By Marti Glenn PhD
Simple Tools for Creating Your New Life and a Better World | Part I
“We are in a whole-system transition, one of the greatest and most vulnerable,
volatile times in human history. It is a breakdown to break through.”
– Jean Houston
Are you feeling as though nothing is certain anymore?
Are you watching the world scene and feeling a bit helpless and fearful?
Are you experiencing increased anxiety, difficulties as a parent or partner, or struggles with your work?
You are not alone. Many of us are. Our world now is incredibly fast-paced. We rush from one activity to another. Many of us have taken on several roles, working more hours than ever. And we keep going, even if we feel stressed and exhausted. One more phone call, one more project, one more family obligation to fulfill.
Within this whirlwind, stress is rampant and many are suffering the side effects.
If it seems that we are in the midst of a vast transformation, we are.
How we feel personally, the structure and needs of our families, and the ways we conduct business are all changing.
Business, education, health care, relationships, government, and even our own consciousness is shifting. The foundations of our society, our culture, are being shaken to their core. The old forms are breaking down. We are living through a momentous transition…economically, culturally, and spiritually. Something new is emerging.
The latest science of chaos tells us there is an underlying order to the universe. The chaos we are experiencing is actually a potential gateway to quantum leaps in what is possible for us as humans. We are experiencing the breakdown to breakthrough.
During this time of fear and confusion, we are at the gateway of transition.
We need a toolbox filled with specific processes and practices
in order to navigate these changing times.
Science has gifted us simple, yet revolutionary, ways to help our individual voice, our own Source, our own power. Ways to begin to discover and open to new and potent personal, social, political, psychological, and spiritual forms. These research-backed tools help us to create a new life and make meaningful contributions to family, work, and community.
Science is also reminding us that to create the shifts that are required of each of us now, we must do more than learn some facts or hear some good ideas. We need to have actual experiences. That is, something that gives us a sensory experience; something that elicits a rich image, a feeling, and/or something that feels real, that we can relate to in our own lives.
Science reveals the secrets proving how to live a meaningful life full of compassion and connection.
The first principle involves mindfulness. Easy to say; harder to do! Creating mindfulness takes, first, a conscious decision to practice deeper awareness.
Mindfulness begins with a pause.
Take a breath and stop for a moment.
Breathe deeply into your experience right now.
Just be curious and notice.
Be open to what might develop.
Like a child exploring, allow yourself to focus on what is happening right now.
No need to label; no judgment.
No need to change anything.
Just watch and be curious about what might emerge.
Mindfulness is simply awareness of “what is.” With this, you are just noticing, not judging or needing to change anything. As our Co-Founder, Ken Bruer says: “Notice what you notice.”
Make this a practice: Paying attention, following your awareness without judgment.
A second simple practice is to follow your breath. See if you can make your breath a little slower and deeper. Notice how that feels. Notice what happens as you breathe.
Try placing your hand in the center of your chest and breathing into your “heart space”. Make the exhale a little longer than the inhale. Doing this for even a few seconds can help calm the nervous system. With this, you can become more present, make better decisions, and have more meaningful interchanges with others.
As you follow your breath, you will naturally slow down. As you slow your pace, your tone of voice will naturally feel calmer and you will have more meaningful connections with others.
Another important principle is to have safe, meaningful eye contact. When you are calm and present and allow your eyes to naturally meet the eyes of another, both of your nervous systems settle. In this safe moment, it makes their day go better, and yours, too.
TRY THIS: When it feels right, purposefully slow down and have eye contact with a person near you. This could be a stranger on the sidewalk, the clerk at the grocery store, or a friend. Smile. Notice what happens inside. A few seconds of meaningful eye contact elicits oxytocin, and dopamine, the “love hormones”.
One breath, one connection at a time. When we pause, become mindful and aware, follow our breath and slow our pace, and then practice having meaningful eye contact, we are opening the door to deeper connections. When we feel safe and have meaningful connections, fear decreases and there is less need for focusing on difference and black-and-white thinking. With this, we can help create significant shifts in our families, our workplaces, and in the lives of everyone we meet.
In the next blog, we will go more deeply into the tools of mindfulness and transformation, including exploring “The Pause”. These simple, yet powerful practices are backed by research and can quickly jump-start our journey toward more satisfying connections and help us make a significant difference in our world. These are the foundational tools to help us make the quantum leaps that are called for now.
As Dr. Jean Houston says, “These are the times and we are the people!”.