“Life is meant to be enjoyed, not half-lived as a shadow of its potential.”
How do we move from hanging on, making do, compromising ourselves, and trying to be happy to a flourishing life of fulfillment, openness, and peace? When we make deals with ourselves and justify decisions that we just are not in our best interest, we travel down the road to distress and dissatisfaction.
What is needed is this: turning our attention away from the people and situations of the world and pointing it inward to an investigation of our inner reactions and viewpoints. Finally, we are called to look inside. This 180-degree U-turn shines the light on the underlying belief systems we carry into our lives and project onto events and relationships. As we weed the garden of our inner lives, we prepare the soil for vital seeds to flourish.
Enjoy Your Life
The purpose of working through problems is to allow our natural radiance to shine through. Problems are veils that hide our true self. They can show up in our lives in many ways: relationship struggles, symptoms such as anxiety and depression, challenging life circumstances of any kind, difficulty quitting smoking or losing weight, being unclear about our life direction.
We know that our natural radiance is freely expressed when we are aware of any of these qualities: joy, inner peace, happiness, well-being, openness, love, gratitude, compassion, receptivity, clarity, quiet mind.
When we are at ease, we enjoy our lives. We are receptive to whatever happens, and we respond appropriately. Even when we are challenged by life, we don’t get lost. Peace remains undisturbed.
Veils that Hide Your Natural Self
When we are caught in a conditioned pattern of thinking, feeling, or behaving, we experience dis-ease, frustration, and unhappiness. Signs that you are stuck in a habit are:
- Resistance to what is happening, wanting things to be different than they are
- Blaming the other
- Feeling like a victim
- Too much doing, busyness; unable to be still
- Unhealthy behaviors
- General unhappiness or dissatisfaction
- Spinning in thoughts and mental stories
- Believing you are right or believing you are wrong
- Feelings such as fear, anger, shame, defiance, sadness
- Helping too much; unable to say “no”
Do you recognize any of these?
Unraveling Automatic Habits
Automatic, ineffective habits of thinking and behaving are asking for our attention. Paradoxical as it may seem, the very existence of these patterns is the doorway to releasing them. When patterns play out unconsciously, they invariably cause suffering to ourselves and those around us. Once they are seen in the light of conscious awareness, they relax and let go of their hold on us.
By bringing our full attention to the thoughts, feelings, and body sensations we experience when we are triggered, the patterns tend to lose their drive and fall away naturally. Your loving attention is the true medicine for suffering. If you continually work with these habits as suggested here, you will feel less reactive and be able to respond to situations in your life with greater ease. There are few guarantees in life, but this is one of them.
This process uses all of your experience to support you in ending self-sabotage and living in freedom.
Keys to Freedom
- Essential qualities required: openness to change, flexibility, curiosity, willing to explore your inner world.
- Become aware of the pattern. Be mindful. Do this by developing an inner neutral witness that can observe your thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. Be curious, like an explorer, to see how the pattern develops and operates. Becoming aware is the moment of celebration. Now, you can make a conscious choice rather than being stuck in a habit.
- Exclude nothing; welcome everything. Be receptive to all of your experience – body sensations, emotions, thoughts, energies. Create an open, loving space in your inner awareness, and welcome whatever arises. Abandon all stories, and allow the bare experience as it occurs in the moment. You might notice that when these experiences are allowed to be, the drive or pressure behind them reduces, and they no longer trap you.
- See all situations in your life as a gift. As Byron Katie says, they are being offered for you, not to you. Every situation, every moment can be used as an opportunity to free yourself from conditioned patterns. By consciously investigating what is constraining you, the patterns release. You are open and alive. Say “Yes!” to every moment, without resisting, and you are free!
- Continually inquire: What is my inner experience? What is asking for my attention? What is my inner guidance asking of me? What is needed? How can I take better care of myself? Live in this receptivity, no matter how many times a pattern or emotion arises. Things come and go of their own accord; our job is only to be lovingly present with what is.
Living in Renewal
Live the moments of your life with ease.
- Take a few moments every day to relax and be quiet.
- Eat well, exercise, and appreciate your loved ones.
- Laugh, have fun, enjoy yourself.
- Focus on your strengths and on what is working in your life.
- Do what supports your well-being; let go of what brings you suffering. So simple.
- Allow yourself to experience pleasure in all forms.
What have you discovered about living A Flourishing Life? What blocks you? I’d love to hear….