Awareness, mindfulness, these are both trendy ways of saying PAY ATTENTION!
I can proudly say that I have spent most of the last 9 years being mindful. I spent many years before that living day to day, in an unhappy state of mind just doing life, and then when some huge life changes, divorce, moving, being a single mother were my choices it was then that I shifted that mindset. I started paying attention. Actually I really began paying attention before my divorce, I just chose to sugar coat some of the facts because they were too ugly to look in the eye. It was after I became so bitchy and miserable trying to 'accept' something that did not align with my spirit, that I became aware that it was time to make that change!
Eckhart Tolle said "Awareness is an excellent agent for change." This is a fact! I have changed so many things about myself,as well as my many choices life has to offer as a result of simply paying attention. I realized I was so bogged down in trying to live my 'shoulds' (more on that another time) that I was not aware of how miserable I was and subjecting my family to all that misery too.
So I began to pay attention to how I was behaving and why. Then I began to grow into me. This is an ongoing process. This year I had another life changing choice, I chose to walk away from a career that I had been in for nearly 24 years. Why, because again I was so miserable trying to accept the circumstances that I was not being my best self. I know that the mission I showed up for was not what I was doing everyday. I was unhappy and it showed up in my work. So I decided to change. I have had some blessed circumstances in which to make change. I am finding my 'purpose' right? Becoming AWARE.....
I also recently have come to understand that my quest for 'self awareness' has teetered into self absorption. I am seeking that contentment in life so much I was missing what makes me content in the moment. The very things I value and say "That would make me happy!" My family, my friends, sunrises, sunset and beaches. I had them all in one place last week and I spent the time trying to 'figure out' my mood. I struggle with anxiety and depression. I have fully decided that this is because my thoughts about what is wrong (self awareness?) keep me under the cloud of worry and in a broad 'funk'. I then find myself telling those that I know care about me, about my 'funk' and the fact that I can't shake it. My family and friends smile and nod. I often get the glassy eyed look from my children. My AWARENESS of this look has bumped me into realizing that they care, but are real tired of hearing the same drone over and over. Even if it is disguised as a different struggle be it on a project, or relationship or whatever, it is negative.
So I believe that true self awareness comes from looking outside yourself and paying attention to who and what is around you. Seeking the very things that are right in front of you. If you know what makes you happy, mad, sad, frustrated, excited, and any number of the wonderful feelings we humans get to experience. That self awareness is invaluable. However, doing nothing to then help yourself pay attention to the good stuff right in front of you.....well that is not awareness at all. It is the complete opposite. Unaware of what is right in front of you equals unhappiness!!
I am now on an absolute quest to balance this self awareness with awareness of others. To pay attention to the people around me and remembering that my 'awareness' of my needs, and the struggle to achieve them, is not always what they want to hear about. I will continue to improve my future and take steps towards living my best life. But I really intend to pay attention to the here and now and express my gratitude for ALL the delight that is mine !!! Like the 'selfie' used for this article photo I am certainly in my picture....however, I plan to focus on what is around me, not be the focus of my attention.