I recently stumbled across a TedX talk called You’re Already Awesome. Just Get Out of Your Own Way by Judson Brewer
Its a great talk (as most of the Ted talks are) that essentially says when we let go and just be, awesomeness happens. He relates his experience of taking a hill on a mountain bike where he didn’t think it through it, he was in the flow, and it was amazing. (Judson also mentions some studies about meditation and brain waves that are pretty interesting too.)
I think we can all relate to those moments of flow – where every thing else drops away and the action just…happens. Beautifully. A friend of mine related the idea of being present in the moment is like bringing that feeling of flow into more of our day to day moments. That really hit home for me. Presence like that is possible, but it takes practice. It seems odd to me that we have to learn what should be a natural state. I believe we had this flow state, this presence as children and then unlearn it for most of our adult lives. Finally, there comes a point where we realize how important being present really is and we have to learn and practice all over again. 🙂
I started thinking about the barriers I put up that prevent me from being in the flow, from being my complete awesome self and some practices that I have to remove those barriers. Here is my initial list.
1) Barrier: Judging others. “Ugh. Can’t that person see what they are doing? They should be better than that. They shouldn’t need to do X. They should be eating this and then doing that”. Any of that sound familiar? 🙂 We all judge. When we do it creates separation.
Practice: I try and remember that those people are human just like me and as much as I think I know, I have no idea what their story is in that moment. Besides, who am I to judge them? I have also been the person standing oblivious in the middle of the aisle, or eating junk food or using bad form, or having a really bad emotional day.
2) Barrier: Not wanting to feel an emotion or state of being. I don’t like that I am tired more often that I feel like I should be. Conflict makes me nervous. Facing information that I don’t really want to know makes me uncomfortable and we won’t even talk about what I some times experience when contemplating my own mortality. All these things are things that I don’t want to feel most of the time. So I look for ways to out run it, distract it or soothe it. This can look like a scattered mind (Candy Crush or Facebook any one?) or food or alcohol or creating another situation (drama, gossip, complaining) so that I don’t have to face what is really bothering me.
Practice: Breathe. And then breathe again. 🙂 Meditation teacher Tara Brach offers these steps to find balance and presence:
- Ask what is going on inside me right now?
- Ask can I be with this?
- Offer yourself some kindness.
See if you can let it be just as it is. EVERYTHING in life changes. This emotion or situation will as well.
3) Barrier: Believing my own stories. Some times we get all caught up in the conditioning, thoughts, and madness in our head and we believe it. We think that person who bumped into us at the grocery store was intentionally being rude. We think that if our name wasn’t put up on the board after the work out means the coach doesn’t like us and we are not important. We believe that if we are not near as smart, sexy or worthy as our friends and that life would be better if we were thinner, richer, or more famous.
Practice: Start to really HEAR the voice in your head. Is it peaceful or stressful right now? Learn to see situations with out assessments. I am a big fan of Byron Katie’s the Work in that it helps you see what reality is with out all the stories that you are bringing to a situation and to question all the thoughts going on in your head. Honestly, this can be hard work especially at first. If you want to grow BIG time in this practice, find a good mentor or coach. Worth every penny of investment.
Those are my big three. There are others. What barriers do you have that get in your way from being AWESOME? 🙂