When the cool nights of fall start pulling at you to get up and move, you know it’s time to pull up the vegetables from your garden.
Eyes wide open to the beauty, nourishment and vastness of the sustenance around you, you pluck, tug and release your vegetables from the soil.
You anticipate what the veggies you planted will taste like and you’re ready to feel the nourishment from the array of vegetables you’ve harvested.
When everything is harvested from the garden and the green growth is gone, you see this new spacious potential for next year’s growth.
You have all winter to choose what you want in your garden next spring!
ARE YOU READY TO CHOOSE YOU?
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you procrastinate and end up exhausted trying to meet deadlines?
Do you ever get to the end of the day on Friday and think, “I didn’t do anything for myself this week?"
Do you find no pleasure or joy in your day-to-day chores?
Do you feel as if you’re sometimes just “winging it,” meandering aimlessly through life?
Do you ever ask yourself, “Is this all there is to life?”
Here are the first three ACTION steps (i.e. new habits to incorporate into your life) to help you Choose YOU! When you decide to Choose YOU, you decide to no longer allow your life to get away from you. Choosing YOU allows you to step away from the same habitual patterns you've had your whole life. These patterns, based in fear, have held you back from BEING BIG and living from a true place of joy! It is time, no matter how old you are. It is never too late to Choose YOU!
The first three ACTION steps involve moving from dependence to interdependence. Stay tuned for the next four action steps in Pt. 2 of Choose YOU!
Each of the bolded steps below corresponds with one of S. Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
1. BE PROACTIVE: CREATE A VISION
If your only source of food is the garden, what is it you want to plant in the spring?
BEing proactive is about grounding in the present moment and being aware of what could happen before it happens. When you are working on a project you collect all your tools you will need before you start. This creates a relaxed state of BEing.
Finding a space that allows you to carve out inner silence is your very first step. It can be anywhere, just find it. Use this space to go within yourself and explore what is it you truly want for this one life you have.
2. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND: THINK BIGGER PICTURE
Go ahead, close your eyes and envision what your garden will look like by next fall. What do you see yourself harvesting and eating for the year?
This bigger picture challenge is a fun ACTION step. It allows you to dream without any fear! Anything is possible. Believe that the Universe has your back and there is no lack, just abundance. Putting a plan together is key to moving toward what you want to create for yourself.
Maybe you want to make a vision board? Find magazines (tip: ask your hairdresser or dentist to save you some). Start cutting or tearing out pictures that grab your attention. Don’t overthink it, just feel it - this is a right brain exercise. You can later discard what might not fit.
3. Put first things first: PRIORITIZE
If the broccoli is ready to harvest today but you choose to harvest the onions, which can stay in the ground longer, then you fail to notice and set your priorities.
Envision what your life looks like now. What will matter when you are on your deathbed?
Note: Remember not to skip ahead to this third step without completing the first two. You cannot prioritize what is important to you if you haven’t taken the time to put together a plan of action.
Break your priorities into 4 categories:
Really explore how much time you spend in each category above to see how balanced your life is. See if you need to add to your vision board after looking at these 4 categories.
How can you find true balance? It doesn’t just magically happen. It takes ACTION to find balance. It involves directing your ATTENTION to the areas of your life that truly matter to YOU! This step allows you to let go of aspects of your life that do not service your well-being.
You can’t only eat cucumbers out of your garden each and every day. You need to find balance so you are getting all the nutrients your body needs to thrive.
As you have complete each action step above, stay on track by continually returning to this simple question:
What do you want your ONE precious life to look like?
What do you want to create with the precious time you have left in life?
No thinking...just answer the first thing that comes to your mind.
Ok, now write it down on the top of a piece of paper.
How does it make you feel?
Do you feel excited?
Depressed because you don't think there is a way to create what you wrote down?
How you feel about your answer will help determine the work you'll need to put in to move toward your answer.
Our intention and commitment are based on having a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset is stagnant, wanting perfection, and hoping that things will make you more — more happier, more lovable, etc. This orientation is an attempt to enhance and improve the ego.
A growth mindset is just that — you are focused on growth without a destination in mind. You are curious while on an adventure of the present moment. With a growth mindset, you're not giving up on yourself. The mindset can diminish and dissolve the ego, rather than enhance it. The ego cannot pursue a true aim, only presence can. Instead, your aim is to understand yourself now. It is the dance of life.
Life is not about where you want to go. It's not about waiting and striving to get someplace other than where you are right now.
Do you spend your day waiting for lunch time? Or, the end of the work week? Are you always looking forward to something different than what is happening right now in the present moment? If so, then you have a fixed mindset and you are living a future-orientated life and you have some work to do!
Do you enjoy your day no matter what time it is or what day of the week it is? Do you find joy in the ordinary and simple tasks you need to perform? If so, then you have a growth mindset and you're doing great!
"The growth mindset is the dance of life."
If you think you have a fixed mindset, then it is time to STOP meandering through your life with no directional compass, hoping someone will come and save you, or change it for you. YOU are it! When you are committed to ego-boosting activities, as you are with the fixed mindset, you're like a hamster on a wheel. When you reject the present reality and hope or imagine a future that will be better than what you have right now — you begin a pattern of rejection, hope, and desire. It then feeds into the belief that you are not enough. Such thoughts keep us stuck in our childhood and past core beliefs that simply don't serve us anymore.
So, what are you spending your precious time doing? Will you take the step to unravel your "stuck" places or habitual patterns today? Choose to accept the growth mindset!
Find more about the fixed and growth mindsets in Carol S. Dweck's book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
Are you keeping yourself small? I have a hard time “BEing big” or putting myself out there.
I can feel how the tension lives in my body and my autonomic nervous system. When I dive deeper into this fear, I connect it to the self-thought that I am someone who has great ideas, but often fails to bring them into existence. This tension is directly related to my fear of failing, which developed during my childhood. If I still believe that I am a failure, then I struggle to prove that it is NOT true.
A core belief from my childhood was that I was a failure. This belief has been validated over and over again in various ways, which keeps me stuck in this pattern.
When I don’t finish something, I want to argue, rationalize, and/or collapse (child behaviors). While I want to convince everyone, including myself, that I’m not a failure, shame arises nevertheless because the core belief from my childhood comes creeping back - and I know this feeling too well.
I can distract myself by watching TV, posting on social media (“look at me!”), or eating too much food - but I still feel these feelings. So, how can we move away from this fear of failure and instead embrace a “bigger” life?
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us."
The first step is to be aware of the internal voice that controls our life. The “judge voice” is relentless and says, “you can’t pretend - you are a failure and I can give you examples to prove it.”
When that happens, turn TOWARD the judge, harness energy from deep in your body and say, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” This stops the judge and allows you to question whom exactly you’re yelling at.
For me, this inner judge is my mother’s voice. I can visualize and feel my parent’s disappointment that I took on as a child. But were my parents really disappointed in me? Probably not. So, what is the fear truly about? Did I want my parent’s love, but was afraid of losing it?
As a child, I took on their feelings and mixed them into how I thought about myself - a failure. This is what we call a double bind. Visualize a rubber band that is pulled so tight on both ends that I can't let one end go. I can’t win in a double bind. Instead, I stay stuck in the middle and if one end goes, it will hurt since the love will go away and I will be alone on the other end. In this scenario, my judge wins. I can’t allow that.
So, as I turn toward the rubber band, I know that the sting will hurt, but afterwards I will be free of the double bind - and my prison. Isn’t it worth the pain? If I can get away from this inner judge voice that is truly not me, I can feel how much it is causing me pain and suffering, making me small and collapsed on a daily basis.
Ultimately I decided to let me mom go. I now feel compassion for my younger self and see that I am not a child now, but an adult. Life is really good in this very moment. I can be in the world without my mom (ironically she died when I was a teenager) and I can let go of the lingering fear that I am alone and afraid of the world. This relaxes my nervous system and the tension I have been holding. I feel a gentle warmth and appreciation for myself.
If we want growth and change, we need to turn toward the pain, specifically this double bind. Let’s allow ourselves to un-merge from our old stories. We are enough. We are not worthless, ugly, or weak. We don’t need someone else’s love - the source is within us. Nobody can do this for us - our shift in consciousness is the key and the key is to look inward.
Why would anyone need a coach or therapist? Would connecting with one mean something is wrong with you, and you need to be “fixed"?
"We are products of our parents before us and their parents before them. It is like a giant wave and we are a ripple in the current"
One reason why you might seek out an attuned coach or therapist is based on John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory. John Bowlby (1907-1990), along with his colleague, Mary Ainsworth (1913-1999), developed the attachment theory based on the idea that an infant needs a secure relationship with a primary caregiver in order to fulfill the child’s social and emotional development. Through extensive observational studies of infants with their primary caregivers, Bowlby and Ainsworth noticed that security is a basic need for toddlers to grow and explore their surroundings.
So, how does this apply to you as an adult? The attachment theory states that as adults, it allows us to feel secure, enabling us to go out and explore the world without stress and anxiety, but instead with trust that we will be taken care of by life. Bowlby published many books in this lifetime (all worth reading). But, in summary, I’ve posted two charts (below).
If we fall into the insecure avoidant, insecure ambivalent, the insecure disorganized or a mixture of these styles, we were missing that consistently attuned primary caregiver. Having a consistently attuned primary caregiver available would have installed in us the feeling of having a secure base, or safe haven during our first 3 years of life.
So how do we develop this feeling of having a secure base, or safe haven if it is not in our systems from our childhood? How can we change this for our future children and grandchildren? This change from one type of attachment to another does not happen overnight, it is a process. One of the ways to start is to work on moving to a secure attachment type, which takes having a secure base and a “safe haven person.” This person’s role is to be consistently attuned during sessions and to help develop trust. With an attuned coach or therapist, one can work through their old wounds and issues. The coach or therapist plays the role of the parent (or original primary caregiver). Therefore, it’s an authority role, not a love relationship role as peers.
We are born with the need to be taken care, touched and held for our brains and nervous systems to hook up properly. We are products of our parents before us and their parents before them. It is like a giant wave and we are a ripple in the current. Why would we think that just because we are now adults that we need to do this alone, if we have the wounding of insecurity? We need to develop a relationship with another person that becomes our so-called, “parent” to work though these issues, to heal them. Then, when we learn to really trust in life, we become a secure attachment person.
Do you ever feel that someone else is running your life and it isn't the life you actually want?
I recently witnessed a true shift in consciousness. For the first time, this person (let's call her "Julie") identified and then let go of her inner judge voice.
When I started working with Julie, who is in her 70s, she didn't know what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. Julie struggled with depression and merging with her children. She felt as if her life was going by so fast, but she was stuck in this double-bind of not being able to fulfill her desires while simultaneously keeping everyone happy.
In her processing, Julie recognized that she had difficulty moving toward what she truly wanted because of her strong inner judge. After recognizing this hurdle, we went through the following steps together.
The first step was working on identifying who the judge was and how it controlled her daily life. While grounded into her body, Julie found that she was collapsed by her mother’s energy riding on her back (metaphorically, of course). Julie's mother has been dead for 16 years. She allowed herself to feel how this energy lived in her body.
The second step was being the judge voice. Julie preceded to voice out loud what the inner judge voice was saying. The true energy of her mother was allowed to come out in that moment and we could feel that this voice was not actually Julie's voice (it even sounded like her mother).
The next step was standing up to the judge voice. Julie had to STOP the judge and not rationalize, defend, or collapse (all childhood strategies). She needed to ground her body again and feel how the inner judge voice was crippling her from moving forward. She had to feel how this inner critic had caused her pain.
This was not an easy step. Julie practiced many different strategies to try and stop the judge. But, finally, she found the strategy that set her free. She now feels and exerts a new strength in her mind and body.
Now that Julie is free of the judge, she is fully in her body - relaxed and standing without her mother on her back. She is full of strength, which allows her true essence to shine - a playful joyfulness.
If you want to experience true joy and your true essence, like Julie has, and let go of old wounds that keep you 'stuck' or un-empowered - consider signing up on the link below and Commit to Freedom from your inner judge today!
Wendy Wagoner has explored numerous avenues of disciplines over the last 30 years. She is a professional Awakening Coach, healer, and experienced workshop leader.
SIGN UP FOR UPDATES
Sign up to receive new blog posts, wellness tips, and recommendations straight to your inbox every month