It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of the day to day, but when you lead a busy life, it becomes that much more important to set boundaries and take good care of yourself on all levels. Doing this mindfully can involve some finagling, especially if this a new concept for you or you have a lot of obligations that have already piled up. Excellent self-care includes but is not limited to reprioritizing, setting boundaries, creating time for yourself to recharge, and not giving away your energy if it isn’t a win-win-win situation or it makes you feel dread or resentment. Although this sounds easy enough, you may find yourself giving in to obligations or requests without truly thinking about them first, which can create more chaos within your life. This can result in a vicious cycle that could very well end in exhaustion or burnout, so please allow me the honor of sharing some thoughts and ideas with you about mindful self-care so that a truly detrimental situation can be avoided.
Nourishing yourself happens on many different levels, but the first step is for you to make the conscious decision and commitment to do exactly that: nourish yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to wake up with a perfect routine tomorrow, but rather, incorporating small daily habits one at a time can greatly increase your wellbeing overall and provide you with more energy, a perception that you have more time, and an increased ability to get everything done that you set out to during any given day. The last thing any of us want is the feeling of burnout, which can also lead to depression or other health problems related to stress. This is the part we want to avoid, so here are a few realizations that have helped me along my own journey, and I certainly hope that they help you on yours.
Above all else, making the conscious decision to nurture yourself and committing to it is the main hurdle. Once you’ve done this, even if you don’t get everything “right” immediately, you will still have made that decision and be committed despite setbacks no matter what those might look like, and this will allow you to be compassionate for yourself and for your progress… even if you fail at first. Once you’ve established this decision and commitment within your conscious mind, you can take steps to help yourself through meditation, self-hypnosis, and healing music, among other practices. Once you set your intentions, everything else has a tendency to begin falling into place organically.
Thank you so much for joining us this month here on the Mindful Leader Blog! This month’s topic is nourishing your body, mind, and spirit, so I hope you come back to join us each week for more in-depth mindfulness techniques and ideas.
For more information about the Mindfulness Movement or the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
No matter what walk of life you hail from or who you are, chances are that the way you have grown up into adulthood has involved subconscious conditioning that may not be good for you in the long run. You’ve probably heard of things like abundance blocks, faulty programming, limiting beliefs, etc. These are all labels for subtle nuances of the same thing: the conditioning that happens within the human mind when something is said or done repeatedly. These patterns then become so ingrained that they turn into beliefs, which is how your belief systems are created. And yes, you can change them if they don’t serve you… for example, the belief that divorce is wrong no matter what creates a conflict for anyone who is married to an abusive spouse. Are you supposed to stay and suffer or even be murdered because your beliefs (that you were conditioned to accept as truth over time) state that divorce is wrong? Or are you supposed to adjust your beliefs according to your new knowledge (in this case, realizing that you are being abused, which is sometimes not obvious if the abuse is emotional, manipulative, and subtle) and grow from there? No matter your circumstance, it is your perception, your conditioning, and your subconscious mind that hold all of the power you need to make positive changes. In this article, you will learn how to uncover your subconsciously conditioned programming and beliefs, begin un-conditioning yourself, and re-write the story that you tell yourself very deliberately and on purpose so that you can thrive in life rather than constantly being stuck on survive.
This subconscious conditioning that we all experience is one of the most fascinating but troublesome aspects of the human vessel’s operating system: the mind. While repetition and conditioning can be extremely beneficial to us as we learn new things, it can be absolutely detrimental to your progress as a human being if you are continuously conditioned to believe that you’re a failure, for example. This is typically done without the person doing it even fully realizing it, telling you things throughout childhood such as, “Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?” or, “Make sure you have a backup plan.” The first statement sends us the message subconsciously that we will never be able to live up to our sibling’s accomplishments or be loved as much as our siblings, while the second statement sends us the message that our dreams can’t possibly come true and we have to have a whole separate plan in place to make money, because you can’t be worth anything without money.
Couple this with societal, media, and religious conditioning, and you’ve got today’s western society, broken down and quantified into countless different personality disorders and psychological illnesses that all stem from the same thing: subconscious conditioning. Yes, I realize that this is a bold statement, but it is truer than we have been able to prove scientifically so far because scientific advances are still being discovered and understood when it comes to the way the brain and body systems work in tandem with our emotions and spiritual wellbeing. No matter what the disease or illness or disorder, chances are that it is caused by a lifetime of subconscious conditioning, piled on top of generations of conditioning before that. We all mean well as human beings, but unfortunately we are all running on brainwashed autopilot and operating from the false assumption that physical reality, as we perceive it with our very, very limited sensory systems, is the only reality in existence. It isn’t. This physical world is a co-creation of everything we have going on behind the scenes from an energetic or vibrational standpoint. The physical world is an echo of everything that has been thought and felt already, so in order to change this physical manifestation in what we perceive as the future, we have to make changes within ourselves now.
So, how do you begin going about uncovering your subconscious programming and changing how you perceive yourself and your place in the world as a whole? Here are a few ideas to think about and consider as you learn more about your unique perspective of reality and how it relates and is connected to everything else in existence. This will allow you to begin seeing how your conditioning happened, and from there you can visualize a different story to replace the old one. Of course there are other techniques you can also research, but I will focus on what I have learned from personal inner experience in conjunction with my studies.
1. What many of us don’t consciously realize is that our perception is literally our reality. Whatever we think is real, is real. We think repetitive thoughts and may have things told to us repeatedly, then maybe we have those things backed up by experiences so we consider this evidence (even though it is merely the law of attraction at work), and then, once we have evidence, it becomes a belief system or very close to “fact” as we continue on our journey. What we must remember is that, just because we have had this one particular type of experience, it isn’t fact or truth, period. It is a version or angle or perspective of truth and a version of what we perceive as real, but it isn’t the experience of everyone across the board, and being able to redirect your focus to attract more positive experiences despite what your past tells you can only help you on your journey.
2. Remember that your experiences, while unique to you and your journey, are not apart from anyone else’s experiences. Rather, they are part of the same collective whole, so each soul (evolving and molded based on experience and life journey) is like a piece to the puzzle of true reality, and only when all of the pieces come together can we truly know and understand all that is from all perspectives throughout all eternity and existence. Breaking that down into a more manageable chunk of information, think of it as though each of us can only see from one specific perspective and the perspectives are infinite in number, beginning with tiny organisms and ending with interdimensional and interstellar beings we have no proof don’t exist (including planets, stars, black holes, and galaxies – how do we know these aren’t sentient and/or conscious beings?). There is so much that we don’t know, so many different points of view, each with its very own purpose, direction, and lifetime. None of these are good or bad in and of themselves; they are just different, but all lifetimes are created to serve the greatest good of all. This can be difficult to accept when we think of people in history who did terrible and cruel things, but when it comes to the infinite expanse of eternity (one dimension, time) and the universe (another dimension, space as we perceive it from our physical perspective), is it really worth getting stuck and dwelling on the horrible things one person did? Or is it better to learn from it and move on toward joy, that way we can utilize the law of attraction properly and manifest better things that come from love rather than beginning a self-fulfilling prophecy of negative thought loops?
3. By comparing our lives with the lives of others but not judging ourselves or them for the lives we have lived, we can examine how they grew up very differently than we did, or what kinds of things were experienced that may have caused similar or even completely different conditioning. If you can find someone spiritual to discuss this with on a semi-regular basis so that you can share your breakthroughs and understand when they share theirs with you, then you can thoroughly take advantage of this process and truly dig deep. If you don’t have a friend available to help you do this, preferably someone who practices mindfulness as well, then you may want to consider hiring a mindfulness or inner work coach to help you pick up and maintain momentum toward more and more breakthroughs. Spiritual awakening de-mystified: it is a series of epiphanies and revelations being peeled back and old emotional energy being brought to surface so that you can be who you truly are, not who others or the world tells you to be. Of course this comes with its own challenges, but essentially, that is what a spiritual awakening is, and embracing it means you are accepting of your path and willing to work with the energies and surrender to life and the amazing journey it has laid out for you.
4. Practice visualization as much as you can so that you can heal your pain and release it, then replace your old memories that may have created conditioning with new stories of those memories that you can then program into your subconscious mind by using meditation, self-hypnosis, and alpha wave binaural tones. Once you get to the point of being able to clear your thoughts, it is time to learn to direct them deliberately by placing new ideas that serve you well into your subconscious belief system repeatedly, that way you re-condition yourself to be much more of who you truly are and less of who you were conditioned to be.
5. Take on an attitude of curiosity and constant learning. Let life be your teacher, because experience is a better teacher than anything else could possibly be. The only exception being maybe if we were able to transfer knowledge of everything via telepathy or touch (remember the movie Paul?), but we have not evolved to that point yet. Because we have imagined it, it is on its way, though. Just like Star Trek and cell phones, not to mention touch screen technology. It is now only a matter of time, isn’t it? Whether you agree or not, this is one of those “wait and see” situations where time will tell what does develop, and evolution will help it happen over time.
6. Allow others to be themselves 100%, and you will find that you are able to be yourself 100% more often, too, because your judgment isn’t being reflected back to you in your physical experience. In doing this, you also practice focusing on not being bitter over circumstances and experiences from your past that were painful. Your outer world will reflect your inner world, and everything is energy first, so it makes sense for us to focus on feeling our best and taking care of ourselves to that end while also treating other people the way we would want to be treated. It all comes back to us, and all of those platitudes and sayings we dismiss as cheesy are really true but on a much deeper level than we may initially understand.
7. Enjoy the fact that every human has layers and is a dynamic, multifaceted being, even if you don’t necessarily “get along” or like each other. Each and every one of us has many aspects to ourselves, our lives, our opinions, our personalities, our experiences, and so on. People also typically have a lot of different talents to tap into, whether we know what those talents are right away or not. We are all different but all pieces of the same whole, intertwined and interconnected, crossing paths with those whom we are meant to cross paths with, learning what we need to learn (and repeating patterns if we don’t learn fast or have trouble recognizing our patterns), and being in exactly the right place at the right time at all times even if we don’t feel like we are. It’s all part of the process, the journey, so we might as well let go and enjoy the ride, roll with the punches, and recover quickly.
I hope that some of these ideas and revelations resonate with you and allow you to step fully into your power, and into who you truly are as a soul. This is the first step toward manifesting the life of your dreams in every way, so congratulations for stepping up and taking responsibility for yourself through mindfulness practice!
It feels scary sometimes, doesn’t it? However, the better you get at being yourself and learning from life quickly, the more you will enjoy the journey and be able to glean insights and wisdom from it. This is not to say that you have to have happy, positive, spiritual days 100% of the time. What it does mean is that you don’t beat up on yourself when you get depressed or discouraged, release those feelings or refocus, and move on.
Go for a walk, meditate, or do something different for a little while. This will help you to lift your mood if you’re down and remember that one aspect of your life is only one aspect of your life, and while it may affect your life as a whole, it isn’t the only thing you could focus on. Sometimes our energies and emotions go to frustration for a reason, like maybe we need a break from that task so we can come back to it later to get it done in a faster, more inspired, and more effective way. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you come back and end up being way more productive and get things done much faster, right?
I hope that you’re having a beautiful week so far and join us next month for more inner work insights on the Mindful Leader Blog.
For more information about the Mindfulness Movement or the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
As we go through life, we typically have a series of experiences that are meant to teach us important lessons. Some of these experiences are wonderful and exciting, while other experiences are challenging or even traumatic. Why is it that most of us are more likely to remember the traumatic events and cling to those rather than focusing on the positive events and realizing that a balance of both is needed for a life to be fully experienced and fully lived? In this article, I’d like to discuss some ways to let go of the pain of the past and focus on remembering the happier times so that your perception of your own life, your story that you tell yourself, can be upgraded to be more beneficial to you and help you attract and manifest a more positive life experience overall.
No matter how hard you hang on to that grudge, it will never hurt the other person as much as it will hurt you and your wellbeing. Rather than getting revenge on that person (or hurting them somehow), you end up destroying yourself in the process and sabotaging your own growth and evolution as a human being.
So, what’s the solution? It’s easy to tell someone, “Let go, man. Just let go.” But what does that actually mean in practical terms, and how might this letting go process manifest itself? When we’re dealing with inner work, mindfulness, and intangible processes, it’s important to remember that what’s going on within you might look completely benign or unexpected to someone outside of yourself as they cannot feel your progress the way you can. All they see from their vantage point outside of you is that your “normal” behaviors have changed in some way.
Normally, this letting go process happens over time and somewhat organically (“Time heals all wounds.”); however, with each generation learning less and less about emotional expression and more and more about emotional suppression, it’s no wonder that mental health issues and stress problems have skyrocketed. Fortunately, it is becoming more and more obvious to more and more people that we are each responsible for our own lives and we create our experiences based on how we feel on a regular basis. People are realizing all over the world that we must change ourselves from within on an individual basis in order to see a positive impact in the world, and this is inspiring many people just like you to practice mindfulness, meditation, and personal accountability for all aspects of their lives.
Here are five ways to help you know that you’re in the process of letting go, and how you can encourage and speed up that process for yourself.
1. Recognize that the only person who you are really responsible for is you. If someone has done something hurtful to you in the past, letting go does not absolve them of their wrongdoing. Rather, it absolves you of carrying the burden of pain around with you for months, years, or even the rest of your life, lightening your load and allowing you to rise higher. If they can effortlessly go on with their lives despite something they have done that they “should” be feeling guilty about in your perception, then why should it be your responsibility to carry around any negative emotion or remnants of pain throughout your daily life?
2. Rather than turning your love and caring only outward toward other people, turn it inward to yourself first. Yes, this may feel like being selfish when you first start doing it, but I am here to let you know that everybody else is not your responsibility. I can’t even tell you how important that is, especially for those of us who are highly sensitive, empaths, or recovering people pleasers. It’s okay to focus on yourself and care for yourself first! It will actually help you to better care for those around you if you take care of yourself first. The common example of this is when you’re on an airplane and they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first.
“You cannot get sick enough to help sick people get better. You cannot get poor enough to help poor people thrive. It is only in your thriving that you have anything to offer anyone.”
– Abraham Hicks
3. Realize and remember that the past and future only exist in your mind. Past regrets and projections of worry into the future are your ego’s way of distracting you from the present moment, which is all there is. Think about it. The future exists only within the projections you give it, and the past exists only when you’re thinking about it or talking about it with someone else. It’s completely intangible, just as the future is. The only reality is in the here and now, so focusing and centering yourself in the present may give you a new perspective on life.
4. Blame is toxic to the blamer, so don’t project it onto anyone, no matter how much you feel something is their fault, and even if it is their fault. Forgive them for whatever it is they did, not for their sake (because they probably don’t feel bad about it anyway), but for your own sake and the sake of your sanity. Remembering that nobody’s perfect, everyone messes up from time to time, and it could happen to anyone may help you to get to a place of forgiveness and letting go of blame.
5. Finally, utilize the tools that are available to you to help yourself, whether that’s using tarot cards, EFT (tapping), somatic experiencing, hypnosis, chakra cleansing, or any other method you are drawn to. One of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself is to learn how to quiet your thoughts. Racing thoughts can be difficult to reel back in (they pick up momentum, just like anything else), which is why this is best achieved through a daily practice. Meditation can be a great start to doing this, training yourself to stop listening to every little thought that flies through your head and allowing those untamed thoughts to affect your emotions. When you meditate, it trains your mind to calm down and not be so frantic all the time. However, meditation is not the be all end all of this process, as the real habit is formed in your everyday activities, actions, and responses to situations that come up. Being mindful is a moment-to-moment habit, and once you’re able to practice this without necessarily meditating all the time (20-30 minutes a day is highly recommended for upkeep), you’ll be able to keep your thoughts turned down, so to speak, enough to where they don’t control your emotional state anymore and you can direct your focus on purpose.
Your emotional state is your responsibility, and this is the truth for everyone. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care or shut yourself off from others. Rather, it just means that you don’t make someone else’s problems into your problems. If you feel energetically capable of helping, then by all means, go for it… but it is always better to teach someone a skill so that they can help themselves. This is as true for emotions as it is for other areas of life, so understanding how your emotional system works and interacts with the rest of your body systems (your mind, ego, wellbeing, health, etc.) can ultimately mean the difference between thriving or merely surviving. With that said, I encourage you to keep learning about and practicing mindfulness! You have access to your inner power any time you choose to tap into it, so why not tap into it more often than not? Your soul is infinite and eternal, pure love and light. Only you can allow it to shine through in your everyday activities.
For more information about the Mindfulness Movement or the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
Let’s talk for a moment about the concept of letting go. When most of us consider letting go, we look at the thing we want to let go of without looking at the underlying reasons why that thing is so difficult to let go of. It becomes an impossible task to break a habit, simply because we are comforted and soothed by that habit and haven’t addressed the emotional issue causing this dependency on things that aren’t necessarily good for us. These habits can run the gamut from nail biting to drug addiction, but many of them are caused by hidden emotional trauma or subconscious conditioning or programming. Those internal things are what cause the dependency on whatever habits we have a hard time giving up, so it stands to reason that those are the things we should address in our mindfulness efforts, not merely the surface habits. Knowing this, we can finally begin to move forward with letting go of habits that don’t serve us.
This sounds like a lot of work, getting to what’s underneath it all, and make no mistake: the more unresolved issues you have, the more work you will need to do within yourself to address, release, and replace the habits that don’t serve you with habits that do. You can begin to determine which habits don’t serve you well based on the way they make you feel overall. Let’s take a shopping addiction as an example. Society likes to joke around about “retail therapy,” which makes this a habit that is not taken as seriously as it probably should be because we live in a society that promotes consumerism. However, that doesn’t mean that a shopping addiction is healthy or that you can’t choose to be a different way. And this goes for anyone who feels trapped by one or more bad habits; your definition of a bad habit will be different from others’ definitions of it, and as the above quote states, everyone is different and this is a complex topic.
To help you determine whether you want to phase out a particular habit or not, we have to first consider where the habit comes from, and where your belief about the habit comes from. For example, if you grew up with a parent who smoked but whom you also admired, you might subconsciously believe that smoking is admirable or makes you look a certain way. Realizing that this is only your conditioned belief about the habit can help you work through the layers of subconscious beliefs and begin letting them go. You might ask yourself, “Is smoking really an admirable trait? Does it really make me look cool, or do I just look gross?” You may also begin to condition yourself out of it by looking at graphic smoker lung photos, hearing people hacking up their lungs constantly, or otherwise making it seem disgusting to yourself so you become discouraged on a conscious level.
Maybe smoking isn’t your habit, so let’s go over a few basic questions you can take some time to reflect on when you’re looking at your habits and determining which ones to change. Any time we discuss inner work, being completely honest with yourself is paramount. You don’t have to tell anyone anything, but be honest with yourself.
1. When do you tend to participate in this particular habit? Is it when you’re stressed, sad, depressed, lonely, ambivalent, confused, stuck, etc.? Be very specific about how you feel and where that feeling might originate from. If you have flashes of memories or feel on the verge of a breakthrough, write it down.
2. How do you feel while you indulge in this habit versus shortly afterwards? Do you feel guilt or shame after partaking in this habit?
3. Why do you think that this habit is bad? Is it because you really think so, someone else convinced you (for example, a religious parent telling their child something is bad or a sin even when it isn’t; think Stephen King’s story, Carrie), or because you actually know, within yourself, based on educated research, that this habit is hurting you in the long run?
4. What experiences have you had around other people with the same habit? Have those experiences been mostly positive, and maybe you feel like you’ll miss out if you don’t continue the habit? Or have they been mostly negative and you use this habit to punish yourself subconsciously, for example any time you think you fail?
5. How do you feel about simply replacing your negative or bad habits with positive or good habits? Going back to the smoking example, maybe instead of smoking, you choose to go for a walk or do ten minutes of yoga when you have that urge. This is one way to less painfully phase out bad habits and develop good ones: replace the existing bad habit with a new good habit.
With these questions, you can determine where your habit comes from, why you do it, and whether you’re being true to yourself and your potential or not. You can also begin to understand the emotional aspects of why these habits get stuck, part of which is subconscious conditioning. Figuring out how you’ve been conditioned by your surroundings, experiences, and the people in your life can help you to create any changes you want to.
Be aware that beginning this journey into changing your habits can be challenging and may bring out some interesting responses among the people you surround yourself with. Self-improvement is a lifelong process, so don’t let anyone discourage you no matter who they are or how much you think they mean the best for you. It is extremely common for people to develop codependent relationships that have to be broken and rebuilt when those habits change, which can and most likely will make some waves and create some drama. Depending on how enmeshed everyone involved is, this could last for a while and cause all manner of problems.
Remaining strong throughout this process is difficult, so you may or may not relapse and slip backwards a couple of times. However, this is the part where you have to forgive yourself and remember you did it before, so you can do it again, and it will be fine. Loving the part of yourself that is attracted to this habit is important as well, so don’t judge yourself too harshly or beat up on yourself for anything. That will only prolong the process of getting back on the horse, so to speak. Forgiving yourself and understanding that your bad habit or addiction isn’t you will help a great deal.
Habits are the foundation of major life changes. A little effort every day can make a massive amount of difference in the big picture, so creating your life around habits you want to be sure to have each and every day is the best way that you can change anything you want to. After a week or two, the habits begin to become effortless, as long as they are maintained every day. If you skip out on them for too long, they will become more challenging to pick back up, so do what you need to do to take good care of yourself and manifest the life of your dreams, one habit at a time.
Forgiving yourself is an extremely valuable tool on your journey to being the best version of yourself. This goes hand in hand with personal accountability for your portion of responsibility in whatever situation you’re dealing with. True healing takes admitting at least your part in whatever is happening while also recognizing the other person’s part, and remembering that none of us are perfect. As a mindful leader, it is part of your duty to pay attention and be aware of each side of the story as much as you can. Sometimes it takes a little time and inner work to get there, but with practice, you can get there almost instantaneously if you focus. Let’s explore how forgiving yourself will ultimately make you a much stronger, wiser, and more patient and understanding individual.
One of the first things to realize is that many of us tend to beat up on ourselves about what we’ve done wrong for much longer than is necessary, which creates an inner environment that opens you up to people taking advantage of you because they know they can do whatever they want, but you’ll take the blame and responsibility for it... because that’s just the good-hearted type of person that you are. Having said that, this gives you all the more reason to develop a healthy and appropriate length of time to process your portion of responsibility rather than moving into martyr mode.
Your inner critic can be very noisy and – quite frankly – a nuisance until you practice mindfulness and self-awareness and recognize that this is all just part of being human. None of us are perfect, and keeping this in mind allows you to forgive yourself as well as others much more quickly. Love yourself despite your mistakes, and keep them in perspective by taking a bird’s eye view of the whole situation rather than just the piece of it that you feel is your fault. Remember that the best thing you can do for yourself is learn from the experience and move on. Dwelling in guilt, shame, and fear is actually unhealthy and detrimental to your effectiveness as a person, the message you have to share, as well as eating away at your sense of self-worth, so why make life more difficult for yourself through this kind of subconscious self-programming?
On that note, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to help you forgive yourself and move on to solutions and lessons learned, that way you have the tools to handle things in a more constructive way later, as well as being unlikely to make the same mistake again.
Elements of Self-Forgiveness to Keep in Mind
· In order to make the most of your self-forgiveness, it’s a good idea to begin from a place of calm and peace, preferably where you remember that you are (and deserve to be – we all do) loved unconditionally. Whether this unconditional love comes from yourself, your spirit or inner being, or an individual that is close to you, tap into that feeling of being loved unconditionally. This is the foundation.
· Next, remember your strength and positive attributes or traits. Are you patient? Understanding? Wise? Practical? This could be anything that you love about yourself and can remember demonstrating at some point or another in a life situation. These are things you know to be true and can be confident in, which in turn will make it easier to admit fault that is actually yours, forgive yourself, and move on.
· Remember to look at the situation in context and take full responsibility for whatever it is that you need to forgive yourself for. If it was a simple mistake involving your skills, then there’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Simply learn from the mistake, correct it if you can, and do better next time. If it was a moral conflict, make sure that you feel appropriate guilt and shame, but no more. Nursing these feelings can open you up to all kinds of problems later on, so don’t prolong the healing process unnecessarily.
· Pay close attention to the parts of your experience that are especially painful, as this is where deeper healing takes place. Look at what happened and feel the pain and guilt, but imagine yourself shining a loving light onto it and realizing that, without doing this, you are much more likely to get stuck in the negative cycle of beating yourself up over it.
· Take responsibility for your part in things and acknowledge the aspects of the situation that you aren’t responsible for. Then consider what you’ve done already to try to rectify the situation, and do anything else that you feel you must in order to mend fences. If you’ve already done everything in your power, then the rest is outside of your control and there’s no point in dwelling on it more. At that point, it’s senseless and does more harm than good. If there’s more that you can do, then do it – not only for the other person involved, but also for yourself. Knowing you’ve done everything you could will help you to learn from the experience and move on.
· That brings me to the idea of learning everything you can from the situation and then releasing it. Letting go of trying to control the outcome of the situation will allow you to move on and do better the next time you’re faced with a similar situation.
Be honest with yourself and do what you can, but don’t allow your inner critic or self-deprecating thoughts to lull you into a false sense of over-responsibility. No one human being is required to carry the weight of the world, but if you continuously don’t forgive yourself, then it may very well feel like you have the world on your shoulders. This feeling can become crippling over time; the more weight you add with every misstep or mistake, the heavier your burden will be. This infringes very much on your ability to help others, and as a mindful leader, this will likely have a ripple effect on every area of your life.
I hope that these ideas help you to reach a place of forgiving yourself much more quickly. One of the most important aspects is to feel the feelings you feel, acknowledge them, and then let them go so that you can move on to do much better in your life as a whole. This is part of the work that allows you to be better than you were the day, week, or even month before, and oftentimes, steps and layers are required in order to fully reach this peace. You can only work your way from one step to the next; there’s no jumping up the entire staircase to reach the top without learning the lessons you learn along the way. Abraham-Hicks refers to this as being ready to be ready to be ready... because you can’t get there from where you are without taking the steps necessary, and life tends to lead us to exactly the steps we need for growth and inner peace... usually with absolutely perfect timing (whether we can see it in the thick of it or not).
Thank you so much for joining us today on the Mindful Leader Blog! I hope you’re having a wonderful week, and please come back next week for another article about forgiveness.
To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
Any time we are around other people, mistakes are bound to be made. Nobody’s perfect, after all. The real test of your character is how you choose to react to mistakes or carelessness at the hands of other people, or in some cases, how you react to abusive or bullying behavior at the hands of someone else. Let’s be perfectly honest here... in real life, there are lots of gray areas and there isn’t always a clear-cut solution or choice to make. Sometimes you have nothing but “bad” options, and it’s important to be flexible and able to mindfully consider which option is the best one, even if there isn’t an ideal win-win-win. Read on to learn how forgiving others can help you cultivate inner peace and stay sane during stressful circumstances.
As mentioned in last week’s blog post, studies have shown that holding a grudge or nursing resentment can actually be detrimental to the health of your body and mind. It’s like the Buddha said: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” This is also true of resentment and feelings of vengeance; the emotional state of being is more harmful to yourself and your own vessel than it is to the person whom you wish justice upon.
Now, this doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t valid or even justified. However, this type of feeling is only justified for so long before it turns from a healthy step in the process of acceptance (or release) to a detrimental habit of thought and feeling that essentially eats away at your mind, body, and spirit.
So, how do you get to a point of being able to forgive someone more quickly in order to move toward solutions rather than arguing in circles or having a dark cloud hanging over your workplace (or anywhere else)? Here are five things to keep in mind as you work on your ability to let go and forgive others their mistakes.
Five Reframes to Help You Forgive Others Mindfully
These are five things to remember as you work on your ability to forgive others. Perception is reality, so fine-tuning your own perception is an excellent way of getting to a place of peace through forgiveness much faster.
1. Remember that you have no way of knowing just what someone else is going through or dealing with at any given time. If you’re working from a place of speculation, assumptions, or worse (like gossip, rumors, or hearsay), then the chance of coming up with forgiveness or any kind of solution becomes minimal at best, and it definitely won’t be a solution that is in alignment with the greatest good for everyone.
2. Remember that most people have a rich, multifaceted life outside of the workplace or wherever you know them from. Unless they share their stories voluntarily, then you have no way of knowing what’s happening in their lives, the underlying stresses they may be facing, or the amount of work they’re doing. Chances are that, if you have a lot on your plate, most other people also have a lot on their plate. These days, that’s much more common than finding people who are minimalistic and have cleared the clutter from their lives. Even if they have, that thing called life still happens, so find your sense of compassion before holding on to resentment or anger.
3. Remember that not everyone practices mindfulness or meditation. Self-awareness doesn’t come naturally to all people, and without conscious practice, we can fall out of our mindful habits and start “slacking off” on directing our own thoughts and emotions. One blanket remedy for this is to have a morning session of meditation for all of the people you lead, maybe even a second one after lunch. Meditation has been proven to have many positive effects on an individual, so it can’t hurt.
4. Remember that each of us sees life through the layers of conditioning and experiences we’ve accumulated throughout our lives. I think of this like several different semi-opaque blinders in different colors covering our eyes and how we see and sense the world and other people. As we grow, evolve, and expand our consciousness, these blinders begin to fall away in a series of aha-moments and epiphanies, like layers being peeled back. Once this begins happening, we can see the world, people, and circumstances from various different perspectives simultaneously, making us more understanding and open to hearing more sides of a situation. It may never be possible to see all sides, simply because context matters and the circumstances and various different perceptions of the people involved will tell as many different stories as there are people involved, maybe even more. Keeping this in mind allows us to be more accepting and wise in how we handle different circumstances.
5. Remember that we’re all connected. No matter how different we all are from one another due to the illusion of separateness and different upbringing, conditioning, and subconscious programming, our individual perceptions can come together to paint a whole picture rather than leaving us with a canvas that looks randomly spattered with paint. The underlying connections are apparent in everyday life and circumstances when you practice mindfulness and pay attention, while also practicing discernment.
Forgiveness, like so many things, happens in waves or layers. Another “side-effect” of mindfulness practice is that you become more aware of the various cycles of human emotion, life circumstances, and the ebb and flow of the universe. It’s all connected, and chances are that your life circumstances and relationships are there to teach you something. When we take on the role of being a student of the universe, so to speak, rather than getting caught up in superficial conflicts and squabbling, we are more able to see people for who they are beneath the mess that life created within their being. This is also why healing yourself is so important – only then can we truly see, and only then can we truly understand.
Thank you so much for joining us here on the Mindful Leader Blog! Check in next week for another article about forgiveness, this time about forgiving yourself... which should help with the healing I just mentioned.
To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
We’ve all been in situations where we feel wronged, hurt, or betrayed by someone. This can be very painful to experience, which means that we typically have to work our way through the stages of acceptance before we can forgive someone, and in certain cases, forgiveness alone may not serve you as well as also remembering what you’ve learned from the experience. The trick is to find your balance between forgiving those who have wronged you while maintaining the knowledge and lessons you’ve learned from the experience. Let’s take a closer look at what forgiveness is and how we can incorporate it into our mindful leadership practices.
Forgiveness, like so many things in life, has slightly different meanings for everyone depending on how you were raised and your life experiences as well as what you intuitively know to be true at the core of your being. The types of situations that may require you to forgive someone are as infinite as the types and depths of forgiveness that you are capable of as a human. Betrayal and forgiveness take on many forms, so your emotional guidance system comes into play quite a lot, especially when you’re navigating life with other people. Wherever there are people, there are bound to be mistakes, which means that forgiveness is a tool you should cultivate thoroughly if you’re working with people in any capacity.
Wikipedia has a very good definition of forgiveness:
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
Now, as far as the purpose of forgiveness is concerned, there always seems to be an initial misconception that forgiveness is for the other person’s wellbeing rather than our own. As we continue to grow and then refine our understanding of forgiveness, we come to realize that it is for our own sanity and health that we must choose to forgive others, not for the sake of their soul or wellbeing (although it can’t hurt, right?).
Forgiveness serves us in many different ways on an emotional, spiritual, and even physical level. It also goes hand in hand with love – the real, unconditional brand of love – as well as compassion and empathy. It also goes hand in hand with inner peace and mindfulness, and because everything ties together in this way, understanding each component on a deeper level can greatly improve your overall wellbeing and help you put all of these loving practices into action in your daily life as a mindful leader.
On Practicing Forgiveness
Being able to wish someone well despite a betrayal, abuse, or falling out can sometimes be a challenge, especially if the actions against you were abusive or traumatizing in any way. This means a great deal of inner work for healing yourself, which can easily turn into bitterness and resentment toward those who wronged you and “made you” have to do all that hard work. Healing and working through trauma can be painful, so it takes some strength to face it head on and – make no mistake – the only way out is through, and emotional energy doesn’t just disappear into nothing. It stays within the body, causing other forms of damage and dis-ease over time.
This is a natural way to feel at first, but it is not a state of being that is worth holding on to. Resentment, anger, and vengefulness have a profound effect on your body because these emotions increase the stress hormone cortisol and decrease the “love” hormone oxytocin. These negative emotions also activate the fight or flight response, which – if activated on a consistent basis – can also have damaging effects not only on the body but also on the mind and spirit.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, is a method of releasing those negative emotions and coming to a place of inner peace, understanding, and if not love, at least compassion for those who know not what they do and have hurt you. Because, oftentimes, people hurt each other through subconscious means, learned habits, misunderstandings, or chaotic circumstances where people are simply trying to do their best with what they have. However, sometimes it is conscious and it is abusive. That is for your discernment, although dwelling on it too much can drive you a little crazy, especially if you’re trying to figure out the motivations of an abuser who uses manipulative tactics, which may very well be part of their modus operandi.
One of the most important things that someone told me during a point in my life when I was leaving an abusive relationship was, “If you keep going back for anything – your stuff, to talk, or whatever reason he gives you and you use as an excuse – then you are, in effect, giving him control. You’ve got to take your power back.” The reason I bring this up is because it was difficult to hear... I was only 23 at the time, but it was like my heart got zapped with an electric current for a minute, just before the warmth and excitement of epiphany swept over me. What’s interesting is that this helped me to realize that it all happens in the mind and heart... as long as I didn’t take responsibility for my part in what was happening, all the blaming and arguing in the world wouldn’t change anything and would only serve to keep me indirectly under his control... which had seeped into my perception and thoughts, the most dangerous place to allow anybody else to live for an extended period of time.
Knowing this, I certainly hope that you have gained a deeper level of understanding about the definition and purpose of forgiveness. It isn’t always easy in practice, especially during highly emotional situations, but finding your inner place of peace will also allow you to handle those types of situations in a much more constructive way. In some situations, you may need to cut your losses and walk away, letting go of toxic relationships that aren’t salvageable. If that isn’t a possibility, you’ll have the tools necessary to stay strong and handle things more gracefully than before, in effect neutralizing the situation.
Thank you so much for joining us here on the Mindful Leader Blog! I hope you’re having a wonderful week, and I look forward to sharing more information about forgiveness with you throughout the month of November.
To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:
The brutal truth of the matter is that we won’t be fully honed or skilled in these practices, especially getting comfortable with uncertainty, until we’ve experienced a period of uncertainty that essentially gave us no choice but to get comfortable. Things being up in the air basically force us to let go of control and hang on to faith instead. If this isn’t something you’ve done before, then it might help you to read on about things you can do to help yourself feel less like you’re being dragged through the mud by life and more like you’re being “pulled” to your calling by life. On the outside, the circumstances and situations could be exactly the same... but one person might handle it with a nonchalant attitude while someone else might handle it with a reactionary mindset. Let’s take a closer look at a mindset of being comfortable in times of uncertainty.
There are some common sayings we can turn to in times like these, some of which may not always make sense until you’ve had an experience where it clicks. However, they are very valid sayings and can be used to give you comfort in uncertain times. By practicing the following mindset shifts, you make your emotional wellbeing the primary focus as you work through whatever circumstances or challenges you’re faced with.
1. “When one door closes, another one opens.”
This is advice to keep your eyes out for opportunities and remain open to seeing them despite your challenges. In order to be on the same wavelength or frequency as your solutions, though, you must have a mindset focused and directed toward more positive aspects than negative. If you are staying focused on the problem and thinking about it, giving it your mental and emotional energy, then the solutions may not find you because they are on an entirely different vibrational frequency. It isn’t that they aren’t there; it’s that you aren’t in the right mindset to see them. If you need help getting out of a funk, try meditation, yoga, or going for a walk.
2. “Let go and let God.”
Essentially, this saying means to let go of your need for control. When you try to control everything around you, chances are that you feel like you have no control within yourself, of your emotions specifically. This essentially means you try to control your environment and external people and circumstances in order to attempt to control your own emotions. This is akin to building a house on a faulty foundation – if you really want to get somewhere, you will let go of the control tactics and begin replacing them with mindfulness practices so that you can heal yourself and quit worrying about everything “out there.”
3. “Have the serenity to know the difference.”
This line from the Serenity Prayer is important to remember during challenging times, especially if whatever is happening is very emotional for you. Being serene – peaceful, calm, tranquil – can also be achieved through daily meditation practice. When you are able to maintain a somewhat objective point of view despite emotional volatility in a situation, you are better able to recognize what is yours and what isn’t. Is this really your responsibility? Is this really something that’s your problem? Or is it better to step back and let it go? Remember... you can always come back to it later when tempers and other emotions have cooled.
4. Don’t worry about a thing.
Worrying is like projecting your fears into the future... and if you’re any good at manifesting anything, which we all are (whether we know it or not), there’s a good chance that these worries and fears being projected into your future may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Have you ever met someone who believed that they were cursed in some way, shape, or form? And every time, without fail, that thing they thought was cursing them would show up. Now, what’s the deal... are they actually cursed? Or are they so worried about what’s coming that they make it happen one way or another? This is why it’s better to keep your mind clear rather than running on autopilot (aka auto-manifesting). If you’re not thinking about anything, then chances are that you aren’t projecting worries and fears into the future or being nostalgic or regretful about the past. If you catch yourself thinking worrisome thoughts, direct your attention somewhere else. The more you do this, the less you’ll worry.
5. Be discerning about what you give your attention and energy to.
If you have something that is a priority which you should be focused on, such as a project, work, or some other activity, then choose that as much as possible. If you have children, creative passion projects, a fun hobby, or anything similar to focus on that helps you stay in tune with your inspiration, then set aside time for that and make it a priority because it is imperative to replenish your energies and get into that inspired zone from time to time. If you don’t do this enough or haven’t found anything like this to focus on, then your chances of falling into addictive behavior increase, so find something organic that makes you feel naturally passionate and make that your new addiction, so to speak.
I hope that this month’s blog articles have helped you to become better at being uncomfortable and not knowing what’s next. Uncertainty is a part of life, and if you don’t know how to handle it in a healthy manner from your own perspective, which will be different from anyone else’s, then I highly recommend you start learning and getting to know yourself better. You are much stronger than you think, and you can handle more and come out a much better person than you think, so changing the way you think of yourself is a good first step. It basically boils down to confidence. Are you confident in your ability to figure things out? If not, then you might run into trouble. Let’s prevent that from happening, shall we?
Thanks so much for joining us and reading about resilience this month! I invite you to come back in November for a new topic on Mindful Leadership.
Let’s face it… sometimes, things are up in the air for a while before opportunities or information come to light to help you continue to move forward. Other times, you simply have to tap into your patience in order to keep from going too stir-crazy while you wait for solutions to present themselves. So, when everything seems to be in limbo, how do you keep yourself from letting it get to you? Here are five ways in which you can keep your balance mindfully, especially during times of uncertainty.
Another circumstance in which you might feel stuck or at a standstill is if too many problems continue to present themselves. This is the perfect opportunity for you to ask yourself one very important question:
Is it really YOUR problem?
Or are you taking on other people’s problems and helping them rather than helping yourself?
This is a very common problem for caring and mindful leaders, so it’s important to learn how to keep your problems and responsibilities separate from those of your team. As a mindful leader, it isn’t your job to fix anything for someone else; if someone on your team needs help, you can use your coaching skills to help guide them to their own answers and solutions, and then allow them to take care of their own problems. Not only will this free up your time and energy for other things, but it will help them to feel empowered about what they can accomplish for themselves.
5 Habits for Mindful Balance
1. Get out of the problem. Essentially, this means distracting yourself and not dwelling on whatever is going on for the time being. Oftentimes, taking a few steps back will give you the opportunity to relax into a potential solution you may have missed if you were up in arms about the issue. Becoming a master of self-distraction is a good thing!
2. Reserve judgment. By keeping an open mind and understanding things from multiple angles or perspectives, you can more easily focus on solutions and problem-solving methodologies without getting emotionally involved in whatever issue is surfacing. The emotional aspect of a problem is often the most damaging, so maintain your bird’s eye view by suspending judgment.
3. Practice the art of allowing. Sometimes things just need to play out in whichever direction they will end up playing out, so allowing others the freedom to make their own decisions and do things the way they see fit will ensure that everyone is happy… or, if not, that everyone at the very least has to own their words and actions during the process.
4. Practice the art of acceptance. This is essentially accepting people for who they are, as well as accepting yourself for who you are and being okay with it, especially when you learn about personality quirks that may clash when combined. By not getting stuck on those personality quirks, we allow the other person to be who they are and the entire problem solving process becomes less stressful… and even fun.
5. Above all, maintain your inner peace. This is a daily habitual practice you should be implementing as a mindful leader no matter what may be going on in the world around you, in your life, or with your loved ones. No, this doesn’t mean that you should bury your emotions or try not to feel anything. On the contrary… this means finding daily habits that help you to stay centered, on track, balanced, and peaceful.
Your mindset is largely dependent on what you do for yourself and your emotional landscape every day. For some people, this may mean eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise; for others, it may mean journaling and getting enough sleep. It’s up to you to determine which habits are most effective for you to be the best version of yourself and maintain your inner peace.
How much control do you think you have over your life? During any given day, do you have control over much of anything, really? Well, maybe a little. However, the real question is (and be honest with yourself here): Do you feel like you need to be in control of everything around you all the time? The difference between being in control of your own mind and being in control of your environment is night and day. Let’s pinpoint some of the key things involved in healthy control over your mind versus unhealthy control over the environment.
The one extremely obvious point to note is that one version of control turns your focus inward, while the other version of control turns your focus outward. Why does this matter?
Have you ever tried to control the ocean? That would be impossible for one person to do. And you know as well as I do that barking orders or yelling at the ocean wouldn’t change a thing. It would simply continue on its course, ebbing and flowing in its natural rhythm.
However, you can go within and make the decision to go with the flow of the water. This allows for collaboration and harmony rather than control and force.
We could learn a lot from the ocean. Actually, we could learn a lot from water in general.
Becoming Like Water
Water, though flexible, is powerful, steady, and persistent as it carves out its own path. It is confident (have you ever seen water hesitate?), reliable, and typically stays put unless it gets too hot, in which case it evaporates and eventually falls back to the earth. No matter how you look at it, though, water is always present in the now because it has no mind to think thoughts of worry about the future or regret about the past.
1. The present is everything.
When you focus your attention in the present moment, you begin to notice details and spaces that you may not have noticed before. Time may even stretch out for you. This is because you have found a state of being completely focused and present and your thoughts aren’t a part of this focus.
Should you notice your thoughts wandering, just bring your focus back to your breath. The breath is vital to us, not only for staying alive, but also for connecting with our inner selves and balancing us out.
2. Breathing is powerful.
Think about it. With each breath you take, millions of tiny cells carry oxygen to every part of your body to keep it functioning properly. If any part of your body loses oxygen, your body will begin to shut down. If your brain loses oxygen for too long, it dies and can no longer function.
Breathing is life. If you’d like to do some mindfulness breathing, breathe in through your nose, hold for four, then out through your mouth, hold for four. You can count out four seconds, and then as your lungs become stronger and grow in capacity, you may begin to increase your count.
3. Life is liquid.
Just like water is liquid life, life is fluid like water. You may be able to see the big things coming and prepare for them, kind of like large rocks, waterfalls, or a boulder in a river, but you can’t always see all of the little obstacles hidden beneath the surface, nor can you foretell what other unforeseen things may interfere with the flow of the river.
You must remain flexible. If you aren’t able to go with the flow and work with it, your entire life experience will feel like an uphill battle of “making” things happen. If you choose instead to consider multiple options for multiple potential circumstances or outcomes, you will already have a higher chance of success because you’re addressing the problem creatively. Master this and you will be able to handle anything life throws at you!
4. Maybe the world does revolve around you… just a little.
By that, of course, I mean YOUR world. This is true for every person on the planet; think of yourself as a smaller universe within a larger one, within a larger one, within a larger one. Each level is within another level, all the way on up to the entire expanding universe and all the way down to the tiniest atom.
Knowing this, you can approach people you lead in a way that takes their perspective (“the world revolves around me”) into consideration while also helping the whole. Your own perspective will broaden the more you understand this, so try to look at everything from as many angles as possible.
5. Nobody else is really any of your business.
When you spend the majority of your time worrying about what someone else is doing, saying, or thinking, you hand away your power over yourself on a silver platter. If someone else is constantly worried about what you’re doing, saying, or thinking, they have given you power over them and it isn’t always pretty for either person.
Instead, focus on what you’re doing and staying in the moment while you’re doing it so that you can milk it for everything it has to teach you and show you by studying the details. This is how to remain mindful while you’re working on anything, whether you naturally enjoy it or not.
Thanks so much for reading! I certainly hope that this article helps you become a more mindful leader than before.