Mindfulness: A practice, not a desination

I’ve spend much of the past three months forgetting to apply much of what I’ve learnt over the past three and a half years. I’ve been focused on the future, attached to a specific idea of success, falling into old habitual thought patterns, and failing to practice presence.

The effects of this have not been pretty. Yearning, worrying, failing, and then judging myself for said failures, criticising myself, and then feeling self loathing, shame, despair, anguish, and excruciating frustration. All of which continues in a negative loop.

Self analysis comes easily to me and I am self aware. I’ve been able to see what I’m doing and how it’s affecting my world, but the excruciating part has been feeling powerless to change it. Especially when I know that I have the tools.

None of this is actually all that surprising. You see, this new journey I’m on with building a dōTERRA business is stretching me like nothing before. It’s taking me out of my comfort zone, and forcing me to address blockages and pain points that I’ve avoided and hidden from for years. And as a result, my ego is going bananas, fighting tooth and nail to survive.

You see, the ego is an ancient evolutionary survival mechanism. Its purpose is to keep us alive and safe. It evolved to ensure that we would focus on danger, threats and negativity (such as the tiger that might be hunting us or the condemnation of our tribe that might see us thrown out and left unprotected) and then do whatever it takes to prevent them from eventuating. And it’s bloody good at its job – because back in the day, it was quite literally a matter of life and death.

So my ego is keenly aware that if I am to achieve the vision I’ve created for my business, I’m going to have to do things that feel very threatening:

  • Share and speak my truth in ways that will resonate with some, but that will be negatively judged by others: there will be people who won’t like me and my message.
  • Drop negative subconscious programming around “success” and generating income, which will take me into unchartered waters i.e. unfamiliarity and discomfort.
  • Drop my habitual thought patterns of “I’m a failure”, “I’m incapable”, “I’m ashamed of myself”, “I’m not good enough”, and “I’ll never succeed”, which are all very effective at keeping me small and safe and dependent.

So whilst I’ve been wallowing in despair, anguish, self hate and frustration, my ego has been high fiving itself for a job well done. Cause there ain’t no one gonna build a successful business off the back of that!

I writhed with the pain and frustration of knowing that I have the tools to move through this yet felt so completely stuck. I could observe my thoughts and see what my ego was doing and why. Yet I couldn’t separate myself from it. I watched helplessly as my ego took the driver’s seat, and pummelled me down even further as I hated on myself for being so stuck.

Then one day last week I had an instant of clarity. I was in the kitchen, despairing about my latest results, when I suddenly realised I was buying into a story of failure and what that meant. I realised that I actually had a choice as to whether I allowed these results to send me into wallowing self-pity and despair. I could actually conjure any alternative story of my liking – for example, I could accept the results, and recognise them as a step towards learning and progress and ultimate success. Or I could drop any idea of story altogether – the results are the results, and without my mind-created thoughts and judgements, they have no meaning. Whatever the case, I could instantly let go of the story that this was a situation worthy of despair and self criticism. And importantly, I noticed that buying in to the negative story is what comes automatically. And despite the pain, there is an aspect of the negativity that is comfortable and so easy to choose, because it’s familiar and safe. Choosing differently requires bravery and diligent effort.

It hasn’t been a fast and complete turnaround since that revelation, but it’s reminded me to come back, once again, to my mindfulness and presence practice. Without ongoing and intentional diligence and persistence, I will continue to be overcome by my ego, finding it in the driver’s seat of my life again and again. She’s got staying power.

So it’s back to The Power of Now. Back to my mindfulness resources. Back to my practice. Back to the continual, moment by moment remembrance that I have a choice – to identify with my ego, or identify with my higher self. I’ve remembered that results are subjective. Whilst they hold importance when we consider things like being able to pay the bills, put food on the table and a roof over out head, focusing on them is not conducive to success. When we focus on the now, and act from a place of love, service and faith, our needs are met.


Main image photo by me.