most people who meet me assume that, as part of my full on crunchy-granola healthy living package, I've been doing yoga for, like, ever. But the reality is that except for a quick class in college and a few months in the neighborhood, I've never made friends with a yoga mat.
That was... until a few months ago. I'd been carrying around the "should" of doing yoga and the desire to quiet my mind and become more flexible for ages. But I never acted upon it. Then a friend told me that she's been doing Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and not only loves it, but has her kids doing it too! "She's so cute. You just want to be friends with her," she told me. I sort of nodded and quickly forgot about it. But somehow, way down deep, my friend had planted a seed.