Conscious Living. These two words have infiltrated the world in recent years. What does it really mean to live consciously? For many, “conscious living” brings up a sense of community, like-minded individuals, or perhaps a feeling of peace and power. For others, “conscious living” is about “tree-huggers,” chanting and Whole Foods.
Although I consider myself a fan of “conscious living,” I never stopped to define it “consciously.”
What is it to be conscious? Essentially, being “conscious” is about bringing AWARENESS to every aspect of your life — inside and out. Think about it. How many opportunities are there to bring “consciousness” to? There are literally thousands of big and little things to bring our full attention to, or not.
- We can consciously evaluate each area of life, such as our health, finances, relationships, fun, our environment and our spirituality.
- We can be conscious of our thoughts and beliefs that are shaping our lives. Beliefs about ourselves, others, politics, the media and the world. Beliefs about what is good and what is bad. Thoughts that are true or untrue in reality.
- We can be conscious of our choices. What do you say “yes” to? What do you say “no” to? Will you work out today? Eat healthfully? Break the law or follow the law? Be considerate or rude? What will you focus on today? Is the glass half full or half empty?
- We can be conscious about setting goals and influencing the quality of our lives. What are your dreams? What are you really committed to? Who do you want to spend time with? Are you moving toward your goals?
- We can be conscious during activities – talking, eating, working out, having sex, cleaning, sailing, driving, cooking, showering, walking the dog or reading.
- We can be conscious of our authentic selves. Our strengths, weaknesses, and personality tendencies. Our desires. Our level of happiness. Our passions.
- We can be conscious of being conscious. Noticing when we are “present to life” or “checked out.” When all of our senses are engaged, or when we are numb.
WHY get more “conscious”?
The more “consciousness” one brings to any aspect of life, the greater power there is. Power to make a positive change or influence an outcome. Power to experience a deeper level of fulfillment and joy. Power to be more authentically expressive. Power to create and choose.
Everything starts with consciousness. Where there is consciousness there is power.
Where there is lack of consciousness, we live our lives out of conditioned habit and impulses — which may or may not serve our highest potential and happiness. There is so much to pay attention to in life, it is easy to go on “autopilot,” to go unconscious. Our minds are set up to help us multi-task in this world.
Unfortunately, where ever we are on autopilot, we’re not consciously directing our lives.
Let’s say you want to improve your relationship, health or financial situation. Obviously, without a minimal level of consciousness we might not even notice we want to improve that area — or that we’re even unhappy. Once conscious, we can get honest with ourselves. What is the current state of our relationship, health or financial situation? And, perhaps even more important, what is it that YOU want?
From here, we can expand our knowledge (consciousness) of what could improve our relationship, health or financial situation, or move us toward our desired outcome. Conscious actions follow. We read a book about relationships, choose healthy foods at the grocery store or focus on increasing profits or sales. Consciously noticing if what we’re doing is working or not helps us fine tune our focus. There is consciousness every step of the way.
How conscious are you?
If you’re reading a newsletter named Soulfully Living, you’re probably more conscious than the average human being. There are likely aspects of your life where you are VERY conscious. Maybe it’s your health, and you’re keenly aware of what and how much you eat, and how frequently you work out. Maybe it’s your finances, and you work with a financial planner, consciously save, invest for retirement, and spend within your budget. Maybe it’s your relationship, and you’ve attended workshops, read books and consciously make a point to remind your partner of how much you appreciate them each day. Maybe you’re conscious about the environment and have made choices to recycle, drive a Hybrid and not litter. And, likely you are conscious of your authentic SELF — your likes, dislikes, desires, fears and wounds?
Since there are so many aspects of life to be conscious of, there are probably a few areas that you’ve simply not paid attention to, or activities where you habitually go on auto-pilot. That’s okay. I’m not suggesting we’re 100% conscious of everything, 100% of the time. However, where we want to attract more power, greater self-expression and deeper fulfillment — consciousness is a fabulous tool.
Where do you go unconscious?
I notice when I’m bored with a situation or when I think I already know the answer, I tend to go unconscious. Historically, I’ve gone in and out of consciousness around money and finances. Gulp. Interestingly, when I focus on money, this area thrives. When I neglect it, it’s less fruitful. Hmmm. When I’m caught up in my mind, fixated on less than empowering thoughts, I’m less conscious.
Until I met my husband John, admittedly, I was pretty unconscious about politics. It was too confusing to me, so I simply avoided it altogether. In the last few years, I decided to bring consciousness to the subject matter and, with John’s assistance, really learn about governmental issues so that I am capable of making more conscious choices at voting time.
Is there a particular area of your life where you go unconscious? Health issues, finances, relationships, organization, or spending time with friends. Where are you ready to expand your consciousness?
Consciousness – The Never Ending Journey. Waking up to life is a constantly evolving process. We don’t just decide to “live consciously” and we’re set. In fact, the more one investigates consciousness and lack there of, the more one may realize just how many areas aren’t fully conscious. Take it one moment at a time.
Expanding Consciousness. Where do we begin if we want to continually expand our consciousness? There are numerous ways. Here are five simple things you can do right away.
1. NOW PRACTICES. Pick two activities you do everyday, where you are generally less conscious. Showering, driving to work, emptying the dishwasher, working out, cooking or walking the dog are a few activities you may choose from. Over the next 90 days, purposefully bring “consciousness” to this seemingly uneventful activity. I call these “NOW Practices.” By practicing “being present to the NOW” during these activities, you expand consciousness.
2. Explore something you aren’t fully conscious about. Pick a subject. Politics. Healthy eating. Money. Fitness. Your spiritual beliefs. Photography. Gardening. Making pastries. Your passions. Having a baby. Being a grandparent. Buying gold or silver. Explore your subject with curiosity and fervor.
3. APPRECIATIONS. Write down 25 things you appreciate about your life each day for the next 30 days. Expand your consciousness about what is already fabulous in your life.
4. Take the Fulfilling Lives Survey. Assess the factors that influence your fulfillment, then pick 3 areas to improve over the next 30 days.www.lifecoachmary.com/survey.htm
5. Thoughts and Beliefs. Write down your predominant thoughts and beliefs throughout the day, especially the ones that bring suffering or limit you. Consciously select 3 new thoughts or beliefs that align with one of your top goals.
Enjoy the process. The more I notice life, the better it gets!