When we talk about making choices, in relation to our future and personal growth, we often refer to significant choices. Big stuff.
Life changing choices must be, by nature, daunting and hard to take. At least that’s what seems to be the belief for many of us.
For sure, there are occasions when we have to take #decisions, make choices, in a big way, like will we move from Santa Barbara to Taos? Or should we get married? Is it time to quit our soul stifling job? These choices can be excrutiating, or they can be no-brainers, but we are aware in any case that they will have a big impact on our existence.
What we are less aware of, however, is the incredible power or the tiny bitty choices we make in the course of every day, with hardly a second thought, and often in a very casual, or even unconscious way.
Minute #choices, such as let’s say, add 1/2 spoon of sugar instead of 2, wear heels or comfortable walking shoes, buy a $4 latte or take our own cup of coffee from home, smile or frown, interrupt a friend or listen all the way, sit straight or slump, walk or drive, text while driving or not, have a glass of wine or not, keep our emails clear and tidy, or let them accumulate in an overwhelming number… I could go on and on… you get the drift. Little things. All these tiny choices hold amazing power in the sheer number of their repetition, despite their relative insignificance in isolated occasions.
In fact, when we look at them closer, it’s what we do the most in small ways but long periods of time, that shape our lives. Nothing flashy here. Only the humdrum of habits.
But wait! Could my habits be mostly unconscious choices? Indeed.
When I take the 2 spoons of sugar, I choose to indulge in the moment, and to continue what might already be responsible for a pesky extra weight or a diabetes threat. When I smile deliberately, I make myself feel better, and that’s a proven fact… day after day, I won’t develop the same kind of wrinkles, nor the same kind of relationship to the world. The simple fact to refrain from texting while driving insures that I won’t be maiming or killing someone for it. When we let things such as emails unattended, we end up not being able to even see what mught be important, and we’ll feel anxiety. And when I have that glass of wine every day, I noticeably increase my risk to develop cancer.
As we see here, time is of the essence. Repetition shapes WHO WE ARE.
On the long term, a tiny choice can make or break my health, my #relationships, or my financial soundness. On the moment, as a one of, each small choice looks insignificant enough, though.
But you make that insignificant choice every day and the results is gonna get more and more heft.
So can we shape our lives in a very significant way by making tiny significant choices every day? You bet. It’s even the most efficient way to change our trajectory, in any domain of life, without having to upend it! Let’s say you are journeying through space, and you vary your direction only 1 degree angle. What will happen? After a while you’ll end up in a very different place than where you aimed to go at first. Guaranteed. ONE DEGREE. How small is that? The cool part is that tiny choices are DOABLE. They are manageable. They are not so challenging that we get discouraged by the idea… Also they can be made immediately, in the flow of today’s life. No big deal. Right now. If I keep it up… it’ll be a new habit before I realize it.
It just requires one thing, a very powerful thing: the #mindfulness to do what we do in a deliberate fashion. Becoming #aware that every single action I take is actually a choice I make. That’s my power in action. That’s the way I shape my #life .And the rewards are mind blowing. Small choices… they are our best friends if we choose to make them so.
Do you work in a chaotic environment that involves a lot of pressure?
Then you would benefit greatly from having Art around you.
Chronic stress keeps us in a state of high alert detrimental to our health, our happiness, and our cognitive abilities.
On another hand, exposure to uplifting visual clues triggers a biological positive response involved in immunity, digestion and cell repair and you can see how serene, mindful and meditative art work can be a game changer and even more so in your work environment.
In 1967, David Rockefeller established the BCA — a national nonprofit organization that brings business and the arts together. The BCA conducted a survey across industries that assessed the positive effect of Art in the workplace.
In fact, Art at work reduces stress and increases our productivity (up to 32% accordingly to Karen Higginbottom in her excellent article for Forbes in May 2016).
Deutsche Bank is on board with it. The German investment bank has the biggest collection of corporate art in the world, with some 60,000 art works across 900 offices in 40 countries.
What makes Art so powerful?
I personally believe Art partakes from a higher level of consciousness, an acute sensory ability and a limitless freedom of spirit that serves the whole human group.
In presence of Art we engage that part of us that is beyond earth-bound limitations, even when we are not aware of it.
We get in touch with the exquisite awareness of being gifted with Life. Through Art, we are connected, we are touched by grace, we are cosmic.
Did I mention that it takes only 13 milliseconds to see something and register it?
You won’t need to stare at the wall to get the full effect of a work of art, actually you can perceive it from the corner of your eye!
No matter how much you like or dislike what you do
When you are at work, no matter how chaotic your surroundings can be, you will always benefit greatly from a nurturing, transcending artwork to rest your mind upon during the day.
Far beyond its pleasant decorative qualities, the artwork you’ll choose to display can help you cope, recoup and relax when your day is particularly hectic.
In this day and age, we are all body conscious, we all take supplements and exercise, we eat the right thing and get massages… but how many of us deliberately choose to pamper our mind ? What about a mind massage ?
Serene, meditative Art, purposefully designed to support wellness and awareness, does just that…
Forgiveness is a struggle for most of us Forgiveness is the inner work triggering in us the most resistance though it is the most powerful healing tool we have at our fingertips at any time. So why do we resist so much the emotional release, the liberation that true forgiveness can bring us?
Because there is a part of us that still clings to what happened in the past and REFUSES it. As long as we hold the grudge, feel the pain, refuse the event and want repair, apologies, amends, or simply keep on hating the people who caused us pain, we are emotionally shackled to that event, and to these people.
And the sad part is that we do that to ourselves from the inside out. No matter what happened then, it did happen and we need to leave it there. But we keep it going
So here we are, wasting some of our beautiful life force in holding the memory, fueling the revengeful thoughts, rehashing the wrongness, and feeling the sadness and the anger all over again and again. We do this to ourselves in the now. Nobody else does it to us.
1/By simply accepting what happened as a fact of the past, we start the process of letting it go; of putting it where it belongs: back then. The second step in the process of forgiving (yes, it is a process) is to understand that we keep hurting ourselves with our negative feelings and memories. Any negative thought we repeat over and over becomes a mental attitude that hinders us. Any negative mental pattern becomes a guideline first, then a personality trait. When we indulge in un-forgivingness we deprive ourselves from wholeness. Forgiving is not excusing or condoning anything. It is only letting go of the death grip we got on a particular time of our life. There is no need to expose ourselves to more abuse or more grief by reaching out to the perpetrator though we can offer written pardon if we feel the need to do it (and we can either send it out or burn it after it is written).
2/By simply accepting the fact that life exposed us to a circumstance and that we have the freedom to choose our response to it, we open a door and let some relief get in. We get our power back. We are not victims any more but masters of ourselves.
3/The third step is allowing ourselves to feel liberated and grateful to be free. Feeling the shackles of resentment, grief, and anger fall off puts us in a completely different place emotionally. Now we can look at what happened from a distance, as a piece of our history. We are not perpetuating it anymore. We can celebrate the fact that we survived everything so far and are still here, free to make our tomorrows better than our yesterdays. But, you’ll say: “How can I stop despising and hating a perpetrator?”
4/We can develop our ability to extend compassion toward every being no matter what, even though we may avoid, despise, condemn, or hate a given behavior. All of us are at different stages of evolution, understanding, fear, and humane capability. There is no denying the fact. We hurt others and we get hurt by others. It is part of the experience of life. When we extend compassion to all of us we give a chance to humanity to evolve as a whole. Acknowledging, letting go of, feeling free and extending compassion is a sequential practice that permits us to for-give. To give forward. To become whole again. As in any good practice, we want to include ourselves in the process.
Forgiveness of self is as crucial as forgiving others. The acknowledgment part is the most tricky part here, because we rarely completely see how much grudges and self hatred we hold against ourselves! Seriously. The truth is: when we arbor any kind of self destructive behavior we have self forgiveness to do. So take a moment and ponder how truly loving your behaviors are toward yourself… Do you binge? Do you put yourself in debt? Do you think you are not good enough? Do you numb yourself with drugs or alcohol? Do you have any unhealthy repetitive behavior? If the answer is yes, you are demonstrating self-hatred. Just acknowledge it. Then start the process. Right now right here. The best place to begin is in practicing self-forgiveness… it will get you all the way to forgiving the world.
Every morning I wake up with the same joyful anticipation one has just before a long awaited event, like Christmas morning or a departure for an exotic vacation… Here is a brand new day ahead, untouched, a precious package of 24 hours for me to unwrap, to infold, to open up, full of surprises and delights, a gift for me to open and share… A Present. Isn’t it just perfect to call every moment we live “the present moment”? It doesn’t matter if there are challenges ahead, if hardwork is required, if chores have to be done, if people are uncool… It doesn’t matter that much because I am alive. I am alive and conscious. And that in itself is such a wonder to realize, to be aware of, to be thankful for, that it makes me bristle with anticipation, with desire, with primal happiness… Besides, I know because I have been for many years now honing my skills as a co-creator, that my very state of mind, my emotional signature as I live this day, will attract to me people and opportunities in harmony with it. But then will you ask, what if the day goes awry, what if accident, pain, or grief strikes, un-wished for, disturbing, unsettling, despite my positive launching ? In any case, I will trust that I am able to get through it and not get undone by it. I am confident that there is a power bigger than my present incarnation, the same power that keeps the stars turning and my heart beating, and that it works perfectly, in my favor, for my greatest good. It happens that I don’t understand its working. It happens that my earthly self gets forgetful of it, but when I stay in that flow of happy surrendering to the big Orchestra, and use my talents and knowledge to do what nurture my soul, what tickles my happy bone, what floats my boat… Then, the day is usually a great day! As years go by, my gratitude increases, I relax into the wondrousness of the journey, I listen more to the soft voice of intuition, giving me clues if I let it.
Every day is a day of my precious, gorgeous, magnificent life and I am choosing joy to live it by. This is the one thing that really is in my power, under my own guidance: what I choose to feel and who I choose to be, for the day ahead, as I open my eyes. I want to sqeeze the juice out of every minute and savor the exquisite feeling of being here, sentient stardust, a spark of consciousness in its timeless becoming. Unfathomable, immense, magical, Life courses through my veins and I think how beautiful that is. Today is a great day to be alive. Much love Emmeline
We long to belong. Being validated by and belonging to a human group has been recognized as an essential need in all human beings. We crave appreciation. Acceptance and valuation in the eyes of others. It is a very deep need. Fulfillment of which is a vital factor for harmonious development.
Risky business Because of this crucial importance, we are also scared of rejection, and disapproval. The pain of being blamed, judged, disavowed, is too much to bear and we don’t want to risk it though we are always quick to criticize ourselves harshly. As a result, the closer we are to someone, the higher the stakes, and the bigger the temptation to hide and fake.
But humans are emotional beings and emotions are best lived when we can share them… So here we are, wanting to get close, but closeness is risky business. Unsettling. Dangerous. We might lose credentials in someone’s eyes, just by daring being who we are.
Since day one, as babes, we try to please, and we try to be safe: we catch every nuance of voice, every look, every contact is an indicator. We did good or not, we are approved of or not, we will be safe… or not. And day after day we start learning to lie, to hide, to wear masks, to please and fit in and to be acceptable for those around us, to whom we own safety and survival. This is a strong survival tool, deeply rooted instinct, that keeps on going far into adulthood. As a matter of fact, in the dark ages being ostracized meant death; out of the tribe chances of survival were very slim. Hence being kept inside the group was vital. Literally so.
If you don’t see me you can’t hurt me. In today’s culture, and for most people, it is still more important to maintain appearances than to dare being fully oneself in the open. Not that we have monstrous flaws. No. We hide what could make us vulnerable. Not wearing a mask, not pretending, is taking the risk to expose our soft underbelly, to be easy to hurt. To keep appearances might be a good protection mechanism but it has a major caveat : what I feel the need to hide is always related to what makes me truly happy, what animates me, what fuels my bliss. Inside my safe shell, I end up smothering my true self, stifling what ever passionate elan that could give me away. Wanting to be safe makes me repress my unique aliveness and refrain from beaming my inner light into the world.
Safe but unfulfilled When we avoid being vulnerable, particularly with people who dearly matter to us, we hinder true connection. If I dare not being seen (as the only me there is and will always be), how could I be recognized and appreciated by my soul mate for instance? Or my soul tribe. If I spend my time toning down and dwarfing the specifics that come with being me, I take the wind out of my own sails. One can’t fly one’s true colors while camouflaging in prudent beige. The bottom line is that if I want to experience the whole gamut of human connection, of love, of intimacy, of friendship, of parenting or any other deep relation, I have to quiet the old lizard brain and take the reins with the most evolved part of me, the growing edge of myself, always curious, always discovering, always eager for beingness…
Scary If I want to live fully and be fulfilled I have to take a leap of faith, drop pretenses and make room for authenticity. Be visible. Seeable. Vulnerable. Then and only then, can I thrive and share, pulling all the stops, fearlessly splashing in joyful puddles of unseen depth, and meet you there, to play and explore and exist, as we were born to do. Scary? You bet! But NOT doing this means a life of half lived relationships, half success, and often lukewarm happiness or worse, emotional unrest.
Half way or full out ? I believe that Life is prodigious, miraculous, unfathomable and exquisite if we let it have its way we us. Being scared every now and then is natural and part of the game, but to honor this life of ours, to get all the juice out of it before we check out of this bodily experience, we need to give ourselves permission to be who we are both in all our un-replicable individuality, and our universal humanness. We need to marvel at our odds and be awed by every breath. We need to cherish every quirk, every weakness and every strength that is part of our unique DNA and embrace who we came to be. By doing this we reclaim enormous amounts of energy we used to waste on smoke screens and persona and we become able to offer the same openness to everyone around us and not feel threatened by differences. We let go of an exhausting need for control. Best of all, we can lean in what made us feel vulnerable, and be loved and appreciated for it! Because that exact thing that we don’t want to show, share or reveal, is usually directly linked to our ability to thrive.