Are You Sleepwalking Through Life? How To Live Consciously
It’s a very confronting question: am I sleepwalking through life? No matter how vigilantly you try to live consciously, at one point or another the answer will probably be yes.
Deciding to tune out the numb hum of modern life and consciously absorb every part of our day is a noble task, and takes great awareness. I reckon most people never bother to actively live consciously because stimulating that numbness can be rather uncomfortable.
There’s also the risk that succeeding to live consciously will alter your life beyond recognition.
In case you’re new to the concept of conscious living, let me share the explanation of author Leo Babauta:
“Living consciously is about taking control of your life, about thinking about your decisions rather than making them without thought, about having a life that we want rather than settling for the one that befalls us.” (source)
Personally, I came to know conscious living after I graduated from college. I went directly into a desk job, and, ultimately into the least colorful chapter of my life.
What am I missing? I was following all the steps: wake up, drive to work, sit behind a computer, come home tired and repeat. Of course, the type of work that you’re doing makes a difference, but for an entry-level communications position, the steps were pretty locked in.
Attempting to live consciously can be a tough pill to swallow because it can force you to admit that you’re unhappy. It took an uncomfortable detox for me to accept that this lifestyle (and, what seemed like the only acceptable lifestyle) didn’t suit me.
No matter where you’re at in your journey to live consciously, we can all use these reminders below to help stop us from sleepwalking through life.
Are You Sleepwalking Through Life? 7 Mantras To Help You Live Consciously
Want a reminder to live consciously every time you check your phone? These graphics are sized to fit your phone as a wallpaper. Open this blog post on mobile and hold down on the image to save it to your camera roll. Then, set it as your phone wallpaper.
1. What I do with my time matters
Are there activities in your life that you never seem to have time for?
Well, you could wake up earlier every day. You could dedicate this time to a passion project, walking, meditating, reading – anything that normally illudes you.
Two hours a day accumulates to 730 hours a year. A month with 30 days harbors 720 hours, which means that you could generate an entire month of time to something by simply dedicating two hours a day.
Now, this isn’t a mere glorification of busy. Business for the sake of being busy is a waste.
Rest is as necessary as hard work to accomplish any large goal. And, to live consciously, you need to be as intentional about rest and joy as you are about work and productivity.
But let me ask you this – how often do two hours slip through your day unnoticed?
I can honestly say it happens to me at least one day a week. The biggest offender is a task taking four times longer than they needed to because I was unfocused.
It’s easy to reach for the instinctual reaction that there aren’t enough hours in the day, but so often the time we have is just not being used consciously.
Let this two-hours-a-day lightbulb remind you that what you do with your time matters. After all, time is our greatest resource and it is not infinite.
2. How I feel about my work matters
What emotions come to mind when you think about your work?
No profession is immune to stress, but if a wave of anxiety or indifference washes over you when you think about work, this is likely effecting your life far beyond just working hours.
Negative emotions about your work exasperate much more than just your career. That bitterness seeps into other parts of your life: your relationships, your hobbies, your time away from work.
This may present by you not being able to enjoy your Sunday fully because you’re dreading going into work on Monday.
It could also present in your evenings after you get home, if you find yourself unable to mute the work chatter in your brain.
If your work makes you feel second-rate, then you may find it difficult to live consciously because it would cause you to face that unhappiness.
This doesn’t just apply to extreme cases, where bosses scream and belittle employees. Your workplace doesn’t have to be toxic to still negatively impact the trajectory of your life.
Feelings of boredom, indifference and unfulfillment are also valid.
But, it really wasn’t about my new adventures: listening to how my work made me feel and prompted a much more profound journey:
Realizing what I wanted to do with my life. That’s a question many people never find an answer to, and I feel very blessed to have discovered my answer.
Contrary to the negative emotions, how your work makes you feel can validate your path and assure you through difficult seasons of your career.
Positive or negative: how your work makes you feel is a compass. Where is it pointing?
3. My life is full of things that matter to me
An entire cultural movement can’t be wrong: if something doesn’t spark joy within you, it should exit your life.
You may recognize that as the KonMari method from the wildly popular book, “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. And if you don’t recognize that, you can catch yourself up by getting a secondhand copy of the book ASAP. It really does live up to the hype.
Millions of people have rummaged through their homes in pursuit of joy. And standing by while they did this were many of their loved ones, mocking them.
How did the simple search for joy become outlandish? I think that proves an uncomfortable point: that many of our things, perhaps even the majority of them, are extraneous and unwanted.
Let’s examine the alternative of being surrounded by things that bring us joy:
Dear diary, mood: apathetic. You look around your home and feel passionately about nothing. If it all burned down in a fire, it would just mean less to clean.
Someone actually told me once that they daydream about their apartment burning down so that they could be freed of all their stuff.
Your life ought to be full of things that matter; the alternative is bleak, my friend.
It might be difficult to accept, but this also includes the next topic: people.
4. How the people around me make me feel matters
In fact, the people around you may shape your future more profoundly than you anticipate.
It was Moosha Rahat that said, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
Following that logic, how does your future look?
This of course doesn’t mean that you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater and get all new friends. But, you ought to be protective of who has influence over your life.
I think friends have a much larger capacity to pull us forward than backward. That unmotivated friend who’s always down for a venting session and happy hour won’t be the hole the sinks your ship.
But, what friends are sailing through waters you haven’t dared yet?
For example, we all know that it’s possible to move to a foreign country, become a millionaire or hike the Seven Summits. But as soon as you know someone who’s attempting or completed one of those feats, the italics are removed. These accomplishments just become possible.
The people around you ought to make you feel inspired, capable, and at the very least, valued. How they make you feel matters, and will influence where you go in life.
5. My daily actions move me towards my goals
Now, this isn’t meant to perpetuate the idea that every part of your life must be productive and goals-oriented.
Quite frankly, that’s toxic. It was never more prevalent than during the covid-19 lockdown.
Destructive goals-oriented messages like these swilled around us on Twitter and in ads:
“If you’ve ever said you didn’t have time to do something and you’re not doing it now, it wasn’t the time: you just lack the discipline.”
“With the help of my product, you could come out of this having made something for yourself.”
“Someday in a job interview, a potential employer will ask you what you did to develop yourself and your career during lockdown.”
If a potential employer expects you to have bettered yourself during a global crisis so that it could benefit them, please do not take that job.
However, developing simple goals, being mindful of your progress and checking in with yourself on their progress will change your life.
What are your big goals for the year? To read more, nurture your relationships better or spend more time offline? After covid, I think many of us yearn for more screen-free time. And we all have the power to achieve this, if our daily actions reflected our goals.
6. “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives”
How does this sentiment make you feel? Satisfied? Content? Terrified?
This motto to help you live consciously is brutal to digest if you’re unhappy in your daily life.
I hope that this entire blog post on how to live consciously hasn’t seemed like an attempt to concentrate the shadows and negativity in your life.
But, the sad reality is, many people live day-to-day at an unhappy status quo. If you’re not careful, that could become a theme for years of your life.
The encouraging underbelly of this philosophy is that you can change at any time. You can change right now, if you so choose.
I’ve shared this many times on Writing From Nowhere because this quote changed the entire trajectory of my life.
I hope it can change your life too.
7. The ultimate mantra to live consciously: I will not sleepwalk through my life
All of these mantras on how to live consciously accumulate to this sentiment. And a bold sentiment it is.
I will not sleepwalk through my life.
It’s a powerful declaration; even writing those words feels powerful. I encourage you to say it out loud sometime. Since you’ve already read to the bottom of this blog post, I know I can safely say that without it feeling too woo-woo and losing you.
Living consciously isn’t all auras and crystals. It’s literally 0 percent aura and crystals, but you’d be surprised how many people draw those paralles.
Trying to live consciously is simple:
Notice the sunlight in the morning. Cherish your coffee. Taste your food. Feel the warmth of a friend’s hug. Enjoy the way your sheets feel when you crawl into bed. Notice your day as it passes by. Notice your life as you live it.
This mindfulness will result in amazing personal growth, improved health and a happier life. Living consciously is such a gift.
Are You Sleepwalking Through Life? Mantras To Help You Live Consciously Conclusion
Conscious living is a habit that I wish I could offer to everyone, but you have to decide for yourself to not sleepwalk through life.
What helps you live consciously?
Stay awake, friends.