A friend of mine recently posted the following quote on her Facebook page. She found it in our local (and delicious) Himalayan restaurant, the Sherpa House.
I was struck by two things (after I tore my mind away from thoughts of the restaurant's delicious buffet): 1. What a beautiful sentiment and 2. The Dalai Lama could be a life coach.
I love this quote because it encapsulates so many concepts that I use in my life coaching practice. First of all, it starts with your THINKING. "Everyday, think as you wake up, 'today I am fortunate to have woken up.'" How simple. And even better, everyone can honestly think this. I often talk about how going from negative to positive can be challenging if you don't believe it. So going from "Ugh...another day of the grind" to "Hello world, I love my life!" might be asking too much. But simply thinking "I am fortunate to have woken up" is a phrase we should all be able to wrap our heads around, and it is a huge improvement from starting with thoughts about your stress at work or the pain in your back or the 10 loads of laundry you have to get done.
The Dalai Lama also understands that we choose what we think. He says, "I am going to have kind thoughts toward others...I am not going to think badly about others." This takes practice, my friends. Negative thoughts happen, but with awareness and practice, you can improve your attitude.
At my martial arts school, instructors often say, "Practice makes permanence. Perfect practice makes perfect." If we practice sloppy kicks, our kicks will remain sloppy. Likewise, our minds are wired for efficiency, so if you have a practice of negative thoughts or self pity, you have created a pathway for your brain and you will default there again and again. However, if you start to practice positivity, you will create new permanent pathways and your brain will begin to default to seeing people and events in a better light. It's called Neural Plasticity and it is a real thing! (Follow the link for the science and application.)
Another "coachism" in the Dalai Lama's statement is "I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all others." This is so powerful. We might not all be as altruistic as the Dalai Lama and that is okay! Let's just start with the first part "I am going to use all my energies to develop myself." Imagine if we did that! ALL our energies?!?! What if we didn't waste any of our energy on surfing the internet or fussing over what to wear or worrying about events out of our control? If all of our energies went into positive self development, what would that even look life? I challenge you to spend a few minutes day dreaming about that. What energy wasters would you cut out and with what would you replace them? Oh the possibilities! And if you take to heart the rest of it about benefiting others and all that jazz...that's all BONUS.
I encourage you to write down the Dalai Lama's quote or print it out or make it your computer wall paper or whatever. Maybe paste it to the ceiling right above your pillow or put it in a frame next to your alarm clock so you see it every time you wake up. First thing each morning, practice saying, "I am fortunate to have woken up and today I am going to use my energy to develop myself." Try it for a week. See what happens and report back.
If you want some support as you develop yourself, I'm here for you. Let's partner to start that perfect practice toward a better life. Contact me for a complimentary intro session or register for my in-person group starting on Oct 9.