Who me? Living unconsciously? Yep. You. Me. We’re all doing it from time to time. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I know, I know, NONE of us really want to admit to this human tendency. Why would we want to be missing our amazing lives?
Yet, we can all relate to that “trance-like” state where we’re going through the motions, not 100% there. We all have our favorite or habitual places to “check-out” and go unconscious. And, here’s what I’ve found fascinating. When we bring our full-on, conscious attention to ANY aspect of our lives …it naturally falls into greater alignment with our highest ideals and dreams. Our lives WORK, and are more fulfilling when we’re fully conscious. It’s our lack of attention, our “unconsciousness” that is at the root of nearly every one of our problems.
Think about it. It’s easiest to see in others. A spouse leaves their socks on the floor, doesn’t take out the trash, leaves the toilet seat up or forgets to call. Or how about someone who reacts out of an unconscious pattern in the past? Or who habitually criticizes, whines or gets moody? Aren’t they all little UNCONSCIOUS moments?
UNCONSCIOUS LISTENING. One of my favorite unconscious practices – in the past – has been “listening.” Yikes!! I think this started when I was a little girl …
I’d ask my dad a question, and loved listening to his voice (as I still do) – even if I wasn’t fully comprehending his brilliant answers. I just went into a trance. Somehow this “not fully listening” habit bled into other areas of my life. In past relationships, if someone was giving me an answer I didn’t want to hear, I would “selectively listen.” My mind would simply “bleep-out,” with no comprehension of what was REALLY said. Hmmm. I wonder what it was like to be in relationship with me back then? I eventually “got present” to this nasty habit, and diligently focused on listening to every word. I brought consciousness and attention to listening. Interestingly enough, I then became a coach which requires me to attentively listen to my clients. There isn’t much I miss nowadays.
Recently though I noticed myself going “unconscious” when listening to my husband!! (He noticed too :-)) Perhaps you know someone who asks a question, then doesn’t fully listen to the answer. So, I’m back to consciously listening. We can’t get too comfortable, or we go unconscious again!
UNCONSCIOUS HEALTH. Another place I notice people going unconscious is around food. We get an impulse to eat a bowl of ice cream, a bag of Doritos, or a mound of cheese – and boom – we’re on a path of high calorie in-taking. We might even be “present” to the moment we let go of control and watch ourselves continue to gorge ourselves, but are you really FULLY conscious in those moments? The dangerous “food trance.” Or maybe we’re at a social function and we continue to graze at the appetizer table. My greatest successes with healthy eating occur when I get FULLY CONSCIOUS to my food choices. This begins with consciously deciding WHAT I WANT to nourish my body with, and what I want to AVOID 100% (and it’s essential to stay conscious AT the grocery store when making these selections). Then, I must notice WHAT I put in my mouth, how much I ENJOY it (why eat something that is high calorie AND doesn’t taste that great), HOW MUCH I consume, and WHEN I become full. People rave about weight-loss programs that focus solely on “being present” with your food, and when you’re full. Studies have also shown that people eat significantly more when they’re with groups of people. Hmmmm. Could we become a bit more unconscious around food when there are people to distract our attention? How could getting “conscious” with food change your life?
UNCONSCIOUS with MONEY. Then, there is money. Have you ever spent money unconsciously? We all have. I think this is one reason people get into debt. The salesperson suggests an additional purchase, and you “impulsively say yes.” You want to continue your lifestyle luxuries, even though they exceed your monthly income. They add up. I had a client who liked to shop when she needed a “pick-me-up,” it served as a great catharsis. Maybe there is an impulse to always pick up the tab for the group. Or purchase any book or program recommendation. Or to buy anything that looks fabulous on you. When I coach people out of debt or through an income barrier, the strategy is the same. GIVE IT ATTENTION. Focus on the end result — A LOT. Give attention to every penny spent. Give attention to increasing your income. How do the rich, get richer? They put conscious attention on maximizing their savings, investments and earnings. Look at nearly any financial disaster, and I guarantee there was an element of unconsciousness.
UNCONSCIOUS YOU. Where do you go unconscious around your own needs, wants and desires? Are you responding to YOU? When we ignore our passions and desires, or take little action toward them, the result is depression and frustration. When we’re not fully conscious, it’s super easy to get caught up in limiting beliefs about ourselves or disconnect from our power. When we’re unconscious, it’s also easier to make mistakes, forget where we’ve left something, or procrastinate on an important dream. Show me someone who is fully self-expressed and living their dreams, and I’ll show you someone who knows who they are – and is happily fulfilled.
FOCUSED ATTENTION. Books, symphonies and movies get written because of FOCUSED attention. Businesses get started and thrive when FOCUSED attention is given. Relationships flourish with FOCUSED attention. Health thrives with FOCUSED attention. Every aspect of life becomes more fulfilling with FOCUSED attention. Magic moments, sex (oh, yes!), sunsets, watching children play, working out, drive-time, showers, cleaning, eating, listening, learning and creating ALL become sweeter and more fulfilling when FOCUSED attention is present. Is it really that simple? Simply put, yes.
With FOCUSED attention you’ll notice what is working and what is NOT working … and you’ll make the needed adjustments. Just don’t go “unconscious” after deciding about a new course of action. It’s ongoing FOCUS and attention that makes the difference.
Did you see the movie “Click”? With Adam Sandler? In the movie, Adam (I forget his character’s name) gets this special remote control that allows him to “fast-forward” through parts of his life … to get to the “successful moments” more quickly. Seems like a great idea in the beginning, but then he realizes he’s missing LOTS of great moments. Where do you fast forward through segments in your life? Eating? Spending? Watching TV? Self-care? Procrastination? Connecting or listening to others?Showering? Walking the dog? Cleaning? Sex?
Is it really dangerous to live unconsciously? Ask the man or woman who has inadvertently gained 300 pounds. Ask the family who is carrying $75,000 in credit card debt. Ask man or woman who spent 20 years living unconsciously, and is now on the brink of divorce. Ask your heart.
Life is short. Choose wisely. Choose consciously. Consciously live all the way to the finish line.