Mindful

The two universal laws of impermanence are uncertainty and unpredictability. When life changes unexpectedly, we can often feel off balance, insecure, and unclear of what really matters and/or what to do next. This is normal. What can support us to reclaim our life and tap into our internal wisdom is re-asserting our strength of mind and heart.

Mindfulness and compassion are two important qualities that increase our resilience. At this pivotal time in our world, we need to cultivate both. Mindfulness allows us to see things as they are and turn toward challenges. We can turn toward the uncertainty and difficult feelings around the US presidential election, we can turn toward the devastating truth of climate change, we can turn toward the pleasant and unpleasant with greater wisdom and thus freedom. Compassion is “being with” the suffering of oneself and the other with a fierce heart. Compassion in action has the ability to heal and transform oneself and thus the world into a place that takes the welfare of all beings into consideration.

When is a time that you realized that you gave away your power?

We have all had experiences where we spoke honestly about our feelings and needs and it was judged or dismissed—or even or worse, resulted in love and/or support taken away. Based on these experiences, some of us move into people-pleasing behaviors and often say yes or nothing at all, when we really want to say no. As a result, we don’t assert or claim what we authentically feel and need, and thus we give away our power.

I found in the 10-day mindfulness and authenticity challenge I co-led this October that when we lead ourselves with greater authenticity we feel more empowered in our life.

Here are two of the mindful inquiries we explored during the challenge:

How do I give away my power?

  • When I listen to the critical and judgmental thoughts that disempower my worth, potential, and abilities.
  • When I am going too fast.
  • When I say yes, when I really mean no, or not yet.
  • When I don’t listen to my feelings and needs.
  • When I don’t stick up for myself and share my feelings and needs with others.
  • When I am not taking good care of myself with exercise, meditation, nutrition,
    connection, sleep, self-care, etc.

How do I feel empowered?

  • When I slow down.
  • When I ask for support.
  • When I really listen and then take care and support my feelings and needs in action.
  • When I share my truth in a kind and skillful way.
  • When I claim my inherent good worth, kindness, and competence in the world.
  • When I surround myself with people who love and accept me for me.
  • When I spend time in nature.
  • When I engage in healthy practices that nourish my mind, body, and heart like exercise, sleep, healthy food, connection, play, learning, and meditation.
  • When I feel engaged in a community or group with a shared goal or intention.
  • When I feel on purpose in my life.
  • When I am creating.
  • When I am helping others.

We have all had experiences where we spoke honestly about our feelings and needs and it was judged or dismissed—or even or worse, resulted in love and/or support taken away. Based on these experiences, some of us move into people-pleasing behaviors and often say yes or nothing at all, when we really want to say no. As a result, we don’t assert or claim what we authentically feel and need, and thus we give away our power.

Daily Power Practice

When we feel more empowered, we have the capacity to better stand up for what we feel and need. Try this practice to feel powerful in all areas of your life:

  1. Close your eyes and let your awareness turn inward to your breathing and the sensations in your body.
  2. Breathe deeply from your belly for 1-5 minutes until you feel your body and mind relax.
  3. Connect to the power within you and outside of you by imagining your breath flowing into the top of your scalp and through your body to the bottom of your feet.
  4. Think of a time during the last few days when you gave away your power.
  5. Do a scan of your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, what do you notice? Where is the body feeling tightness or tension? Allow whatever to arise to be greeted with acceptance. Turn toward all physical sensations with kindness and allowing. What emotion is present: fear, anger, and/or confusion? All emotions are welcome.
  6. What is the story you are telling yourself?
  7. Now ask yourself: “How old is this part of you that believes/is experiencing this story?
  8. Tell yourself, “I transform and let go.” You are letting go of this thought so that it has no power over you.
  9. Open your eyes and shake it off. Do a few movements in your body to somatically discharge any old, disempowering beliefs that do not serve you.
  10. Now bring awareness to your belly, connect to your strength, the talents that you have been cultivating for years, your resilience, and your good worth. Feel the many ways that you are a powerful person. What new and empowered thought can you feel right now?

As you move into the rest of your day, come back to the wise and strong person that you are. Connect to this place in your belly and stand from this spot.

Finding Inner Strength

A few years ago, I was dating a man for several months, whom I deeply loved and had aspirations of a long-term future with. We came to a crossroads in our communication one challenging day and instead of him having the capacity to stay in the relationship and conversation with me, he shut down and left completely. No contact, no repair, no resolution, here is your stuff, gone. It was one of the most difficult experiences I have gone through and believe me I have had several in this lifetime, and expect to have more. Yet, his leaving didn’t break me, in fact it was a huge gift. I felt devastated at first and didn’t quite know how to surf this new and unexpected change. I was moving through the stages of grief and loss (denial, anger, bargaining, deep sadness, and acceptance). I feel thankful for having a strong mindfulness practice that enabled me to really turn toward and thus feel all my feelings. After about two months of daily tears and uncertainty, something shifted within me. I was practicing intense self-love, was claiming myself, my worth, and my life in a way that I had never done before. It was as if my “inner superhero” kicked in.

My inner superhero is She-Ra. She exemplifies strength, femininity, sensuality, and a fierce heart. Her superpower is compassion. During that difficult period in my life, I had a phrase I said to myself daily: “Carley, I am 100% here for you no matter what.” When I could tap into my innate strength and wisdom, I felt empowered, worthy, loveable, and could do and be anything that I put time and attention to. From that day forward my life has blossomed into a deeply transformative and amazing path.

What is your inner superhero saying? Here are some ideas from my inner She-Ra toolbox:

  • I am paid well just for being me
  • I make things happen
  • I am loveable, resilient, and supported
  • I have everything I need right now
  • I attract love and support easily

What we feed the mind, knowingly or unknowingly, deeply impacts how we orient to others, to the world, and to ourselves. If we don’t have the capacity to train the mind, we will be moving through the world unable to access our greatest potential and thus our greater power and well-being.

Would you like more support to inspire your inner superhero? Join the free live webinar on November 16th, 2016 at 6pm PST.
Carley Hauck

Carley Hauck works as an educator, life coach, writer, mindful researcher, and change cheerleader with corporate organizations. Carley has had a long-standing meditation practice and teaches mindfulness as the first step toward well-being. She teaches on a variety of subjects related to greater happiness, health, and wisdom in worksites such as Bank of the West & LinkedIn and with her students at Stanford University.

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