Be creative rather than reactive. "Re-act" -- doing the same act gets you more of the same results. “Create” -- doing something different and achieving different results. Reactive – notice that when we use the same letters, but rearrange them, they form the word Creative!
Addiction is reactive and mindless. It's based on quick impulsive decisions to avoid discomfort or feel pleasure or check out completely -- literally mindless. Mindfulness is creative! You become empowered rather than remaining a victim. Mindfulness is being in the moment as it is, and attending to whatever comes up in you with kindness and love. Mindfulness is a highly conscious appreciative state. It's where creativity happens and doors open. It's where options appear and your dreams manifest.
You have the capacity to shift out of your default programs and increase opportunity in your life. Opportunities that are always there but you can't see them when you navigate through the lens of your old programming, your old reactions! Too often we react to life's many challenges through the lens of our unconsciously driven old beliefs (old patterns). These old patterns may be filled will blame and criticisms, the need to prove and fix, feelings of self-doubt and unfounded fears, or perhaps they may be true but no longer apply. These beliefs are set in a neural path complete with sound, color, smell, touch and taste.
The more enriched the neural path - the more dominant it becomes in driving our decisions. That's just the way we are engineered. As these patterns are rehearsed or repeated, they become like background music I.e., "Screw it, just take the drink," or "you are already messed up, so eat the donut," or "she should've listened to me" or "he's an idiot."
As the patterns are repeated, it feels more real, more true, even though it's often just an over-generalization. "But it's the truth, she did lie or she did do that," makes it confusing for us but it's still repeating the same patterns of blame. True facts ("he lied or I acted like a an idiot") mistakenly get confused as your spiritual truth ("he's a liar or I'm an idiot"). Feeling justified, we play the blaming game and cycle back into reacting into our old ways.
Mistakenly, you think you are creating change because "you are right" or you label someone or yourself, "see I'm just bad at sports, or I'm an addict and I’m going to mess up," and then we do. We do exactly what our preprogrammed patterns would do on that track, and react by reaching for a beer or a donut (moments of pleasure), but really we are are simply doing more of the same pattern, perhaps even worsening it.
Living within that reactive pattern gets exhausting and often requires a ton of repairing and apologizing. It can get so tiring that it drives progressively worse sabotaging behaviors like drugs to get relief. You can learn to shift out of your old patterns and decide to create, to be a part of the world that causes light.
Every time that guilt, shame and criticism, or blame arrises, you can stop the old reaction (of calling yourself a bad name, or drinking alcohol or using drugs or reaching for the donuts etc.), and instead respond by saying "not my story anymore, I'm a creator of my own moment, I'm not an effect anymore, not doing that, old story, changing this story today, right now I'm doing this different," or some version of that and then really start a new pattern.
Turn yourself into a Creator rather than Reactor. Decide to go through life as the cause not as the effect, no matter how justified. Be the one who brings the love and light. Make your new sequence so bright and so loud with love that it's rippling effect not only changes you but everyone around you. It's quite possible that the changes you make will profoundly shape the lives of future generations. Create ripples that your great, great, great, grand children will feel and their smiles will shine so bright it will generate enough love to remove all suffering.
Close your eyes and breathe in deeply. Exhale and feel the light and love in you expand inside you and all around you. Take a few more deep conscious breaths. Notice the length of the inhale, the space between the inhale and exhale, then slowly extend the exhale a second longer. Relax the body by sending the breath and a vision of light from the top of your head all the way down to your toes, smoothing out all the tension, the knots and darkness in your body. Feel the light and go deeper into relaxation.
Now picture two circles, one of white light and the other black. Notice the circle of darkness and hear and see the old patterns of blame and criticism, so reactive, feel the tightness and discomfort in your body. That's one way of being, but it's so limiting.
Press into your heals and lick your lips, take a deep breath in, and on the exhale, float into the circle of white light. Feel the difference, release the tension in your body, hear the new sound of "new story, starting over, I'm the creator!" Surround yourself with this new energy where it doesn't matter who believes you, or who's right, or who started and who's ending it.
The only thing that matters is the awareness that you can create an entirely different outcome. Like right now. Like all the time. Fill your body with that warm loving light and memorize it. Commit to practicing your meditation and mindful practice daily.
Gently bring your awareness back to your body, wiggle your finger and toes, lick your lips, deepen your breath, shrug your shoulders to your ears and let them drop, and gently bring your eyes to open.
Enjoy your week my sweet new friends. The light in me sees and believes in the light in each and everyone of you.
Shanti shanti shanti
Dena Leibowitz, LCDAC, is the Founder and Executive Director of “Center for Mental Health” and ZenLife Yoga Boutique & Juice Bar in Towson, MD.