Daily Practice For Change To Happen…

How do we keep going with developing new life patterns and new ways of thinking…..when the old ways and old patterns just keep drawing us in?

Feel the Fear book photo

It’s been very comforting to read Louise Hay, Heal Your Life & Susan Jeffers, Feel The Fear & Do It Anyway who both strongly recommending daily practice for change…and the need to be gently persistent and very kind with ourselves as we bring change into our life…it’s not a quick overnight process.

I find that it’s very easy for me to drift back into negative thinking/emotions or old patterns and ways of being – it is hard to undo a lifetime’s worth of patterning!!  I actually believe it is human nature to focus on the negative…it’s how we have survived – focussing on what can go wrong or what might not be safe… So it takes time to navigate a new pathway in our brain, just like learning how to drive a car or play guitar…but with much more practice!!
I have a list of strategies that work for me – but not all the time – and for me it is a daily practice to move towards the life I want to live, to be the person I want to be, while still finding a way to be gentle and compassionate with myself -and accepting what happens in life and accepting I am human – and learning many life lessons as I go…
I think life will always throw us some curve balls – it’s just that we can change the way we react to them, we can change who we are in the moment…with lots of practice…
I’ve been practicing since 2011 and I’m still practicing!!  My daily/weekly list has grown as I’ve read books, done workshops, been in coaching sessions and completed the Artist Way…it has been a process of gathering what works for me….
Here’s my list:
  • Meditate twice a day (5-10 minutes – longer is great but not always easy)
  • Journal stream of consciousness – and add to that prayers / affirmations & what I am grateful for
  • Affirmations in the Mirror (when I remember)
  • Mindfulness – reminders to breathe, to pause, to take in the present moment, engage my senses
  • Walking in nature
  • Swim / Dance / Yoga
  • Creating /playing with colour- and adding in my affirmations
  • Connect with a good friend
  • Hugs with those I love
  • Have a mantra / affirmation that helps me in the hard times ‘I am OK, this time will pass, I am nurturing myself, I am willing to change’- I find the affirmation needs to ring true for me in the moment..
  • Choose to focus on what I am grateful for rather than worrying…
  • Imagine sending the person/thing I am worrying about a colour rather than worried thoughts
  • Forgiveness prayer- ‘I forgive you, I forgive me, I set you free, I only send you love and light, it is done, it is done, it is done
  • Loving Kindness prayer – ‘I wish you well, may you be safe & protected, may you be at ease & in good health, may you be kind loving and peaceful to yourself and to others
  • Read an inspiring gentle book like Louise Hay Heal Your Life
  • Potter outside in the garden
  • Imagine protecting myself with a colour / energy
  • Oracle cards
  • Book in for a counselling / coaching / healing session
But most importantly sometimes I just need to validate my emotions, validate that I’m not feeling great that day – and do some self-care so I begin to feel a little better…& sometimes I just need to start again tomorrow…sleep is great for resetting the brain!
So I’m really curious about what you use to stay on track…to lay down new patterns and new ways of thinking and new ways of approaching your life?  What works for you?  And is there a new practice that you can add to your day?  Nothing to big or tiresome – just something small that helps you to feel more positive or more present?
Susan Jeffers talks about a plane when on auto-pilot, is constantly auto-correcting it’s flight path, constantly going off track and then correcting itself.  She mentions how life is like that – constantly going off-course – and then we need to correct ourselves, over and over again – I found that comforting – and I guess that’s why it’s great to set up a daily practice…..
But if this is new to you – just start something small and achievable – with great flexibility and kindness so it becomes a rewarding part of your life – not a punishing activity to fit into your day….and slowly build – that’s what has worked for me…  Slowly over time noticing which daily activities feed my soul rather than those that drain it or numb it and then being able to choose those nourishing practices…and constantly, gently, auto-correcting!

Setting Deep Inner Intentions for 2017

mandala-1

I have been continuously amazed at the effectiveness of setting an intention, developing a vision board, using affirmations, sketching a vision, setting a goal etc for me and for my clients since setting out on my life coaching journey in January 2015 .

The way I can best explain it is that when you are pregnant you suddenly notice pregnant women and babies everywhere; when you are about to buy a blue Mazda you notice blue Mazdas everywhere whereas before you were oblivious to that information!

Our brain chooses what to focus on and ignores the other 1000,000 bits of information coming in every second (just so we can function!!).  Fortunately, we can begin to program our brain to notice what we want to focus on and that is where the magic happens!!

‘Where attention goes, energy flows(Tara Brach)

We can choose whether to focus on the negative, what is NOT working….or we can choose to focus on what we want to create, the positives we want to bring into our life! We still need to acknowledge and sit with what is not working – but we can learn to do that in a proactive, healing way and not in a negative spiral, ruminating way… And then just by seeing, hearing, feeling cues of the future we want to create we begin to notice in our life new stimuli and new ways of creating the future we want…to me it still feels a little bit like magic – and I wish I had learned more about this years ago.

This year I was lucky enough to use Leonie Dawson’s Shining in Life & Shining in Biz workbooks and diary http://leoniedawson.com/ – where you acknowledge all that happened the year before, you plan for the year ahead and then you check in each month – what are you grateful for? What have you achieved? What will you do for you?  What is your intention for the next month?

Even though there were a series of weeks without checking in I am amazed at how much has happened this year that in January I set out to do!!!  I loved these workbooks so much I pre-ordered my 2017 copy and have them ready to go – they are colourful, they keep all your dreams, intentions & goals in one place & I can’t recommend them enough!! Perfect for dreaming in the Christmas to New Year break and starting with some of those new years resolutions….

shining-in-life-and-biz-workbooks

Tied in with these workbooks I also frequently make vision boards / mind maps, use daily affirmations, see my coach and use art / doodling to really help my subconscious brain access and work through the intentions I am setting…and I am so grateful that so much in my life is happening right now because of these intentions…

 ‘Plant seeds of deep intention and little by little things change’. Jack Kornfield

For me the most important thing we all can do is to focus on what sort of person we want to be and what we want to do in this world rather than what we want to own or have (see Brian Payne’s Goal Mapping).

To do this we need to set deep inner intentions…tune into our inner compass / heart wisdom and work out our deepest values and if  we are living by them? If not what are the obstacles?  And what can we do to live more by our values?  This is often a core part of coaching sessions – and for me it is a question I revisit daily….the way I want to live might not be reflected by what I actually do in the day….and it is powerful to keep coming back to my deepest intentions.

It’s a little bit like my parenting journey – every day I set the intention that I will be kind, calm, patient, loving, nurturing, strong when I need to be in a respectful way…and each day I have times of being able to do this and I also times of reverting back to old ways.   It’s impossible to be perfect, especially if you are having one of those days and you are tired and stressed!!  But if I look back over the last 18 years – then I truly have changed the way I parent just by setting the intention….even if I’m still not perfect every day !!

Heart Over Mind

One reason why I LOVE mindfulness is because a big focus is on cultivating more loving kindness, compassion, forgiveness, equanimity….and being mindful allows us to pause and be present, to really notice ‘what really matters to me?’ what is in my heart and to set an intention of what we want to bring more of into our life that day.

Mindfulness also gives me a chance to experience and practice forgiveness, loving kindness in meditation which then helps in bringing in into everyday real life!

As Brene Browns frequently says all we can do is aim in the right direction, we may never get there!! We are human, we’ll make mistakes and we won’t be perfect but we can aim in the direction that feels right!

This is why I LOVE the idea of setting deep intentions as the main way to set a course for our lives!  Specific goals can then come out of this….

So this coming year, 2017, I am running a series of monthly Heart Intention 2017 sessions where we will reflect on and share the future we want to create, what we have enjoyed and what we are grateful for this month and what we are ready to let go of….and in each of these monthly sessions we will do 2 mindfulness exercises and reflect on our deep intentions and draw them into a mandala; with each month having a slightly different flavour.  I can’t wait!  These sessions will work in beautifully for anyone using the Shining Workbooks (although not essential to have these) – and they can be accessed live and online.

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More info  here at http://www.mindfulparentingmindfulcoaching.com/heart-intentions-20171

So I’m curious – what has worked for you this year to follow your heart, your inner compass?  What has eventuated that has surprised you?  And what are your intentions for 2017?  What tools can you use to keep them front and centre in your life?  I would love to know.

x Sara 🙂

PS The mandala above is A Flower Of Life mandala I made last week to celebrate and invite in more abundance – a lot of fun to make!