With fires raging across Australia, rising global and national instability and fearful messages about WWIII all over social media, 2020 has certainly arrived with a hefty dose of gloom and doom.
The world feels crazy, maddening and confusing, and maybe – like me – you are trying to figure out how to respond in effective, thoughtful and heartfelt ways – without getting sucked into hopelessness and depression.
At this time of the year, self-reflective, creative, open-hearted people like you and I typically step back and examine our personal lives to look at what has happened to date, and to align ourselves to what we want next.
How do we bring about meaningful change and transformation?
What’s a good, life-affirming, effective process for change?
Focused on everything we don’t like in our lives, we set new goals, make new resolutions and renew our good intentions to try harder.
The problem is that we tend to be reactive – addressing crises as they arise.
Our goals soon fizzle out like deflating balloons.
We lose momentum and energy.
When our goals are motivated by our fears (fear of judgment, fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, fear of dying, fear of change, fear of feeling something, fear of poverty) they exhaust us, instead of resourcing us.
On the other hand, when our goals are fueled by our connection to our deep values and needs, our vision for a better world, that deep, rich, alive desire emerging from within us, they generate the intrinsic energy to keep nurturing and reaching for them.
Whether you want to bring about meaningful change and transformation in your own personal life, or the world at large, you’ll need at least two things:
1. A Strong Prefrontal Cortex
This part of your brain is what enables you to delay gratification, hold back impulses, watch your reactions, and imagine possibilities and new ways of living that don’t exist yet.
This is the part of your brain that is able to watch your fears, track your fears, acknowledge your fears – But not be controlled by your fears! Without a strong prefrontal cortex, you are more likely to get hijacked by your reptilian, survival brain and end up making decisions out of fear, stress and habit.
Here are some ways you can strengthen and support the functioning of your prefrontal cortex:
Mindfulness meditation – Ohmmmmmmm.
Get more sleep – zzzzzzz!
Delay of gratification – willpower!
Deliberate practice – brain games!
Physical Activity – dance!
Learning new material – read!
Cleaning up your Diet – whole plant based foods!
2. A Deep Connection with Your Universal Human Needs.
When you are able to fully inhabit your body and feel your feelings, you become more connected to the way that life force energy and intrinsic motivators well up and move through you, energizing your life. Your goals become more aligned with your desire for belonging, appreciation, authenticity, community, growth and mastery – among many others. The more you find yourself meeting your needs, working with yourself instead of against yourself, the more energy you have to keep going.
Reflect for a moment on a goal you’ve set that you struggle to follow through on:
What lies behind this goal?
Are you avoiding something or moving towards something?
What experiences or patterns from your past have lead you to wanting this particular goal?
What needs are you hoping to meet by realizing this goal?
What do you imagine you will experience and feel if you realize this goal?
What are you hoping to experience and learn on the journey to realizing this goal?
Take the time to become more aware of the kind of fuel you are using to motivate yourself:
Are your actions informed by your fears? Demanding you, controlling you, shaming you, compelling you?
Or by what you deeply love? Pulling you forwards, energizing and inspiring you?
I’d love to know! Leave a comment below.
This is brilliant, Yvette! The best in holistic and scientific thinking.
Damned if I know what’s running the show. On any given day it can feel like it’s my unhealed childhood wounds, my youthful idealism, my guilt over privilege, my resignation, or my own brilliant synthesis of business, activism, emotional growth and healing, and spirituality. I love that you have provided baby steps for understanding and useful actions. Yes, life can be both (yin/yang) beautiful and terrifying; hopeful and hopeless; empowering and crushing. I try to be gentle on myself through my tough days, and savor my good days while not gripping them too tightly for fear of loss… Thank you for the invitation to share.
Very thoughtful Yvette! Joel’s comment, “savor my good days while not gripping them too tightly for fear of loss” is a golden nugget for me to remember! Thank you both ❤️ Lea
I love (LOVE!) these messages from you Yvette! Each is so rich with insight and food for thought that I look forward to receiving them each Tuesday. They must take some time to compose and I thank you for that dedication. ❤
Yes, there are so many people suffering and dying in various ways on each continent. If you listen to the media the world is in total chaos! The media loves to throw the WWIII term around because it gets more people to tune-in. BUT, sad to say, it has always been this way.. I would imagine people thought the world was ending when an estimated 85 million people died in WWII. Let that sink-in.. My 2 cents is that it is in each country’s best interest to keep the status quo. China knows they have a billion ‘have nots’ who need to be kept complacent.
Hearing about more suffering does not help them, but it hurts me. I know that may sound selfish or cold, but hurts me mentally, physically, emotionally. I can remember an event I saw on the news a few years ago that had me double-over in pain from the sheer inhumanity of it. All I can do is Pray and donate when I can.
So, stepping off of this soapbox, I would add to Yvette’s 1. above;
(8.) Remove the negativity from your world. Whether that means shutting off the news (or TV for that matter..) or removing the negative feeds on social media. Since the last election I have muted and even removed dozens of people from my feeds. Now all I see are puppies.. and plants/flowers.. well, all most. For me, not doing so sets me back on a daily basis. I literally need to emerge from the negative if I don’t.
(9.) AND the opposite to 8 is surround yourself with positivity. Mainly positive people! Build your tribe! I had made a new friend on FB and her first post of the new year was a meme that said;
“I love you!”
(another person) “You don’t know me”
“I know, but if people can hate for no reason, I can love for no reason”.
I look at the new year as a time of reflection. Much like a chef making a new batch of soup.. What am I going to add? What am I going to remove? A pinch more of generosity and volunteering? A dash more of excitement! Maybe a new ingredient? Salsa!! (Not the spicy sauce, but the spicy dance..). And of course.. turn down the flame (negativity) under the pot, because if it gets too hot, the ingredients lose their flavor (flavour Yvette) and you end up with burnt soup that doesn’t nourish you and needs to be tossed. Namaste.
Again, you have brilliantly spoken wisdom from the heart. Thank You Yvette, for your ability to engage me through words that impact the wholeness of who I am. Thank You!
You are an old sour, dear Yvette! Thank you for sharing your ideas and your wisdom with us.