Archive | September 2014

Whose Life Are You Living?

I’ve noticed something about myself lately – and maybe you can relate. I think I’ve developed a nervous tick of sorts. You know like that funny twitch or anxious habit we don’t even realize we’re doing? Mine involves my phone – and my tendency to grab it and start flipping through social media at any “down moment” in my day.

It’s funny to me [well, more amazing than funny] that when we, ourselves, become more aware of something in our own lives, how apparent it becomes all around us. While in line at a coffee shop the other morning, I noticed a girl at her computer scrolling through celebrity gossip columns. The person behind me was scrolling through Facebook not even looking at any “stories”, just flipping. As I walked back to my own seat, I saw two other computers with people looking at Facebook..then I realized I also had my phone in my own hand, open to Instagram — and it got me thinking, whose lives are we living?

On the PhoneHow much time do we spend looking at other people’s lives [and comparing it to our own] versus being present to our own habits, thoughts and actions each day? How much time are we investing in cultivating our own health, happiness and well-being instead of pouring over the “happenings”, successes, stories and bodies of those around us? Even more so, how much time do we spend talking about other people’s lives – gossiping, making fun of or cutting them down? How much emotional energy do we expend trying to be something we’re not? Coveting the body of our high school friend we see on Facebook, the celebrity gracing the cover of whatever magazine or trying to be the “ideal, perfect” [and may I add non-existent] version of ourselves? And whether we acknowledge or stop to think about it or not, the media, Facebook, Instagram are all snapshots of the BEST moments in people’s lives – not a true capture of reality. Let’s be honest – when we don’t like the way we look int a photo, we either don’t post it or we de-tag ourselves, right? I know I’ve been guilty of this more than a time or two.

But the question I really want to get it as how much time do we REALLY spend focused on our own self-worth, happiness and well-being [in a positive way]? We spend so much wasted time looking and coveting the lives, bodies and possessions of those around us. And this practice, in my opinion, leads to a culture so wrapped up in “looking good” to others + presenting a “perfect image” that we’re living in a perpetual cycle of criticizing both ourselves and others. It’s all very superficial isn’t it?

The truth is, we spend so much time caring about things going around outside ourselves and around us, that we forget to pay attention to what’s actually going on inside us and to us.We’re so wrapped up in the image we present to those around us that we forget to actually connect and be present to the REAL LIFE moments that are happening around us every day. Ladies especially – we have a tendency to covet the things around us [the bodies + lives of other women] and try to fit ourselves into a mold that in no way, shape or form serves us. In fact, it does quite the opposite – causing us to tear down our fellow women and in turn, criticize our own perceived unworthiness.

So I have a challenge for you [and myself] — to get us more present and aware of our own thoughts, behaviors, habits and lives. Put down the phone, shut down the computer and choose to BE in each moment. Be present to what’s happening in your own life. How are you feeling and what thoughts fill your head? Do these thoughts and feelings build you up or tear your down? What’s your energy level like? Are you engaging in practices that nourish your energy + spirit or suck it away? Are you connecting with REAL people on a daily basis or spending more time scrolling through social media?

#1: Develop a regular gratitude and/or meditation practice. For example, you could keep a daily gratitude journal, taking the time to write down 3 things you’re grateful for each day. Or better yet, if it involves people, send THEM a thank you note – handwritten, email, text or phone call to let them know how much they add to your life. For meditation, I am not saying you need to sit in silence or OM. For me, my meditation involves visualization in the morning – running through my day, thinking of the people I will see and things I will accomplish, along with the energy I will project and feel throughout the day. You could also do a short 5-10 minute “workout” – I love yoga-inspired movements to wake up my mind + body right upon rolling out of bed.

#2: Ditch celebrity gossip, news and TV shows. Or least cut down on them as a start. Remember, anything we “take in” helps to form the thoughts and beliefs we have about the world and ourselves. Although many people use reading magazines or watching reality TV as a way to “wind down”, I believe we waste precious time “tuning out” when we should be tuning in. I encourage you to seek activities that will give you energy vs. suck it out of you; or at least ones that add VALUE to your life.

#3: Stop trying to look like anyone else. We’re bombarded with pictures of “fit people”, models and the “ideal body: that all serve no purpose but to make us feel bad about ourselves. And, they aren’t reality. Photoshop is used to distort most photos we see and on top of that, people often engage in extreme dieting and unhealthy, non-lasting “weight loss” tactics leading up to photoshoots that again, paint an unrealistic picture. Let me tell you that there is no one in the world created with the same body type, personality and thoughts as you – no one. And that’s freaking awesome! You weren’t created to look like anyone around you for a reason, so I encourage you to embrace your uniqueness and stop trying to sculpt a superficial look that you were never meant to have. To begin to cultivate a deeper sense of self-love, try standing in front of the mirror and stating things you love about yourself – inside and out on a daily basis. It might feel funny at first, but the effects will radiate deeper than you could’ve imagined.

#4: Ditch distractions and be present. Be present with your friends + family when you get together. Be present at your meals, chewing your food, tasting your food and acknowledging the reasons you’re eating [be it hunger, emotional, boredom or the like].Be present to your thoughts and notice their nature – are the positive or negative? If negative, can you replace them with a positive thought or consciously choose to let the negative thought or feeling go? Be present in your body – noticing what FEELS good and what doesn’t. And above all else, try to connect to yourself and those around you as much as you can, whenever you can instead of the superficial connections generated through social media outlets. Stop scrolling and start living.

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