Asking yourself these questions each day can help you tune in.
It’s so important to keep the channels of our communication with ourselves open, always, but especially in this time of challenging life changes that we are all going through, it’s imperative that we do so.
Let me explain what I mean by that.
We often operate on one modality from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. We function on our familiar patterns, going automatically from one thing to the next, interacting, getting things done, engaging and trying to complete the things that our daily lives involve. But many feelings surface during the day, especially in these times. We may feel overwhelmed, upset, disconnected, worried, fearful, out of control. And addressing these parts of ourselves that feel all of these things, and finding ways to give them a voice, is so important if we want to experience our calm.
A friend of mine said to me the other day, “When I meditate, I experience a place of calm and centeredness, but as soon as I start to function in my life my calm slowly starts to disappear. I start to feel anxious and off balance.” This is a friend who’s been meditating for a while, and yet emotions can be very strong and unpredictable. But often because of our daily responsibilities we simply don’t make the time to address these feelings. As adults, we have learned to censor ourselves when we feel upset, disturbed, or hurt. On the other hand, some of us might vent it all out and project it onto other people, which is another way we can feel out of control. Basically, we can walk around getting many things done yet feeling disconnected from ourselves.
So what are we to do? Opening the conversation with these parts of ourselves, and not censoring them, is the best way to bring ourselves into balance. I keep a journal by my bedside, and at night I ask myself these questions:
What worked today? And I let myself write down the things that worked for me in the day. Sometimes they are very simple things; sometimes they are more specific. For example, the other day, when I asked myself, the answer was, “I liked that I worked out on my bike today with my favorite music and I sweated.” Feel free to add as many things as you wish to express, and get to know all the things that you would like more of. That starts to put everything that’s working in a positive light, creating a vortex of what we want more.
Then I ask myself, what would you like more of tomorrow? For me the answer to that question was, “I would like more of that.” The answers come very swiftly. Sometimes, a part of me wants things I cannot give myself at this time. If I say to myself I want to go to the movies with friends, I cannot do that, but I can listen to that part of me about what I need, and what the feeling is behind that — fun, enjoyment, entertainment — and see if there’s something else that I can provide. Very much like a loving mother to a child, you don’t say to the child, “Shut up, we don’t have time for that,” but if you lovingly listen to that part of yourself and give that voice an expression, a safe place, that part can start to feel like the pressure cooker is off. It can tell us how it feels and fully express its needs and wants; and although we might not be able to provide exactly what it wants, we can guide that part towards the wisdom of patience and grace, and see that there is grace to be found in the midst of not being able to give ourselves what we really want. How so? Because that’s where the greatest conversation can take place with the spirit that is always available to comfort us and guide us.
And this is the third question I ask myself, what does spirit have to say to me about this? And I ask a specific question. That’s when I stop, listen and I become very, very quiet, and the answer comes, not from my head, but from the deeper part of me — my wise voice — that gives me the guidance of the particular issue happening for me at this time in my life.
These are the three questions that I find bring me into awareness of what’s working and not working. It’s very simple and doable, and as wonderful as it is to have a therapist, coach, counselor, or loving friend, sometimes the most loving voice is available to us from within ourselves, if we are simply willing to open the door and ask. Build this practice daily of conversing with yourself. There is a vulnerability that can happen during that time. There is a feeling of being unveiled, where your guard falls down and you get into that deeper part of you, and sometimes we may resist that because the ego likes to have its position — even if it’s negative, our ego thrives in its position, pretending it knows everything. Well that’s too bad, because all our egos are now being uprooted and shaken. There is one thing we’re all now forced to do because of our current circumstances, and that is to give up our sense of how important we are. We are all being humbled. Whatever we thought was the way to do things, we no longer have a choice but to cooperate with the nonsensical things that are going on. We are finding new ways to cooperate with one another, asking for help, giving more of ourselves and more of what we have, opening up our hearts to deeper love and compassion, and experiencing neutrality.
I’m sure a lot of us are puzzled with what’s really going on and are pondering how this all even happened, but regardless, we are here now and we need to work with it, not against us, but for us. We need to switch the mindset from being against what’s happening to a deeper acceptance of it all. Allowing our wiser self to awaken, shining its light on our lives, giving us solutions, motivations, and new ways to function and create from that place we never knew before.
So let’s open the new door to our higher wisdom that we’ve been praying for, suspending all judgments and learning how to walk in our wholeness and fullness.