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5 Ways To Love The Present

5 Ways To Love The Present

The present is certainly fleeting and wonderful, but it can also be a little terrifying sometimes. There are often situations we are faced with that we do not have the tools to deal with. Liz Arch from Mind Body Green is here to share five ways to love the present no matter how scared you are:

Recently, a small black mole appeared on my ankle. I had a sinking feeling when I saw it. A biopsy and a personal call from the doctor confirmed that the spot was indeed cause for concern and I would need surgery to remove a larger section of the surrounding tissue.

I got the news the day before I left to lead a weeklong yoga retreat in Maui. I wouldn’t be able to practice yoga for at least three weeks after the procedure, so the doc told me to enjoy my vacation and we would schedule surgery when I got back. Enjoy my vacation? Obviously, the doctor didn’t know me well enough to know that you can’t say the words melanoma and enjoy Maui in the same sentence.

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My mind instantly started spinning. One moment I was blissfully packing for a trip to paradise and the next, I was packing for what might be the last trip of my life. My thoughts dragged me down a slippery slope of what ifs. What if it’s cancer? What if the surgery doesn’t remove it all? What if I need chemotherapy and lose all my hair? What if I need to have my foot amputated?

Each thought was feeding on the negativity of the last, sending me down a deep, dark rabbit hole. The fact that my mom died last year from cancer only made the rabbit hole deeper and darker. As I boarded the plane to Maui, I asked myself the most important what if. What if I released my fears and allowed myself to be fully present? My retreaters deserved my full presence and so did I. The truth was, I felt great. I could still spread my toes on my yoga mat, stretch my arms up to the sky and breathe in gratitude for the blessing of this moment.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali tells us “Heyam duhkham anagatam.” Pain that has not yet come is avoidable. If we allow our present to be filled with the fear of future suffering, we suffer twice.

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As author and activist Corrie ten Boom beautifully put it, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” There is no more powerful medicine than making peace with the unknown of tomorrow and saving our strength for today.

As I sit here writing this, the dull ache in my ankle from the surgery I had upon my return, reminds me that I am still alive and more whole than ever before. And that rabbit hole? It no longer exists, because this time, the call from the doctor came back all clear.

Here are 5 ways to let go of your fears and embrace the peace of the present:

1. Practice yoga.

Yoga provides a physical outlet for the release of emotional anxiety. The mind has a hard time wandering when you’re firmly anchored to the presence of your body and your breath.

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2. Meditate.

Find a quiet space to sit still and just be. Be present to the sound and sensation of your breath. Observe your thoughts and let them come and go without attachment or judgment. If you feel yourself starting to identify with a thought, simply draw your awareness back to your breath to ground you in the present.

3. Every day, write down three things for which you are grateful.

As Eckhart Tolle says “Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.” Eradicate your fears by inviting gratitude and joy into your life.

4. Acknowledge & accept.

That which we resist, persists. Sometimes the simple act of acknowledging what we fear is the most powerful way to release us from its hold. If your fears are rational, like a serious illness, first accept whatever the situation is. (Note that acceptance does not mean giving up or giving in!) Use this acceptance as a way to move into positive action.

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5. Try light visualization.

Darkness cannot survive in the presence of light. When you feel dark thoughts creeping in, visualize yourself as light. See a tiny ember of white light glowing in your belly. Fan this ember with slow, rhythmic breaths and watch the ember grow into radiant white light. Let this light radiate out from your center, flooding your entire body in a brilliant bath of healing light.

Liz Arch is the creator of Primal Yoga®, a dynamic yoga/martial arts fusion class that merges Vinyasa yoga with the artistry of Kung Fu and the grace of Tai Chi into a creative and mindful flow. She is an athlete for Respect Your Universe and has over ten years of experience in various yoga and martial arts styles, including Power Yoga, traditional Northern-style Kung Fu and Yang-style Tai Chi. She teaches free yoga to women who are survivors of domestic violence and is a proud advocate for A Window Between Worlds, the only national non-profit organization that uses art as a healing tool for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. Connect with her online at www.lizarch.com, via Facebook or Instagram.

5 Ways To Love The Present No Matter How Scared You Are | Mind Body Green

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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