Liberation Through Perception Variation
I’ve decided to start a section within the Wellness part of the blog that is dedicated to realizations I have along my journey of this funny, bizarre, complex, intricate, simple and delicious thing called LIFE. I think a part of me has wanted to do something like this for a while, but I was hesitant as I was unsure of how comfortable I was with sharing some of my more intimate processes in fear of criticism. But, I have realized (realization No.1) through life experiences and then re-learning it yesterday via reading the book You Are a Badass (a quirky, non-mushy self-help book by Jen Sincero): WHO CARES?
By caring to the point of non-action and not sharing that which I think could help or resonate with someone, not only am I inhibiting my personal growth but I am also completely limiting myself in my everyday experiences of reality. How? by holding onto limiting beliefs that I somewhere in my mind think are doing me good. Limiting beliefs are exactly that: LIMITING. When I cam to this realization I was sitting in my garden, under our Avocado tree, reading this book and thinking to myself: “F*** YEAH!” actually. I am going to sit with myself long enough to observe and analyze the limiting beliefs that are holding me back, I am going to call them out, one by one and I am going to give them a stern talking to. And then consequently either evolve/change the beliefs, or … let them go. So this is me, letting go of the limiting beliefs that surrounded my desire to share. Some of the limiting beliefs were things like: "who would read what I have to share? What if I get criticism?". It's so funny looking back now as I am writing this, looking at all of the stories my mind tells me in order to hold me back because it's "safe". It may be safe, but it is also boring to live a life in fear of being cracked open by life itself. Consequently, I have had one of the most expansive and growth-provoking two weeks as a result of sitting with myself in our garden and questioning the beliefs I held dear which were in fact doing nothing but limiting me. Through doing this inner work I was able to open a new space within myself - a space that is free of that judge-y voice. A space for creativity and LOVE to grow abundantly.
Going deeper into WHO CARES:
I realized while sitting under the avo tree thinking about my blog and wandering if what I am writing now would actually reach/resonate with anyone and then I realized that those that need/want my message will find it, those that want it will read it, and those that do not, will not. If no one does, then it will have filled its’ purpose anyway in so far as helping me process my processes through the simply process of writing. Not to mention the profound emotional benefit I experience just through the process of being willing to be open and share what I learn! I found such immense liberation in this realization because it took the pressure off of me to try and subconsciously please everyone – and for this process to just be about those who it does reach. Instead, it allowed me to move the focus from that of being external and outside of myself to a more inward focus of the process itself and about the articulation and expression of my experiences. For me the important thing is my intention behind it and feeling creative freedom of expression as available to me by releasing limiting beliefs through this process of OPENNESS. These are two of my biggest intentions with these posts and in fact, the entire blog. 1. I really hope to inspire people to live a healthy life in all of the myriad of subjective ways that this entails, I hope to show hoe easy and ENJOYABLE it is to live a compassionate, sustainable and nurturing life. 2. I hope to grow, learn and simply share my experiences and to connect with people who share in these experiences in the hope of learning from one another, growing and changing. 3. I want to create more and more openness and transparency within my life and I would LOVE to connect with people all over - so if you are reading this, feel free to pop me an e-mail or comment. I LOVE hearing from you all! So this is me, BEING OPEN. BEING VULNERABLE AND HONEST.
Going deeper into WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK IS INCONSEQUNTIAL:
I think one of the biggest epidemics of our time is this constant concern with how we think people perceive us and what this holds in terms of meaning or relevance to our lives. My dad once highlighted this very point of “WHO CARES” to me with such accuracy that the experience has etched a permanent mark in my memory bank, and heart. I was going through quite a rough patch (understatement of the century) in High School with regards to self-concept, self-esteem, my perceptions of my life and myself, body image … the works. I was having a particularly bad day (flailing about having panic attacks and feeling miserable) when my dad simply said, “get into the car my love”. I listened. We drove to High Street and he parked outside Bata, the local shoe shop. He said, “what do you think of that women there, carrying the bag with the red scarf around her neck? What do you think, feel and observe?”. She was a really big woman: overweight and clearly struggling somewhat to walk. So I said in the nicest way possible, “she is very big, she looks quite uncomfortable, she looks sweet enough and she is smiling but I would be so uncomfortable if I were that big.” Now he said (drum roll for the bum clincher moment …), “now what effect does what you have to think about her have on her life?" There was a long pause while I thought about it. "I will tell you" he said, "ABSOLUTELY ZERO! What perceptions you hold in your mind about her are absolutely and irrevocably inconsequential to her life and existence. So, why do you feel that what others think, feel or observe about you have anything to do with your life in terms of direct relevance or impact?”. I sat there. In awe. Dumb-founded by the simplicity of this realization, but more so dumb-founded by the sheer lack of awareness I had had about how essentially inconsequential other peoples’ thoughts or perceptions about me are to my life and my being. For so long my actions, my insecurities & my self-doubts had been fed by this concern of what other's thought of me but from that moment onwards, something shifted. Whenever I was overcome by insecurity, I checked in with myself: why am I feeling insecure? More times than not it had to do with my concern for how I thought others’ were perceiving me and then from that experience onward I was able to dissolve much insecurity by reminding myself that their perceptions or thoughts about me literally have f*** all to do with me. Even if they are thinking the nastiest, most demeaning things about me, (which more than likely they are not and that insecurity itself is likely a projection of my insecurity within myself onto them) it is not my truth, it is not my experience, it is, as my dad so aptly says, “their shit”. This perception change relating to insecurity changed so much for me. What is even more funny is that people are way too involved or insecure about their own stuff, to be thinking about you and if they do it’s for a fleeting moment and has literally zero impact on your life. The only impact it could have on your life lies within your giving energy to that concern (which in itself is invalid because “it’s not your shit”). What I think about you has more to do with me than it has to do with you. What you think about me has more to do with you than it has to do with me. Let it go. Be with yourself without the concern of others’ perception. Be your own point of inspiration and inner-knowing. Be your own. Live in yourself comfortably with the knowledge that you are whole, you are complete, you are full, you are rich, you are beautiful, you are enough, you are you. Stand strong in your own presence. Release the comparison, release the competition, release the judgment. Live in love – for yourself and for everyone around you. Embody your fullness. It is as if the fear of not being full enough (in a metaphorical sense) actually makes us not full enough because we are not realizing the simple truth that we are FULL & whole. Watch how your entire world changes as you live through a lens of love instead of a lens of judgment (whether that be the fear of being judged or judging another or judging yourself), through a lens of energy rather than through a lens of form & appearance.
Going deeper into WHAT ARE MY LIMITING BELIEFS?
One of the most insane things I have realized over the last few years, which was catapulted into my awareness again yesterday, was how sometimes things that we perceive as “truth” or “reality” are simply just perceptions or perspectives of reality. These things that we see as "hard truth” are not “true” (they may be true for us in that moment because we give them so much power by believing them, but they are not objectively true) they are simply conditioned mental patterns of perception. Ask yourself: IS THIS TRUE for me? If the answer is yes, ask yourself WHY, WHY is this true for me? Where does this “truth” come from? Why am I/do I hold onto this truth so tightly? Does it serve me and those around me? What purpose, relevance and meaning does it hold for me in my life? Does it serve me in living my highest good? Is there another way to explore this truth? Is there alternate truths out there that could be truer than this truth is for me right now? If the answer is no (to the first question of "is this true for me?"), STILL ask WHY, why am I holding onto this? If it clearly isn't true for me WHY do I find it important? What meaning/service has it had in my life until this moment? Am I willing to let it go? If there is resistance there, INQUIRE into the nature of this resistance. GO into those spaces of intuitive reaction: inquire, explore and open up to the curiosity within and allow the curiosity to lead you to deeper truths within your being. And then there will come a time to re-evaluate those truths too. Life, in my opinion, is a constant cyclical process. A process of learning, growing, and INQUIRING. It really takes a wide birds’ eye view of your own mind and awareness to be able to look deeper into what limiting beliefs and mental patterns you are holding so dearly in place. Particularly those that you see as a simple truth – thus never requiring interrogation into their validity. However, these are the ones that probably most need interrogating, questioning and curiosity. It takes an openness and an honesty to sit with yourself long enough and truthfully enough to bring these beliefs to light – to uproot them from their firm and familiar imbedded homes that make up your reality. It is important to do this as they are often the root cause of unhappiness or dissatisfaction, in my experience anyway. Having said that, you do and can have (in my opinion) set beliefs and roots that positively benefit your life. But today I am talking about the ones that clearly are limiting your potential to live a full, rich life that feels positive and vibrant with life force energy. We are all able to tap into that kind of an energy and attitude towards life. It just takes some internal digging into the inner dimension to identify and uproot some of those limiting roots of belief that sit so firmly in their comfortable place without having ever been questioned until now. This is what people mean when they say “the power of the mind is great”. The mind is powerful. And you CAN change your perception of your reality. If you feel it is not giving you the results, experiences, emotions, states of being that you would like to be experiencing, pull yourself towards yourself (in the richest sense of the word) and IDENTIFY YOUR BELIEFS. So first thing is first: identify them … and then question them. This leads perfectly into the next one …
Going deeper into QUESTIONING & RESPONSIBILITY:
Is there such a thing as an objective truth? In my opinion no. And with that comes the freedom and the responsibility to take charge of your own life and experiences. What I mean by responsibility is that you have complete free reign into how you choose to perceive, react, feel, think and BE. You really do. In this, there is freedom because this makes you realize that you REALLY CAN CHOOSE HOW YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE YOUR LIFE. Sure, things happen that are out of our control (and just as well because I feel I for one need to learn how to forgo the need to control and learn to move with the fluidity and flow of life) but what IS in our control is how we experience, perceive, react and live it. There is that famous quote that goes something like, “we can’t change what happens to us but we can change how we react to it”. Our ability to deem something negative or positive within a matter of seconds has less to with the actual experience itself and more to do with our habitual mental tendencies and patterns of perception (which draws back to the first point: are these limiting? Are these creating negativity in your life? Are they hindering your ability to live a life of peace and calm and contentment?) If yes to any of these: then sit with yourself, examine your patterns of belief or your habitual perception filters and their function in your life and if appropriate, LET THEM GO or alternatively, actively change them to better suit & align with your fundamental Truth or Atman (soul). I feel like only through the process of questioning and constant inquiry can we begin to know ourselves and actively choose which beliefs we want to hold close to us and those we want to chuck out of the closet. It is important to know your true self on a deep and intimate level because through this knowing you can start to actively choose the beliefs that you know will serve you best by aligning these beliefs with your truth. It becomes about stripping away untruths that we see as truths, and then sitting in that space of energetic equilibrium or peace and feeling ones’ very own nature.
Going deeper into SITTING WITH YOURSELF:
When you sit with this essential “ness” of yourself – you realize that not everything has to be deemed “good” or “bad”. Our monkey minds find it so quick and easy to make these rash decisions as to whether something gets slotted into the “good” box in our minds or the “bad” box. However, often it is our intense ability to have such preference about things that causes us to struggle because as soon as something goes against our preference we feel frustrated, angry, short-tempered, agitated or in some cases like the whole world is just against you because “nothing is going my way” (I am sure we can all relate to that one at one time or another!). Look, I am not saying don’t care or don’t ever have a preference (sure if you like almond milk over soy milk don’t not prefer that – I am simply saying if someone brings you a soy milk latte instead of an almond milk one instead of being hung up about the fact that it’s not almond milk, be grateful, be present and say “thank you for the latte!”). So again this is not to condone negative behavior or circumstances – but what I am saying is to LOOSEN UP where it matters (i.e. in the little things). A great example of this is the weather. A lot of the time my mother hates the heat & the wind. When there is wind she freaks out. And I mean literally. So, through interrogation it becomes clear that her life would be a WHOLE lot easier if she released the preference of not having wind and if she simply accepted the wind for what it is which is: there. When something is happening and it is manifest in reality, it is there. It is happening. So what point is there in resisting what is? If it will empower you in some way sure, keep resisting. If not (which is most times the case), let it go. Because more times than not resisting not only drains energy but it is also completely POINTLESS. This is where some of the above points come into play, too. Change your perception filter through releasing resistance: if you generally don’t like the wind and you are caught outside in the wind change your perception of the wind. Or get out of the wind. But change something! YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR REALITY. Own it. Take responsibility.
Find the mediums through which you can explore deeper into your internal world: for me that is YOGA. For others, it may be running, or sitting in stillness. Whatever it may be. Do it often. <3
Anyway lovelies, more on this to come. I think I have blabbered on long enough about perception for one post! Congrats if you’ve made it this far into the post ;) and THANK YOU - i appreciate you all so much for being on this journey with me. Sending you all so much love.