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The Way of Awareness


Place ‘awareness’ at the top of your list this holiday season. Whether it is around the table, with your wallet, at the bar, or getting to the gym, don’t dig a hole that you’ll have to work your way out of come January 2024.


You’re likely familiar with self-help guru and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer but have you heard of his friend, Portia Nelson, singer, songwriter, actress and author of “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery”?


Dyer often shared Nelson’s original work, “An Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters”, that served as the seed for “There’s a Hole…” He would tell how Portia, in a creative writing class, was given five 5X7 notecards to write the five chapters of her life. The result?


Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters


I - I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in. I am lost … I am helpless. It isn’t my fault.


It takes me forever to find a way out.


II - I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place but, it isn’t my fault.


It still takes a long time to get out.


III - I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in … it’s a habit. My eyes are open, I know where I am. It is my fault.


I get out immediately.


IV - I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.


I walk around it.


V - I walk down another street.


What hole do you fall into day after day, week after week, year after year?


Like the evolution of awareness in the 5 chapters, mindfulness practice can gradually develop alertness, overcoming the power of habit and leading you in the direction of your desired future.


Is it easy? No. It takes practice.


How to practice? Mind-ups. Like a push-up or a pull-up, a mind-up is an exercise for developing awareness.


Sit comfortably. Bring your attention to the feeling of your breath entering and leaving your nose. To help focus, silently repeat, “I am breathing in, in this present moment. I am breathing out, in this present moment.” When your mind wanders – and it will! – return your focus to the words and your breath. Each time you bring your attention back to the breath, you’ve performed one mind-up. The more you practice, the more mind-ups you’ll do, and the greater your awareness will become. Simple.


Awareness is one gift you can give to yourself that will continuously expand in value. Put yourself on the street to a better 2024. Practice mindfulness for 3-5 minutes daily and avoid the holiday holes.

Paul Larmer is a mindfulness coach, personal trainer and professional speaker. Book a session for yourself or your team, wellnorth@livnorth.com.



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