Gratefulness Challenge Day 22

Today’s Gratefulness Challenge post seems to have taken a more serious and introspective tone than yesterday’s. Maybe it’s because of taking all that time for myself yesterday. It gave me a chance to contemplate where I am at in this moment and how I relate to the rest of the world. Hopefully my ramblings come across as coherent. They feel very fresh and raw today.

1. Gut feelings: Also known as intuition. I tend to call them gut feelings because I literally feel them deep inside me. Not everything can be explained. Sometimes for no obvious reason you just know what you need to do. You can sense that something is out of sync regardless of what the facts are showing you.

I think this is the difference between the knowledge of the mind and the knowledge of the soul. Both these types of thinking feed our body in different ways and are vital to our survival at varying points in our life. Someone else may just consider gut feelings to be a part of our more subconscious, primal instincts, but I personally think it goes much deeper than that.

Whenever I have a gut feeling and I try and ignore it I tend to look back later and realize that it probably would have been better to trust that inexplicable sensation. Our society is so dependant on facts and proof I think we often block out those inexplicable intuitive moments. We disregard them because they completely go against the way we have been taught to make decisions and problem solve. Intuition is scary. To trust it you must have faith in the unknown and a huge amount of trust in yourself.

What is even harder is to convince others to go along with your gut feeling. It’s hard to get someone to be willing to follow your lead when all you have to convince them is a “feeling.” No numbers, figures or facts to back you up. They must also be open to their own instincts which are telling them that following your lead is a good idea.

For myself, I try to observe my moments of hesitation when following my gut. When making a big decision, if I hesitate before deciding I try and take a moment to ponder that hesitation. Is it coming from just being scared, or is it coming from a deeper place. Are my body and soul picking up on something that my mind is unable to register.

I do not always succeed in following my soul’s guidance, but I think that deviating from what our inner most self knows to be true is just as important as listening to what it has to say. Sometimes I wonder if those deviations are just as planned as the decisions to listen. Because as much as I learn from trusting my gut, I learn even more from ignoring its guidance and then experiencing the ripple effect of those choices. I learn about my personal fears and insecurities, therefore allowing me to delve even deeper into self discovery.

2. Balance: I’m grateful for balance in both the physical and the metaphysical sense. I am constantly striving to find balance both inside and outside of my body. Balance between work and relaxation, balance between my left and right sides of my brain and personality, balance in the physical health of my body, balance between personal and professional, balance between social and antisocial activities. Those are just a few that come to mind.

When people talk about strengths and weaknesses I have always responded with the following statement: “Anything can be a strength, or a weakness, it just depends to what extreme you push that quality.” I think that is a great way of describing balance in any area of life. Opposition is how we create energy. It is the constant conversation between two opposites which helps keep this energy exchange positive and avoid becoming tense or stagnant.

In the workshop I took with Margie Gillis last week she spoke about this idea of opposites and she said that when you arrive in a place of conflict or tension, instead of trying to make drastic shifts to stop that conflict start with small shifts. Make conflict a conversation.

This statement, for me, resonated in its relationship to balance. Balance is not a static place, but it also cannot be achieve through drastic shifts. It is a constant negotiation within yourself. It asks you to remain introspective and extrospective simultaneously. I embrace the challenge that balance is to not only achieve, but maintain. It is somewhat impossible, yet the constant journey to find it helps keep me mindful and aware of myself and my relationship to the world at large.

3. Honesty: I’ve been keeping a running list of all the things I have been choosing to write about during my gratefulness challenge (see I told you I love lists). I was reading through it yesterday as a reflection over the past few weeks and I noticed a few trends, which I hope to share with you all once my 30 days are complete. One really significant trend though that I noticed is my strong appreciation for honesty. I would go as far as to say that honesty is one of my core values.

I think honesty is the ultimate display of humility, respect, and confidence both in relation to others and to yourself. Being able to admit to both the good and the bad is one of the qualities I have to highest respect for. It is amazing to me how many people lie. It is an ingrained part of our culture. We lie to ourselves and others about what we want, need, think and do. And to what end?

People seem to think that in lying they are saving others or themselves from negative experiences and emotions. The reality is, that even if a lie is good intentioned, it doesn’t tend to make things better. People know when they aren’t being told the entire truth, and that feeling hurts more than anything you could ever tell them. Guilt is also a toxic after effect. Maybe others don’t agree, but I personally would rather someone give it to me straight than twist the truth to save my feelings. I find that the thought of someone being dishonest with me, hurts more than anything else.

I’m not trying to say that I am perfect and honest all the time. We all tell lies at times, whether to ourselves or others. Sometimes we twist the truth for the sole reason that we do not want to share something intimate with the person asking that of us. Sometimes we just don’t want to admit it to ourselves. There is also the more complicated reality that what we may see as the truth is seen as a complete lie to someone else. Everyone has their own perspective, and that’s valid.

What I am talking about though is integrity and authenticity. Being comfortable enough with yourself to be open about all aspects of yourself (good and bad) and to also being respectful enough to be genuine in what you share with others and yourself.

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