In my last post I mentioned mindfulness and presence as tools to bring you out of resistance and into moving forward with a task.
What exactly are mindfulness and presence? Ubiquitous buzzwords in the self-help and spiritual communities, they are often used interchangeably. Let’s take a look.
In the example of being hijacked by my resistance to finish a blog post, I stopped writing to check laundry, do dishes, and rearrange my workspace. Eventually, I became present (what’s happening in this very moment and why?), recognized my resistance and the associated “avoidance” activities, and returned to finish the post.
Had I been practicing mindfulness, I would have become aware and conscious that my urge to get up from the computer was an avoidance program kicking in and I would have nipped it in the bud and never got up in the first place. If I had stayed present with my writing, the other activities wouldn’t even occur to me.
This is just one example. I’m sure you’ve heard of mindful eating as a tool for weight management. Have you ever blown through a bag of chips or bowl of ice cream while watching TV? That is mindless eating. If you are mindful and present, it’s not likely that you’ll finish an entire bag of chips and wonder where they went.
Easier said than done? You bet! It takes practice, but the rewards are well worth it.
Your body is your subconscious mind. Memories are stored in your body. If something doesn’t “feel” right, often you don’t do it. The knot in your stomach, constriction in your throat, or pressure in your chest are indicators that your subconscious programs are kicking in. Pay attention! This is where your work is done.
What are your strategies for ignoring this resistance? Checking email or Facebook? Changing the laundry? Shopping or running errands? Doing dishes? Organizing your workspace? These are just a few examples of avoidance activities that hijack us when our subconscious programs engage.
It’s these very programs that are keeping you stuck – in fear, shame, guilt, not-enoughness. It all boils down to some variation of FEAR – fear of failure, fear of success, fear of humiliation, fear of wasting your time, fear of disapproval, fear, fear, fear of anything.
Does any of this resonate with you? While writing this I did three of the above avoidance activities – laundry, dishes, and changed my workspace. My subconscious patterns were hijacking me! What brought me back to writing? Mindfulness. Presence.
Stay tuned for more on mindfulness and presence.
As a personal trainer since 1994, I have partnered with countless individuals on their journey to a fit and healthy lifestyle. Many of them achieve their goals and decide to proceed on their own to live their new lifestyle. I see them a year or two down the road and they are as out of shape and overweight (or worse) than when we began. What happened?
If you can relate to this then you are in good company. Research suggests that 50% of persons starting an exercise program will drop out within the first six months. (Wilson & Brookfield 2009).
It’s not because you are weak or have no willpower. It’s not because you’re not good enough or don’t have time. It’s because your brain patterns are stuck in the rut of habit and lifelong programming. You have to reprogram your brain to maintain long- term success. You have to be mindful of your negative self-talk and treat yourself with the same love and compassion you would a dear friend.
In his concluding summary at the Mind and Human Potential Conference (2009), (You Tube: The Brain and It’s Potential), Dr. Evian Gordon states that BIG changes can only be achieved through very SMALL steps.
Take it one day at a time. One habit at a time. One step at a time. Be patient with yourself. Be easy about it. Life is supposed to be fun.