You may be surprised how often we are asked this question and this is because the majority of people live their lives unconsciously.
Many people sleepwalk through life, with events happening to them that they react to, and then they drift or coast into the next scenario. Sometimes they have a couple of life events happening at the same time and feel the need to react or control them. This is when life becomes more stressful than anyone would ever want.
This leads to communication and relationship challenges. Fire-fighting becomes the norm; people stop engaging in everyday life easily and effectively, which then adds to the stress cycle.
Do any of these scenarios ring any bells with you?
Why do these things keep happening to me?
“It is what it is, I’d love to change things but I just can’t”
The same things happen over and over to me – why can’t I break this pattern?
What If There Is A Different Way
A way where you feel in control of your thoughts, are able to see different perspectives and therefore make better choices; where you are aware of your feelings and guided by them to make decisions that feel good; where life feels exciting and calm all at the same time!
We – Kathy & Amanda – are both trained coaches and have studied NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). We are fascinated by how our brains work and the huge impact changing our language, both internally and externally, can have on how we experience life. We’re also both intrigued in how the Universe works from a spiritual perspective and have studied the Law of Attraction, learning from the likes of Dr Wayne Dyer, Abraham Hicks, Bob Proctor, and others.
When you merge the scientific and the spiritual aspects of life together, understanding that they are essentially just different ways of looking at the same thing, the light bulb moments are truly electric! We are souls of energy; we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and understanding how these aspects of ourselves are connected and intertwined enables us to truly know ourselves and live life in a conscious way that is so rewarding and fulfilling.
It is our passion to share the concepts, ideas, tools and resources that have shaped us to become the people, and the coaches we are today. We’d like to share with you some tools we personally use and also teach, through our membership program and coaching sessions, to ensure that Conscious Living becomes a way of life, and then the magic happens!
Key 1 – Awareness
Internally, we have our Monkey Mind. This is our internal mind-chatter; thoughts that run constantly. They build on each other and take us down certain pathways, whether negative or positive, and then impact how we feel, how we express ourselves, what we expect from life and what we ultimately experience.
One of the things we notice, when we start working with new clients, is the negative language people use about themselves, others, their situations, and their lives.
The words “I AM” are two of the smallest, yet most powerful, words in the English language. When we use these words we are telling our brain the things we believe and are forging neural pathways for these beliefs. Our brain then does its amazing job of finding other things to support our beliefs and that is what we see and experience in our lives (it’s a bit like when you buy a yellow car, all you see on the road is yellow cars that you’ve never noticed before).
From a spiritual perspective “I AM” is the true essence of who we are and, when we use these words negatively, we are opposing the amazing – and positive – source within.
How often do you hear negative statements, either coming from yourself or from others?
“I Am so stupid”
“I Am never going to be able to figure this out”
“I Am always going to be bad at XYZ”
Reframing these thoughts and words is the first step to living a Conscious Life, and helps us to start retelling our story.
Instead of thinking or saying “I am never going to figure this out”, reframe it by thinking or saying “I wonder what would be my next step?”
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean going to an opposite extreme that you really don’t believe; it means changing the way you think or creating different (neural) pathways which leads you to a positive direction.
“I Am good at a lot of things even if I don’t always get things right”
“I Am figuring this out step by step and am grateful for any help that comes my way”
“I Am able to learn how to do this or I Am able to allocate it to another person better suited to the task”
Tip: Gratitude is a great way to reframe our thoughts and words… more about this in future blogs.
Tip: Be aware of the words “always” and “never” – how often are they actually true? They often come out in an argument with our nearest and dearest e.g. “You always expect me to do the washing up” – is that actually true?!
Raising our awareness of the words we use can then help us identify the thoughts we are thinking. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to tune into our feelings because they tell us what is going on in our heads. Next time you recognise you aren’t feeling great, stop for a moment and identify what you’re thinking about. Can you take a look at those thoughts and reframe them? Ask yourself questions like:
“Is that actually true?”
“Am I making up a story here?”
“I wonder what’s really going on here?”
“What perspective could I take on this that would feel better?”
Tip: We are all brilliant storytellers, we make up stories most of the time! And once we start on a story, it’s so easy to add to it and allow it to run away with us until we have made it a fact.
Think about the story you’ve made up about a situation, ask yourself if it is actually fact or are you making assumptions; exaggerating or embellishing? What different story could you be telling yourself that would make you feel better?
Here’s an example:
Jodie rang her friend for a chat. Susie was distracted and Jodie felt like she just wanted to get her off the phone.
Scenario 1: Jodie put the phone down and found herself feeling upset. She started down a road of “What’s the matter with her? What have I done to upset her? Maybe she doesn’t like me any more. And so it went on… Jodie couldn’t get it out of her mind and, by the end of the day, was telling her partner that Susie has a problem with her and she doesn’t know what it is and she wishes she would just tell her. Jodie went to bed that night feeling upset and disgruntled.
Scenario 2: Jodie stopped the runaway monkey mind and said instead “Whoa! I’m sure this has got nothing to do with me. There must be something going on for Susie and she just couldn’t talk at that moment. I’ll drop her a text later and see if she’s OK”. Jodie got on with her day, text Susie later who replied to say “Sorry I was distracted earlier, my boss had just sent me an email that didn’t make sense to me and I was trying to figure it out before he called me. How’s your day been?”
Can you feel the different energy between these scenarios? This is a really simple, and unimportant, situation that clearly illustrates how we can choose to be aware of our feelings, identify our thoughts, change the story and that then changes how we feel, how we communicate and how we experience life.
Awareness is the key!
Key 2 – Perspective
One of Kathy’s favourite quotes is from the amazing Dr. Wayne Dyer who said:
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change”.
We’ve touched on that in the previous key on awareness, and here are a few more thoughts to consider on how changing our perspective helps us live a conscious life.
As we’ve said, we have a choice about our thoughts, words and actions. When we raise our awareness of what we’re feeling and thinking, we can then choose to look at a different perspective. This not only helps us with our own internal thought processes and decisions, but also helps us to see other people’s perspectives, which makes for better communication and depth of relationship.
Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in a place of indecision or overwhelm and we can only see one way forward. Often, we don’t want to voice what we’re thinking out of fear of being judged or ridiculed, or we go the other way and ask everyone and his wife for their opinions and then we’re just confused and disheartened.
One of the beautiful things about coaching is how, by gentle and focussed questioning, our minds open up to different possibilities, options and potential. Someone who is outside of our circle of friends and loved ones is able to guide us to open up our minds and hearts to what might be, rather than what we think actually is.
We read somewhere recently (and wish we could remember where…!) that two people could be living the exact same day but experience it in very different ways because of the perspective they have on it. Now, of course, it’s not possible to live the exact same day but you get the drift.
Let’s say Steve has decided to spend the day tomorrow working in his garden digging out a new pond. He’s bought all the tools, done all the research and is ready to go. He wakes up in the morning and, despite a fine weather forecast, it’s pouring with rain. One perspective could be:
“Oh no! That’s ruined my day. I can’t do what I want to do and it’s going to put me all behind. Weather forecast is useless – why can’t they ever get it right?!” And Steve goes on to have a grumpy day.
Another perspective could be “Oh no! It’s raining…. Wait a minute, I wanted to go and look at some fish with young Johnny (his son) so he can help me choose. It will be great to do that with him today and then we can stop at McDonalds on the way back. He’ll love that” And Steve goes on to have a lovely day with Johnny.
From a personal perspective we can often look at things based on our past and make decisions based on what’s gone before rather than what’s possible. We often hear people say “I don’t know what to do” or “I messed something like this up before, what if I do it again?”.
By asking questions like:
“What would I do if I did know what to do?”
“What would I say to my best friend if they were in this situation?”
“What did I learn from the time I messed up before? What can I apply to this situation now?”
“What would happen if I didn’t ‘mess’ up again?”
… we can open our minds up to looking at things differently, making different choices and having a different, more conscious, experience of life.
A Course in Miracles says “Perception is a mirror not a fact” – it’s really helpful to remember this when we find ourselves stuck in a negative space. We have the power to change the reflection.
Key 3 – Intention
Little known fact…. What we intend the outcome to be, is what it usually is. Henry Ford famously said “if you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you’re right”!
One of the tools we both use daily is setting the intention for how we want our day to be. Visualisation is a powerful tool because our brain doesn’t know if we are visualising ‘reality’ or ‘imagination’. To further reiterate this, you know when you watch a scary movie and your heart starts to race? Well, that’s because your brain doesn’t know that you are watching TV and thinks you’re in the middle of the action! Note to self: be careful what I watch, habitually, on TV…
So we can set the intention for our day by visualising it in the morning going just the way we want it to go. Now, does that mean that curve balls won’t come our way? Of course not, but we will still be better placed to deal with them by responding not reacting.
You can even go so far as to ‘segment intend’, which is a tip Abraham Hicks recommends. We live our days in segments, so right now you’re reading this blog. When you’ve finished you might need to drive to the shops. So you finish reading and then take just a minute to visualise going to the shops, having an easy drive, with little traffic, finding exactly what you want at the right price and getting back home in good time.
This may seem so simple as to be silly but try it – it works! Kathy’s family have always had a parking angel – and Amanda’s is a parking fairy – which we’ve both had since our children were small and, guess what? We always get a parking space even when there doesn’t appear to be any!
Try setting your intention for the big stuff and see what a difference it makes.
Life Is Beautiful When You Live It Conscious
So, the keys to living a conscious life are to increase your awareness, change your perspective and set your intention. You will then notice that you can control your destiny, life doesn’t just happen to you, you feel calmer and more settled, your relationships and mood improve and life feels so much better.
There is so much more to write about Conscious Living and so many tools and resources to share. That’s why we’ve set up the Conscious Creators Membership Program – your coach in your pocket – for constant support, development, fun and community to make the journey of life a conscious one that leads to joyful freedom. Please go to our website www.liveaconsciouslife.com to find out how to join us. We’d love to see you there.