|Focusing your vision, achieving results|
-- James Thurber
by Stacy Mayo, MCC
In it, Socrates, the wise mentor, tells Dan to "empty the trash." By this he means to empty his head of all the chatter that fills it. This chatter keeps us from being present in the moment.
The chatter can be positive or negative. More often, it is negative. It can be the words in our head that tell us why we can't do something. Or it can be our mind rehearsing what we want to say to someone or how we want to handle it (over and over again). Or it can be creative ideas about what we want to create next in our lives. All of it keeps us from being in the present.
When we are not present in the moment, we are not in the flow. The busyness in our minds keeps those things we desire from flowing through us.
So how do we empty it? I'll start with the positive thoughts, because quite truthfully, that is the easier of the two.
If you have creative ideas flowing in your head, empty them into something that will capture them for later use. I have gotten into the habit of carrying around a digital pocket recorder as I've learned that inspiration can happen anytime, anywhere and when I can capture those thoughts, I can quit thinking about them and go back to being in the present. Then I can unload them from my brain or recorder for use later. The interesting thing about that is I usually don't have to play back the recorder to remember what I was thinking. By saying them into the recorder, I set the intent to remember them and my brain just does.
If you are rehearsing in your mind the words you want to say to someone, go ahead and get those out. Talk to them, call them or send them an email. If you are angry, you may want to journal all those negative thoughts first as a way of getting them out of your head. Usually when we are pointing anger at someone else, the deeper anger is with ourselves. Once you have written all the angry thoughts, you may find yourself in a more rational place to see what and who you are really angry with.
When going about your everyday life, the best way to stay out of your head is to focus on what is going on around you. It is too easy to drive a car, walk or even sit at a meal with someone on autopilot and not be present. How many times have you driven somewhere and wondered how you got there? Or sat with someone and realized you didn't hear a word they said?
Make a conscious attempt to be more aware in your life of everything that is around you. Notice the people and what they are doing, the expressions on their face; notice the scenery - the textures, the sounds, the smells; notice your food and how it tastes as you are chewing it. Notice. When you notice what is in front of you, you are not mired in the trash in your head.
When you are in conversation with someone, listen to what they have to say, rather than rehearsing in your mind how you are going to respond. Then respond to them from the present moment. It will make you a much more interesting conversationalist and your conversation will flow. And you will still get your point across - that is, if it is still relevant.
When you find yourself going away in your mind, bring it back by looking the person in the eyes or noticing their features. If on the phone, remind yourself to be here now and start listening. If you missed something they said, be honest. Say, I'm sorry my mind wandered, can you repeat what you just said. It happens to all of us. If you just nod and say uh huh, they will often know you are not present anyway.
Before going to bed at night is a great time to "empty the trash." Keep a journal next to your bed and use it to dump all your thoughts. Be careful not to go on a negative tirade. If you find yourself having a pity party, ask yourself how you can change that or have more of what you want and then write some more.
If you wake up at 3:00 in the morning and find the thoughts are keeping you awake, pick up the journal or go to your computer and write. That is what I am doing this morning. It is a great time to let the creative thoughts flow without interference from the outside world.
These are just a few ways to "empty the trash." They are not new concepts, but ones that can easily be forgotten as we get caught up in the busyness of our lives. So let this serve as a reminder to be in the present moment as you go about your day.
The main point is that when you are present in the moment, things can flow. When you empty your mind onto paper, the thoughts flow. When you are out in the world and consciously living, things flow with you and through you. Not to mention that life is more fun.
You also perform better when you are in the moment. Can you tell when someone is giving a speech and they are in their head trying to remember what they were going to say vs. someone who is giving a speech and you feel like they are talking to you? The second person is in the moment, being with you rather than being in their head. Try being with people in your life and see what happens.
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