"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
Just reading this quote reminds me of this scenario which shows up time and time again. Isn’t it interesting how we can be living an experience where life is full of dramas/sticky situations/conscious patterns we'd like to do away with - then once we give our life a massive overhaul where nothing is the same and we honestly feel like those dynamics are behind us, we realize the essence of all those things we thought we left behind are staring right at us? ...And so it goes, we experience the same patterns all over again, just dressed differently.
There we are as we arrive in our brand new life, feeling great, now faced with choices, as with any life, any day. What we don't realize is the invisible thread at work. It's nudging us to make this or that particular choice, no matter how big or small, which all become the building blocks to assembling the dynamics of our new life in a particular way.
If the grass is always greener on the other side, then why wouldn't we do what we can to make our own grass healthier? The key is to learn how to fertilize our own grass. How? Well, the true secret of happiness is wanting what we already have. This is the “other” side to all the points of view we have of ourselves and our lives that can create the greener appearance.
So what’s blocking us from appreciation and gratitude for that which we have, those we interact with, and any current challenges at hand? Perhaps it’s a feeling of lack as we compare ourselves to others around us or whom we see on social media? Have you tried comparing your life to someone living on the streets or in a third world country? (How does your own life feel now?) The enjoyment and appreciation of one's life is primarily about perspective.
If you haven’t experimented with trying on new points of view once in a while, you’re missing out on...a lot. Example- Imagine you’re standing at the base of the Eiffel Tower. You’re looking at a bolt fastening one piece of metal to the other, and that is all you choose to ever look at pertaining to this iconic structure. Many others can see the tower's brilliance and enjoy what they see. Yet you say, bah, it’s nothing great...you’re all crazy!
Ok, that’s one way you can do it. You could also soften up a bit and say, hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I moved way over there and looked up? Life is comprised of choices, and we’re free to make whatever choice of perspective we’d like, and this determines our level of happiness and fulfillment.
What else? There are so many people out there preaching this, I totally get that. As powerful as it is in action, can that alone have enough of an impact? Perhaps. But what if in addition to consciously trying on new lenses from time to time, we also seek to affect the invisible thread that's always at play arranging the aspects of our lives?
Coherence - Fertilizer for your own grass
Let's talk self-optimization. Now you can be into all the self-optimizing fads that exist out there, or none at all. Either way, taking two minutes to perform a simple sequence at the start of any new scene in your life can optimize it on it’s own. Why? Because it helps you be more coherent.
Coherence in respect to ourselves means bringing congruence to the heart-mind-body relationship which allows for thought, word, and action all to be aligned. Coherence is the quality of forming a unified whole. So rather than acting from a state of fragmentation, feeling a desire for something, judging it as right or wrong, then acting in a way that either draws it nearer or pushes it away, and being frustrated that our grass will never be as green as them over there, we can adjust some dials that drive our choices through finding coherence.
When we are more coherent, all our thoughts, words, and actions take on a quality of harmony, thus the building blocks that move into place to create our lives day to day are aligned in a way that matches what we truly want to create, not what we had been creating in the past that seems to keep chasing us.
The invisible thread is the point at which all our beliefs, judgements, points of view and conclusions about ourselves and life all converge to drive our choices in a particular direction. This thread weaves through everything. So to change the outcomes, this thread needs attention.
So what's this two-minute sequence? Well, it addresses the way this thread is weaving your life together. It's one part conscious breathing to bring your mind to the present, and two parts simple movement - one to release anything you're holding onto from the previous moments and become more present, and the other to bring balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain, creating more clarity.
These together allow you to choose based on now and less from anything you've been clinging to from the past. The more you practice this, the more resonant you feel with your life and the less you find your life continuing to show up in ways you'd prefer it didn't.
Think of a scene as in a scene in a movie. One scene could be being in a meeting, wrapping up and leaving. The next scene could be back in your office. The next could be leaving the building and getting in your car. The next can be arriving at home. Each of these are different scenes and each requires a new level of presence and awareness of the intention behind that scene. This is especially important moving between two drastically different scenes, such as being at home getting ready for a big event, then arriving at the event immersed in a sea of people.
If you truly want to give yourself a shot at not recreating the past, take a minute to do these simple steps...
Take a minute to close your eyes, relax your tongue, shoulders, and the webbing between your toes. Exhale all your breath, and a little bit more. Then calmly inhale to fill your abdomen, chest, and finally the collar bone area. Linger at the top of the inhalation, then release the breath just as calmly, lingering for a moment with all the breath out. Repeat for about a minute.
Step 2: Shake out.
Some call it a SNS shake out. This addresses your Sympathetic Nervous System, flight or flight mode, which we want to shift out from as often as possible into our parasympathetic mode, allowing for calm breathing, connection, digestion, and feeling at ease in the moment.
Most of us walk around in the sympathetic mode, ready to fight, ready to react, ready to run. This is a whole other topic of discussion, but for now, the important note is that if we want to make choices in alignment with what we want rather than what we do not want, it's important to know how to switch modes when not in a life or death situation.
Yes, you may be in a gown and stilettos - no problem! Find your way to someplace private...if the bathroom is the only private space you can find, then b-line it to the bathroom. Shake your body as best you can, if nothing else, shake your arms, hands, legs and feet (one at a time if you don't want to take your shoes off, I get it), as if you're trying to flick off ectoplasmic slime (hyperlinked in case you don't know). If you're not all decked out and can shake out fully and safely, then think of when you saw a dog shake out from head to toe, and do the best you can to mimic that. You'll need to consciously soften all your joints enough to do this without resistance. F u l l y l e t g o.
Step 3: Cross-crawls.
This is a simple way to bring balance to both sides of your brain which results in a clearer mind, less confusion.
- Stand and lift a bent knee right leg towards the left side so it crosses your midline.
- At the same time, keep your left arm extended as you cross it over to the right side of your body, crossing it over the right knee (right arm stays at your side).
- Repeat opposite leg, opposite arm. Your arms will draw an invisible X in front of you.
- Focus your eyes at the spot in the center of the X and keep them fixed to that spot as you continue these movements for about a minute, allowing your gaze to soften.
- Finish by bringing your hands together in front of your chest and focus your gaze on your hands. Take a deep breath and go on about your business.
If you can create a habit of doing this throughout your days between minor and especially major scene changes, over time that invisible thread will be linking the building blocks of your life together in a new way...one that is more optimal and more fulfilling, comprised of choices made with greater clarity and presence. It's subtle, yet extremely powerful. It breaks the old patterns softly and with ease.
If so, you'll find one day as you look down at your own grass, that you're happy with it just the way it is.