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Friday, July 12, 2013

Living Internally vs. Externally :: Mastering Mindfulness

I hid around the corner, wondering if he was there. I heard his voice. Deep breath... I flipped my hair, adjusted my skirt and stepped out with my best swagger. As I walked past him, all my attention was on him...I didn't look at him but all I could think about was "Is he looking at me?" .... "I feel pretty. Does he think I look pretty?" .... "Should I walk slower? If I walk faster then I'll pass by too quickly before he gets a chance to see me." .... "Should I look at him? If I look at him should I smile or just smize?"

I walk straight to the bathroom, glare at myself in the mirror and lock myself in a stall. "Why!? Chamonix, why!? All of your energy and focus is being sucked out of your body and washed down the drain that sits at his feet. You can't do your work properly. You can't think about anything else. He doesn't even notice you. He's not giving you anything and you're giving him everything."

It's the classic crush; infatuation so strong it consumes your entire being. All of your energy is being given away to something/someone outside of you, rather than being harnessed inside you to power you forward towards your dreams, goals & happiness.

I call this "Living Externally vs. Internally". It's been a struggle for me since junior high and boys are the worst culprit. Especially for someone like me who enjoys yoga, meditation and all that mindfulness jazz. I like to feel present and in control of my mind & body. When I'm living 'externally', i.e. allowing my focus to drain away for someone else — I'm so focused on the world around me, I'm not listening to what's going on inside. Usually, during these moments, my insides are a roller coaster of adrenaline & false hope. The mentality is "Do I look cool?" 

When I'm living 'internally' I'm at the top of my mindfulness A-game. I'm grounded, centered, balanced. When I walk into the room the mentality is "I'm cool." and I'm not even thinking about who's looking at me let alone what they are thinking. 

Giving these emotions labels (internal living / external living) has given me a tool to deal with these moments effectively. Giving it a label, gives me control and reminds me how I really want to be, how I really want to live my life.