May 17th, 2012
The Power of NOW during Chaos and Transformation: A Personal Story of Peace under Fire.
A little background first. The first lesson in my book The Power of Inner Choice is “The Power of the NOW.” In cultivating “living in the present,” you are invited to identify current “practices” in your life…a practice being something that you do on a regular basis. For example, working out, showering, driving, listening to spouse, walking the dog, doing the dishes, eating, sex...are all examples of practices — to turn into NOW Practices. Some of these we may experience “consciously”, some “partially consciously” and others very “unconsciously.”
I suggest selecting TWO NOW Practices (activities) to purposefully and consciously “practice” being MORE present by applying principles outlined in the book. The idea being, as we consciously cultivate “being present” when it’s EASY, during a task we already have mastered, we naturally become more present throughout our lives. If you don’t already have a copy of my book visit the link below to read Lesson #1, or refer to Chapter 4 in The Power of Inner Choice.
During the past several years, I’ve adopted several different NOW Practices and have consciously worked on cultivating “being present” in my own life. Teaching this principle creates massive leverage to actually live it! Thus, over time, I’ve found myself becoming more and more present without having to think about it (much as my clients experience). Learning to “be present” is a powerful muscle to access during times of chaos, because if you can BE PRESENT — you CAN experience PEACE. Being present also allows you to “witness” a transformation instead of “missing it” or “reacting to it.” Being present makes ordinary moments, quite extraordinary. And fulfilling moments even grander. Most importantly, when we are “present,” we have POWER…and in that power, we have CHOICE.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to move frequently in the last 10 years. This has caused me to become rather adept at moving. It has also become a personal litmus test to measure how much I’ve evolved since the last move. Since moving is typically a stressful experience, the challenge of remaining “at peace” throughout the move is greater than just living daily life. As a coach, and a teacher of “living in peace” – learning how I can be “at peace” in ANY situation is ALWAYS of interest to me.
I believe ANYTHING can be lived
from a place of peace.
Thus, I’ve always looked forward to a move, much like an athlete would look forward to a championship game. It’s something that calls forth the best from them, offering an opportunity to perform and see how all the practice pays off.
NOW Practices on Move Day
In essence, move day became a living NOW Practice. For those not familiar, there are several keys to cultivating presence, or “being present.” Simply, it’s about engaging the senses, feeling gratitude and appreciation, connecting to your body and self, connecting outside yourself and embracing reality. It’s also about NOTICING what “thoughts” come and go. A NOW Practice is simply about NOTICING everything,
One of the other keys to a NOW Practice is “non-judgment.” It’s not about DOING something right or wrong, it’s simply about “being present” to everything and anything that is here in the NOW. Being present to the experience. The good, the bad and the neutral.
The great thing about declaring a move into a NOW Practice is there that is SO much to notice and be present to. And, there are LOTS of thoughts of ALL varieties. Below was my experience in chaos and transformation. Perhaps you’ll have a different “noticing” experience during your next time of chaos and change.
Observations and Noticing
on one of my past
For starters, my nasty chest virus was returning, so a wheezing chest, spasmodic cough and sluggish energy were things to notice. I noticed that I had enough energy to move anyway and was excited and committed to do so. Isn’t it interesting that it’s okay that we sometimes keep going when we don’t feel optimal?
I was present to the shiny diamond ring on my finger, and how I was excited about being engaged. I noticed great sensations of joy as I gazed at the trilogy of diamonds. I also noticed that because my energy had been lower, I hadn’t fully stepped into the joy and expression of that excitement. I noticed that was okay and John didn’t seem affected. I noticed this myriad of emotions felt strange and foreign. Isn’t it interesting how we can FEEL an underlying emotion, and not be expressing it fully to the outside world?
I noticed how I felt a little grubbier than normal, and that was one of the first times I’d been that grubby with John. Hmmm. Perhaps, we were entering another level of comfort with each other. I remembered that I hadn’t been present to that transition in previous relationships. I wondered if seeing me grubby would turn John off and ruin the relationship. I noticed that I like to wear white when I move, even though it makes no sense on move day. Hmmm.
I noticed the clarity I had about which boxes were going to storage or to John’s. I also noticed what boxes I wasn’t ready to deal with until later. I noticed I wasn’t judging that, and that was nice.
I appreciated John and my own willingness for taking on the task of moving. I noticed that he wasn’t complaining, and I was reminded that past boyfriends hadn’t really extended themselves in my other moves. I noticed this affirmed my choice to marry John. I noticed my appreciation grow.
I was particularly present to lifting my desk hutch as I assisted John in moving this HEAVY piece of furniture to storage — by ourselves. I noticed that I needed to lay down after that run to storage. I noticed that I did, and what a delightful experience laying on the floor can be. Even if for only 15 minutes. I noticed feelings that could have been guilt, as I watched John carry case after case of books to the truck. I noticed that I wasn’t indulging in guilt, but rather enjoying the peace of my choice. I wondered what John was thinking. And, then I returned to the calm in my mind and body. Is it possible to experience “peace” and “guilt” so closely together? Or was the “peace” muting out the “guilt”?
After moving the first batch to storage, we went to Home Depot and picked up two day-laborers to help us move the HEAVIEST items into and out of John’s place. I had noticed that lifting these wasn’t going to be possible for me.
We started at John’s place, and I was present to the enthusiasm and strength of one of the guys. We all noticed it was hot. In fact, it was 103 degrees. At my place, I noticed one of the men complaining about the heat. I noticed my irritation. I noticed a nasty, sarcastic thought in my mind!!! I noticed I was being human. I felt a sweet compassion and non-judgment of that thought. I noticed that in the past, I may have dwelled on the sarcastic comment and let that be my focus for many minutes. I was present to “the noticer” laughing at my human-ness. Isn’t humor a wonderful way to meet our thoughts at times?
When the truck was loaded, John got in the truck and I was headed to the ATM machine to get cash to pay the workers. I noticed the two helper guys were walking away!!!! They said it was too hot, and they were “done.”
I noticed some major resistance to reality. I thought this surely must be a dream. I noticed how fighting reality is STRESSFUL!!! I noticed the choice to accept reality — a full truck, three hours to return it, and a desire to complete the task. I also noticed the willingness to rent the truck for another day, if need be. I asked, “So, what are our options?” I noticed John’s irritation. I noticed my enthusiasm and decision to go find two more day-laborers at Home Depot. We drove the workers back to Home Depot and were successful.
On the way back to John’s, I noticed that John wasn’t being very present. I noticed that I could have gotten irritated about this in the past. I was present when he took a left turn down a wrong street. It was amusing. I noticed that not resisting it was more enjoyable than making him wrong for being human.
As the boxes and furniture began to fill John’s living room, I noticed John getting more and more irritable. I noticed that this was not like John. He was concerned that everything wasn’t going to fit, and we’d have to carry everything back out. John was tired and hungry. As I noticed nearly EVERY heavy box or item he carried, I noticed Mr. Grumpy growing larger. I noticed that I was okay with this. I noticed the reasons for his upset. I noticed my clarity in where the items of each box would go. I noticed I was TOTALLY at peace with the situation.
I noticed the humor of this human situation. Tired. Hungry. Moving all day. HEAT. Workers walking off the job. Endless boxes. LOTS of stairs. Lots of walking. I noticed that in the past I may have gotten really upset and copped an attitude because my fiancé was irritable on the FIRST night I moved in. I noticed that part of me that would have liked a different scenario. I noticed myself not getting upset, but rather humored by our reality.
I noticed that after our meal from Wendy’s that Mr. Grumpy started disappearing, and even John could start to laugh at the mini-drama.
Most of all, I noticed — that in noticing everything — without judgment — it’s easy to let go of attachments to how things SHOULD be, as there is always another thought coming, another beautiful moment coming, another something to be present to.
I wish you endless noticing.
image source: http://bit.ly/o69mBt
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