In the previous two posts there was the invitation to consider the importance and value of Silence and Stillness in your life.
In many ways Silence and Stillness are precursors to what we could call Mindfulness.
Mindfulness has been described as that 'state' where the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through.
How many of you remember a parent or a teacher suggesting that you 'pay attention'?
Well in one sense what they were asking you to do was to focus on the thing that you are doing.
In the last blog we met 'Domino' and "Dorey', two characters who manage their attention in, complementary ways.
Domino placed all of her tasks in a row, one after the other, sequentially.
Dorey considered and tackled tasks in a more random, scattered way.
A number of years ago the Anton Gregorc created an inventory, a measure, of thinking skills he defined as being Abstract, Random, Concrete and Sequential.
Concrete thinkers dealt better with 'concrete' things - practical, down to earth as it were.
Abstract thinkers dealt better with ideas, concepts, - the more intangible things.
Random thinkers, well they're Dorey and Sequential thinkers are surprise, surprise Domino.
So we can be Concrete Domino's or Concrete Dorey's...
Abstract Dorey's and Abstract Dominos.
Which best describes you?
Again it's not that one is better than the other, though it may be that in specific contexts one is more effective than the other.
WHICH in many ways has very little to do with mindfulness, since mindfulness is less concerned with how you are thinking, but more concerned with WHAT you are thinking - the focus of your attention.
Learning to be fully present 'in the moment' is about being able to become aware of your sensory experiences of 'the now'; not the plans for tomorrow or the memories of a yesterday. It is about becoming aware of your ability to 'focus' and how you can 'own that focus'.
We will explore this more in a later post...
For now consider where you place your attention from moment to moment and ask yourself who or what is making the choice to direct what you are paying attention to.
Sitting in silence, and being still whilst pondering this question may lead you to some interesting places...
So , you've cracked SILENCE (see last post) and that allows you to develop a sense of stillness - physical and mental.
Not only are our worlds full of sounds, they are full of 'actions' too.
We need to be here, there and everywhere...
Our minds are reviewing, rehearsing, doing, planning and acting - often all at the same time. Some of us have our tasks and therefore focus fixed our dominoes. A series of actions and plans lined up like dominoes. Some of us work on clusters of tasks at the same time, apparently multi-tasking. Those familiar with the Pixar film 'Finding Nemo' will be familiar with Dorey.
So are you Domino or Dorey?
Neither is better than the other, they're just different.
Domino folks take things a task at a time and could lose track of the 'big picture'
Dorey's move from task-to-task, use a lot of energy and whilst holding onto the bigger picture, may end up with numerous half-started - half-completed tasks.
The issue is not about effectiveness, but about 'attention'.
Where is attention being placed?
Cognitive Psychologists are very interested in the nature of 'attention' and in particular how we decide where to place our attention (focus). If we can accept that it is our unconscious mind that selects what our consciousness 'needs to focus on', the we can question the nature of the values, attitudes and beliefs which inform that unconscious filter.
Whether the glass is half full or half empty is a matter of perception based upon values and attitudes.
So just as we can practice silence, we can practise stillness.
Take a few moments to focus on being still, the quality of the moment and being passive within it.
Silence, Stillness are the building blocks of mindfulness.
I'm happy to be sharing these blog postings with White Wolf Inspirations and Wise Words for You. Welcome readers of that blog and come join me on www.dralanbjones.com and www.alanjonesmindcoach.
Silence has a power all of its own...
There is a dictum I use and often reflect upon...
Uncertainty Talks, Knowledge Speaks and Wisdom Listens
Listening implies focus and silence; space for a consideration of what has been heard.
In drama and story-telling there is a genuine understanding of the power of silence; the dramatic pause before some kind of revelation. In conversations however there seems to be some kind of imperative to fill the spaces between words and the gaps between sentences.
Are the words, questions and comments really required?
Or would silence best be honoured?
Those who gabble across the conversational spaces left by others often demonstrate their egotism or uncertainty.
Those who seek to bring every shared story back to their story display a 'me me me' child-like narcissism which is unattractive in anyone over the age of 8.
Silence is a flower which needs to be nurtured and given space to bloom...
Silence is the gift waiting to be opened
Silence is the next moment waiting to be born
Silence is practice that we could not only adopt in our conversations but in our daily lives.
Every moment of our waking day is punctuated with noise. The noise of the traffic, the office, the children. The noise of the smartphone ringtone, computer 'pings' and other pieces of electronic gadgetry which seems to rule our lives.
When we get home there's the background 'white noise' of the television; the family chit-chat...
So much sound!
We can decide to turn some of it OFF rather than simply 'TUNING IT OUT'.
Create some space for silence in your life, then begin to consider stillness.
Perfection should not be your goal....
In a world where we seem to seek perfection; a world which celebrates achievement over application, it is perhaps about time to celebrate not being perfect.
Imperfection is not the opposite of perfection, in the sense that it is a state not to be desired, but can be considered as a state of acceptance of self through love.
Without seeing who you truly are, you won't know what to change and what to keep.
Perfectionism, can be considered as a mindset that stops you from trying; stops you from experimenting; stops you from making mistakes - stops you from learning.
Here's an affirmation...
I am Me!
Let "Accept me as I am - now' become a personal battle cry.
It doesn't mean that you won't change detrimental habits because you are embracing who you are. It also doesn't mean that you are promoting laziness or lack of ambition. What it does mean is that you have taken a look inside of yourself and seen who the person inside truly is.
There are things that you like about yourself and also things that you don't, but it all works together to become the person that you are today.
True change in your life is an act of love.
You can lose weight, for example, when you love who you are right now at your current weight. It means that your life, self-esteem and happiness are not tied to a number. Anything done out of self-hate doesn't usually last because you are always criticising your efforts. Nothing is ever good enough because you start off not liking anything about yourself from the beginning.
You'd leave your own body if you could.
There is nothing healthy about that.
Imperfection says that the only way through is with love on board. Accepting and embracing you by celebrating why you are unique. It is getting reacquainted with yourself through a few steps that show the value that was there all along.
5 Ways to Imperfect Freedom
Take some serious time for introspection. Don't be afraid to look at yourself honestly. Write down what is positive and what is negative in your eyes.
Find ways to change the wording of those negatives so they are now positives that you can embrace. If you find there are too many 'I couldn't do or change that', use the magic word YET!
Discover what you like to do and don't like to do. Don't be afraid to say no to events or activities that don't foster your interests just because it's a cool or acceptable thing to do. Be true to your own interests. Develop them for therein may lie your authentic talent.
Try something new. Try bold colours for clothing or change your hairstyle. There ís nothing wrong with experimenting with new looks to accentuate your positives and give yourself a confidence boost.
Laugh more. Laughter promotes the release of feel-good endorphins. Take time out to have fun and take a rest. It is restorative and also promotes health.
Explore your creative side. Explore any creative tendencies. Stimulate that side of your brain to bring out attributes you didn't know you had. And remember that whatever you try does not have to be perfect - there is beauty in the journey towards improvement.
Allow yourself to be human, flawed and free by embracing your imperfect life.
This is the starting point for any future history you wish to create.
You have to start in the 'now'; accept the 'past' and recognise that perfection is a moving set of goal-posts which ask you to enjoy the journey.
How many times?
When working towards a personal or business goal, you find your way, path or growth blocked do you ...
a) Put your head in your hands, grunt and say 'why me?'
b) Assume that you or your goal is not worthy?
c) Blame your timing, the economy, the current situation or the lack of imagination of others?
Doing any of these is, in a weird way, abdicating personal responsibility, entering into patterns of self-doubt and personal limitation.
If your nagging question becomes 'How many times must I pick myself-up?' from the floor of apparent failure and your answer is 'just as many times as it takes', then you are, believe it or not, on the threshold of success.
As we've all been told in so many ways before - falling over isn't failing, not getting-up again is!
How many times do we need to overcome potential blocks to our dreams - well as many as it takes!
There's possibly a correlation between the height of your ambition; the potential impact of your goal, and the number of times you simply have to pick yourself-up, dust yourself-down and start all over again. The wonderful anecdote about Eddison, which I really hope is true, certainly applies here.
When asked 'have you solved the problem with the electric light bulb yet?' is apparent answer was 'No, but I know 999 ways it won't work!'
Whether the anecdote is true or not is not the point... the message is!
Every apparent 'failure' provides information and feedback that can be used to define future success.
More relevantly, perhaps, is that each piece of feedback means that you can re-evaluate the steps towards your targets.
In psychology we read about the links between motivation and what is known as the locus of control.
The locus of control can be thought of as being those areas or things where the individual feels they have control.
We can seek to control our reactions to situations but perhaps not the larger causes of those situations.
The weather, the economy, the markets, other people are not within our personal locus of control. True we have an effect upon them, but ultimately have no immediate effect upon them.
We get demotivated by the belief that we have no control over any aspect of our lives, plans, goals and targets.
So the next time you ask 'how many times' look carefully at your beliefs about 'feedback' and the reality of the control you have over some of the variables effecting (affecting) your results.
It's always OK to redefine the specific route way to success.
Dr Alan B JOnes
Director Inspire NLP