Habits and Balance
“Decide the type of person you want to be. Prove it to yourself with small wins.” From, “Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones” by James Clear.
I love the above quote and I would add that what you do speaks to your own self-worth and confidence. When you decide what your values are, when you decide what’s important to you, you can make small changes in your habits and celebrate these small wins because you know you are worth this decision. So, every small change you make in the direction of living in alignment with the type of person you want to be is a vote for the person you want to be.
Changing your habits is more than just changing a behavior, it is a plus in the column of your self-worth. And these positives compound over time making it difficult to go back.
If you have followed the Mindful Movement for some time, you have likely encountered my daughter in some way. You may have listened to a meditation she wrote, or read one of her poems, or perhaps you saw the podcast where she was interview by Les. Whether you have seen her work yet or not, I’d love to share her perspective with you.
A little back story first. Mollie is 16 years old and deep in the process of college applications. To the point that I believe what you will read below is at least her 3rd different essay written for the process. Of course, I may be a little biased, but I believe there is a lesson in this essay that we can all learn form. Therefore, I am excited to share this essay with you. Because it is so good, I won’t take offense that she suggested she comes from a “family of biohacking dorks!”
I hope you ENJOY! After you finish reading, comment below about what you think the “symbols” in your life are.
By: Mollie Raymond
A gentle push on the glass door; the seal is broken. Hot air comes rushing out; cold air comes rushing in. I step down and feel every bead of sweat on my skin suddenly turn into an ice cube. But I have to hurry upstairs before the sweat, carrying so many toxins out of my body, dries. I open the bathroom windows, turn the dial just slightly above ‘off’, struggle to pull a sticky sports bra over my head, and then I’m in. Each needle of frigid water immediately stabs my skin. Then I remember I’m supposed to breathe: exhale longer than the inhale. Slowly, an inner fire starts to grow somewhere deep in my core. And by the time I’m done, my skin is flushed red and I’m radiating heat from the inside out.
If you are anyone who has ever met me you have probably heard at least once about how I love taking cold showers, especially after a session in the sauna. I first learned about the benefits of the cold when I read Scott Carney’s “What Doesn’t Kill Us.” Hearing stories about Wim Hof plunging into arctic waters and hiking shirtless up snowy mountains, I was inspired to find little challenges in my own life, like walking to the bus stop with no jacket, standing barefoot in the snow to connect with the negative charge of the earth, pushing my limits wherever I could to uncover more of my inner strength. When we’re insulated in our buildings where the air is always at a comfortable temperature, walls keep out most threats to our survival, and we don’t have to exert much physical energy to survive, we get weak. The cold is an exercise in actually using the potential built into our intelligently evolved bodies, before it atrophies from lack of use. (Added bonus–cold activates the vagus nerve, promotes circulation, and can support weight loss! I know these things because I come from a family of biohacking health dorks.)
I realize that many people don’t have a fancy infrared sauna, or even the choice of what temperature their shower is. The sauna is a symbol of the resources and privilege I’ve been blessed with throughout my life; the cold shower is a symbol of the choices and the work ethic I’ve made for myself. My whole life has been a class in how to bask in the warm rays of blessings (deserved or undeserved–I’ve never known), and to commit to pushing myself out of my comfort zone. It’s a difficult balance, and I’m still learning.
For instance, sometimes a challenge calls for hunkering down and persevering, like the time I decided, in the midst of a nervous breakdown, to uphold my commitment to the musical that was exhausting my calendar, my brain, and my body, when I was having cold feet just before tech week. Sometimes, I am seconds away from taking the SAT and it doesn’t matter if I wasn’t perfect and didn’t meet my studying goals, because I’m doing it now and there’s just no room for self-doubt, so shut it, Mollie, and focus! Sometimes, I am being fragile and it’s in everyone’s best interest (including my own) for me to suck it up and work hard. And other times it is beneficial to let go, to take a mental health day home from school, to relax in the sauna I’m lucky to have, because not letting myself enjoy it isn’t doing anything for the less fortunate.
I aim to practice holding both accountability and space; cultivating my inner strength, and being kind to myself when I don’t feel strong; braving the storm with stoicism, and loving the storm without judgement. Both energies have a place in my life, and every day is a new occasion to find out what serves. I hope to progress in both in college.
Other Relevant Quotes I love:
“Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.” ―Stephen Covey
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell
How can you be clear on your values? The only way to live in alignment with your values is to have clarity about your values and keep them top of mind. The Mindful Movement’s 5-week online course, Living Fulfilled is a great opportunity to gain the much needed clarity of your values. During the course, you will explore how to find your purpose, love yourself, and connect with your authentic self.
You can learn to reconnect with your values to navigate the various experiences in your life. This allows you to respond skillfully in alignment with these values rather than reacting without thinking. Check out this Mindful Tip about Values.
If you are looking to dive into the world of meditation in 2020, a great starting point is our 4-Day Meditation Journey. This free program is a great resource for beginners and those looking to step back into the practice of meditation.
Members Oasis for: Unlimited access to all Mindful Movement Meditations and Hypnosis Practices; Exclusive Members Only Content added EVERY month; Practice anytime, anywhere.
Purchase your favorite Meditation and Hypnosis practices from the Mindful Movement. You can download an MP3 file to listen to anytime, anywhere with no internet access necessary.
Let us know how we can help. Please feel to leave a comment with any other suggestions, comments, or questions for the community!
With love and gratitude,
Sara and Les
The Mindful Movement
Design Your Dream Life
A Guided Visualization
Are you living the life of your dreams?
Are you happy with your life and the direction you are going?
Lao Tzu once said, “If you do not change the direction, you may end up where you are heading.“
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This practice will give you an opportunity to:
- Design your dream life and clarify your values
- Begin to develop positive habits and live intentionally
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About your host
Sara and Les Raymond founded The Mindful Movement in August of 2016. They are passionate about helping others grow and live mindful, fulfilled lives. They have both experienced profound growth and fulfillment in living a mindful lifestyle. Together they help others live a more mindful life, deepening their awareness and sense of gratitude. They strive to inspire others to live authentically with love and abundance.
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“The past is gone, the future is not yet here. If we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
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Know that this journey inward may not always be easy, but it can offer profound benefits when practiced regularly. And like any other skill, it takes practice and patience to experience progress.