The Magic of Awareness
March 1, 2022
Our alarm goes off every morning at 5:50 am…Domi hits snooze and we’re jolted awake again at 6. Groggily I roll over and hit the light next to our bed because that’s the only way I know I’ll get up—with light shining in my eyes. I grab my glasses and my phone and head into our bathroom. Before I’ve even taken two steps my eyes are poring over texts, emails, and social media notifications that have come in overnight. I’m starting to mentally organize my day before my day has even really begun before I’ve even had that relieving, magical first sip of coffee before I’ve taken a few minutes to meditate.
It feels unconscious—the unlocking of my phone to see what might have happened during the eight hours I haven’t been attached to it. It feels like it just happens. I so often ask myself Why am I doing this? Why is this the first thing I do every morning? But I never actually answer the question. I just keep doing it day after day. I’m almost instantaneously mad at myself afterward because even if there’s nothing to stress me out in my messages I’ve gone through my morning without really being present. The day has started and the barrage of what’s before me is upon me without me having the chance to ease into it. I hate that the first thing I do is look at my phone. So, why do I do it?
Easy—it’s a habit.
And how can I change it?
Easy again—start with awareness.
It’s so easy to go about our lives doing things day after day without knowing why we do them, but without understanding why we do them it’s next to impossible to make any kind of change, let alone a long-lasting one. But with awareness, the process begins and I’ve found makes things pretty clear cut and simple. When we become aware of what we’re doing we realize that we have a choice—we can continue with the habit we’re accustomed to or we can make a new choice. The cool thing is, is that whether you choose the old pattern or start something new it’s valid and totally okay, but by knowing why you’re choosing to do something the habit loses its power over you because you’re making a conscious choice regardless of what the decision is.
Awareness is like any muscle though, it requires strengthening. When I first set out to stop checking my phone first thing in the morning I kept getting in my way because I didn’t make it easy for myself. Oftentimes first thing in the morning awareness doesn’t just happen to come easily. It doesn’t feel natural to ask yourself the question, What choice do I want to make today? Do I want to check my phone first or do I want to do something else with that time?
Here are some things you can do to start flexing your awareness muscle that I have garnered from breaking my phone-checking habit.
1. Make it easy for yourself.
Leave a post-it note somewhere, or a reminder on your phone’s lock screen where you’ll see it reminding you to ask the question of why you are doing what you’re doing and asking yourself if you want to make the same choice today as you did yesterday.
2. Ask yourself the same questions every day when the old pattern comes up.
Why am I doing what I’m doing and do I want to be making this choice? By asking yourself every day it becomes easier to remember to ask the questions.
3. Practice mindfulness.
Create a mindfulness practice that works for you. Whether by meditating, journaling, or just sitting quietly and noticing what’s going on around you and activating your five senses you’ll also start to strengthen that awareness muscle by being more present.
I could go on and on about the magic of awareness, but for today, I’ll leave it here. I hope you have a beautiful day and take time this month to start developing your awareness of what’s going on around you so that you can craft the life that you feel empowered by and not just at the effect of every single day.
I love you, XOXOX, CAMDW.