What If I Don't Have An Inner Voice?
There is a knowing inside each of us that goes by many different names - inner voice, inner wisdom, inner sage, inner coach, higher self, inner goddess, god-self, consciousness, alchemist, knower, intuition, and many others. Every single person is a spiritual being experiencing consciousness; therefore, every person has inner wisdom. However, because not all of us have an inner monologue, some of us don't experience it as a "voice", but rather as a feeling or a hunch.
Psychology professor Russell Hurlburt estimates that 30-50% of people have an inner monologue narrating their thoughts throughout the day. Hurlburt outlines the 5 main ways of thinking as:
If you're interested in more information on inner monologues, you can access some great articles here, here, here and here.
Rest assured, however, that regardless of how you hear your thoughts, having an inner wisdom that you can access to guide your life is universal to everyone.
How To Be Human Newsletter | Oct
Wikipedia defines Slow Living as "a lifestyle which encourages a slower approach to aspects of everyday life." I define Slow Living as: Intentionally behaving in a way that calms my nervous system, aligns my values with my actions, and cultivates everyday joy in my life. I define it as a rebellious revolution against hustle culture. I define it as necessary. I define it as survival.
None of this feels good. This unseen, but heavily felt, pressure is a sign of an impaired nervous system. Unchecked, this can lead to severe illness. It's time to take action now, and it is why I define slow living as a conscious choice to survive. I believe that individually we need to find a way to reclaim our wellness - and collectively, as a society, if we don't do this, we'll see certain destruction. We are living in a world that is not built to support us in our wellness, and we must actively change this by collectively doing less - our humanity depends on it.
Dr. Jenelle Kim says that "Slow living is a conscious approach to life that involves living slower so you can appreciate each moment and prioritize what matters in life," This way of living is, of course, far removed from what society has normalized. The belief that we must work hard to be rewarded has become ingrained in us. Slow living challenges us to contemplate life (and our intrinsic value) differently and allows us to experience ourselves, and the world around us, more fully. Slow living is choosing our wellness, and our happiness over anything (and everything) else.
The benefits of slow living are clear, so the next question is, how do you start? When you're deep in the hustle, running on the hamster wheel at full speed, it is challenging to see a path out. I've been there, I get it. Here are a few things you can do to lay the bricks of the path that will become your exit strategy.
The first step is acknowledging that you want something different in your life and believing that it is possible for you. You don't have to know how it's going to happen, you just need to make the decision in your heart and mind that something is going to be different, you are going to change the rules and take back your wellness and your joy. This is a great time to talk with your partner, kids, or friends about your decision. Building a support system to help you transition into a new chapter of your life is extremely valuable. However, it is good to remember that the people you share your decision with might have a negative reaction - that's okay, that is just the fear playing out inside of them. That doesn't mean it is the wrong decision on your part. Have patience, have compassion, and stay the course.
The second step is beginning to create a little bit of breathing room for yourself. Start with 5 minutes if that is all you can find. Allow yourself to sit quietly for 5 minutes. Stare at the ceiling, listen to a song, listen to a 5-minute meditation, or practice deep breathing. I highly recommend setting a timer so that you can fully relax for the full 5 minutes that you've committed to giving yourself. This is self-love. This is self-care. This is the first step towards what you want.
Another small way to begin to reclaim your time, energy, and wellness is to unplug. When you unplug regularly and don't accept the distractions our modern tech brings, you open yourself up to increased peace, and new possibilities & experiences. When you unplug, you can be present in the world around you. This simple act is incredibly healing.
Finally, embrace mindfulness as your lifeline. Mindfulness is being fully present in your experience. Mindfulness, when utilized in all its power, can turn cleaning the cat box into a ritual of love and purpose - but we don't have to start there. Start with your cup of coffee or tea in the morning and make it a relaxing touchstone in your day. Measure carefully, pour slowly, inhale the aroma before each sip. If the rest of your day is busy, doing this one thing slowly will have a ripple effect, creating a bit more peace and stillness in your day.
If you're interested in slow living and the art of intentionally living your life on purpose - join me on this journey by subscribing to my newsletter here.
"The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain." - Time Magazine, May 2015
This quote is frightening, and I'm sure that you've felt the effects. Time seems to be speeding up, and every day can feel rushed and frenetic. The pressure is greater, and the productivity is less.
So, how do you begin to reclaim your time and focus? Start here ⬇
First and foremost, you must end your slavery to your electronics. If you don't think you are addicted to your electronics - try one (or all) of these things and notice the response in your body:
How do you feel when you do these things? Do you feel compulsion raising up in your body - like you just have to look at your phone or laptop? Do you feel panic in your body - like something might be wrong and you have to check to make sure everything is still okay in the world? Do you feel 'bad', like you are required to check text/emails/messages 24/7 to be a "good employee", and "good business owner", and "good friend"? If any of these, or other feelings of resistance, obligation, or temptation, came up for you - it might be time to examine your relationship with electronics.
With electronics, like in all areas of life, the goal is that YOU, the innate, wise, conscious you, is the leader. Compulsion is defined as: "an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against one's conscious wishes." Take a moment to identify the size of the gap between who you say you want to be and who you are. This gap can frequently be identified in following areas of life: exercise, food choices, electronics, self care, emotional response and communication. Every single person has a gap - this is okay. The realization that moves us forward is that we can make this gap smaller and therefore design a life that is more in alignment with our values and desires. This, in turn, results in you liking yourself more.
After you gain conscious control over your relationship with electronics, you can begin to use them, instead of them using you. This means that when you have focused work that needs to be completed, you can turn off your email, social media, phone, etc. without discomfort.
While you can simply turn off your electronics during focused work times and off-work times, there are also a ton of tools to help you limit your distractions during work time. Here are just a few:
For me, here is what works:
The focus feature on my iPhone is set up to allow just a handful of people (my husband, son, sister, and dad) through on the personal setting. In the work setting, no calls or messages are allowed through. I use the personal setting for most of the work day and the work setting for deep focus sessions and meetings. For instructions on how to set up the focus feature on your phone, click here. I then schedule time to return calls in my schedule.
I close my email during meetings and deep work sessions. Then, I schedule times to check and respond to email. If you're not disciplined enough to keep your email closed, there are apps that can assist you. Personally, I love Boomerang for all of its features - including Inbox Pause.
I have to use social to promote my business, so while I'm not a huge fan the impact that social media is having on our culture, I do engage with it - consciously. First, I use Later to schedule 90% of my content. This means that I don't have to log into all of my social platforms to post daily. I do need to log-in for social media engagement, and that is on my schedule.
For me, this is key to my productivity. Creating a solid schedule for myself is my lifeline to being productive, balanced and happy in my life. For most days, my schedule looks something like this:
This schedule is flexible, but I stick to it as much as possible - because it serves me to do so. This schedule leaves me with 5 hours of solid work every day and 2.5 hours of responding to the world (email, phone, etc). It makes sure that I take care of myself by assuring that I get breaks and lunch, and allowing me to sustain healthy work/life boundaries.
Your schedule can be unique to you, it is simply the act of consciously controlling your time that it important. If you're not sure where to start with creating a schedule for yourself, begin by recording what you do everyday. You can even use an up like Rescue Time which will provide you with a report about how you spend your time on your computer. Then, take a look at how your time is spent and make conscious decisions about what to change so that you align with who you really want to be and the life you really want to live.
I do want to note exceptions to my schedule. I have both (high functioning) ADHD and Autism, which means that my brain works a little bit differently. When I honor the way that my brain works, my life flourishes. My brain loves to hyper-focus on something and work on that thing for 12 hours straight. When I do this, I call it A-holing for ADHD/Autism hole. I just made this term up and thought it was funny. I swear I can get 40 hours of work done in 12 hours when I'm A-holing, and it is SO much fun. I allow myself A-holes as much as I can when they present themselves to me & I feel like most of my genius, creativity and highest-quality work comes from these times. After an A-hole, I always take as much of the next day off as possible and double up on the self-care to revive myself and get back on track. If you have natural inclinations due to the unique way that your brain/body works - lean into them. This will be far more effective than fighting them.
I also find that I have days when I am more distractable. Perhaps I didn't sleep well, something stressful is going on in my life, or there is a particular project I'm having a difficult time getting started. During these days it can be helpful to use a timer. I set a timer for 15 minutes, and when that timer goes off I check to make sure I'm on my schedule. This way if I 'rabbit hole', I'm only wasting 15 minutes (at most), not 4 hours. This is a great tool to reactive my consciousness, and my ability to be in conscious choice about how I spend my time.
Connect with Others
If you are a remote worker, there are a few really fun new platforms to connect with others, focus your time, hold yourself accountable, and create healthy work habits. My favorite is Flown. Flown provides virtual co-working sessions led by motivating facilitators - plus, meditations, breath work &. more. Yes, its great even for introverts! Check it out, and I'll see you in a Deep Dive session.
The next chapter is about reclaiming your time and productivity. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, it will require discipline. Yes, you can do it (and you'll be so grateful that you did).
While I am a huge fan of limiting the time you spend using electronics, there are some really cool ways that tech is being used to improve health and wellness. I have tried a ton of wellness apps - for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. Here are my 5 favorites:
Insight Timer is a meditation app with a large selection of audio tracks to choose from, including guided meditations, music, and talks by teachers. It is easy to use with an excellent selection of content to choose from. Insight Timer can be used on your phone, plus they are a website/desktop version. Here are some of my favorite meditations:
Breathscape generates music from your breath in real-time, creating an immersive experience that effortlessly guides you into deep states of relaxation and meditation. You place your phone on your stomach, and the app uses biofeedback to gently retrain your body to take deeper, slower breaths. Taking slow, deep, intentional breaths activates the parasympathetic “rest and digest” pathway in the brain and sends a signal to the body that it’s safe and ok to relax. This simple practice is clinically proven to relax and unwind the nervous system.
Yoga-Go is a great yoga app for beginners. It provides personalized, simple home-based yoga and pilates routines to meet a variety of goals. Do you want to lose some weigh, or improve your hip mobility? You can customize your workout. This app also offers Face Yoga (which I love!)
Drinking water sounds simple, and yet many of us are chronically dehydrated. This app helps you remember to drink water and tracks your progress.
Journify is an audio journal. If you're like me, and your mind is buzzing with thoughts, ideas and pop-up wisdom all the time - then this app is for you. It's great to use to capture your bright ideas - and also for quick processing/reflection on things that triggered you during your day. Journaling about your feelings can reduce mental distress and is a highly encouraged practice for people dealing with anxiety.
Journify also has a mood analyzer and burnout tracker feature that monitors and breaks down your mood and mental state over time. It helps you check in on your daily sleep, energy, and motivation to know when there’s a decline or improvement in your wellbeing.
Self-care isn't just about bubble baths and long walks - it is a serious and necessary practice for living an authentic life. It is the ONLY way to cultivate a relationship with your inner wisdom, and allow that wisdom to guide you in the world. Self-care is not always easy, some self-care tasks like having a difficult conversation can require courage and dedication. However, the actions of self-care, overall make your life easy and more enjoyable because they allow you to stay aligned with who you really are.
Enjoy these great quotes about self care:
How To Be Human Newsletter | Nov
Authentic Marketing & Why It Matters
Have you ever heard marketing like this:
"Call within the next 20 minutes, because we can't do this all day."
"This products is so great, it sales itself!"
"What is it gonna take to get you to buy today?"
"Our prices have never been lower!"
Cringe..... ugh, don't these just make the pit of your stomach hurt? It doesn't have to be this way. There is a way of communicating with your customer that is authentic and heart-centered.
Many entrepreneurs that I know often struggle between doing marketing that feels good (but doesn't work) and doing marketing that works (but doesn't feel good).
Let's begin by exploring just want marketing is. Merriam Webster Dictionary says that marketing is: "the process or technique of promoting selling, and distributing a product of service". Okay, that doesn't sound bad in and of itself. Wikipedia says that marketing is: "the process of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a target market." Hmmm. That actually sounds like a good thing.
If you're an entrepreneur, you want to be of service. You're in the game to meet a need. If that is true, you must be able to tell your clients about how you can do that. Imagine for a moment, a scenario where there was an incredible product or service that could truly help people, but because the company had no comfort around marketing, people continued to suffer. That would be tragic indeed.
You have something to offer. You've put blood, sweat and tears into bringing your product or service to the marketplace. If you want to honor all of the effort that brought you to this point in your journey, you must market yourself. It is your duty. So really, marketing is about meeting a client's need and honoring yourself & your creation (your product or service). Those are two authentically beautiful things that I can totally get behind.
Marketing is about communication, and communication is one of my all-time favorite topics. The root of the word "communication" in Latin is communicare, which means to share, or to make common (Weekly, 1967). Communication is defined as the process of understanding and sharing meaning (Pearson & Nelson, 2000). I love the way that feels... "the process of understanding and sharing meaning". Mmmm, that feels good. Let's explore that deeper and discover how that relates to marketing.
Process refers to a dynamic activity, this means that in marketing is about both you and the prospective client. Many of us perceive marketing as chasing someone down and pressuring them, or forcing them, into purchasing our product or service. When we look at it more as a give and take, a relationship, a dynamic activity - than it begins to take on a different look and feel.
Understanding is to perceive and relate. In marketing, this means that we are holding prospective clients as able, we are trusting them to know their needs and make their own decisions. It means that we are sharing ourselves, our gifts, talents and our expertise. It means that we are genuinely curious, and that we don't have an agenda for the other person.
Sharing is the cornerstone of good marketing. I love vocabulary.com's definition of sharing: to use it or enjoy it with others. If you have a product or service and you approach a possible client from a heart of wanting to enjoy it with them, that is an expansive place to start.
Meaning is what we share through communication. In marketing, it is helping the client understand why what you have to offer is important, useful, and provides purpose.
It is possible for you to develop a positive, rich and beautiful relationship with marketing. Marketing doesn't have to be icky or cringeworthy. It can be an act of self-care, an act of service, it can be playful, and it can connect you with your tribe. Marketing is just another skill and one you can master whenever you choose to.
For more on this topic, check out the work of Tad Hargrave, founder of Marketing for Hippies, Ethical Marketing for Uncertain Times (I love the work this man is doing!) and Mark Silver, founder of Heart of Business, Inc.
This quote is often misattributed to Nelson Mandela, but was actually written by Marianne Williamson in her book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles". You can read the Snopes about it here). This is a famous quote, and it is no surprise why - because it speaks the truth of the human experience, and truth can be felt in our hearts.
Being authentically yourself, and allowing that authentic self to shine as brightly as possible is the most courageous thing that you can do with your life. I believe that each of us has a yearning to do this - to live into our gifts as fiercely as possible, but the question is, exactly how do you become liberated from your own fear? How do you learn to freely allow your greatness to exercise sovereign power over your life?
I don't believe the answer is easy, my friends. If I could write an article called "3 Steps to Liberating Yourself From Your Fear & Fully Living Your into Your Brilliance", my guess is that your gut would call bullshit. Because as I said above, you can feel truth... and you can feel a lie, and pretending this is easy stuff just wouldn't be the truth. It also wouldn't serve us. It would just add another layer to this completely erroneous, all-pervasive belief that says that when you you finally ______, you will arrive. You will finally be happy, you can finally rest, it will finally all be okay. You will no longer question yourself, and everything you want will come with ease. Oh, what a fantasy that is. You might as well believe that tiny unicorns will carry away every thought of self beat-up before your consciousness perceives it.
The truth is that this courageous way of living, continually choosing things to further liberate us from our fear and more fully shine our light, is hard. This pursuit is a journey, and it requires you to bare your soul, again and again. It means that you will be in the arena, marred with dust, blood and tears. It is about showing up and being seen, and as Brene Brown says, "If you are going to show up and be seen, there is only one guarantee: you will get your ass kicked." Yes, my friends, you will fail again and again. You will be squeezed and you will soar. You will live to the edges of your humanity.
Things won't get easier, they will get harder... but somehow you'll be happier. Thats the oxymoron here, the complete brain f*ck. Life will call you to the table. You will be required to put it all on the line. You will have to have conversations that terrify you. You will have to own parts of yourself that have spent a lifetime in darkness. You will be required to create boundaries stronger than the walls of Mordor. You will have to learn to say no. You will have to stand up, legs shaking, and step forward.
It's not 3 steps, its millions of steps. It is choosing, over and over again, the path that you can't really see, the one that doesn't make logical sense and is invisible until you step out. It's choosing the angst of confusion over the comfort of knowing. It is sitting with the discomfort of risk over the illusion of safety. It is questioning everything, always, in the pursuit of shedding more layers (both of yourself and this world). It is a commitment to growth. It is not somewhere you arrive, but something you become. It is not something you can Do, it is something you have to Be.
This date, Oct 11th, I call the 'life anniversary' for me and my family. I will never stop celebrating it, and the fact that we are all still here. Last night we spent the evening as many families do, our 19-year old son came over, and we watched Monday Night Football, we ate together, laughed, talked, and shared funny videos and memes on our phones. This simple pleasure, of having a normal, everyday night, is everything. We are all alive.
Eight years ago today my life changed. I was trapped in metal for hours before I could be airlifted to the trauma center... intubated for days in critical care... months of being in a hospital bed... then being in a wheelchair... walking with a cane.... ER visits every other month for over a year, medical complications... internal bleeding,... more surgeries, ... and (for me) still experiencing pain to this day.
I am not the same person I was before this day, eight years ago. Residing inside me now is fierce respect for tragedy and the element of chaos that exists in the universe. This day also gave birth to a strange, and seemingly permanent, palpable connection to the web of life that connects all things. In a spiritual sense, I would say that this near-death experience brought me to my knees - where I still am today, greeting every day with humility and awe (to be alive).
Many people see me daily, and would never know that I am, to this day, physically, mentally, and emotionally, impacted by this trauma. I am immensely grateful for this. I have no physical damage to my face or limbs, I didn't suffer brain damage.. we were all so incredibly lucky. We are all alive.
Here is the thing, guys, ALL people go through traumas of various sorts in their lives, and we might see them every day for years and still not know about it. We might think we know them or understand them - and chances are, we have judgments about who they are or the way they do things. We have no idea that they are still being impacted by trauma(s) that they have experienced. Even after you are recovered, trauma changes you. You've heard it said: be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about - but really... be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.
Furthermore, be oh so soft and gentle with yourself as you navigate this world and heal from your traumas. Humans are soft sensitive creatures, and you deserve all of the compassion and nurturing that you yearn for. Take all the time you need. Even years and years later, if the wound in your soul tears open, respond with love over frustration. Sit in the quiet safety of your nest, share with people who have earned the right to hear your story, and accept all the beautifully broken, repaired, (or partially repaired) parts of yourself. You are a work of art that is currently in progress. You are okay just the way you are.
And for life, my friends, this beautiful, amazing nightmare - be grateful, every damn day. Hug someone you love today. Get in touch with the deep gratitude for being alive. Life is shorter and sweeter than we can grasp.
Mindy Amita Aisling