In my previous post I spoke about finding your purpose and got requests for sharing universal tools that can be used to help us find our bigger purpose in life.
The tools I share are ones that I discovered as I researched for finding tested and tried tools to help ME pin my purpose. This doesn’t mean that there are no other tools available, it’s just that each tool has helped me at various instances. So, use what works for you and own it for your self-growth. Use the tools as you start your journey and keep visiting them time and again as you feel you need direction. Most of all do share it with somebody you know will be able to utilize them for personal growth. After all collective change creates a far bigger and sustainable result than individual success.
1. Connect with your inner self:
Find that me time and just calm your Monkey Mind. It is easier said than done, since humans do tend to believe that they are infallible and they do not possess anything but the best mind, hence do not need to work on the Monkey Mind. That we are all calm and settled is but a fallacy, since humans are dynamic living beings, unless and until one is a zen master. There is constant chatter around us -both in thoughts and action which leads to millions of cells being activated and being in a state of constant motion. Recognizing the fact that we need a few moments of total inactivity and achieving those moments in our day is the biggest service that we can do to self. So snatch those moments in the day.
Figure out which time of the day and what works best for you, do you have to request partners or families to not disturb you in those moments, do you need a cozy rug or pillow or chair or are you comfortable in the outdoors. There is no fixed rule, just take that first step to spend time with your thoughts, watch them as they move in and out of the Monkey Mind . There are endless videos, websites that can help you quieten your mind.
My first step was to just focus on my breathing as it moved in and out and of course actually talking to my monkey mind and asking it to park the thoughts that came in, for a later time of the day. Simple yoga breathing exercise -pranayama and its various forms have helped me immensely. It is a practice I started following as a high school kid under the guidance of my late grandfather and later my father. Learning from experience of elders has been an add on benefit to this life scheme called Self Help. Just follow your breath and sit in absolute calm. Try doing this before sunrise each day and witness how you can grab the day.
2. Identify, acknowledge and accept your feelings:
It is absolutely natural to have feelings that make us happy and feelings that pull us down.
If COVID 19 has taught me something it is to be able to identify and honour my feelings—positive or negative. The positive is easy to come but the negative needs a lot of soul searching. For someone who was travelling every fortnight and was away from home for work and enjoys visiting new places, the fact that being able to travel was not a possibility, was catastrophic. Not being able to meet loved ones and friends, not being able to visit schools and work with stakeholders was the biggest setback that I had to tackle and it took me a while to accept that the calm and ever composed me, too could get anxious . The moment I identified that I was unable to deal with uncertainty, things started changing for better as I could address the cause that bothered my monkey mind.
A friend has started talking to an online counsellor to help her give closure to life’s setbacks. Another young woman has started following a youtube channel to learn meditation. Whatever you wish to do , whether it is talking to yourself each day or talking to someone who is professionally trained ,do it and just identify, acknowledge and respect your feelings. It is the toughest thing to do but the biggest game changer in life.
3. Read Up, Listen Up or Watch- Stay on top of things :
The biggest boon to the society is the internet, giving us unlimited access to content and enabling learning, enabling sessions with the world’s best minds, allowing us the privilege to be able to read case studies, to hear about personal stories and to stay inspired on this journey called life. COVID 19 has brought in lot of misery but at the same time taught human race to stand up as one and support like never before. We have the brightest minds offering free online sessions through webinars, institutes and companies promoting good practices on online platforms, and lots of e-books readily available for those who wish to save on paper. Make use of whatever spare time you can, use your smart phones and tablets for purposes other than just social connect and entertainment. Get into the learner mode and use your time well.
I generally read three books at a time-one that connects with my profession or talks about and discusses the world at large, one that nourishes my mind and soul and the third is just a fun light read. It keeps my mind well engaged and gives me food for thought as I try connecting the dots.
If you do not enjoy e-books then order online, request friends or visit a library if it's open but do read. There will be no stopping when you find it worthwhile, and if you do not enjoy reading then you’ll always have excuses to not read. If you are not into reading, build up the habit by taking baby steps and start with short blogs and news articles and gradually invest in the book. Take your time but do read up. Do not miss out on great learning if you are not an avid reader, go ahead and listen to podcasts or watch videos to help you grow. Once you set your mind to it, there is no stopping.
After the COVID 19 travel ban , I have attended at least one great webinar each week, enrolled myself into courses I might have never had time to do earlier( some free of cost), listen to a podcast each day as a routine. Every time I listen to a podcast of a person I admire or a cause I believe in, I witness exponential personal and professional growth in myself. The inspiration to contribute lights up once more.
4. Reclaim your Power:
There will always be chatter around you, cluttering your mind and thoughts.
Learn to press that invisible button that helps you switch off from the chatter, build your shields and don’t let the chatter bother you. Everybody goes through an emotional upheaval which might or might not be COVID 19 related. It is your job to not let the emotional garbage of others be dumped on your self-care territory. Press the pause button and wait for a couple of minutes before you reply to that verbal garbage, email garbage or slandering. Figure out if it is worth your time and energy, stand up for yourself by all means but from a place of strength and courage and not by reacting to acts that count toward emotional garbage. Be on the lookout for toxic relationships, identify them and deal with them the way you would deal with a toxic life-
threatening situation. If you are unable to do so seek professional help to enable you to understand where to draw the line. Set boundaries not just for others but yourself too. And claim your power back.
Since time immemorial journaling has been used as a wonderful and simple tool for the writer to share thoughts, record ideas and empty the emotional baggage. Just be careful not to get caught in slandering and outbursts. It is best to stay focused on self and not get too attached to writing what others are saying or doing, after all you do want to cut down the chatter. I have found keeping a gratitude Journal as a strong tool that helped me realize when to say no to a job, to identify my fears and to appreciate and be thankful for what I already have. It has been a magical tool that has helped me track feelings and action plan my next steps-big or small. Practice that attitude of gratitude and the act of kindness and compassion, for there is nothing more courageous than a thank you for what might be a way of life for you but a privilege for another.
6. Tree of Life-
Though I am listing it last, it is not the least important one but a highly recommended first step if you have managed to cut the chatter and are in a positive balanced frame of mind. Dig deep within those tiny little areas of your soul and figure out what are your strengths and what is it that pulls you down. Work on the strong inheritance that has been passed down to you through your genes. There is no stopping you, be the unstoppable you, figure out what drives you and go for it with a heart full of peace , a mind full of fresh ideas and a killer instinct-the world is yours to take over for you will be what you believe.
My next posts will have suggested links and samples , so stay tuned.