Hey You With the Pretty Face, Welcome to the Human Race*
Sure-Fire Tips to Help Ease Your Way Back into Humanity
Ok. It’s official. You’ve made the agreement (thank you, Janne!) to be more present in your life. Maybe it’s putting your phone on the other side of the room - or better yet out of the room - when you go to bed. Or you've decided to designate specific times of day when you’ll check your equally loved and loathed social networks (there's even a term for it; batching). Or are you one of the rebellious token few who have agreed to have tech-free weekend mornings? You now turn off every electronic in the house and replacing “dings” and “tings” is a house replete with the delicious sounds of coffee perking, bacon sizzling, your daughter’s giggles and the newspaper crinkling.
Whatever means your did it, with this extra time on your hands you may be thinking “Now what?”
Quite possibly you’re easing into it with baby steps, like wise Dr. Leo Marvin (if you don't get this reference we have more work to do than you realize) and Folk founder Jess suggest. Or maybe you're of the rip-off-the-band-aid and plunge deep into the open water mindset. No matter, but as you embark on the daily adventure of eye contact, smiles and… take a deep breath … actual face to face conversations, these helpful bits of advice will be your personal navigation system guiding you to a renewed sense of clarity, calm and sanity.
‘While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die - whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness.” - Gilda Radner
The House That Values Built
Your body and your mind are your soul’s house. The same way that you clean, care and design your actual living space is exactly the thought you should be putting into yourself. When we distract ourselves from our dreams, desires and goals we are not only doing a disservice to our own selves but to the collective consciousness. By incorporating our presence into life, we automatically create a silently strong shift in the right direction.
Just by being present.
Knowing who you are and what you value most are the prerequisites to being able to live a life that has a sturdy and grounded foundation. Being self-aware is an overlooked and underrated quality that few people possess. If done with serious thought, this could be the golden ticket for keeping your house’s bones in great shape even when life throws you a bunch of big, hairy curve balls. Having your values established is the deciding factor of whether you’re heading down the right fork in the road towards your goals or down the hamster wheel of exhaustion.
In layman’s terms: having goals without clear values is like “straightening the deck chairs on the Titantic”**. Take a look at the following list of values. It may look daunting but this is the part where you fully check in with no excuses. As your eyes scan the words, make a mark next to any that stand out to you in a positive way. If they make you think of other words that aren’t on the list - add them to it. Next, narrow that list of marked words down to 20. Then down to 10. Then down to 5. It’s not easy but the time put into it will leave you with 5 solid life values that you can write down and post on your bathroom mirror or fold up into your wallet for a quick go to when life’s problems need human answers. What, Google? What?
Go With Your Gut
The more we are turned “on” externally and don’t allow our internal pathways to shine, the further away we slide from our gut. I’m talking about those wonderful internal, innate, intuitive “dings” that help us stay on our life’s conscious path and not veer into the deep, dark abyss of “Wait! What the hell just happened?” five years down the line. Maybe you’re so far removed from your body’s natural rhythms that you don’t even know how to get back on track. It’s a slippery slope but it’s not unfixable!
One way to reignite your “little voice’s” flame is by meeting it with a flame of your own. Light a candle, put it in a corner with little to no visual distractions and meditate on it. Yes, this has been advised a gazillion times over - but with incredibly good reason. Meditation works. Period. Give yourself 10 minutes in the morning. Tip toe on your creaking floor boards to your private little oasis before anyone else even stirs, pop a squat, light a candle, set a timer for 10 minutes and breathe. That’s it. AM’s make you want to choke the rooster? Take 10 at your lunch break or before you go to bed at night. Aint’ nobody got time for that - I hear you barking. And to that I say, If you don’t have 10 minutes to carve out in your day to sit and breathe then that’s a whole 'nother bag of worms! Guys, gals, make time for your self. It's the only one you got.
Sprawled out on the floor, wedged between the stove and the kitchen table, I was in my glory. No, it wasn’t a reenactment of Indecent Proposal’s steamy, raw sex scene - sorry you dirty dawgs! I was in the thick of an incredibly heated (and even more incredibly G rated) battle of Jacks with my niece and sis-in-law. It was every woman for herself as we quickly flew into our fierce “Shut up and don’t distract me!” mode to see who would be the reigning champ! After the tenth “OK, just one more round!” finally seized, I made my way up realizing I felt refreshingly clear. Wow! Other than the numbness slowly waning from my ass, my body and mind were alert and fresh. From Jacks? Yup. We were all in the flow. Focused and determined. Concentration we could taste.
We all know that feeling. Time stands still. An imaginary bubble swiftly encloses the space making you feel like you and your comrades are the only people in the world and you wouldn’t want it any other way. In fact, you’re not even thinking about how you’d want it because you’re so in the zone! That is magical! Really and truly. You feel a re-energized, electric lightness of being that makes you want to move mountains or better yet, grab some blankets and books as quickly as possible and build the best damn fort this side of the Mississippi! This is the power of The Game.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a reminiscent childhood game of tag variations (a few personal faves: TV, Rock-Paper-Scissors, Freeze, Amoeba, Blind Man’s Bluff) or a big kid’s game of Pitch, Hearts or Asshole. Clear out the classics from the back of your closet: Password, Yahtzee, Win, Lose or Draw. Take your pick and round up some friends. Make it a weekly house rotating special. Throw in a rule at the get-go that anyone checking a screen of any sort during the game loses their turn, is out for the round or has to fetch or buy the next one. Mosey on back to your days of having an adrenaline rush from counting your racked up, well-earned points instead of your feeble “followers”. Believe you me, the only thing watered-down on Game Night will be your interest in anything or anyone not in the room. Your deal!
* A lyric from hands down the best E.L.O. song on the planet - “Mr. Blue Sky”
**Adapted from the oldy but goody “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.