We are quite primed to live life to the extreme and very intensely, pushing our limits to the fullest. We go to great lengths to accomplish transient tasks and goals at the expense of our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health and forget the subtle things that really matter and can make all the difference on our sanity and health. So, I want to highlight the hidden power of the subtle; the subtle messages that play a significant role in our healing, personal growth and awareness.
BIGGER is Better:
A common perspective about life in general is that we must go through suffering or have intense experiences (i.e. shock, adrenaline, rude awakenings) in order to see our lives as they truly are and where change is required. And, yes in many moments this important wake-up call really get our core values shaken up to be re-evaluated. However, there are also the subtle occurrences in life that often get overlooked, ignored, dismissed or get negatively compared to the intense moments in life. I call these subtle aspects “the mundane” – moments in our life we take for granted and have become so accustomed to that we forget that growth and change here is just as necessary and significant as the wake-up calls of life.
An example of this would be a recent experience regarding my desire to receive great change in my life – through a dramatic theatrical experience that would allow me to realize the drastic changes I needed to make. I thought I needed (and in many ways wanted) to face major difficulties and obstacles in order to receive the knowledge of change. We make this intention all the time whether it is surrounding career (i.e. the belief of having to “pay-your-dues”), love (i.e. meeting someone new in order to leave a relationship), family (i.e. sacrifice without loving reciprocation), spirituality (i.e. life-threatening sickness in order to believe in something more), or physical appearance (i.e. fainting from pushing our bodies beyond its limit), and etc. We start to believe this is normal (looking and waiting for the proverbial billboard sized signs to tell us the lessons of life) and in many ways we believe it is necessary for us to evolve to our full potential. This may be true, if you haven’t learn to listen to the subtle messages.
Why Did I Let it Get This Far?
In a recent Ayahuasca ceremony, I thought I would receive a very powerful and intense experience that would quite literally “show” me what was wrong that needed to be healed or changed. I was ready for the intense journey Ayahuasca could bring and in many ways expected and looked forward to it. But in the silence of the night, I felt like I received nothing – no visions, no emotional or physical release, no new cognitive epiphanies – I only heard my mind I went in to the ceremony with. I did not feel her medicine as strongly before, and in many moments through the night I wondered if I was in an altered state at all; it was not till morning and the few days that followed in which I understood the lesson was to look to the subtle. In this situation, Ayahuasca came to me as the voice of my own mind – showing me the subtleties of my thoughts, vocabulary and expectations that greatly contribute to my dis-ease.
Sounds so simple, yet, why did I feel like I had to go through an extreme situation in order to learn this? Why do women not leave their abusive partners until they’re black and blue? Why do we want to love our bodies when we realize our health is on the line? Why do we wait till we are deep in sadness before we reach for a hand? I think this is so because it is much more difficult to address the mundane than it is to be forced a hand by intense and extreme life experiences that leave us “no choice.”
The “subtle” or “mundane” is where we can also make powerful changes that affect our true and real everyday lives and it can prevent these dramatic and intense moments that often turn our whole world upside down. If you begin to shift your awareness and energy to the subtle issues, you can gain great traction everyday that accumulates to something grand. There shouldn’t be any extreme situation that we had to endure to be regretful of, but we should ask ourselves, do we need to let it get that far? And the answer is, we don’t – start by bringing your awareness and efforts into the subtle and mundane moments of your life – breathe life back into them and you won’t have to catch your breath as much.
Resuscitate Your Life:
Breathing life back into the mundane literally requires you to breathe. When we are in a rush or moving so intently through life we become deaf and blind to the subtle qualities and messages in life that are trying to communicate with us. We are only aware to the loud and bold. So, bring it back to the foundational moments in life – breathing – a natural process that people forget to do and that changes our quality of life. A very simple and subtle act – yet the most important mundane action that gives us life. A way to train your awareness to the subtle is learning how to regularly and actively breathe fully again.
- Sit with yourself in a comfortable space and way
- Put one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly
- Slowly & deeply inhale through your nose all the way to the bottom of your belly, filling to the top of your lungs
- Slowly & deeply exhale all your air, pushing from the bottom of your belly to the top of your lungs, near your collar bone
- Pause for a few seconds and observe the space here – are there any emotions, thoughts, sensations rising?
- Do this for at the very least for 5 minutes a day for a couple weeks and reflect on what you experience, what little changes or realizations that occur.
Breathe in life, breath out excess.