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What is the first thing you do in the morning? Even before you roll over or sit up, what are the things inundating your awakening mind?

Maybe there are remnants of a dream sticking around, so you can examine or reflect upon it. There may be some message you want to discern or decode, but as it fades away, your waking life continues its inroads that supersedes any of that fanciful imaginative exercise. That is, unless you’re in the practice of meditating — before anything else is considered; before phones are touched, or people and life are engaged in anyway.

There are countless ways that we are unintentionally dwindling our creative resources from the moment we tune into our higher-frequency brain waves. Routines and responsibilities are quick to notch out some space in our consciousness and won’t likely be removed without our decision to do so.

In a broader sense, there are aspects to our life and psychology that can weigh on us in other detrimental ways. These programs run deeper and in the background, using up processing and systemic resources that will inevitably spill out into our regular activities. You might not be aware of it unless you notice your neck muscles or shoulders are tense, or you have tension in your chest or solar plexus area. When you breathe deeply, suddenly there’s a rush of blood to your head. You might feel some numbness in a hand, or foot, or a general sense of haze or lack of concentration.

Something you’re engaged in could be triggering a masked or unconscious issue that isn’t immediately clear. This can often be a mix of desires or energies you’ve taken on from others, and the conditions, intentions, and directions you’ve set for yourself based on those desires. It invariably defines a heaviness within you that will never really sit right, because ultimately, it’s of a fragmented, inauthentic design.

Perhaps it’s something a parent said long ago, and your worries about being able to pay rent or take your aging car in for an oil change are becoming very agitating and making you irritable. Maybe something someone said regarding your work got under your skin. Perhaps your reflection in the mirror is depressing. A friend hasn’t returned a text you sent hours or days ago. Maybe you’re in a relationship, but suddenly realize you’re more lonely than ever. You may in many ways feel unseen or unheard. Maybe your motivation is lacking, or your penchant for procrastination is always winning out, leaving you apathetic or dwelling in persistent ennui.

There are endless varieties of coping mechanisms that we employ to keep ourselves alive and functioning. There are many ways we can quickly and temporarily make ourselves feel good, too. We don’t necessarily notice a chronic problem until we’re actually rid of it, or someone outright tells us about it to our face. But, it might be more effective to pay attention to energetic shifts or blocks when they arise or become sensitized. When we experience and observe within us a strong reaction, if we could employ just a moment of pause and allow ourselves to briefly examine what that might be related to, our shoulders could relax, we might breathe more easily, and a small yet significant part of who we are, and what our life is and means to us, gets reclaimed.

I believe a lot of the fiercely individualistic propensity of modern generations is a projection of our broader collective effort to reclaim and recapitulate fragmented and disparate aspects of our identities, our personalities, and our sovereign spiritual selves. For a long, long time, we’ve relied heavily on overly simplistic (and outright false, and violent) notions of finding meaning and making sense of life, purpose, potentiality, and the universe. In a post-industrial age, we are suffering and struggling dramatically to find footing on the slippery slopes of our ancestors and increasingly building on sandy foundations. Our increased capacity to learn, discern, transmute and transcend outdated values, beliefs, social norms and systemic distortions has us momentarily mired in a temporally, philosophically, spiritually and metaphysically toxic sludge. We are at once sure of the next best steps, yet utterly vexed, polarized, and terrified of making even more and greater mistakes.

This is relatively new territory, and as a species we’re tentatively charting new maps. The only thing we can be sure of is that we aren’t sure of anything. Borders will continue to fade, and cultures will increasingly blend. An Earth society will eventually emerge, but it won’t be a simple task, nor a singular event. Much more willingness, openness, and active partnership will be required of every citizen, which ensures concurrently increasing independence (agency) as well as interdependence (systems thinking).

What’s key during this epochal shift and systemic transition is to rely ever more on empathy, compassion, and patience. It has to begin with and be entirely fueled by the most basic, fundamental of human things: love. We can sit back and wait and see what happens, hoping for the best, or we can engage in the local, regional, or global discussion, and be part of the grand redesign. It’s already in process, now. Plug in.

In our own lives, we empower ourselves by relieving the chronic torments of psychological, emotional, and spiritual heaviness. It can be as simple as sitting in silence, for an hour or two a day, or seeking help from a professional who can hear and help you unravel those overt or hidden barriers and traumas. Whatever it is, love it, love yourself, learn from it and elevate yourself from and with it. It’s useful information. It’s valid data. It’s not permanent.

Solvitur ambulando