Kicking bad habits

29/10/2015

Over the last couple of months I’ve hopped, skipped and jumped my way over the Pacific ocean, in and out of Fiji for work three times. This has meant many hours wiling away time in airports, on aeroplanes and in hotel rooms – you know those seductive couple of hours before you go to bed with absolutely nothing to do – no dinner to cook (ate out), no cleaning calling (it’s already been done by someone else) and loved ones are several hours plane ride away.

Travelling a lot (and being super busy whilst travelling) also tends to make feel quite disconnected from said loved ones. I am so thankful for social media apps for helping me feel a part of my loved one’s lives while I can’t be physically present, however, after awhile I begin to notice it wearing thin. I begin to get uncomfortable with my compulsion to check-in with things during the spare moments I have and it becomes a habit I don’t find helpful at all.

During these travelling times I also ploughed my way through a few books (thank goodness for eBooks, hey?). One of the precious tomes I was finally able to focus on and finish was Opening to Channel by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer – a book that I’ve dipped in to over the last few months, but really needed a few hours of solid quiet time to immerse myself completely in its wisdom.

While the book, as you can guess, largely addresses how to open to a channeling state with higher dimensional guides that exist beyond form (at the level of thought), one piece of wisdom leapt out at me from the closing pages of the book: how our so-called bad habits always have a higher essence to them. This got me thinking about my social media habit, and how it must have a higher essence too. And that perhaps instead of berating myself for excessively leaning on social media to feel connected and keep in touch I could delve inwards to see what this higher essence may be.

Noosa with Carly_April 2015_012

THE HIGHER ESSENCE OF BAD HABITS

Looking for the higher essence of our bad habits takes a SHED LOAD of the guilt and shame out of the equation of kicking a bad habit to the curb, don’t you think? The key here is taking a moment to do a bit of soul searching about how our habits are serving us, and becoming conscious of where its higher essence resides.

So taking my aforementioned concern of excessive social media use. Some commentators postulate that social media addiction is borne from our generation’s narcissistic tendencies – that our need to clamour for attention with our selfies and over-sharing is what drives it. But I think there are very evident higher essences to this habit: a craving for connection, coupled with being witnessed and truly seen for our complete selves are just two that resonate for me.

Both a craving for connection and being truly seen are beautifully divine human needs, that do need to be tended to. But there are, of course, other ways to meet these needs than compulsively flicking a social media app open. If it’s connection I’m craving, I could call a friend and go for a walk-n-talk together. In person or over the phone, it’s a surefire way to stoke the fires of connection. Or I’ll make plans for a get together. Schedule a skype with my loved ones. For me, cultivating connection in real life results in a dramatic drop in the need to use the online world for those feelings of connection.

How about the essence of feeling seen for my complete self? For this, I find that paying more attention to myself negates the compulsive need to feel it from others. Witnessing my own thoughts and feelings by journalling them, or just sitting with them in meditation is so valuable. Often what we seek from others is the one thing we’re really not giving ourselves. But of course having loved ones to spend time being my fullest self (the messy, the kooky, the brilliant, the crappy) with is also necessary. Creating a circle of friends and family who are my loving place to land (in whatever state I’m in) is one of the kindest and loving things I’ve ever done for myself.

Have a go at finding the higher essence for some other habits – like smoking, excessive drinking, binge-eating. I absolutely think higher essences exist for every single bad habit in existence. I’ve had a quick go myself (this is a very shallow pass of the issues, and definitely not an exhaustive exploration!):

Smoking: Easing anxiety, having something to do, breathing deeply to calm the nervous system.

Excessive drinking: Escaping uncomfortable feelings, self-soothing, not wanting to be conscious, feeling self-conscious and ill-at-ease.

Binge-eating: Easing anxiety, stifling uncomfortable emotions, having something to do, self soothing.

Can you think of other ways to address these needs, other than engaging with these habits?

INTENTION

Another method to wrangle bad habits I’ve found useful is to declare an intention to yourself around it.

Lately I’ve been hugely drawn to the teachings of Matt Kahn (read: totally mainlining his youtube vids) from True Divine Nature. His teachings and loving wisdom are such a gift.

Matt advocates for not trying to stop your habit, but instead just before you engage with it (take a drag of a cigarette or binge-eat, drink to excess, check social media, you get the picture), say to yourself: “This is the most loving thing I can do for my body”. No need to focus on figuring out how to develop the iron-clad will power required to go cold turkey, just try playing with the power of stating an intention.

For something like social media, I’ve changed it to: “This is the most loving thing I can do for myself right now”. Sometimes it may be, if I’m doing it with a conscious intention to engage with something in particular. But more times than not it definitely isn’t. Making a cup of tea, calling a friend, enveloping myself in a self care ritual of some kind – there are so many more loving things I can do with my time than flick through social media.

When we state an intention enough times, it drops in to our subconscious mind (the mind that runs the show), and everything we do as humans eventually falls in to line with this aspect of ourselves. The theory with this exercise is that in stating this loving intention to care for ourselves – and doing something that maybe is not so loving in that moment – causes an incongruence that eventually causes you to drop the behaviour.

Combining the concept of a higher essence to habits I wish to re-pattern, with the consciousness of stating an intention when engaging with it, has been super helpful for me so far. As has being at home and spending in-real-life time with my peeps!

Perhaps these tips are something you may like to try? I’d love to hear how you go if you do!

If this post has been helpful (or may be for someone you know), I’d be so grateful if you could share it with your peeps, using the share buttons below! Loads of love xox

Photo credit: Emma Kate Codrington

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