There comes many a time when you stop, look around and ask— “how did I get here?” Don’t get me wrong; it’s not all bad. Many a time I have woken and marvelled in my surroundings or delighted in what I was grateful to be doing that day. However, sometimes the question sounds more like “I’m tired of doing this every day” or “why does this keep on happening to me?” If this sounds familiar or if you’re keen to take charge of your life then read on!
Firstly, the primary question you need to ask yourself is WHO is steering the ship? Sounds odd, eh? Aren’t we all simply making decisions that direct our life towards how we want to be living? Well, it depends on how you look at WHERE your decisions and direction are coming from. The glorious moment of truth will come when you wake-up to your subconscious or automatic pilot behaviours such as your attitudes and actions, and question their validity. The bottom line is— if you don’t open your eyes and choose to see yourself in the clear light of day by questioning WHY you make such decisions or have such thoughts, you’ll never really get to that place you’re deeply wanting to be. And let me tell you, each time you challenge a pattern in your life that no longer serves you, you’re literally STEPPING DIRECTLY INTO YOUR BEST SELF.
So, what do I mean by automatic pilot?
As you move through life, you develop: your particular way of doing things, your thinking processes and your responses to the ride that is life. Essentially, these become your PATTERNS. You repeat these patterns for so long they soon become automatic; no longer needing conscious thought. From a neurological perspective, you have wired your brain to a particular way of living.
What if I told you that many of these patterns are not your own or nor are they right for you? That these patterns are one of the very reasons you’re frustrated or caught in loops of repeated negative thoughts or circumstances?
Patterns are often learnt throughout childhood from your family and/or immediate community. Children are like sponges, observing and soaking up their surroundings ever learning how to achieve the family’s/community’s way of life. Some children learn to question the ways of the family early on but many don’t until later in life and for some— much, much later. Other patterns come from a maladaptation whereby at one stage you learnt to respond in a particular way to deal with a situation. The problem is, you continue to repeat the behaviour even when the circumstances are over. The pattern no longer serves you yet you continue to act it out without thinking; automatically.
What automatic pilot looks like
For example, there may have been a time in your life when you were highly stressed or in an unsafe place and feeling anxious. Your adrenals, central nervous system and mind become switched on (in response to stress). You remove yourself from this situation yet down the track you still find yourself highly stressed or anxious, yet no longer in danger. You begin to see yourself as an ‘anxious person’ or someone who is “just stressed a lot”.
Whether it’s an old pattern or a maladaptation, patterns are often ‘uncomfortably comfortable’ as they’re rooted in familiarity or as a connection or membership to your family. Patterns can be so old that you identify with them, labelling yourself with comments such as: “Oh, that’s just me”, “I’m always like that” or “I just do things that way”. Family, friends or colleagues can further enclose you in this box by reinforcing the message with their own throw-away comments like “that’s such a you thing to do?”
Lack of questioning or reflection leaves you open to believing false truths about yourself. This in turn leaves you living a life that doesn’t feel right, doesn’t fit or isn’t fulfilling.
Wake-up to yourself!
Open your eyes and wake up! Are you being steered by subconscious patterns or an automatic pilot state of mind? Get to know how you do things and where your belief systems come from. Ask yourself “Do I resonate with this?”
Next, make a CHOICE and use your dynamic WILLPOWER. YOU can decide how you respond to something. YOU can decide how to think about something. YOU can decide how others make you feel. So check-in with your patterns and see if one is at play trying to steer the ship in the wrong direction. Recognising a pattern is powerful in it’s own right. Doing something to change it is the final nail in the coffin for clearing a pattern and becoming CONSCIOUS. When you combine conscious choice with willpower there really is no stopping you. As you repeat these new choices based on your own wisdom, you’re rewiring your brain and energy system to more authentic patterns.
Lastly, and this is a cracker— always check that your choice is coming from the heart (or instincts, gut feeling, spirit; it’s all the same). That way, you’re living YOUR LIFE, fully awake.
Synchronism at its very best
Of course, in bountiful synchronism, at the time of writing this article I faced one of my old patterns. I woke in the morning to find a situation wasn’t going the way I was expecting it would. Everything was going so well then BAM! It all changed. I felt kicked in the guts. In a zombie-like fashion I turned to comfort myself in food, devouring what was left of any treat in the house. I hadn’t done this in a long time and I was semi-conscious of what I was doing. But I chose to wallow. So I wallowed; dripping in honey toast and chocolate. Then I chose to take charge, stop kicking myself in the guts (emotionally, mentally and physically!), and awoke to three options: I could either A) keep being dramatic and wallow, B) do something about it or, C) let it go. If you’re wondering, I chose B. Not only did it feel better, the effects lasted longer than the few moments of indulgence! I’m now backing my decision with some tasty willpower and once again I feel in charge. I’m consciously steering the ship. What about you, where are you headed and who’s steering?