Lately, I’ve been reflecting about reflecting. That is, I have come to some new ideas about what it means to reflect on our lives. It’s all about how we grow by building self-awareness; a trending idea as old as time; a wealth of knowledge we hope to continue to gain as we age.
I like to “think” of myself as a practical person (sometimes). Actually, many of my choices aren’t practical at all. Maybe that’s why I’m excited to share what I’ve become aware of about self-awareness. Because I’ve found a practical, simple way to build my awareness quickly.
Building self-awareness isn’t just about becoming more aware of your mind and thought patterns, it’s not about analyzing your choices and coming to some arbitrary answer to a question of “why?” Rather, true self-awareness comes from deep within the entire body.
You don’t just think differently, you feel different when you are more self-aware. You feel calmer, and more at ease no matter the situation because there is a greater sense of control. Whether you can control the situation or not, at least with self-awareness you have more control over your physical and mental abilities and therefore opportunities.
As a (somewhat) practical person, I feel compelled to share this simple 2-step process that I started using to build my full body awareness muscle.
I love this exercise because I can do it at any moment during my day and it will immediately snap me back into alignment, into present awareness within my entire body with every passing breath.
Think of it like a quick life raft, a moment of release. It isn’t just a moment-to-moment band-aid for life’s little stresses. No, this is a life-long way of being that expounds upon itself as you exercise this muscle more and more.
So here it is. My simple one-two punch for building your full body awareness muscle, constantly all day, every day. Because every day is a new chance to begin again. Every day you get to discover yourself.
So start here with this simple practice. No matter where you are in your day, no longer where you are in life, it doesn’t matter. Because right now is a brand new moment.
Begin Your Day With This Body Awareness Exercise
Are you ready?
Take a deep breath. A big breath. Feel your body expand as you fill it with oxygen.
As you reach the top of that breath, I want you to begin accessing your physical senses, one at a time. Of course, the easiest to start with is our sight. We are visual creatures. So, at the top of that big expansive breath, I want you to look out at your world. Literally, look around. Don’t just look at what’s directly in front of you. Look past the thing that you are focused on. Look far out, straight ahead, up, down, left, right, all around you. Move and see more.
During this big expansive breath, we are creating the time to step into all five physical senses. We are creating space for our mind and body to connect. We are expanding our awareness.
Look at everything in your world as you breathe in and ask yourself, What do I see?
Next, ask, What do I hear? What do I smell? What do I taste? What do I feel?
As you begin to access all five senses, in one swift breath, your body (not your mind) will give you answers, real answers that are fully aware of what’s going on inside and outside of you.
The insight here is that it’s your body that will lead you directly to the starting line of self-awareness, not your mind, not some information created through thought. And what will happen next is just plain magic. From this starting line, we get more clarity, more confidence, and more trust in the answers we receive.
From this moment, there is a much more powerful state of awareness to help us see life through a new lens.
When we want to build muscle, we do so by using those muscles to their fullest (with proper technique of course). And we do this over and over again and slowly but surely we build that strength over time. We add more weight, we gain more power. The same is true for building our body awareness muscle. When we want to find that inner strength, always. Why? So that we can not just go through life surviving, but we can gracefully fly through life thriving.
This is not some special thing that I came up with, rather it is just a reinterpretation, an innovative way to experience the incredible growth and abundance that comes when we continue to build our full body awareness.
Without even forcing myself to, I’ve naturally come into this practice every morning before I even begin to open my eyes. And I come back to it time and time again throughout my day. The beauty of this practice is that no one ever has to know I am doing it, and I can do it for as little or as long as I’d like, anytime I’d like. I’m realizing the longer I do it, the more I hone in on my moment, and the more I want to continue doing it. The more it doesn’t matter if anyone notices because I want you to notice! I want everyone to take this practice and make it their own. But seriously, you can be so discreet about this and that’s what’s so great. It’s like a little game to play with yourself.
Focusing On Here And Now
Simply by focusing our attention on the physical here and now, you will heighten your five senses and you will heighten your full body awareness. As you connect to your physical body in that split second, you can literally feel your body telling you how it feels when you ask these questions. Because each of these questions puts us directly in the present moment. There is no figuring it out. There is no looking for answers, they just come through us. Those answers are clues to discovering a bigger, even more, expansive level of awareness. These sometimes quiet curiosities are the clues we need to trust instincts, to follow our intuition, whatever you want to call it.
Your body will tell you what it wants, what it’s interested in. What you are curious about.
Understand that this simple practice is all about expanding your perspective, it’s about expanding your entire awareness. This is not about separating the mind from the body, it’s not about separating the ego from the self. It’s about expanding our consciousness to a knowing that it is all the same. The more we expand our awareness of ourselves, we become aware of how deeply connected we are to everything.
In a single breath, when we can anchor ourselves into these simple questions, we are actually releasing our minds from thought altogether.
We are drawing ourselves back into a deeper more physical truth and from this place, our mind now has a reason to work through thought.
There is more purpose behind the thoughts that arise after self-awareness sets in. When we start in our physical bodies, our mind shuts up for a minute and actually listens to the whole being it is connected to.
Let’s remember the mind is inside the brain, which is within the body. Our mind is only one part of us. When we use simple practices like these 2-step breathing exercises, we realize that our mind and all that comes from it is only one part of the whole. There is so much more to this whole being that is you.
To follow your heart, you must know what your heart wants. To confidently make choices based on gut instinct, we have to pay attention to that internal knowing. To let curiosity lead the way, we must begin building our full body awareness. This is the first step to creating anything interesting in life. But before we can create an interesting life, we have to know what interests us, truly, fully.
I urge you right now, to stop what you are doing. Stop. And try this.
Take a full deep breath and focus on your physical senses, connect with your body. I promise you, this constant realignment with the breath will expand your mind more than any books, or google pages ever could.
This simple yet innovative way of focusing on my awareness levels, allows me to inhabit a very powerful but peaceful sense of being. A way of being that has to lead to enjoying meditation, running, and creating with more intention, grace, and love. Coming from someone who has always been challenged by routine and standing still, this exercise has calmed my mind simply because it’s relieved my mind of having to always know the answers.
Instead, I allow my body to step in, trust in my instincts, and feel through what is happening and it’s changing my life in ways I never knew possible.
I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. I’d love to hear your thoughts, I mean, I’d love to hear your feelings about it. Have you tried this exercise yet? Has it led you to any insights? Do you add anything to your daily practice?
Comments: This is great info and flows well. I love that the one small thing you do every day relates so much to what you teach. The only changes I would make is to add Step 1 and Step 2 before each step you talk about. I fixed a few tiny grammar errors. I think it flows well and is easy to understand for those who may be new to this.