8-27-23 Kindly Challenge Yourself

Kindly Challenge Yourself

Challenge – An objection or query as to the truth of something.  

Difficulty in a job or undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it. To seek.

Should a life well lived always be in a state of quiet serenity? Or should you always be in pursuit of some kind of challenge? Those questions seem like opposites, but I think they actually go together. To me, a life well lived strikes a balance between both of those worlds. And I reject the idea that you have to choose one over the other. Tiny Buddha

In an addiction we do not often challenge our lack of wisdom for our choices, nor see the harm we do and the suffering we bring. When an idea, an object, a substance or an emotion preoccupies consciousness to the near exclusion of anything else, we call it an obsession or an addiction. If we have challenged and addressed our primary addiction or behavior, we may still need to challenge our perceptions, our view of the world and of ourselves, often.

Mind, alone, creates our happiness and unhappiness. So if we’re serious about living a happy life, then we need to work on our mind and the way we frame our stories. By taking an altruistic view and embodying the spirit of generosity, compassion, and kindness with every person and every situation that we meet, we will never feel that a day hasn’t been well-lived, nor will we ever meet a situation that appears to us as a ‘disaster.’ Tiny Buddha

“An authentic and genuine life grows like a sturdy tree. And like a tree, it grows slowly. Every time you make a different and better decision, it grows a little. Every time you choose to do the right thing, even when nobody would find out otherwise, it grows a little. Every time you act with compassion, relinquish your right to strike back, take a courageous stand, admit fault or
accept responsibility, it grows a little.” ? Steve Goodier

The feeling of a “void”- the feeling that something’s missing, there’s supposed to be “more” to life, is widespread. Many of us interpret the feeling differently, but most of us feel it. We feel like we’re missing a piece, like we’re not complete. We can though, do something about it. The
reality is, everything of value is right there, present now. So any effort that attempts to “fill” this void, or “wait for the right thing” to come along, is bound for failure right from the start. When you can’t control what is happening, challenge yourself to control how you respond to what is happening. That is where your power lies. 

I know that what I do, and more importantly HOW I do it, affects me, others and our world. If my approach is considered and done mindfully it can bring a healthy sense of worth, connection and contentment. Inherent in the knowledge that what I do affects me, others and our world, is a sense of responsibility. That is where I need to challenge my old behaviors of acting selfishly, or not even thinking about what I am doing, or the effect it will have. To not be responsible seems to be an easier, softer way, but if we pay attention, we see it brings continual dissatisfaction, and we will miss the richness and sense of contentment that only a considered life can bring.

One aspect of living rightly is how we interact with others. Our relationships are sometimes complicated, but you can always challenge yourself to be a little kinder and considerate while still holding to your values. Not the “hey, that is just who I am” mentality, which is pretty much all about ME, but challenge yourself to see how can you connect more. Listen more than you talk, don’t interrupt, and try to understand and validate “their” point of view. You can kindly
express your point of view if needed, but not as a rebuttal. Ask more questions than offering opinions. It’s challenging.

Whenever you are doing anything, washing the car, brushing your teeth, mowing, driving, walking, cleaning, emails, at work, etc, if you have a feeling of – I don’t want to do this, or your mind is so busy with blah, blah, blah, that you aren’t really present, be very aware of that, feel it, and then challenge it with the wisdom and simple acceptance that you will, and want to be doing this. Respect yourself and the energy you are putting out to step fully into your task, being very present, NOT resentful or mentally busy, but with a sense of gratitude of simply “doing.”

Be mindful in all and any tasks. Bring your mind back from incessant chatter, to specifically and only, the task you are preforming. Then all actions become rich and fulfilling, you enjoy what you are doing. And when that task is finished, let it go, and move onto the next moment fully. Relax, lighten up – see playfulness and a sense of humor as an essential way of living life.

This is the mindfulness-awareness we practice in meditation, put to use in everyday life.

When you are feeling challenged in any situation, challenge yourself to use the breath to bring a sense of control. Breathe 3 times fully and deeply while just relaxing your body and mind. Then ask “What is the BEST way I can move forward?” As the answer comes from the heart, challenge yourself to quit thinking, and just act well.

“The feeling that any task is a nuisance, will soon disappear if it is done mindfully.” Thich Nhat Hanh

What barriers are there that keep you from a sense of worthiness and contentment? Have you considered this directly, thought about it and have a plan of action you engage in? If you are undisciplined in challenging your old behaviors and replacing them with healthy, positive actions, your old behaviors will remain dominant.
Sit in mindful awareness meditation for 10 or 15 minutes, then bring up the question, what is a barrier to my being calm and content? Don’t think about it too much, just try to feel what comes up. When you can see, feel, what is inhibiting you, you can then begin to work with it.

When you begin the path of self-examination and adjusting your views and actions, you may be surprised how good you feel for moving in the right direction. When you know you are actively working with things that have limited you and caused suffering, that you are taking steps to
address your discontent, you then know you can keep moving forward towards an unknown
future of a brighter, fuller, richer life.

Always look directly at what is there. Challenge kindly and with purpose.                               

You are your most important teacher. Pay attention.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.