Ever procrastinate and find endless other things to do rather than do what you know would be the best thing to do? That was me last Saturday. I was needing to follow through on a commitment to make some videos for my free 'Peace of Happiness' course. I know in my heart that is what I want to be doing, but somehow I was finding all sorts of things to do and excuses to avoid doing it. I did what I call 'procasta....baking' for hours producing lots of jars of sauce, bread, soup, and cakes. Which is great, I love to bake and it is fantastic to enjoy doing it and sharing it too! But in this case it didn't feel good as I knew I was trying to avoid doing what I said I would do.
On Saturday I was definitely using baking as a distraction from what I needed to do - the videos. Part of it was fear too, I wanted to get it perfect and was waiting for the right time to do it. The fear excuses came up "my hair is not how I want it, it's a dull day, I don't feel bright and focused, etc.". I know that it is impossible to get things perfect and was reminded of a saying 'Don't let your want for perfection become procrastination'! So no excuses, all anyone can ever do is their best; but they need to start and be willing to make mistakes. Often it is the starting that is the problem. I have found it useful to tell myself I will do it for 10 minutes and then I can leave it. More often that not, I do the 10 minutes and am so involved I end up doing much more and I often finish it! Doing this really helps me get over the hump of avoiding getting started.
So maybe time to get over my fear, which is all about me, and get on to do what needs to be done - the videos!
I checked in with my intention in doing the 'Peace of Happiness' course and the videos.. It was to share what has been useful to me in becoming happier and more confident, with others who want to know what I know. Still I was having problems. I went into the laundry to do some 'proocasta...removal of sticky labels from jars' and fortunately saw the Dalai Lamas wise words on the wall.
We are visitors on this planet,
we are here for 90 or 100 years at the very most.
During that period
We must try to do something
good, something useful
with our lives
If you contribute to other people's happiness, you will
find the true goal
the true meaning of life
His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama
So I got started and did my best to make the videos - they are far from perfect, have many mistakes and umms, but I did my best to stop procrastinating and got on to do what needed to be done to keep my commitment to share with others what has been beneficial to me. And it feels great!! Stopping my procrasta...baking and following through on my commitment made me feel very happy.
Do you have a 'procasta.......activity'? A friend of mine's son has very long procasta...showers to avoid starting his homework. Again there is nothing wrong with a nice long hot shower especially in this cold weather. However, it can be helpful just to check in to ask yourself and ask, if you are using this activity to procrastinate and distract yourself from something you know you have committed to and are avoiding doing. Remember it always feels great to do what you say you are going to do :)
Ever find it hard to speak your truth without harming yourself and others? This can be tricky. Our emotions can be strong and can lead us to express ourselves in unhelpful ways. For example we may find ourselves in a situation where we are frustrated or angry with someone or a situation, and don't know how to express how we feel wisely.
I found myself in such a situation on the weekend, where the house seemed to be getting messier and no one seemed to be picking up after themselves. I noticed my anger and was mindful of being aware not to respond in familiar unhelpful habitual ways. My unhelpful responses include to
There are 5 (or sometimes 3 or 4, depending on the source) aspects of wise speech which may be helpful here
Wise speech is ...............
1.. Well intended - What is my intention in saying this?
Yes. I wanted to get across to others that it is respectful to those we live with to clean up after ourselves (no matter who that is - family, housemates or friends). It is not helpful or respectful to myself or others to not speak this truth.
2. True - not exaggerated or out of context.
It was true the house was untidy and that others had not cleaned up after themselves on that day. It was not true that no-one ever does anything to help or that no-one ever tidies up after themselves.
3. Helpful/Necessary - is to helpful to express how I am feeling and seeing things?
Yes, it is helpful for others to know it is important to be respectful of those we live with and the space we share.
And it is also helpful for me not to get into that 'burning martyr' or 'angry nagging mother' role
4. Timely - Is this the right time to say something?
Yes, I had thought about my response I was not acting out of habit. We were all there together. It is helpful also here to state what is needed and set a realistic, respectful time limit. "I need it tidied up this instant!" - when someone is the middle of something else may not be helpful"
5. Kind - can I express it without blame, criticism or put-down?
Yes, I can speak my truth "I am feeling angry about all the mess, I don't want to blame or criticise. I want us all to show respect for ourselves and each other by cleaning up after ourselves". So lets please clean up ..........
These 5 guidelines do not mean that the other person will respond in the way you want. But they will help and you can know in your heart that you did your best with a kind intention.
Taking time to think about these 5 things before you deal with a tricky situation will help you respond from that wise spot instead of from that unhelpful habitual reaction.
If you haven't quite handled the situation as well as you could have, Regret and forgive yourself and others review the guidelines and do a 'better best' next time. Developing a new helpful habit of speaking your truth wisely takes time and practice.
It is also very helpful to think about these guidelines when you are speaking to yourself as well. Do your best to practice wise speech to yourself too.
Starting a mindfulness meditation practice is an important step in developing these helpful new thought habits which will help you to be happier and more confident. I would love to assist you to start a meditation practice with the 'Worry to Wonder ' programme.
To find out more click here http://www.pom-melbourne.com/courses.html
or Email me so we can have a chat email@example.com
Ever board that 'Express Worry Train', to Devastation Station? I think many of us hop on board unmindfully and let those worrying thoughts take us to a stressful unhappy place. We all can prevent this train wreck by being aware of how unhelpful and untrue these negative worrying thought habits are causing us worry and unhappiness and making a conscious effort to stop them. We are then free to put a helpful new habit in its place. Neuroplasticity, that understanding that the brain is plastic or changeable allows us to create new neural pathways or 'thought grooves' that are more helpful. With mindful awareness we are able to stop recreating that unhelpful thought pattern groove over and over and instead create a more helpful one that will reduce our worry and make us happier.
I was reminded this week of how easy it is to hop aboard the worry train. The end of semester and school term is here and 'swating' students are everywhere. I remembered back to year 11 Physics, which for me was a train wreck. I now understand how this experience taught me a wonderful lesson. I didn't really like physics or my teacher really and while it was tempting to blame the subject, the exam, its content and position in a packed timetable and the teacher, I realise now I was the one responsible for it being a stressful experience. I didn't know any better at the time! No need to bash myself up though - I was doing the best I could with what I knew at the time. I have been fortunate enough to learn some helpful new responses and will continue to do my best to practice them.
I remember the lead up to the final exam - I was a reasonable conscientious student and had certainly put in a fair amount of study but I decided that "I was going to fail the exam, that I hadn't done enough work, I, was too dumb to get it, I was going to freeze when I got the exam, I would be unable to answer any of the questions, it was a disaster, I would fail for sure" and on and on it went. I wound up at 'Station Devastation' a nervous somewhat hysterical wreck.
STOP that train. If we be mindful of that first negative thought and stop ourselves boarding that negative thought train we can prevent the devastation and create a new helpful thought habit. When we think about it' none of these thoughts are true - I hadn't failed, frozen or been unprepared yet because I hadn't even sat the exam!!
So what advice would the wiser Maree of now, have for that scared, worried teenager?
So next time your frenemy stress comes to visit ...................
Starting a mindfulness meditation practice is an important step in developing these helpful new thought habits which will help you to be happier and more confident. I would love to assist you to start a meditation practice with my 'Worry to Wonder ' programme. Email me so we can have a chat firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever expect yourself to be perfect or to get it right every time? Are you ever hard on yourself when you don't achieve the desired result or even worse make a mistake? Often, I like most of us, tend to be my own worst critic. Following a so called 'failure' I can easily slip into the habit of critical negative self talk. This is never helpful. Two truths that have really helped me be mindful not to slip into the habit of critical or negative talk both to myself and others are
So often we expect ourselves to be perfect and think we need to wait until we are perfect before we can feel good about who we are and our lives. When we understand that perfection is an impossible goal for anyone we can stop exhausting ourselves with trying to achieve it. It may be tempting to go to the other extreme and say 'well if I can't get it perfect or be perfect, why even try!
Understanding that perfection is impossible does not mean we do not try to do our best. It is important to give our best effort to things that come up; we all know the difference between a good effort and a foolish slap dash effort.
As long as we have given whatever situation arises our best effort (considering our available resources at the time) despite the end result we can be happy with ourselves. Often when we have done a particular task or dealt with a certain situation we can see both, things that have gone well and things that we could have done a little differently. We can learn from our experiences when we ask ourselves
We all make so called 'mistakes' they allow us to learn and grow.
So often we look at our so called 'mistakes' and think of ourselves as a failure somehow. Rather than do this it is much more helpful to recognise and celebrate the effort you put in, regardless of the result. As I said above we are not in control of the outcome - life is full of ups and downs. We all make mistakes and things often don't go as we had planned. What is most helpful is to not get into that negative, critical self talk and instead see it as a learning opportunity. When we accept we all make mistakes we are able to forgive ourselves and others for these and are free to accept our and others imperfections and do our best with whatever comes up. When I think about it some of my so called mistakes have led me to exactly the place I need to be. Things like failing to get into medicine, get that perfect job, have a family easily, get the tap steps right and be a model mother, have been perfect opportunities to develop humility and compassion for both myself and others.
Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living. We all make mistakes, they help us learn and grow.