Alone. Woman Sitting on Dock Feet in the Water

Alone

How comfortable is your relationship with yourself?

People are, for the most part, social beings; we love to interact. If we spend too much time alone, most of us feel a strong need for the company of others. Aside from the most extreme introverts, all of us rely on our relationships to some degree or another.

Most of us work on those relationships. We buy each other presents, we laugh at each other’s jokes, we are polite, and we give compliments. But how many of us put in the same effort for ourselves?

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Experience. Guitar, book, writing, and wine on a wooden table.

Experience

What’s on your to-do list today?

Whenever I get too busy, I think about how my experiences shape who I am.

It is very easy for busy people to become their to-do lists or to base their identities on how they meet their responsibilities. Sometimes our experiences seem out of our control—we do what we have to. However, if our experiences define who we are, it is important for us to retain some control over those experiences.

Often our plans for any given day are made up primarily of those things we feel we have to do. Although that designation (what we have to do) is a bit of a misnomer (see “Choice”), let’s assume we all have things that need to be done given the choices we’ve made.

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Gesture of Anger

Anger

Have you ever been so angry that you’re shaking? So angry that rationality goes right out the window? When you get angry, how do you handle it?

Angry people can be rational or irrational. Anger itself doesn’t have consequences, but acting on that anger does, and the consequences of those actions can be positive or negative.

Anger is designed to be a survival mechanism. When bad things happen to us, anger provides us with adrenalin along with a drive to overcome it. But how we define “bad thing” and what we mean by “overcome” is where we can run into trouble. When acting in anger, it would help to ask ourselves, “What do I hope to achieve?”

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Woman in Field smelling flowers

Senses

What are your senses telling you right now?

You are probably already aware of what you are seeing, and possibly hearing.

How about your other senses—do they keep a place in your consciousness, or do they rise to the surface only when they come by something really good or really bad?

Our senses are our inputs from the physical world, but they can also influence our inner lives in ways we might not even realize.

When I’m in a natural place, such as the woods or a marsh, the inputs I get from my senses drive my emotions and set the tone for my frame of mind. Those experiences always create a space of contemplation and introspection for me, which can influence my inner life moving forward.

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Man in the woods in a moment of clarity

Clarity

Static. Distraction. White noise.

In the modern world, endless activities and interruptions can divert our minds from what is in front of us and interfere with our clarity.

We check e-mail, text, take phone calls, go to meetings; with so many distractions, uninterrupted time—doing anything—seems like a luxury.

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