Happy Friday! Back from the Vipassana retreat in Kathmandu, Nepal, and seriously feeling better than ever!
I.TELL.YOU, 10 days in silence with 10+ hours of meditating per day beginning at 4:30 am, observing nothing but your breath and mind will make you come out seeing your world in a whole new way.
The biggest thing the retreat reinforced is that life is in a constant flux.
We know this is true, but still we find ourselves reacting to the bad times and craving for the good times.
No matter what, things will come and go. No matter what, some days we’ll feel better than others.
Despite this constant flux in our lives, it’s how we react to which will determine the happiness of our lives.
Happiness is not a final destination, nor is it just a series of stops we make. It is a way of living, a way of traveling.
With that, and the end of the year approaching how will you start this new year? How will you choose to create happiness in each day no matter where you are in the flux?
p.s. If anyone is interested in learning more about Vipassana, visit their website or contact me. They offer 3-day and 10-day retreats all around the world. It was seriously the most incredible experience I’ve had on this trip. I never would have imagined, but through the retreat I was able to answer many of the questions I had been bouncing around in my mind. And surprise, surprise - I’m happy and excited to announce after Hong Kong I’ll be returning back to San Francisco
How often do you find yourself “blacking out” about what you’ve been up to?
You meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in months and the first thing they ask is, “So, what have you been up to!?!”
Stumped, you sit there kinda feeling like a dumbass wondering, “man, what have I been up to? Think, think, think, what have I been doing. There’s been good stuff right?”
Lost for thoughts you just spit out the usual.. “Ahhh, work. Work has been good. Pretty busy. Ahh… Family. Family has been good, nothing new…”
You ever find yourself in this position?
Wouldn’t you say its kinda of a shitty place to be?
You know you’ve been up to something. Its been a whole month. Tons of things have happened. Good things. Bad things. Funny things. THINGS.
Yet you for the life of you you keep drawing blanks. Its like you’ve been walking dead.
We know this happens cause we are so busy. We are zipping around here and there, always on the go moving, moving, moving. Always on the go. Even when our life feels so banal we often find ourselves flying through the day and wondering where the day went.
Regardless we all know blacking out is just no fun.
This is our lives gosh darn it. Do you want to look back and NOT be able to recall all the moments in your life??
So, what do we do about it?
For me, a huge part of this has been keeping a gratitude journal.
For a long time I kept hearing all this blabber about how important a gratitude journal is. My response - “I have no time.” I felt too busy and too tired at the end of the day to sit down and think about what I had actually did that day.
Do you feel me?
Thing is, that’s exactly the reason I needed to start. If I was way too tired at the end of my day to sit and remember what I even did that day, was I going to remember it the next day, or even a month from now?
Hellz to the no.
Those memories and the things I was grateful for, flew out the window as soon as my head hit the pillow.
The more I become aware of how much of my life I was living “blacked out” the more I realized, “Oh snap, this is what ‘smell the roses’ is referring to.”
This, my friends, is when all that blabber about gratitude journals flying back at me smacking me straight in the face.
Life moves so fast. And while it can be fun and exciting, if you can’t remember anything you’ve done, what good is that?
So I busted out an journal I bought but never touched and took it to town. Each night I would record all of the tiny moments and things I was grateful for.
Here’s an example from mine. Note, there’s no need to get fancy with it. The important thing is that you take the time each day (or just as much as you can) to sit and smell the roses.
“Waiting at bus station now. Spent most of today on a bus. Bus was a lot nicer than i expected. Had really tasty sweet buns. Was excited because didn’t think we were getting food. We are under the a/c now and it fees so bomb in this hot weather. Just made myself instant coffee. Put wayyyy to much sugar in it, but still tastes good. Stranger just offered us a fruit. I was hesitant at first, but it was hella bomb.”
My most recent gratitude journal that I’m carrying around with me in my travels, a purple moleskin!
Yup, and it only take a whole five minutes to do. Here’s the thing though - it has HUGE impacts.
One, it gets you to start noticing the small wonderful moments that are always happening.
Like when I got the tasty bun on the bus I immediately thought, “Oh this is a good one for the books, this bun is de-li-ci-ous.” So just making writing in your journal a habit your automatically become more grateful throughout the day.
Two, it forces you to sit down and ‘smell the roses’
Yes, at the time I was writing I was very tired. The thing is if I didn’t take the time to write down all the small memories I was grateful for they would go flying from my mind before I knew it. And then I would never see them again!! (Of course we can’t be crazy hard on ourselves. If you can’t make it a daily practice doing it once a week is better than nothing).
Three, it creates a record for you to look at whenever you need a pick me up!
To this day one of my favorite things to do when I’m having a slump is to flip my journal to exactly one year before to help me realize how far I’ve come in the past year.
Fourth and finally, it helps you overall become more aware of each day
Helping you say bye bye to those lame ass blackouts we all have when it comes to remember what we’ve been up to.
Now you give it a try.
Bust out any notebook you have and for two weeks write down things that you are grateful for either every morning or every night (I personally prefer night because then I can go to sleep with happy thoughts and wake up refreshed). They can be memories, people or just things. Anything big or small. Just put pen to paper and take a pause in your busy life to reflect.
After the first week take a peeksie at what you did 7 days prior to that, you might be surprised how many memories you’ve already forget about, and how those small memories will bring a smile to your face!
If after the two weeks you like it, get your booty down to the local bookshop and buy your butt a journal for this. Even if it cost $10 for a really pretty one that makes you smile just holding it, JUST BUY IT! Yea it’s only paper, but $10 is chump change in exchange for being able to remember you’re life
Really interesting idea from 24 Ours…
Have you noticed how easy it is to blow things out of proportion?
Especially when things go oh so very wrong (at least in your mind).
A presentation that didn’t go as planned, the car that broke down when you were already running late, the package that didn’t arrive on time.
To prevent negative thoughts from consuming you, try this little trick – “Put your problems into the smallest box possible…Seeing a tiny box in your mind shows the actual size of the problem and helps you feel more confident that you can take it on.”1
After all, it’s just a tiny box – much easier to conquer than a bigger one, don’t you think?
1From Health magazine, April 2012 issue, pg. 122
Via Purpose Fairy
- Be Clear Know exactly what you are aiming for and what changes you to expect to see.
- Gain Focus Commit to what you want and do not allow yourself be pushed around by negative thinking or external distractions.
- Discover Internal Motivation Understand why the goal is intrinsically important to you deep in your core and do not expect extrinsic rewards.
- Change your Behavior Keep doing what you’re doing unless you want different results. This includes your thinking patterns.
- Observe your Thoughts Rather than playing tug of war with negative thoughts, let go and allow them to float by without letting them get in the way of your goals.
- Embrace the Unpleasant