Without getting into too much detail, on Saturday, I spent time with new and old friends, acquaintances, etc. for a dear friend’s baby shower. It’s always interesting when you bring so many different personalities together, what happens. Some want to catch up and relax without being rushed (type 1); others want to control the environment and “herd” everyone to do the same thing (type 2); and still, there are others who just want to keep the peace for the sake of not upsetting type 2 (type 3). For me, socially, I fall in the first. I like spending time having real conversations with real people – it’s what is intellectually/socially stimulating for me. However, with intellectual stimulation, comes a low tolerance for the other two types – particularly as it relates to feeling my energy being zapped from having to hold back on what I really think of type 2; while not understanding why type 3 can’t think/do for themselves. In situations, such as this, I will sometimes step away to mentally tell myself to remain present, remember why I’m there, and to appreciate all that is around me, being thankful for who I have become, because of many of these people. While this sounds incredibly negative in nature, the very definition of the D.C. social scene, includes this word. It’s why it becomes so important to take some time to get to know yourself, and become comfortable/confident with who you are. For me, this last year has been life-changing as I go deeper in my meditative practice. Gone are the days of fake conversations with no real substance; gone are the days of being nice to people for the sake of feeling included; and certainly, gone are the days of feeling pressure to do/say certain things because it’s socially “required”. In each moment in the four hours I was there, I consciously spent my time appreciating the real conversations I got to have, taking note of how glowing the mother-to-be and her mom were; as well as accepting that the other types in the room are on their own path. While I was tired from little sleep, I was 100% grateful to have that experience, even if it served as a reminder of how blessed I am to know who I am, and who I choose to surround myself with on a more frequent basis.
So what does this story have to do with today’s practice…
One of the keys to living in peace is to understand who you are and not allowing others to skew that (it’s called being real). It’s extremely hard to do for many reasons – maybe you’re new to a group, or are one of those that just wants to be liked by everyone, or even that you avoid getting to know yourself because you want to be what (you think) is cool. We tend to limit our personal realities as a result of that, opting for what is safe and predictable. In essence, we spend more time trying to control ourselves, based on external forces, than truly exploring who we are and being comfortable with that.
Believe it or not, opting for safe isn’t practical, and it’s not realistic. Why? Because as we grow older, people change – your world around you will change and unfortunately, you won’t adapt well. By taking the time to meditate, you find a peace within that puts you in a risk-taking, life-loving frame of mind. Suddenly, stuff and meaningless conversation lose its luster and in its place are new experiences, trying things you never thought possible, and achieving goals you never thought you would actually achieve.
Being able to welcome hope into your life means that you’ve triggered the self awareness and understanding you need to accept and embrace that the universe is going to give you what you need in that moment, in order to set you up for something greater in the future. While that scares most, when you welcome hope, you begin to embrace the beautiful surprises the universe brings!
So how you get started or even have to give yourself a refresher…
- Be present 5 minutes at a time, then 10 minutes, and increase by 5 minutes as much as you can – being aware of your surroundings, perhaps relishing the beauty in something that caught your eye like a particularly beautiful flower, or moment.
- If you find yourself having a moment where you’re speaking but you’re not really thinking about what you’re saying, excuse yourself to the restroom for a timeout, or wait until the right words come to mind. There is no need to have to respond to everything someone asks or says!
- Remind yourself that the universe doesn’t work, based on your ego-demanding wish list. It operates on giving us what we need, and the more we embrace that, the more positive tools it gives us!
- Finally, never expect the outcome you want. Instead, expect nothing. Oftentimes, expecting the latter produces better results because we chose to embrace what was supposed to happen, not controlling how we want it to.
I know it’s difficult for you, and many others, to achieve this level of understanding of sense of self but I do promise that anyone can achieve this! The more mindful we are, the more full of the “right” hope we become 🙂