“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.” ~ Buddha
Kick In The Ass
You just have to love quotes by Buddha. Unfortunately, people tend to glaze over when they read one because the quotes are so over shared (especially in our Western culture) with little to no discussion around their meaning. Buddha’s teachings are incredibly important as he was as close to divine-like as any human could be. The name “Buddha” is actually a title, meaning “enlightened”, which he most certainly was. (If you’re interested in the history of Buddha, I would recommend starting here).
The quote this week from Buddha, “Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think”, is not the first time we’ve heard about the power of the mind. Countless scriptures, verses, philosophies (especially Stoicism), plus ancient and modern day teachings all point directly to how our thoughts shape our reality. And yet we see quotes such as these and never give it another thought. But if I can express to you how life changing this notion is, you’ll never callously pass over it ever again. You’ll recognize how powerful this teaching is and will implement it into your daily life.
Most of the time, we’re unaware of our own thoughts. And yet, it’s those very thoughts that make us who we are and how we see the world. For example, are you aware of how many negative thoughts you have in any given day?
When you wake up tomorrow, keep a mental log of all the negative thoughts that come into your brain throughout the day. You’ll be surprised at how you talk to yourself and how negatively you see things around you.
Our brains process over 400 billion bits of information per second! In order to make sense of all the data, our brain amazingly creates patterns without us knowing it. The more you think about certain things, the stronger and deeper the thought pattern becomes. The brain will also join similar types of thoughts together to organize the information.
For example, imagine yourself at the gym. You’re lifting weights and about to do some sit-ups when you think to yourself, “Ugh, my body is so sore and weak. I hate working out”.
That sentence might be all you say to yourself, but this is ACTUALLY what your brain hears:
“Ugh, my body is so sore and weak. I hate working out. I’m really out of shape. I feel fat and gross today. These shorts are riding up and annoying the hell out of me. Look at that guy over there. He probably works out every day. He probably has sex every day too. I don’t belong in this gym. I’m an ugly piece of shit. My mom was right when she told me I’m fat failure. Even my kids get upset when I can’t play football with them. Joey’s father throws the ball with him. Yeah, well, it must be nice to be Joey’s father, who has a hot wife, great job, and is naturally fit.”
And there you have it. One negative thing we say to ourselves combines with others to create a thought pattern. This ball of negativity then grows bigger the more negative thoughts we allow. In this example, all you said to yourself was that you weren’t feeling strong, and you hated to work out. But what happens is your brain takes those thoughts and combines them with other pieces of information which tie together, such as low-esteem, past trauma from parents, feelings of inadequacy, possibly a little body dysmorphia, etc… And before you know it, your life sucks (or so you think) and you’re miserable. Does your life really suck or are you making it far worse than it actually is by allowing negative thought patterns to take hold?
Getting rid of all negative thoughts is impossible. What we want to do, however, is raise the awareness of these thoughts to decide if they’re worth the energy or if we’re just making our lives harder than they actually are. No one makes you think or do anything. The only person in charge of your life, your actions, your thoughts is……(drum roll)…… YOU! And those thoughts you allow to take hold in your brain dictate what your reality looks like.
A dear friend of mine sent me this video a few months back and I’m sharing it with you. I HIGHLY recommend closing your eyes and pressing “Play”. Allow the words to permeate into your brain. Listen to it every single day so it creates better, more productive and positive brain patterns vs the ones you continue to use day in and day out, hoping something will change. Your life can not change until you change your thought patterns, which then dictate your behaviors.
What's Good, Kira?
I don’t know about you, but I rarely have any fascinating dreams. Most of the time, I’ll wake up annoyed by what movie my subconscious played over the course of my sleep. One such dream woke me up, drenched in sweat and in a complete panic. That panic turned into irritation, however, when I remembered the reason I was so distraught. I dreamt I was running into my last college class before I graduated and had forgotten a pencil for the exam. “THAT was my terrifying dream?!” I thought to myself. I often wondered if my lack of creative dreams was an indicator that I might be a dull human being.
But last year, the most unusual dream left me happily surprised by my expressive mind and feeling incredibly badass. It was the most rewarding of dreams I’ve ever experienced and one which I carry with me to this day.
Before I describe this most outstanding dream, perhaps I should caveat something in order to minimize any angry “You’re canceled!” emails. I’m simply relaying my dream. Keep in mind, I didn’t have control over this particular dream. So don’t get your knickers in a knot as you continue reading this most delightful story.
The setting for my dream was an old Western town. I found myself in a bank, standing in line, bursting with excitement. As it so happens, I was fortunate enough to have the most beautifully large, round black balls (yes, testicles). I asked people in the bank if they wanted to see my big, bowling-sized balls. And before they could even answer, I would unzip my pants and whip them out on full display with my head held high, awaiting the “ooh’s” and “aww’s” from those around me. (Mind you, I didn’t possess a penis, just enormous balls. I’m also not entirely sure why they were black. Though, I’m sure there’s a cultural appropriation somewhere in there.)
“Look!” I said. “Look at this set of balls I have!”
The woman standing in front of me was taking too long with the bank teller. I tapped her on the shoulder and said, “I need you to move.” She waved me off as if she didn’t hear me. I said, “How dare you! Look at these big, beautiful black balls I have!”, as I make a hand gesture towards my crotch like Vannie White or a WWE wrestler. The woman took one look and moved out of my way.
Everyone congratulated me on the pair I was lucky to have. I would unzip my pants any chance I could get that day to unleash the work of art that was my balls. I remember feeling awash with pride in this dream. It could have been purely because of the enormous size of my balls, but I remember walking with a distinct swagger. I felt unstoppable, as if nothing could take me down or diminish the fire inside me.
When I had awoken, I couldn’t believe it was just a dream. It felt so real. I could still feel my imaginary balls. My heart was beating out of my chest with pride. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t walk with a swagger or make the “V” shaped hand-gesture towards my crotch over the next few months after that dream.
I could have left it at that. However, I harnessed this strong sense of self and continued to live every day as if I really had gigantic black balls in my pants.
Whatever it takes, right?
Visualization is a powerful tool to use in manifesting what we want to see and feel in our lives. As hilarious as that dream is, it also imprinted into my brain the conviction I needed to continue pursuing my passion: no wonder what anyone thought about it. No one else is inside your brain or has experienced your life. They may not understand your pursuits, but it’s also not your job to convince them either.
- Those times when you have self-doubt, visualize yourself as a courageous individual who defiantly walks through flames, proudly showing the world who you are. The mind is everything. You can allow it to pull you into the depths of worry and misery. Or you can visualize the power you truly possess to succeed in any area of your life. The choice is yours once you gain control of your thought patterns.
Did You Know?
The amygdala part of the brain is 60% more active in those who lack sleep. Don’t get too excited, you non-sleepers. That’s not a good thing.
The amygdala determines your “fight or flight” response. Lack of sleep will impair this part of the brain, leaving you feeling more anxious, angry, and/or depressed than usual. 1 in 3 adults in the U.S are not getting enough sleep (CDC). So is it any wonder everyone around you seems a little on edge over the past few years? No! We’re all emotionally charged walking zombies who need sleep!
Having trouble getting a good night’s rest?
- Turn off electronics at least 1 hour before you plan to go to sleep. Our bodies haven’t evolved just yet to handle how long we glue our eyes to blue light emitting devices. Too much blue light will stop the naturally occurring production of melatonin, that very important hormone which helps you go to sleep.
- Try Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep Tablets with Vitamin B6. I find this one works better than Melatonin by itself. Plus, the more vitamin B you get, the better.
- If you need something stronger but don’t want to wake up groggy, I suggest Simply Sleep Nighttime Sleep Aid. I personally used this last night when I found myself tossing and turning and reached in my nightstand drawer for a sleep aid. I fell asleep almost instantly and felt very rested and ready to start the day.
- I love playing sleep mediation from my Insight Timer app. It’s free and there’s, quite literally, thousands of outstanding meditations to choose from. This app is my go-to when I meditate during the day and when I need something calming for sleep.
Would You Rather?
...never use the internet again or never fly on an airplane again?
For me, there’s no way I could give up the internet. It’s not so much the social media aspect, but more about the unlimited access to anything at my fingertips at any given moment. I’m a very curious individual and love to gobble up information. I could always use a car or boat instead of plane travel.
Make Humor Great Again
A little boy was playing in the yard and suddenly killed a honeybee.
His father saw him killing the honeybee and said,
“No honey for one week!”
Later that day, the boy was playing with a butterfly when suddenly his dad came and he jumped up and tore the wings off the butterfly.
“No butter for you for one week!” said his dad angrily.
Later that evening, as the boy’s mother was cooking dinner, she saw a cockroach on the floor.She jumped and stomped on it.
The little boy looked at his father and said,
“Will you tell her, Dad, or should I?”