As a career intuitive coach, it's my job to point to the "X" that is marking the spot of your life's buried treasure — you know, the one you've been standing right next to all along? Then, I help you to notice the shovel you're already holding in your hands. Finally, I coach you on how to dig.
Here are the three questions I ask my clients to help them find their "X," notice their shovel, and to begin to dig toward their buried treasure.
1. Are you a body-mind with a soul or a soul with a body-mind?
Spiritual seekers around the world generally follow the adage that we are souls first and body-minds second. But many of us live in the opposite extreme.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath. What part of your existence "talks" to you first? Your body, your brain, or your soul? What most people will notice is that their brain, specifically their logical left brain, talks to them first. It might say something like, "Why are you asking this question? This isn't very practical."
The left brain is an important component of our human experience, but it was never meant to operate in isolation. Many people enthrone this part of themselves, and in doing so, they lose contact with their bodies, souls, and right brains. In the study of yoga, one way to create change is to cultivate the opposite. Socrates affirmed this ancient teaching when he said, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
Begin by noticing that you have a right brain, a body, and a soul. Close your eyes and scan through your experience, observing each of these aspects of yourself in turn. Notice your right brain, which is the seat of big-picture, global, and creative thinking. Scan your body, taking time to feel each part on its own and then feeling your body in its totality. Finally, seek your soul. The mantra "Sat Nam" can be helpful in this practice. It translates to True Name. Repeat it until the left brain quiets down.
Make a promise to yourself to cultivate all aspects of yourself on a daily basis.
2. How do you start your days?
For a long time, I would wake up at the last possible minute and begin my day in a harried rush of activities: breakfast, changing, tidying, dishes. Or, if I woke ahead of my alarm, I would lie in bed and stare at my phone, immediately filling my day with the news of the world, gossip, or status updates.
I recently attended a retreat at Kripalu, a yoga center in Western Massachusetts, where I would awaken each morning at 5 a.m., if not earlier, with the light coming through our dorm windows acting as my alarm. I began my days there with yoga, a walk, or meditation. The difference was noticeable immediately. My retreat gave me the reboot I needed by helping me transform my previously mindless mornings.
Now, I start each day with some sort of physical activity that moves my energy, then I sit on my meditation cushion. In addition to creating space for my body and soul, I've noticed my new morning routine activates my right-brain creativity. Before, I was filling my brain with screen time before this highly charged creative energy could be released. Since beginning this new approach, I've been gifted with ideas for my writing and spiritual work early and often.
Analyze your morning routine and notice what you put first. Try adjusting your mornings to begin your day with love, with joy, or with peace. Notice how things change.
3. How much time each day do you spend being instead of doing?
Our autonomic nervous system (the part of the central nervous system that is responsible for involuntary activities like digestion and heartbeat) is composed of two subsystems: the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. The parasympathetic nervous system is sometimes called our "rest and digest" system. When you experience a feeling of relaxation and peace, the parasympathetic nervous system is running the show. This is our "being" energy. Its colleague is the sympathetic nervous system, which is also know as our "fight or flight" system. This is the part of us that runs from danger or makes our heart beat faster when we are afraid. This is our "doing" energy.
Many modern people live in a sort of sympathetic psychosis, having lost their connection to the parasympathetic nervous system. These are the people who answer, "Busy," when you ask them how they are doing. Their days are filled with activities without any space or time for relaxation. This has short- and long-term effects on health and happiness.
Create "being spaces" throughout your day. Meditation is great, but folding the laundry can also become a being space if you focus on your breath while you do it. If you have children, make time to "just be" as a family. Accept the imperfections in these moments. If you set an intention to sit quietly for 10 minutes and your house erupts in chaos, see what happens if you continue to sit and breathe without reacting to what's going on around you.
By changing your answers to these three questions, you can notice immediate improvements to your life, health, and wellness.