Emotions are like fire. Fire is full of constant change. It can give warmth, but it can also be destructive if left unwatched. Used well and carefully fire can light up candles to brighten up a room and give comfort and warmth. But let loose or used carelessly and without control it can burn down your house and hurt you and those around.

Fire can be wounderful when being watched and cared for, and equally destructive and dangerous if left alone.

Watch your feelings and see what’s going on inside. See and accept what’s happening there. This is more important than acting upon them. Fire can spread uncontrollably if left alone, just as emotions can build up new emotions out of your control if left alone. Just being aware and accepting of your emotions can do much more than ignoring or acting upon them without observation.

Emotions are a part of life and aren’t going anywhere. But when you can learn to observe them rather than blindly acting upon them you can save yourself and others a lot of pain, both psychological and physical, and you can start to grow as a person.

Today I was sitting in my friend’s house, working on my computer. I had asked my friend about something work related on a chat and he was answering every now and then with short sentences.

My friend’s little brother came home from school, said hi, and went came over to see what I was doing. I had the window I was working in in focus on the computer, so the IM messages showed up in the top right corner, and my friend’s little brother said:
“Hey, your friend just sent you a message!”,
and I said “Yup, that is correct!” and continued looking at him.
He looked at me for a second and then he said
“Aren’t you going to read it?”
“I can answer when I want to. But right now I’m talking to you, and I was working before that. I can choose whenever I want to read it, and there’s no rule that you have to reply immediately.”
“Hmm. I always reply right away.” he said and walked away.

And he’s not alone. Many people don’t even consider it a possibility to not read or type a reply as soon as you get a message, now matter how unimportant the message might be. Not even in the middle of a conversation does people let go of reading and replying to incoming messages. Instant replying is almost a feeling of duty for some people.

Pay some attention to the people you’re with instead of everyone else that you’re not with at the moment. You will get much more out of the meeting, and your friend will probably appreciate it a lot that you prioritize her or him more than your phone. I know I do. And I think you would too!

Sometimes I find myself thinking without taking any active part of it myself. My thoughts are being thought for me, all thoughts are just reactions to my surroundings. You might also have felt this way, because it’s thoughts you’ve been taught to have. Many times people around you and society teach you that you have to get angry if this happens, and you should be sad if that happens etc.

When I find myself thinking on reflex like that I try to take a break. Feel my surroundings, look at my hands, really be there in the moment being aware that life and everything is now. It’s a really powerful and energizing feeling when you manage and it gives you the feeling that you have the power to choose. More than a feeling actually, the truth.

You’re free to choose how you act on things, how you react, how you think, how you want to do things. Maybe some people will disagree with your ways or try to make you change into reacting “the way you should”. Because even if it makes you feel worse, it’s the “right” way to think.

Is it really? I propose that it might just be a common way to think. But then many people today are unhappy or stressed out. Considering that, breaking from the common way of thinking might just be a very good idea and may have many good effects on your mental and physical well-being.

Many things today we think of differently than we did a couple of years ago, not not to mention a 100 years ago and even further back. Not just as persons but as humans. People’s and society’s way of seeing things have also changed throughout the years. The way we think isn’t decided for us, it’s dynamic and we’re free to choose.

Try to observe your thoughts in situations where you usually think on reflex. Situations when you usually get sad, irritated or angry, and just pause. Take a deep breath and ask yourself if you can’t react in a way that would make you feel better. This does not include thinking of how to take revenge on something bad something did to you, because it might feel a bit better for a second but anger will eventually create guilt, and guilt does not make you feel better. Instead think of how you could change your thoughts right now to make you feel easier on the inside. Maybe you won’t feel happy, but at least at peace.

If you don’t succeed this time, forgive yourself and apologize if you got angry or irritated to whatever or whomever you got angry at, even if it’s just silently inside your head. It will release a lot of stress and you will feel easier on the inside. Then try again the next time.

I just came home from a 4 km barefoot run in pitch dark. The bus wasn’t coming before another 20 minutes so I decided to use the opportunity to run. It had rained a couple of hours earlier, so the asphalt was wet and cool.

When I got home I took a cold shower. We have to make fire to get heat in the water tanks at home, and many times when I get back from a run, we don’t have any hot water so it’s just to step into the shower and get it over with. I didn’t mind though. And it was when I was standing in the shower, not minding it at all, that it got to me that there were many things I don’t mind today that I would’ve gotten very irritated by, just 2 years ago (or even more recently).

First off, just a couple of months ago I didn’t like cold showers at all and avoided them at all costs, even on hot summer days. But one day when I was in Korea 2 months ago, someone forgot to tell me about the hot water switch when I was alone in the apartment, so I stepped into the cold shower. And started laughing. It was such a funny situation that it was all I could do. If I’m gonna do something less enjoyable, I might as well make the most of it! And since that day I sometimes even willingly take cold showers even when there’s hot water in the tanks.

One other thing, is being barefoot. Until 2 years ago I really didn’t like being barefoot. I wanted my foot armor in shape of a shoe. It felt safe and stable. But at some time I started to enjoy being barefoot. Being more natural, not wearing shoes or socks (when it’s not too cold of course, that is), and lately I’ve been more and more into barefoot running. From not liking to be barefoot to prefer running without shoes even when I have them! It feels fantastic and I smile when I think about it.

It feels really good having made this progress in attitude towards things in life. Big ones and small ones. I don’t even sigh when I on rare occasions spill my cup of hot coffee over myself in the morning (don’t ask why I spill my coffee, I can’t answer), I just laugh over the silly situation and clean it up, feeling almost better than before!

Being able to laugh about things that might seem bad at first glance, but really is just silly or funny, have helped me relax and feel better. Good or bad is all about attitude and perspective, and you can chose whether you want to look on something as good or as bad. If something’s happened, it’s happened, and it won’t change because you don’t like it, so make the best of it and find the good or funny parts and laugh at it!

Many times we think that we need to be doing something all the time in order to be productive or just to prevent wasting our time. But even so, every so often we think we don’t have enough time or that we haven’t done enough.

What if the thing we haven’t done enough is to not do anything? The thing you’re worried about not having had time to do might just be that you haven’t taken your time to be still, to think, to not think, or to just enjoy being.

I bet there are hundreds of things in your head that you’d like to have time to process, but so many things are left untouched because you don’t have any time for your brain to work with what’s already in it.

When I ride the bus, the train or the subway, I barely see anyone without a phone in their hand, checking up on mail, communities, talking to someone somewhere else or playing games. People are desperately trying to fill out the ’empty’ time  while going somewhere.

Once in a while just try to consciously do nothing when riding the bus or the subway ( or at other times as well! ). Just be still, see if there are something you want to just think about, or just be, without thinking about anything. It’s strangely refreshing and your brain will probably like the time off from all the constant focus shifts that it has to withstand every day.

Spend some time with focus on yourself, just being aware of yourself, how your body feels, how your mind feels. Many times we’re so busy doing things that we don’t understand what we really need or that we’re getting stressed. Maybe you’re having trouble sleeping because you’re stressed without even knowing it or because your head is whirling with thoughts.

By being still and quiet you can sometimes realize that something’s going on inside you, and that you might be able to fix it before it blooms, or think through things so you don’t do it the time just before you fall asleep. When being still and quiet, you may also come up with ideas and solutions that you wouldn’t have otherwise because you were too busy doing something.

Try to leave some space. Sometimes the most productive thing to do is to do nothing at all.

You cannot change your reality with your will.

You can only adapt yourself, you actions and your mindset toward it.

When you realize this, a lot (but maybe not all) of your anger, irritation, and thoughts of unfairness towards you will dissolve.

You will realize what you need to do, and do it, and do it without feeling annoyed about having to do something. The reality is as it is. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. And you have to face it. All the time. Every day. All you can do is adapt, and take action if needed.

Peaceful moment in silence.

Enjoy being. Being present.

I used to have music in my ears at all time except for when talking to other people. Really, to and from the bus I used my mp3-player. On the bus I used it. At work, school, home, in the car. The times when I just got to work and realized I’d forgotten my mp3-player or my ear phones, my day was ruined! I mean, who can work a full day without listening to music?

Well, I can now. And I even prefer to do it without music (at least my current job).

Since I started to actively trying to get to learn myself better, and be more present, the need for constant distraction has reduced greatly. I focus on what I do, and wether I have music or not while doing it doesn’t really matter any more. Being present in silence is spending time on yourself, whatever you’re doing. And also my ability to be present and focused increase  when I’m not distracted by music and sounds.

I write this even though I love music. I’ve played in several bands and I’ve been to lots of live shows, but there’s a time for music, and there’s a time for silence. My default mode has switched from listening to music to listening to and enjoying silence. Of course I still listen to music, but when I do, I put on music to listen to it, not to keep it as background noise, as a distraction.

The few times I get home by driving a car, when I stop outside the house and turn off the car, the silence is almost magical. It’s so intense and calming. It’s just you, coming home after a probably lively day (or just from having spent some time in a noisy car), and silence. I sit and breath deeply for a while before I get out, almost as getting ready to face the world again. But actually, I’m almost more present in the world in the silence and presence within the quiet car because there are so few distractions.

I believe that many people listen to music all the time during work and on the bus etc. because it feels like you’re a part of ‘it’ that way. That other people are listening to the same thing and that makes you connected to them the moment you also listen to it. It’s just that it doesn’t matter if you listen or not, you’re always part of the world. I think my ability to enjoy time without music has grown from having gotten to know myself better. Simply starting to enjoy spending time alone, or just being. The need for getting feedback that I’m part of ‘it’ is not there anymore.

Try spending some time in silence, intently forget your mp3-player,  try to spend just an hour without music at your work, or ride the bus without your ear phones plugged in! It might be a really pleasant experience! And also, it’s a very, very simple form of enjoying the moment! (And it’s cheap!)

Maybe you too enjoy spending time in silence and being present? Share this post, and feel free to subscribe yourself! And also feel free to follow me on twitter and retweet this post!


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