3 Year Sabbatical: Who Do You Think You Are?

Some key epiphanies have come to me in my daily meditations, especially over the last 3 years during this sacred time of learning, that have changed my life completely!

Most of them are around who I believe myself to be.

It’s funny how many invisible beliefs we have about who we are, I’m sure they start from the moment we are conceived and start experiencing life.

I once heard a speaker telling that the reason babies cry so much is that every moment is new and possibly the worst thing that has ever happened to them. That from the time you are conceived you live in a very consistent environment surrounded by soft fluid and tissues, temperature controlled, noises are buffered and the regular beat of your mother’s heart soothes you.

Suddenly things move fast and you find yourself in bright lights, naked, cold and being squeezed and pricked by a needle (if in a hospital), where everything is loud and uncomfortable.

So, it occurs to me that something like this happens to us constantly. It’s pretty much how life is, right?

Every new experience is bright and loud and uncomfortable but as we get older, we have new information to help us interpret new situations and who we are. Who we are dictates how we interact in every moment.

For example, when you wake up in the morning and it’s cold, you know that you should put on some clothes to warm you up, right? It is no longer the worst thing that’s happened to you, not only because you’ve probably been cold before but also because now you know that you have the ability to warm yourself with clothes and turning on some heat. But what if you didn’t?

What if you never learned that lesson or were taught that you that you aren’t capable of dressing yourself?

It may sound ludicrous but there are many situations just like that in your minds that we aren’t even aware of.

For instance, I work with a lady who is an accountant, has been for 40 years and is good at it. Let’s call her Peg. She knows numbers! But, when I found a problem with some investments that weren’t tracking right, she told me she wasn’t capable of figuring it out because she didn’t know anything about investments and let her husband handle hers so she’d ask him about it…

I was floored! This wasn’t about picking a good investment, they were already chosen. The problem was that the numbers weren’t adding up right. That was her job for 40 years – to make sure the numbers added up right but because these numbers were named “investments” her belief that she didn’t know anything about that topic precluded her from doing her job.

For 40 years she knew that 1 apple +1 apple = 2 apples but when it was called 1 security + 1 security = -32 she couldn’t see that it was incorrect because somewhere she picked up the notion that she was incapable of it. Just like if you only thought that you knew how to put on blue t-shirts but not red ones.

Can you imagine?

But, it happens to all of us every day.

When you believe that you can’t cook a good meal, or you’re not the type of person who can take a walk every day at lunch or turn your phone off at night for a few minutes. When you think you’re not pretty enough, smart enough, loveable enough or valuable enough to have the life you want and deserve.

Those thoughts are all false, just like if you still believed that you couldn’t dress yourself.

So, my invitation to you today is to start to become aware of those self-defeating thoughts. These aren’t thoughts that you can identify by thinking about it, they are things that you have to challenge when they come up through the day or will surface in meditation.

How do you become aware of them, then? By asking questions every time you hear yourself saying “I can’t.”

When you think or say, “I can’t” or “I’m not capable”, ask yourself:

Is that true?

Why or why not?

If anything in the world was at my disposal, how could I?

If I had more money, tools, people to help or a magic wand, what would I command them to do?

I’ll use my previous example of Peg again. She believes that she can’t handle anything related to investments. What if when she noticed that belief come out of her mouth, she stopped and asked: Why can’t I figure this out? What if I had to, to keep from being fired?

She may start to think about the things she would require to be more comfortable addressing them. Perhaps she could visit with an investment adviser, take a class on it or even use professor Google to get a short and simple explanation of the basic jargon, which would make it less intimidating.

In the process she would probably see that it is no different than what she’s already good at – just uses a little different language.

At that point, her belief would change into being someone who knows something about investments!

That’s a huge shift.

Another example, what if you think “I can’t lose weight”. Even though you know it would improve your health or maybe your doctor has advised you to lose a certain amount. First, I invite you to ask yourself “Why?”, five times. It might go something like this:

1Q: Why can’t I lose weight? A: Because obesity runs in my family and I don’t have time to work out.

2Q: Why don’t I have time to work out? A: Because I have a demanding job and family to take care of.

3Q: Why do I have to work out to lose weight? A: I don’t. I could eat healthier instead.

4Q: Why don’t I eat healthier instead? A: Because I don’t have time and don’t know how to cook.

5Q: Why don’t I have time and know how to cook? A: Because I have a demanding job and family to take care of and no one taught me how to cook.

At this point, you may not have gotten to the root of the issue but you have 2 clear barriers to entry to examine: Your job and your family.

You can start to ask things like: What if you had every tool, support system and resources you needed to have more time? What would they be?

Perhaps you need a time management class in order to manage your work more effectively, delegate responsibilities or reevaluate priorities.

Obviously, your family is important – why not include having a healthy meal together instead of some other activity that isn’t as beneficial? How could you make that happen? Could you pay someone to make a healthy meal for you? Could you take a cooking class and learn a few simple meals? Maybe you could find a couple youtube videos to teach you (like this one!).

This is really just the tip of the iceberg but the point is that if you believe you are the type of person who cannot lose weight – then that is the truth! But, if you examine that belief a little you can change it!

You can literally be the person you want to be right this very moment just by asking yourself if that belief is true and moving toward who you’d rather be with a little step.

Now I’d really love to hear more from you in the comments! Let me know what beliefs you have about yourself, whether is something you’d like to change or something you love, so I can support you personally. It’s pretty important to the grateful for the ways you are that you love instead of always trying to change yourself too! So, tell me something about yourself you wouldn’t change, as well.

3 Year Sabbatical: How To Get What You Want

 

I always get what I want. So do you.

It’s a bold thing to say, that I always get what I want. It may sound egotistical, spoiled and maybe even a little manipulative but the truth is, we all get what we want.

We get what we choose to have in our life.

Sure, there are factors out of our control, mindsets and physical barriers that bring about the circumstances in life.

Bear with me a moment though.

The second side to this is wanting what you have, as well.

The other day, I was sitting in a room with all of my stuff in boxes (part of my sabbatical was a decision to leave my house, more on that later) and starting to figure out what of it really “worked” for me and going through a third round of donation collection to simplify my life.

I realized that I like my stuff, every bit of it.

Have you ever thought about that?

I invite you to look around you right now and focus on each item you see. Do you like it?

This is a practice in receiving as well. Receiving value and pleasure from the things you already have.

Liking what you already have!

Another question: How much stuff do you buy, just because it’s cheap and will do, for now?

During the first round of simplifying my life, I intended to make a healthy change and eject as much plastic from my surroundings as possible.

Mostly because plastics constantly give off hormone altering chemicals and can cause serious disease even in very small amounts.

Have you ever left water in a plastic container over night and tasted it in the morning to find a plastic “flavor” to it? Not good. Really!

Also, plastic is made from petroleum and there are environmental concerns about production processes and the waste, toxic chemicals leeching into ground water and overabundant trash filling our oceans that lasts forever. You’ve heard all of this before and it’s a good example of how to inform yourself so you can choose what you want, intentionally!

So, for my health and to be a better steward of the world, I decided to not only quit buying plastic but to remove it from my life in the most responsible way possible.

It was shocking to see how much cheap plastic there is in my life and in the world!

Through that process, I learned that most of us are touching plastic every single moment of our life!  Microfiber sheets and polyfiber clothing, plastic liners and packaging on food and even when you’re naked in the shower – the floor is probably plastic and the water is moving through plastic pipes depositing a chemical film on your skin to absorb into your blood stream (skin is particularly permeable when wet btw).

You may say, I don’t want that! Because I certainly said that.          I don’t want that.

But, you know what?  We have chosen, as a community, to build our world this way…even if it was just a byproduct of convenience and overindulgence – we want convenience and an abundance of cheap stuff.

Otherwise, we wouldn’t spend our hard earned money on these things, even when it’s just a little or once in a while. We have traded delayed gratification, quality or quantity and educating ourselves for mindless consumption of products that are leeching chemicals and may be killing us all slowly and painfully.

Likewise, many of us choose shallow relationships out of convenience and not wanting to make the effort or prioritize our time and resources toward developing trusting and loving partnerships.  Others want deep and meaningful relationships and make intentional choices to bring them into their life.  Does that make sense?

That’s how you get everything that you want – you actively choose it.  You don’t just fall into it.

Back to my first example: No, I don’t like it when I drop a glass jar full of food and have to clean up the splinters. Perhaps a plastic container would bounce and stay sealed but I don’t want the chemical nightmare of health and environmental dangers for me and my family. So, I choose what I do want and here’s where it gets complicated:

I receive what is there for me when the thing I don’t want, happens.

If I drop a jar, as I’m cleaning up the glass wishing I wasn’t, I use it as a cue to ask what I can receive in that situation. Maybe it’s a lesson to be more careful – more MINDFUL of what I’m doing in every moment. My intention to live every moment of my life fully includes paying attention to slippery jars! I want that opportunity and reminder to pay attention to my life.

Now, we’ve come full circle from getting what you want and wanting what you get. It’s not about having rich relatives or a government grant for an endless stream of cash – it’s about your mindset, awareness and intentional choices.

It’s about how you look at and think about who you are and how you live your life!

It’s about receiving every moment with attention and intention, to make the best choices.

Simply put, if you intend to appreciate every experience in this life because life is a wonderful gift, not to be squandered – you get what you want!

Today, I’ll pause with a quote that I love and a request that you leave a comment below about something that occurred in your life as a byproduct of a choice you didn’t actively/intentionally make.