The Practical Benefits of Awareness
"To begin with awareness", I must start with myself and my own life.
To encourage others into full awareness, I must present myself and the process honestly.
However, I am well aware that this site has transformed into more than just sharing my day-to-day events. What started off as a blog meant to be read only by close friends and family has journeyed into a site and a vocation that defines my life as much as I define the adventure.
When I share personal stories, I do so as an example. I know that stories are a way to connect and a way to provide example and inspiration where "how to" instruction fails. I also share my stories because I am constantly fascinated by the experiential results of awareness in action.
This weekend is a perfect example of the latter.
Coming off of nearly 2 weeks of fatigue, I suddenly had a huge energy surge over the past 48 hours.
Careful not to overdo it, the kids and I simply moved. (Hubby was working lest you think we forgot about him.) I didn't think to question what I was doing - we just took full advantage of the time we had together.
We biked and hiked in a local state park. (First time ever biking in a state park) (Later that night we went on a bike ride with my husband on a trail that just opened through town - first time, of course.)
We visited the farmers market and tasted salsas at the Salsa Contest. (First time ever attending the Salsa Contest.)
I picked up a book at the library on feminine spirituality and re-discovered something within me getting excited about concepts surrounding the "goddess".
I went on a blissful morning run. (First time in months I've ran the full 3 miles.)
We went to church*. (*I'll get more into this later, but I've not been to church in years. We visited a Unity church in Bloomington - our first time there. If you are anxious to know more before I share here, you can visit http://www.unityofbloomington.org to learn more about it)
Image from Unity of Bloomington facebook page
We went to Nashville, IN where the kids "mined" for rocks. (Though I've gone to Nashville for years, this is the first time we've ever done this.)
I committed to a Reiki appointment for next week. (First time I will have had this done.)
In case you can't tell, we had a lot of "firsts". It wasn't planned this way.
I simply discovered that once I released my expectations of how the day should go;
once I moved beyond my fears of new places and people;
once I loosened my attachment to regular activities that no longer fulfill us,
life just opened up.
I don't know if meditation freed my mind enough to experience this. I don't know if it was the ample rest I've had over the past weeks that gave me the energy to keep going (amidst the bipolar cheers and whines of the kids). I don't know what it was. Most likely, it was a combination of all of the things I've been doing. I don't think the exact cause matters.
What does matter is that this weekend happened.
That a year ago in August, it would not have had happened.
I would have been too afraid to take the kids alone to a new church; too tired to load the bikes and pull the trailer and go up and down hills through the park. I would have put forth a fake front (out of fear of judgment) to those with whom I interacted, missing out on the opportunity to chat, connect, and work with the Reiki practitioner. I would have slept through the opportunity to run, figured the "mining" wasn't worth the cost, decided a day at the Farmer's Market with the kids (trying to balance chips and salsa none-the-less) was simply too trying.
The awareness I have been practicing over the past year, the past months, the past weeks and days has changed my life in very practical ways. It has allowed me to examine whoI am, how I want to be living, and perhaps most importantly, found a way into my everyday life.
By stressing the practice of "awareness", I can't promise you drastic changes in your own life. I can't tell you exactly how or what changes might occur. I can't even tell you what practices are right for you. (Running? Painting? Seated Meditation? Books or videos? Praying or Dancing? All or none of the above?)
I CAN tell you, as I grow more confident in the evidence of my own experience as proof of what is "real", that your experience of life will change once you become aware of the experience itself. It would require pages of blogging to describe that. (Who knows, maybe that is a book in progress...) But deep down, I think you feel what it means.
We are all pulled to experience life, to taste the sweetness in our food, to release our pain in tears, to feel the anxiety from fear and the delicious thrills of sensual exploration. Your experience of life can continuously be broader; deeper; creating more peace in your own core and thus in the core of us all.
And all of it - salsa tasting to overcoming fears -
bike riding to inner peace -
all of it begins with awareness.