We all have ups and downs, round and rounds, and sometimes, in the chaos that can be our minds, we close our hearts off, which can just exacerbate the issues we are dealing with. Even when we have a good balance of work and life, even if you have a yoga practice, or meditate every day, we can still have moments where we get lost in our negative thoughts and feel it close us off to the beauty that is the lived experience. This can have such a detrimental impact on not just your wellbeing - which is a crucial part of the goal journey - but also on your work, your passion, your purpose. So what can you do to identify and work through the issues that you have to, to let go and start to flow on the journey?
1. Meditate - Yes, I know I said above that even with a meditation practice you can find yourself a slave to your thoughts, but if you are finding that your current meditation practice is not helping you, perhaps you need to look at how and why you are meditating. In having a review of your meditation practice you can see where you may have stagnated and where you can, perhaps, push yourself (gently and with compassion of course), to go deeper into your practice. I have been using Andy Puddicombe's Headspace app to do my meditation this week and I have found that having him guide me through the meditation on a daily basis is actually helping me focus a little more and hence relax and sit with my thoughts a little more gently. You can find out more about Headspace here - HEADSPACE!
Action point - Review your meditation practice, write down three ways that meditation has helped you, and then write down three things that you feel you have to work on in your meditation. Celebrate the successes you've had with meditation and then do some research into how you can work on the three things you need to work on, see if there is something you can gain from other meditative traditions.
2. Mindfulness - Are you being mindful enough in your day-to-day life? It is something I have been really conscious of this past week, when my thoughts run away with themselves, so I have selected a trigger word that brings me back to the reality and truth of the moment. This trigger word can bring you back to your breathing, to your task, to your movement; the word can be anything that is short, sharp, and to the point, it should reflect the prevailing issue that is at hand. For me, at the moment, it is reflection of the work I am doing on my shadow self, so my trigger word is - "control." When my mind wanders into negative space, I say the word and it reminds me of the lesson that I am currently learning ... (unfortunately the lesson is private to me, so I can't really talk about it, but I'm sure you get the picture).
Action point - Choose a trigger word. Meditate on or write in your journal about the thoughts that are distracting you, really be honest with yourself. Write down the predominate issue you are dealing with at the moment, it may be body image issues, your business partner going rogue, an argument with a friend; once you have done this reflect the issue back onto you. What is your angst with this thing, person, or event? What is it saying about you and how you react to things? Could it be anger, shame, embarrassment, fear, or like in my case, control? Take this word and use it as a trigger to remind yourself, these negative thoughts are simply a reflection of my shadow self, and if I can work in, through, and out of the shadow self, then my issues will dissolve into the ether (I'm not suggesting you'll be "issue" free, we are only human after all, but it is a rolling process of learning, so work with what you have!). (Another thing, shadow work can be very tough, and I am not a psychologist by any means, I feel that some issues can be bigger than others, and you may not be able to work through them on your own, so I highly suggest that if your issues/tough times are leading to depression, please, please, please seek medical care).
3. Take positive action - Sometimes the fear and angst we are dealing with can lead to paralyses, literally paralyses! The fear of something, anything, and everything, can make you cease to move forward, your goals, your dreams can be stalled because you are stuck in a moment, a thought, or a place. Whenever I feel this paralyses I take "positive action." By positive action I mean taking one step forward, either a BIG step or a teensy step, it doesn't matter, as long as it is a positive step forward. This one step can often lead to the next step and then the next step and then the next, unlocking the paralyses and moving you into the present moment.
Action point - Take out your to-do list (or start a to-do list!). Divide it into two lists, a list of little steps, i.e., email files to business partner, wash the dishes, call the plumber; and a list of big steps, i.e., write the first chapter of your book, video a youtube video, attend a networking event. You now have two lists that can help you when your issues cause paralyses. When you feel the angst overcome you, whip out your to-do lists and select one little step and one big step, that is all you have to focus on doing today. The thing is, once you start, you might find that you call the plumber and get your youtube video taped, and find you've unlocked your paralyses, if that's the case keep on going, select another little step and another big step and do them .... and repeat?!?
These are just a few of the steps that can help open your heart and make your goal journey start to flow, meditate, mindfulness, and positive action, all the while you are dealing with what is closing your heart off. Other steps to look into include finding out more about your heart chakra (my friend Anj speaks about the heart chakra here - Heart), working through stuff with movement, i.e., yoga, allowing yourself to be more vulnerable.