What's the big deal about self awareness?
"The first step to self awareness must be through the body". George Sheehan
About a month ago, we started planning our Easter holiday. Four days off work gave us ten days to travel somewhere. And that’s where the overwhelm started.
The only thing we knew for sure was that we wanted to scuba dive. Do we spend all that time diving? Do we go somewhere new or to the same place we’ve been before? Should we fly or drive and if we drive, do we go direct or make a road trip out of it? Should we stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast? In town with the restaurants or in the village near the dive site? Book a dive-package for the week or just wing it?
There were so many variables and I just didn’t feel like I had the mental capacity to make the “right” decision with all the choices available.
So what’s that got to do with self awareness?
Let’s start with a common definition - the ability to know yourself without any attachment to it being right or wrong.
Self awareness is touted as the first step to being anything from a great parent to an effective leader. It is also said to be the first step in making effective decisions.
The reason you want to be self aware is to make your life happier. If you know where you are or who you are, you can embark on any journey. (That journey might not be to anywhere, but even staying where you are is a journey in time.)
But how do you get self aware?
A quick google search came up with many options - meditate, journal, write down your goals, ask for feedback from a friend/spouse/colleague, assess your self talk, identify your triggers, take a psychometric test, etc. etc. etc
All of those strike me as only kinda-useful. They might work sometimes, if the conditions are all right. I am also struck that the self awareness that could come from many of these suggestions is static information and mostly contextual.
And how does any of it help me overcome the overwhelm and get clear on my holiday plans?
And what do I suggest as the quickest and easiest method for self-awareness?
Well, I use my body. It is always right and it is always available.
When I noticed my overwhelm with all the vacation options, I did my ABC’s. (And you can do this too - download the free pdf and mp3 guided process here)
I closed my eyes and took a few deep and gentle breaths. I moved my attention out of my head and into my body centre. I rested here for a while, until I became aware of an expanding, open feeling in/out and through my body. And in that space, I just knew that I wanted to take a slow, road-trip kinda drive to visit family in our usual spot and then travel to a new place along the coast, stay in a bed and breakfast near all the restaurants and only pre-book two dives with an option for a couple extra if all was well.
I opened my eyes less than 5 minutes later with all the information I needed to outsource the travel booking arrangements to my husband. And most importantly, without the analysis paralysis, feeling confident that we would have a good holiday.
I know that I can rely on my body for self awareness and I encourage you to start turning your attention inward for wisdom rather than outward for information.
P.S. As it turned out, there was terrible rain the week before Easter which resulted in devastating floods in the area. Our dive holiday was cancelled so we took an inland road trip, still staying in B&Bs and eating at good restaurants.
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