In that order, just take some time.

Take some time to detach from everything that’s going on. Step away from the noise, the constant drone of everything and everyone else.

Take some time apart.
Take some time for you.

I promise you it’s the best thing you’ll ever do.

Step away, switch it off.
Stop listening.
Stop taking it in.

Pay attention to you, and only you.

What thoughts come up? What feelings? What ideas?

Take hold of them, one at a time.
Pay attention.

Question if they’re really your thoughts, your ideas, or are they some you picked up along the way?
Something that you absorbed from the noise of out there.

How do they make you feel?
Do they help you?
Do they serve you?
Are they helpful to you in any way?
Are they helping you grow, to learn, to feel stronger?

Or are they slowly chipping away, tearing you down, holding you back.

How can you use these thoughts?

Are they meaningful to you, do you see some form of protection in them? Some guidance from them?

That’s a lot of questions, I know, but it’s what you have to do.
It’s what I do.

Day in, day out, I stop. I take stock of what’s around me, what’s going on. I cull the noise, sift through my thoughts, my feelings, my ideas.

I question the ones that feel heavy, I pull back the ones I try to run from… why? What don’t I want to deal with? What am I afraid of.

Why does it feel so heavy to me? Why am I brushing it off like a bad joke… that thing that I don’t want to deal with.

I don’t have to deal with it.
I just need to be aware.

You should be too, because once you’re aware, they no longer carry the same weight.
Usually, they just drift off, disappear. Even the recurring ones.
They just want a moment of your attention, even if that attention is to decide that they’re not right for you, and don’t warrant any more time in your mind.

Sometimes it’s a nagging feeling, that thing that you don’t want to do, but feel like you must in order to keep going.
It’s that feeling of “should” that’s enforced from some external place.

For many, they live here, day in, day out… “should”ing their way through life.
Going the places they “should” be going
Doing the things they “should” be doing
Talking the way they “should”
Eating the foods they “should”
should, should, should…

And often at the expense of want.

When we look at “should” there’s an awful lot of insistence, and much of it comes from outside.

I “should” look this way, because x said so
I “should” talk to these people because it will get me y
I “should” do these things, because I want z

It’s just external noise that we’ve internalised.

I used to feel guilty for not holding down a job for years.
I felt bad for leaving my degree.
I felt useless for not coping.
I felt wrong for wanting something different. Something better.

Why?

Because that’s the way the world had taught me to be.
If I didn’t want what the rest of the world wanted, then surely I was wrong somehow.

So I stopped, I switched off, I unplugged, I unwound.

I stopped listening to the noise, and the expectation of the outside world.
Of the people who weren’t me (all of them) and weren’t like me (most of them).
And I started to pay attention to the person who matters most. The ONLY one I will never be able to get away from. Me.

And the best thing happened.

I started to filter the noise, and by lessening the external sounds, and ideas, I finally started to hear myself.

I heard what I wanted, I felt a change within me.

I was no longer living in a constricted state. I could breathe.

I started to see things for what they were.
I started to hear things for what they were.
All around me it was like a curtain had lifted, and then it became a shield.

The more I allowed myself to stop, switch off, unplug and unwind, the more I learned how to deflect the unnecessary and the unwanted.
The more I learned to protect that space within myself, for my own voice, my own wants, and my own needs to be heard.
And the more I learned to protect that space, the easier it got to stand up for myself. To live the life the way I wanted, to back myself.

It started small. It’s gradually raises everyday.

And you can have that too.

You need to stop.
You need to switch off.
You need to unplug.
You need to unwind.

You’ll start to sort through the noise, the echoes that float around your mind.
You’ll start to spot the link to the thoughts and the tightness in your body.
And you’ll start to notice that most of these thoughts stem from fear.
A lot of them from other peoples fear.

We’re not born with fear. We learn it.
From those around us, those that care for us, worry about it.
We fear the unknown, change, difference.
Not because it’s something to fear, but because we learned how to.

If you really take a look around at the noise right now, even the stuff that on the surface looks quite positive, you’ll see if comes from that place.

It’s a fear of the unknown.
And a lot of the rest is merely a distraction.

Those that cover their fear with humour, judgment, anger… they’re all around us.
You know who they are. You see them, hear them, may even be them from time to time. No one is immune to fear. You can sense it; the tension. You can see the tightness in their bodies. The shallowness of their breath. The shortness of their words. That scattered, worn look in their eyes.

And it’s for those people you need to stop, switch off, unplug, unwind.
It’s for those people that you need to step back, take a breath, clear your mind, and let the fog lift.

But before you can do it for them, you need to do it for you.

So do this now.

Stop.
Switch off.
Unplug.
Unwind.

Just breathe.

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