“Nostalgia is not for the God who is missing to us. It is a nostalgia for ourselves; we miss our impossible grandeur. My unreachable nowness is my paradise lost.”
Day Three: What do you see?
Observation, phenomena, and the lies we tell ourselves
What lies do you tell yourself?
This is a question that fascinates me, and this is what we’re getting at today, the focus of our observation and this phase of our design process:
What is standing between you and the embodied daily practice you want for yourself?
Because, for me, 99% of the reasons I resist are directly connected to some sort of lie I’m telling myself.
Not to say that people don’t have serious, outside-of-themselves boundaries and limitations. We’ll explore more about boundaries tomorrow. Today is observation day, so resist the urge to judge, analyze, or change anything just yet.
Focus on finding out what’s there, and beginning to adjust the way you see it, so that perhaps in the near future, what seems like a blockage can become a passageway instead.
Here’s a quick introduction to the fine art of using short phenomenological walks to spark ideas and clear cobwebs from the mind (and the body too!)
Today’s assignment: observe and interact with your internal dialogue.
Step one: get present, using phenomenology. Go for a 20-minute phenomenological walk.
- Walk five minutes in any direction, find a place to sit and observe for ten minutes, then walk five minutes back.
- Try to be silent the whole time.
- Tune into your surroundings.
- Listen, smell, see, touch, taste, intuit.
- Focus on being open, receptive, and aware.
- See if you notice things you have never noticed before.
- See if you remember having noticed certain things but are now suddenly aware that you remember.
- If you see a shiny rock, pick it up! Then, a few minutes later, let it go.
- If you find a book leaning against a tree, read it!
- If you get an amazing idea, sit and write about it for a few minutes.
Step two: answer the worksheet questions in your journal.
When you return from your walk, find a quiet place to write, and use this worksheet to help you identify some of the limiting conversations you may be having with yourself.
Step three: affirmations.
Go back through what you’ve written and look for statements you’ve made about how you see yourself.
Are you lazy? Boring? Weak-willed?
Are you a pushover, too nice, or are you pushy and domineering?
Whatever flaws you’ve been calling out in yourself, now take a few minutes to turn those into positive affirmations, and say each one out loud, three times.
These affirmations can either be an “other side of the mirror” version of the same traits, such as:
“I am lazy and I procrastinate” becomes the affirmation “I enjoy downtime and make a careful plan before I act.”
Or they could represent a commitment to switch that pattern altogether, as in:
“I am lazy and I procrastinate” becomes the affirmation “I am motivated and I work at a steady pace.”
When you have a list of 3-5 affirmations that deeply resonate with what you want, write them on a large piece of paper and attach it to your bathroom mirror, or to the wall across from the toilet!
From now on, every time you go in there, read and repeat these affirmations. Out loud. Three times each. It doesn’t matter if you feel silly! They will still work. Unless you don’t say them; then they won’t.
Step four: breathe, release, and spazz out!
Check out the techniques in this video to help you release and rejuvenate.
- Phenomenology, explained by the muppets
- Here’s a silly and delicious rabbit hole for phenomenology and other philosophies.
- Shaking and grounding to relieve trauma.
- Somatics 101: Bioenergetic Stress Relief Part 1, Bioenergetic Stress Relief Part 2
Tomorrow is boundaries day! We’ll identify our personal zones and sectors and carve out a physical space for our daily practice.