Life is about awareness, becoming aware of what we’re thinking, feeling, how we’re acting, what energy we’re putting out. Out of our awareness comes the opportunity to transform ourselves and our lives. We have to face ourselves first, hopefully with openness, acceptance, humility, and commitment to change. Many times the commitment comes from our suffering, not wanting to continue in the state we’ve been in, wanting to be more comfortable, happier, more satisfied. At the same time, we can commit to transform even if we’re not suffering, just as part of life to grow and evolve, to be a better person, to be fulfilled and live what is important to us in life.

Sai Maa teaches us about awareness being the first step in the path of self-mastery (the others being choice, decision, focus and realization). I am at a place in my life where I am doing the work to be more aware of what I’m truly thinking and feeling, what actions I’m taking or not taking, how areas of my life occur to me, and how all of this impacts whether I’m creating a life I love or not. I haven’t been creating a life I love (a way of being I love), and now I’m in the midst of profoundly recreating myself, the life I’m living. I taking a look at and altering my offer in the world, how I wish to serve and “make a living”. I have lived my life in a certain way for the past several years with certain roles (e.g., Resident Spiritual Master, Executive Director), and now times are a changin’ and I’m in the game of recreation, shifting so I’m on the playing field and not in the bleachers, being the cause in the matter of a life I love where I am empowered and fully self-expressed.

This recreation requires soul searching AND communication, looking at myself, expressing myself, and taking action. I’m grateful always to Sai Maa who is present in my life, now in new and evolving ways, as well as others in our community, including David Cunningham who is a loving coach, Nancy, Lucinda, the nuns and monks, and thankfully my wonderful, wise daughter Becky. I’ll share more in my blogs about my inner work as it progresses. Right now, I’m refining “my offer”, doing the work to embody and express it. This very much relates to my accessing and being that natural, divine love, that Love of Maa, of Divine Mother, living in the heart, serving others as this for them to access and be this love themselves.  I am focusing on being this through my teaching, coaching, and writing. Of course, any suggestions from any of you reading this, about how I can transform, what I can offer, will be greatly appreciated.

Knowing there are never any coincidences, I was sent the other day another Harvard Business Review blog written by my friend Peter Bregman (“Do You Know What You Are Feeling?”). I referenced his book (18 Minutes) in a recent blog. Peter always shares very personal and educational stories about his own life. This time he offered an experience that showed him the value of truly looking at his (our) feelings, expressing them vulnerably, and reaping the benefits of this communication in relationship, this time with his wife Eleanor. He shares what can happen with unacknowledged and unexpressed feelings, how they can get pent up, intensify with new stories we create, how this impacts us and our relationships.

Enjoy Peter’s writing and teaching: http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2012/05/do-you-know-what-you-are-feeli.html

I offer now some questions from my book/workbook that can lead you to greater awareness about yourselves. I also offer a few practices. Let us know some of your answers, how the practices go for you.

QUESTIONS FOR SELF-INQUIRY

  • “Who am I?” I hear you saying to yourself with disbelief, “What a first question! Is he kidding? This question can last me all my life or longer.” Okay, you’re right. Still, ask yourself the question, and see what comes. Does the answer show you something about your identity and what you base it on (e.g., your background, title, job)? Does it show you what you value in life, what you are passionate about? Does it highlight your gifts and talents? Does it point out how you want other people to see you? Let your answer inform you about where you focus your attention in relationship to how you view yourself in this life.
  • Take a look at how satisfied you are in life. Ask yourself, “Am I fulfilled in my life, or am I longing for something that’s missing?” If you feel something’s missing, do you know what it is, or is it a vague feeling of longing, emptiness?
  • Life is continuous learning, a series of new insights and awakenings. What have you learned about yourself recently? Are you applying what you learned in your life at home, at work, in your relationships? In developing your knowledge or capabilities? What else can you do to apply what you’ve learned?

PRACTICES FOR TRANSFORMATION

  • Reallocate your time to go within. Take a few moments to review your daily and weekly schedule. Determine what time you can free up to be still in order to sit and breathe consciously. See whether you’re spending an inordinate amount of time focusing on the outside world, pursuing your desires, and satisfying your senses. Determine how you will schedule more of your time to be quiet and sit in stillness in order to achieve more balance in your life. Take time on a regular basis to reflect about yourself and your life. Ask yourself questions. Keep a journal. Walk in nature, focusing on your breath and inner state. Go inside when you wake up and when you go to rest the body, even if only for a few minutes. It doesn’t have to take hours to spend time with yourself.
  •  Be a witness to your reactions and emotions. Practice observing your emotions and reactions rather than getting stuck in them, being mastered by them. Choose one frequent reaction you have and experiment with it. For example, when you get frustrated with a certain person or situation or when you are upset with your partner for a certain behavior you perceive. See whether you can be aware of what comes up in you with this person or in this situation, and master the reaction before it happens. Or learn from it afterward so you can be more aware and less reactive the next time. See what happens with this practice, and then move on to another reaction and emotion to experiment with so you become more of an observer and witness.
  • Apply lessons. In recognizing what you’ve learned recently about yourself, see where you will apply lessons more than you already have. Incorporate insights into your work setting and with family members and friends, so that you’re interacting and communicating in new ways. See what else you still need to learn to express yourself more effectively and powerfully in life.
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