I just finished reading Parker Palmer’s book On the Brink of Everything. This is one of the many great books I’ve read on being in the moment and developing/maintaining self awareness. I’d like to think that much of the knowledge I’ve gained has stuck.
The Oxford Dictionary defines self awareness as: “conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires”. Self awareness is one of those work in progress types of challenges. It’s something that you get better at but you never reach a finish line. That’s likely the first rule of self awareness development. The second rule is that you have to be okay with the truth no matter how ugly it gets. The third rule is “no pain, no gain”.
The question is “why bother?”. Why is it important to stare in the proverbial mirror? Speaking from experience I say, with confidence, that it does make living life so much fuller. In addition to reading the books I’ve been writing. I write 3 pages every morning (an exercise from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron) and I’ve been at it for 2011 days without fail. For a period of time I also meditated on a daily basis. I have also spent time working with a therapist. I mention these 3 activities because Mr. Palmer mentions them in his book as “tried-and-true aids” to getting to know oneself. He goes on to talk about 3 other methods that he has found to be even more helpful, and they are:
- Connecting with a younger generation; not to advise them, but to learn from them.
- Move toward what you fear. You know that saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
- Spend time in nature.
When I read this advice I was thrilled that I had already been participating in activities that involved these 3 things. I’m a little weak on the “fear” one but the others I have happening on a regular basis. My youngest friend is 7 months old and I learn from her every single visit.
I believe that joyful moments are happening all of the time. The trick is that we have to be grounded in our emotions to recognize them before they pass on by. I’m grateful to say that I spend so much more time being grateful than I ever have. The work is paying off big time. When it comes to mental and emotional health, becoming self aware is the best investment you can make.
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