Observing life differently….

In any given moment I have two options:  to step forward into growth, or to step back into safety  –  Abraham Maslow

Becoming an observer in life is a daily practice for me. In any given situation, I have two energies that guide my reactions. The primitive part of my mind which reacts to threats of my safety, and the observer who steps back to see a bigger picture of my emotions and thoughts.  I have learned I have control over my reality because right now, I am choosing my thoughts.

The examples below can trigger my safety response which may cause me to feel invalidated or raise my voice and start a fight with my partner, or get angry or want justice at the driver who cuts me off. These responses may happen so quickly, and unexpectedly, I may not even know what I am doing until after it happens.

  • Your partner criticizes you for being disorganized and uncommitted
  • A driver cuts you off in traffic
  • Someone makes an off-handed comment that really hurts
  • Your supervisor yells at you for not getting a project finished on time

When I practice stepping back from the drama as soon as I feel the first response, I become aware of my thoughts and actions.  Once I am aware, I have a clearer understanding and choose an appropriate reaction.

The observer is a passive energy that I actively and consciously engage each day.  I find that daily stillness and a conscious awareness of my thoughts, helps activate this in me. The moment I am truly still with my situation, not trying to figure out a way to fulfill it or ignore it, it reveals itself to me. It’s not that I don’t feel a reaction, I do, but I continue to practice being in the moment.

Each time I make an effort to choose differently, I respond for the highest good of all, and this makes my reality and my journey calmer and clearer.

37 thoughts on “Observing life differently….

  1. That’s the key for me – the stepping back as soon as I feel the reaction. When I don’t, it doesn’t tend to go well. I need to be out of the reaction phase to be authentic. Thanks Karen.

    1. Yes so true Mary, I often convince myself it hasn’t affected me when deep down I know it has! It is a practice we will be so good at in our old wise years my friend. 🙂

  2. I can relate to the driver cutting me off, and it’s worse when they then thank me with a wave of their hand! I am catching myself before my head explodes though. Good post Karen. ❤
    Diana xo

  3. I’m not quick-witted. I’m the one who will think of a great comeback weeks after the incident occurred. But I know my comebacks can cut like a knife so in a way I think it’s a blessing I’m not quick with my words.

    Also, because I usually prefer to think before talking, it gives me time to choose to be the person God wants me to be as opposed to being one whose actions may not be pleasing in His sight.

    I think your method of “observing” is a good one. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You are blest in being slow to react! We should all be this way if we can. I have learned the hard way at times, still, I practice this everyday and I am definitely getting better at it.

  4. It sounds like you’re describing transitional growth from reacting to responding. It provides a sense of control over oneself as well as one’s surroundings. It helps create the silence you often mention resulting in greater harmony, balance and peace. If people only took the time and effort to experience this understanding they would likely be much happier as a result.

    1. Exactly, it is a growth from primitive reacting to conscious responding. My mantra is, “Be impeccable with your word Karen” I find this has created a lot more harmony in my life, with practice of course!. Thanks Jonathan.

  5. Energy. Flow. Triggers. Yes. Who is driving who. Rod MacIver: “A balanced life is based on its own rhythm. If you don’t set your own rhythm, and have the discipline to follow it, your life will move at the speed of the culture around us, which moves too fast. The space we make for quiet time affects our thought patterns and, in turn, the quality of our lives. If you don’t own your own time, your own life, you don’t own much. In my journal, I sometimes explore the question, “To what extent is the rhythm of your life a result of careful thought as opposed to adapting, without thought, to the flow that surrounds?”

  6. Great post, Karen! It helps to step back and observe from a detached vantage point, but to do that we will need to be aware of what’s happening. And that is a daily practice where mastery is hard to reach 🙂

    1. You make a good point Helen. When people act out of an unconscious mind they often are not aware of their patterns and actions, and so you are right, daily practice is the way towards this conscious awareness. Thankyou 🙂

  7. As usual great post Karen. It is a bit difficult to control the momentary impulse and step back to analyse the situation. Probably through continuous practice only one can earn that mastery.

  8. Great post and ideas…a long time ago I learned that its wise to stop and breath in many situations…I have also learned that in a heated moment or if your put on the spot, its okay to take a moment and step away to process the information before remarking, a quick excuse-me to the restroom generally will pass for cover…LOL its all about thinking before we react…thanks for the great post…kat

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