Life is a trip, so where are you going?

Practice the art of choosing who to be, not what to do

We live in a very fast-paced world. Information, opportunities, and challenges are expanding exponentially every day. Life is full, to say the least! Too often, we experience life like a series of breathless, unconscious, one-after-the-other chase scenes in a fast-paced movie. But I believe life is meant to be a series of vibrant still shots or landscapes, something to savor and enter into, with just enough madcap scenarios to add some spice.

Most of us, when we wake up in the morning, are immediately overwhelmed with a seemingly endless “to do” list. Instead, I propose that we start off our day by creating an exquisite, rich, high-quality “to be” list.

As I see it, it’s not what you want to do today that’s most important; it’s what you want to be, or feel, or experience. What qualities of life do you want to primarily participate in today? Peace, balance, love, courage, happiness, joy, humor, harmony, confidence, etc.? Or do you really want to go into a default mode and experience their opposites?

Why not begin your day by choosing the quality you would like to experience that day? Then, as the day progresses, create various practices that will help you to remember and reinforce that quality so that your day is filled with what is really most important to you and with what will bring you the greatest lasting value and joy.

For instance, if you choose peacefulness as the most important “to be” quality for a particular day, it will be with peacefulness that you’ll want to begin and complete every activity and interaction that day. In other words, you let the quality you choose to experience be more important than frantically getting through your “to do” list.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, and with whomever you are doing it, always ask yourself, “How can this interaction be permeated with the quality I have chosen today?”

How to practice

Here’s a technique for this. Do it when you first wake up and often throughout the day to help you to remember and focus on the quality you’ve chosen:

Take seven slow, conscious breaths. Breathe in peace on the inhalation and breathe out anxiety on the exhalation. As you breathe in, also imagine that you are breathing in the quality that you have chosen for that day; see and feel it permeating your whole body-mind, and then, on the exhalation, see and feel its opposite being expelled. Really feel it and see it as you breathe in and out deeply and gently. [See below for a link to a guided meditation to help you practice this technique.]

Trust that as you learn to be consistent with focusing on your quality, you’ll be surprised. Besides the pleasure of experiencing the positive quality, you’ll find that whatever is most important on your daily “to do” lists is being accomplished more easily and effectively.

Note that this practice is an art. Don’t be discouraged if at times you just can’t seem to be able to keep your chosen quality in focus. In time you will get better at it. In time, as well, you will learn that losing your focus doesn’t really matter! Just notice that you have lost it, have a good laugh at yourself, give yourself a break, and then when you have calmed down, gently come back to practicing the quality you chose.

To recap: When you wake up in the morning, begin with your “to be” list, and then let the quality that you have chosen permeate your whole day. To help you stay focused, do the breathing exercise I described above as often as you can remember to. Do it while you are driving your car, standing in line, waiting for someone, etc. Also, you might find it helpful to post notes with your quality for the day where’ll you’ll be sure to see them. You can even write the quality on the palm of your hand or automate a message on your computer.

Just imagine, after a year of practicing this, how rich and full a tapestry of qualities and experiences you will have woven into the fabric of your life. I know many people who have turned their lives around by practicing this simple approach.

It is possible! Give yourself a chance; you deserve it. You won’t always do it perfectly, but it’s never about being perfect, is it? Remember, you can always, every day, in every moment choose “to be” filled with a wondrous joy, peace, confidence, love, etc. It is a choice, and it’s yours.You are a human being, not a human doing! Begin your day by putting first things first: claim your mastery and step into and experience who youwant “to be”today. Slow down, and you’ll get there fast.

Learn ‘not doing’ and everything will fall into place.

Lao Tsu
you’ve got to come out of the
measurable doing universe
into the immeasurable house of being


e.e. cummings

Click here to download…  a guided meditation that leads you in this practice of Creating the Experiences You Want.

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