Self Awareness [Get The Life You Want: Part 3]

This is part 3 in the series ‘Get The Life You Want.’  Part 1 can be found here

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A few months back i decided to write a book documenting my journey to my dream life, and helping others to accomplish their dreams.  It is not finished yet, but I have decided to start publishing it a few paragraphs at a time as a blog series.

The real work starts here.  If you are determined to live your dream life, you need to know yourself inside and out.  You need to understand your thoughts, feelings, and desires; what created them, and what triggers them.

Finding Your Dream

A Journey of Self awareness and Self Discovery

This can be scary.  You’ll have to face parts of your past, and parts of yourself that have been blocked off from recollection.  You will have to revisit painful memories, relive losses, and sit with your suffering.  It is not going to be easy.  In fact it may be the hardest thing you ever do.  However, even if you had no interest in finding and realizing your dream, either for your own satisfaction or for the good of humanity, truly knowing yourself is essential to your psychological health and well-being.

The first step is to become an observer of your own life; your own actions; your own emotions; your own reactions.  Imagine as if you are something separate from your body, and separate from your mind, and separate from your thoughts.  Something that does not do, say, or think anything.  It only watches.  And it never judges.  It does not have a moral compass, and does not see good and evil.  It only sees things for what they are.  Be the observer, and watch as you live your life.  Watch as you interact with your loved ones, with your co-workers, and with strangers.  Listen to what you say.  Notice how you feel.  At least once a day, sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes, and breath.  Let the thoughts come like waves on the beach.  as they show up, acknowledge them, and release them.  Realize that every thought and feeling that you have is a normal thought and feeling for a human being.  If it was not a normal thought or feeling for a human to have, you would not be thinking or feeling it.

If you have never practiced self awareness, do this for at least a week before moving on to part 4.

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Dropping Out of College Was the Best Decision I Could Have Made

It’s been over 11 years since I dropped out of college, and it has turned out to be one of the best life choices I have ever made.  My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. 

Straight out of high school, I really had no clue who I was, or what I wanted out of life (I knew my mom wanted me to become a Lutheran minister, and I was strongly considering it if only to make her happy).  When I signed up for classes at a local community college, I ended up majoring in business and minoring in music (I guess I wanted to open a…Music business?).  My class-load was not terribly heavy, but I still had a hard time dragging myself out of bed for my earlier classes, and after a few weeks stopped attending them.  No one seemed to care, so eventually I stopped going to my other classes as well, opting to wander around campus, hang out in the library, or go to more interesting classes that I hadn’t actually signed up for.  Well I couldn’t keep this up forever, at least not without someone getting wise to my shenanigans, so I had to come clean.

I ended up flunking out my first semester, as it was too late to withdraw from my classes.  My parents were not ecstatic (they were even less thrilled in the coming months when they learned I was getting married and moving 1100 miles away).

Sure, the main reason I avoided my classes was laziness, but it seems college has become the lazy option.

I can understand if you have a vision for your future, or a career or vocation that you would like to pursue that requires a degree, but anymore college is just an extension of high school, a way to postpone adulthood.  Not sure what you want to be when you grow up?  that’s fine!  Just change your major 17 times, you’ll get there soon enough.  Why go out into the real world and get real life experiences when you can spend another 4 to 8 years in a classroom?  And hey, If you’re not happy with your degree, that’s okay, you can just come right on back and get another one.

I am eternally grateful to my irresponsible 18 year old self for being lazy, selfish, and reckless.  That one decision propelled me into a life of travel, adventure, and awesomeness (not to mention the lack of debt!).  I may not have a degree, but I have an amazing wife, 4 kids, my own home, and 11 years of real life experience.  (maybe I would have had these things had I finished my degree, but then again, maybe not)

Disclaimer:  Everyone makes their own personal life decisions.  If college is right for you, go for it, just don’t feel like it’s your only option, or that you’re a deadbeat if you don’t have a degree. 

Can Humans Find a Greater Purpose?

Jõhvnööbikud“Why am I here?”  “What is my purpose?”  “What is God’s will for my life?”  “Am I making a difference?”  “How will I be remembered?”

I have often asked myself these, and many similar questions.  We as humans seem to be programed with an insatiable interest in purpose.  We want to accomplish something, we want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and we want to know why.  We often imagine purpose as something that we must find, discover, or create.  Or something that must be bestowed, or given to us by some other entity.  But purpose is something that is always with us.  It is an integral part of who we are, and we cannot be separated from it.

Consider Water

Water does not strive, it does not desire, and it has no goals.  It does not search out its purpose.  Simply by behaving according to its own properties, it fulfills its purpose.  As a result clouds are formed, canyons are carved, and life is sustained (The water does not aim to accomplish these things, yet they are still accomplished).  The purpose of water is to be water.

Consider A Tree

What is the purpose of a tree?  Other than to grow and to become a perfect manifestation of itself?  There is none.  A tree does not desire to make a name for itself.  It does not try to make the world a better place.  A tree is a tree, and that is its purpose.

Can we live like the tree, or the snail, or the bird?  With no purpose other than to be ourselves?  Is it possible to stop striving, planning, searching and asking?  Or is longing for a greater purpose simply part of our nature?

“The Master gives himself up
to whatever the moment brings.
He knows that he is going to die,
and he has nothing left to hold on to:
no illusions in his mind,
no resistances in his body.
He doesn’t think about his actions;
they flow from the core of his being.
He holds nothing back from life;
therefore he is ready for death,
as a man is ready for sleep
after a good day’s work.”  ~Lao Tzu

Enjoy What Is

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“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to be keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared. You see you wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from the concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love it’s will to reach the sun. Well, we are the rose – this is the concrete – and these are my damaged petals.”

-Tupac Shakur

Don’t be obsessed with your own faults.  Don’t judge the faults of others.  It’s nothing short of a miracle that we are here.  Enjoy what is.

How To Be Human

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Yesterday’s Post outlined my plan to focus on my own continued improvement.  The meat of the plan had to do with changing habits, removing the bad, and adding the good.  However, this is not something that I have done well with in the past.  I often set out to make changes, and start strong, but soon my will power runs out, and I am left in a far worse position than where I started.

Coincidentally, a friend shared with me yesterday a website that he has created called How To Be Human,  Which he described as “a self-help site that will deliver therapy-grade psychoeducation accessible to everyone.”  As a good friend would, I immediately clicked on the link to check out his creation, and it absolutely blew me away.

I have been on a mission to resolve my personal struggles. To live free of anxiety, depression, self doubt, shame and regret, to connect with those I care for, to live in the present moment, to feel and enjoy it, to think clearly, to sleep easily and fitfully, to breathe, to find balance in what I eat, to be comfortable in my own skin whatever that looked like, to not fear being confused and vulnerable, to be warm and caring, to be authentic to myself and others, to find joy, meaning and harmony in how I live, to love, to be happy.

Every step of the way I wondered “what’s the link? How do all these diverse goals hang together? There has to be a simple answer.” This series is that simple answer. It is all part of being human. I have spent the last nine years learning something I didn’t ever expect I’d need to learn, how to be human.

The Series has 11 modules, the first of which is called CHANGE.  The CHANGE module explains our ability to re-program our brains through learning, solution shaping, and enacting change.  It also covers factors that may derail attempts to change, and those that help to facilitate change.

That just so happened to be exactly what I needed, and It has given me a little extra guidance as I begin (once again) my journey to make the most out of life on this planet.

How To Be Human is written with a very easy to read style, while still being extremely informative and educational.  I can’t recommend this series highly enough, and I look forward to reading the second module MONITOR AND MOVE which is scheduled to be released on October 14th, 2014.

Thanks for reading folks.

Thanks For Adding Your Piece to the Puzzle

scan0002Whoever you are, whatever you are doing, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  For your successes, for your failures, for your imperfections.  For keeping your cool, for losing your temper, thank you.  Everything you have ever done has helped to bring the world to where it is today.  Everything so far has led up to this moment.  Your joy and your tears.  Your victories and defeats.  Your honesty, your deception, your cold silence, and your mindless chatter.

We all have regrets from the past.  We all have situations that we wish we would have handled differently.  Many of us have grievances we cannot forgive, hurts that will not heal, and events that we wish we could wipe from our memories.  Looking through the history books, we may not ever agree on who was right, and who was wrong, or which pages we would be better off without.  But can we agree that life is precious?  That existence is unspeakably astounding, and that this moment, this very moment, is beautiful?  All of those events and situations, no matter what we think of them, are a part of life.  They all had a hand in bringing about this beautiful moment, and I think they at least deserve our acceptance, if not our appreciation.  Thank you.

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I’m Afraid to Do What’s Right

“Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.” ~Margaret Thatcher

Life can be a struggle.  We are constantly faced with regrets of the past, and the uncertainty of the future.  Worry, doubt, and fear can overwhelm us.  Every day we have to decide how to use our time, and what course of action to take.  The choices we make can have a huge impact on our loved ones, and ourselves.

I have spent an unhealthy amount of time scouring the internet, trying to find the “right” thing to do, the “right” way to act, the “right” path.  And what I have discovered Is that I already know what is right.  Deep within myself I know the path I should take.  But more often than not, I ignore the voice inside of me, and do what I know is wrong.  Why? because I am afraid.  Afraid of failure, afraid of what others might think of me, afraid of discomfort, and afraid of disappointment.

“Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?” ~Lao Tzu

Be on the lookout for part 2 in this series, when I finally learn to do whats right.