Hello and welcome to Friday, December 17, 2021. Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again. How will you make the most of it?
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s my greatest enemy of them all?”
The mirror wisely replies, “Out of all those who harm you, your very own mind can be your greatest enemy of them all.”
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, if my mind is my greatest enemy, then who’s my greatest asset of them all?”
Again, the mirror wisely replies, “Of those who support you, your very own mind can be your greatest asset of them all.”
The alarm goes off and wakes you from your sleep. You roll over and look at the clock: 6:00 AM. The thought comes to mind, “I am soooo tired, I just need a little more sleep.” Believing that thought, you hit the snooze once, a second time, and a third. With the fourth alarm you drag yourself from bed and realize you now have only 30 minutes to eat, shower, dress, get your things in order and skedaddle out the door so you’re not late for work. You feel hurried and anxious. The very same mind that convinced you that you were soooo tired and advocated for staying in bed is now doing its best to inform you of what a failure you are: “What was I thinking? I don’t have time to shower now. Why didn’t I just get up when the alarm went off? I always do this to myself. Why can’t I just get up?” Believing these thoughts, you feel ashamed.
Already late getting out the door and feeling rushed, you of course find yourself slowed by traffic. Your inner critic is now directed outward. You curse the slow drivers as you franticly change lanes only to find more traffic. “Look at these stupid people, can’t they at least drive the speed limit?” You honk the horn and shout any number of practiced insults either audibly or to yourself. Being emotionally triggered over your driving woes and forgetting all about the snooze button, you complain to your coworkers how the traffic made you late.
The next morning when the 6:00 AM alarm sounds, “I am soooo tired…”
The mind that persuades us to stay in bed is the very same mind that later shames us for doing so. This inner critic does not help us to overcome this type of habitual behavior, it actually reinforces it!
We don’t have to live this way.
Imagine if when the alarm goes off and the thought comes to mind to hit the snooze button, that you have the awareness to remember that you don’t like to feel rushed; you simply get up, despite the convincing thought that you should stay in bed. This is living Mindfully. Though you may still feel sleepy as you begin to navigate your morning, at least you are not also consumed with the negative self-talk and the feelings associated with compromising the time it takes to care of yourself. With practice, you may even find yourself compassionately leaving 5 minutes earlier for work so that you are no longer concerned about slow-moving traffic. You and the other drivers will come to appreciate this.
This is but one example of how the mind can sabotage our well-being. We are coming up on the new year and many of us like to make a resolution to act differently thereby creating a better version of ourselves. Unlike all the previous occasions when you talked yourself out of your aspiration only weeks into the new year, wouldn’t it be nice to have the skills to adhere to your resolution?
When we live with the awareness that we don’t have to believe or act on every thought, we have the capacity to be our greatest asset. Some would say that this is what it means to be liberated from a self-destructive mind. With a comprehensive Mindfulness practice, we can learn to recognize and disregard thoughts that compromise our well-being and choose an alternative that is supportive and healthy.
As always, I’m here to help.
You are Loved by me, Unconditionally!
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