Learning to Leave Auto Pilot: Easy Steps to Stop Surviving the Day and Start Living Each Day
“It seemed as if overnight I went from shallow breathing, holding my breath at every turn, and living daily in auto pilot mode to actually living from my heart.”
These are the words my client, Karen, used to describe her journey from living like the “Energizer Bunny”… going and going and going to finally slowing down and noticing her own life in an all new way.
She, like many of us, had a packed daily agenda with the goal to just get through the day. Her day ended usually between 10pm and midnight only to to start all over again early the next morning. Karen said this super busy lifestyle of managing her career and 3 daughters as a single parent was the norm, and she did this without thought. “I did what I needed to do and thought this was true life for me. I was always tired and my never ending list was a constant for me. I literally felt tight and constricted most of the time, but this was my everyday normal.”
In 2014, life as Karen knew it was about to change. With the merger complete at her company, Karen was let go with a severance package. During this time her father was moved to hospice. Stress moved in and became her constant companion as she tried to handle everything.
During this time, something positive and completely new came across Karen’s path: Introduction To Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Training. It was here in this 8 week series workshop that Karen’s life changed and began moving forward.
Karen learned through her integration of a mindfulness practice that life was not as she had previously perceived.
is how Karen describes the process of learning to let go and notice … and by noticing learning how to live again. “I actually learned how to reconnect with my emotions, heart, and breath in a new way.”
She wanted to continue and to further strengthen her new way of being and because of this, our paths crossed. I became her coach and co-collaborator. Together, we created a fun plan that put Karen in the driver’s seat of her life. She was no longer living on autopilot mode; going from one thing to the next feeling out of balance in her own body and mind.“Mindfulness” is being present in the moment. It is something we carry with us in our everyday lives, not just on occasion.
As Karen learned, and recognized, all too often she overcomplicated things becoming caught up in her thoughts. This led her to react most of the time. With her new found ability to integrate mindfulness, she learned to respond more openly because she now had mindfulness tools. With her mindfulness approach, and our time together, Karen developed a way of better relating to her life stressors more intentionally and skillfully. Instead of reacting to situations, and being overwhelmed with the never ending lists, Karen learned to slow down, acknowledge her feelings, and move forward with intention. Karen learned that she did not need to get caught up in her thoughts but rather learning how to see and notice with compassion!
The process I’m sharing here with you is the process of “mindfulness.”
Here is a quick take on mindfulness – Mindfulness means being physically and emotionally present in the moment that is currently taking place.. ie driving in traffic, drinking a cup of coffee, standing in line at the store, having a conversation. Being mindful is a thought practice that you can take with you throughout your day. The opposite of being mindful is how most of us live which is going through the motions on auto pilot mode perhaps consumed by our thoughts whether past,present or future without taking in the everyday of the day!
Learning the habit of being aware of and noticing what is going on internally and externally can truly be a “life changer” allowing you to live more in tune with your life and engaged in instead of an eyewitness to your abundant life!