I’ve talked about “noticing with intention” to create changes in your behavior. A very key component to this is the “noticing.” As we take notice of a specific habit, we will begin to train our minds to recognize the habit more readily. Sometimes we need more than just intention to create the change we desire in the moment. Sometimes emotions or internal pressures are too strong and we are not able to overcome them after noticing. Maybe we have noticed only after the emotions have become overpowering for our current abilities to manage. Maybe I notice I’m biting my fingernails, but for some reason I just keep biting them anyway. Maybe I notice that I’m stuck on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube, but I just can’t get myself away from the soul suck!
In this case, we need to create space in which we can then collect ourselves and be able to take an action leading us in the direction we really want, one that your insightfulself is guiding you.
How do we create space? We can use the breath. Daily or frequent mindfulness meditation can help build our ability to use our breath to create space. I have heard people say to me, “The breath isn’t some magical cure all! It can’t do everything!” Well, in my experience it has kind of been like this. It does require training though. It isn’t a magic pill. The same way, if you’ve never seen someone do a handstand and you try to do a handstand – it feels pretty impossible. But then you can train your muscles and practice, and then a handstand becomes possible. Then it becomes easy 🙂
We need intention with the breath, and awareness of the breath for it to be able to do anything for us. If we breathe without intention and without awareness, then we are not creating space for us to work within. Typically when we need to create space, our mind is leading us in a self-destructive story or maze (as Phil Stutz and Barry Michels call it in their book “The Tools”). If we look at the example of YouTube addiction, our mind is just entranced with dancing lights, moving images, easy living, being lazy. I might notice how awful I feel, notice that I should do other things, notice that I would feel better doing other things, but I still can’t rip myself away from the screen.
Now I might try to breathe to create a space for me to break out of this spell. But if all I do is breathe, while still focusing on the story, or the trance, then nothing can happen. All I’m doing is breathing on purpose now, instead of automatically. The space comes through the intention and awareness.
Here’s an analogy for you. Imagine you have a garage door opener. It has one button, a battery, and it opens a garage door. However, the garage door will never open if the button has no battery, no power. The button = the breath, the battery = intention and awareness, and the garage door = space. You can press the button all day long, but until it has power, you are not going to open up any space 🙂
Yes! We have officially created a modicum of space! Bravo, and well done! What do we do in this space? There are a number of tools to implement once we can create space and I’ll discuss some of them in other posts here and on instagram. However, the tool to use most often is following these five steps:
1. Notice with Compassion <3
2. Take on an Open Posture ➔ Superman Pose ➔ Open your chest, stand tall, hands on your hip, breathe deep.
3. Listen to that knowing inside (your best self).
4. Take a micro-action listening to that inner-wisdom.
5. Act Now. Act with Prudence.
Please share your experience in the comments below! Let me know of any questions or other thoughts that came up for you 🙂