When the soul shakes, it is as though energy has been awakened that beckons the attention of all parts of our being. Whether we are shaken into new awareness or shattered into pieces, or both, what is unleashed within us is overwhelming. Marcus Aurelius is quoted as saying “unrest of spirit is a mark of life”. At the same time, Marcus Aurelius also stated: “The mind maintains its own tranquillity by retiring into itself, and the ruling faculty is not made worse. But the parts that are harmed by pain, let them, if they can, give their opinion about it.” In other words a shaken soul or a restless spirit must express itself without judgment, without fear, and without negativity.
Allowing negative thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviors take control of our lives that extends beyond their adaptive usefulness must be prevented. This process involves heightened self-awareness and a commitment to move from avoidance to acceptance or from barriers to breakthroughs. There are many ways to develop and reinforce this commitment. Here are three: physical, mental, and emotional. Sound too simple? It is.
Our brains, beliefs, and behaviors respond to repetition and reward. Integrating rituals into a daily practice will enhance self-awareness and prevent negative habits, feelings, and thoughts from cementing themselves into lived experience. Choose one small physical thing to be practiced or accomplished each day: walk, meditate, eat a piece of whole food. Choose one small thing to be mentally focused upon each day: a mantra, a poem, a sudoku or crossword puzzle. Choose a set time each day to focus exclusively on a pleasant memory that evokes a positive emotion like humor, love, peace, compassion, or gratitude.