One of my primary intentions in life is to re-wire my brain to think loving, grateful thoughts all the time, instead of the opposite.
On this journey of rewiring my brain, I’ve run into a few issues that took some creative thinking to get through. One of the biggest stumbling blocks I’ve run into (really, slammed my shins into it in the middle of the night and grumbling, “where did THIS come from?”) is this:
Forgetting completely that I actually want to do this.
As hilarious as it sounds, sometimes I’ll “wake up” after a week or more of completely forgetting that I want to be loving and grateful. Usually, it’s something painful that wakes me up, that says, “Hey, you’re living life the old way and it doesn’t feel good. Do you want to stay on this track?” Then I am so grateful for the pain because it showed me where I was steering wrong!
To remember, I use these tools:
1. Visualize yourself remembering.
Now here is a key: you want to make it real and present in the realm of your consciousness. You don’t say ‘I’m going to do such and such’ – it already has happened. Now, is consciousness real? It exists and it is very powerful. The idea is to have this mesh between your consciousness – your visualization – and the so-called material world.
– George Leonard
See it done. See yourself remembering. See in your mind’s eye the moments that you would typically forget, and see yourself remembering instead. Doesn’t that feel amazing? I love changing those old patterns and doing things differently. I feel so powerful and present and alive. (For more fun reading on rewiring your brain, read Joe Dispenza’s book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”)
2. Put up a visual reminder.
Tape up a beautiful quote on the door of your closet, set a desktop or phone wallpaper that reminds you of what you want. I’ve had “What do I really want to do right now” up on my laptop for ages, and every time I see it I remember that I get to choose. Pick a reminder that makes you feel full of love and happiness. Sometimes, we choose reminders that feel heavy or guilt-ridden, like one more task we have to do. This shouldn't feel heavy at all, it should feel light and absolutely wonderful.
When I was going through a particularly tough time and wanted constant reminders, I downloaded a reminder app for my phone, and programmed loving quotes to pop up several times a day. That didn’t work for me long term (I started turning off the notifications without reading them) but it was a great way to surprise my mind for a couple of days while I needed extra support. Be mindful of when your reminders stop working, and switch them out for something that speaks to you again.
3. Associate remembering with joy, fun, happiness, peace.
I love remembering to love because it feels amazing! I love “waking up” from unhappiness to remember that I can choose something else- I can choose love and gratitude. It’s so incredibly powerful. No one told me I have to do this, no one decided for me that it needed to be done. It’s just me and my loving thoughts, spreading through the world!
When you come from this place of loving how you want to be and act, it becomes a joyous game to return to that place. You'll challenge yourself to find ways to return to mindfulness, and laugh (instead of feeling angry or disappointed) when you find yourself off the path. It's a joy to return, again and again, and this beautiful life affords us so many opportunities to love!
What creative ways have you returned to mindfulness, to living the life you want instead of letting your thoughts go on autopilot? Please share below!
Image by Nanagyei on flickr.