Flip Your Focus
Let’s begin with an experience to shift our perspective. Place your attention on the breath in the body. Stay focused on the repeating inhale and exhale for a number of breath cycles. As you feel ready, begin to expand your inhale, and slow your exhale. Let each breath grow fuller and richer. Once you’re into it, shift your perspective. Instead of seeing yourself as a body breathing a breath, see yourself as the breath enlivening a body. “I am not the body, nor am I the mind or emotions. I am the breath breathing a body.” Continue to breathe as the breath.
Notice how you feel.
Now, let’s talk about ‘adding in’ to ‘crowd out.’ As we grow in life, we become more conscious. Our awareness is constantly expanding each and every day, week, month, and year. We get older, we have experiences that open us, and we realize things that we did not when we were younger. As awareness grows, we may start to notice personal patterns, habits, and traits that perhaps are not in our best interest.
While awareness around an unhelpful habit is huge and definitely the first step toward change, putting that change into action can be a bit more complicated than simply flipping a switch. As we repeat behaviors over years, the repeated behaviors carve out neural pathways in the brain, which make the behaviors feel natural and necessary for survival. After all, a less conscious version of ourself who was doing the best they could developed the habit in the first place as a coping response to whatever environment they were in at the time.
Focusing on needing to let go of something that has been a part of your identity and makes you feel safe can feel scary. You might start to worry about things like, “How will I cope without engaging in that habit or behavior? What will I do with the extra space?” The thought of having to change could bring up feelings of anxiety and trying to force it will likely feel unnatural and exhausting.
So, how can we successfully make the changes that we know we need to make for our wellbeing and future? Just like I invited you to do at the start of this article, flip your focus. Instead of spotlighting the need to get rid of the unhelpful habit, focus on adding in something positive. Let your mind open: “What is one thing that would make me feel good? How can I incorporate it into my routine?”
By bringing something helpful into your routine, you will automatically begin to crowd out the unhelpful. As you spend less energy focusing on what you are cutting out, you start to fill in those neural pathways and your need to engage in the unhelpful behavior diminishes and disappears. The mind only knows what it has previously experienced. It is not meant to run the show, and if you let it, your present will be ruled by your past. To move forward in a big way, use the powerful tool that is the mind in the way it was intended: to magnify your brilliance.
Join us at Ocean Bliss Yoga Studio for daily yoga classes and monthly specialty workshops. We invite you to the studio this Saturday, January 21 from 2-4 p.m. for a 2023 Year Ahead Astrology Forecast with Catherine McQuaid. Sign up at oceanblissyoga.net.