The way you look at things is the most powerful force shaping your life

“The way you look at things is the most powerful force shaping your life.”

John O’ Donohue, late Irish poet, author, Hegelian philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Bradley Pisney

Today’s quote is an excellent reminder to develop and cultivate our self-awareness and mindfulness abilities.

When we choose to adopt constructive perspectives and attitudes, we can harness our powers of perception to create a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

If and when we look at things from a negative or closed mindset, we limit our abilities to navigate life’s challenges and complexities.


How can and will you exercise and develop your powers of perception to shape your life and your world for the better?

“No matter how mundane some action might appear, keep at it long enough and it becomes a contemplative, even meditative act.”

“No matter how mundane some action might appear, keep at it long enough and it becomes a contemplative, even meditative act.”

Haruki Murakami, Japanese bestselling writer

Image from Unsplash by Pille R. Priske

Taking a daily walk and meditating each morning are habits I’ve had for many years.

These activities begin most days stress free and mindfully aware.

When the rest of my day gets going and things heat up, I can sometimes lose my balance and my cool.

To regain my centeredness, I often find the mundane chores of cooking and cleaning help restore my well-being.

The act of chopping vegetables for a stir fry and simply tidying up does wonders to restore a bit more Zen in my days.


What are some of the mundane actions you take throughout your days to restore and renew yourself?

Feel free to reply to this post if your care to share what works well for you.

Ring the bells of your days and sit in their reverberations

Ring the bells of your days and sit in their reverberations.
—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Manga Vitriolic

The days go by in a blur for most of us. Whether we’re rushing around like chickens without their heads or the world around us is speeding by, it’s all a bit dizzying.

Living with greater mindfulness and intention slows things down so that we actually notice our surroundings and reflect on what is going on, moment-to-moment.

With our best focused efforts, we take in and appreciate the bells we ring and the whistles we blow to signal the marks we make in our communities.


Take some extra time throughout your day — or just at day’s end —to feel the reverberations of your efforts and the impact you’ve had on the world around you.

Consider giving yourself a quiet celebratory high five to acknowledge the good you’ve done before you head to bed.

Pause when provoked.

Pause when provoked.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan

What would be possible if you resisted the urge to judge and criticize others?

Where could an intentional pause allow you to pivot in a better direction when you are hooked by what others say and do?

Unfortunately, the time between stimulus and response seems to keep getting shorter and shorter.

Our urgent need to get things done, multitask, and speed though the unsavory parts of our lives often has us shoot before we aim.


Who are the people in your life that push your buttons and provoke you?

What are some frequent topics or events that trigger heated emotions and upsets?

What approaches can you take to mindfully pause before your amygdala is hijacked?

When we practice mindfulness, we are learning to be a hero of consciousness

When we practice mindfulness, we are learning to be a hero of consciousness.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Ashley Batz

What come to mind when you think of a hero? For many people, it can involve risking one’s own life to save another. The media loves displaying such acts, and most of us secretly shudder at the thought of actually being in the place of these brave men and women.

What if you could be a hero of consciousness, where the person you were saving was yourself?

How could your own mindfulness practices be a catalyst for bolder and more generous contributions to yourself and others without risking life and limb?


Declare yourself a hero of consciousness. Reading this post and the many other actions you take to better yourself in support of others warrants a big pat on the back and a hearty handshake.

Meditation applies the brakes to the mind

“Meditation applies the brakes to the mind.”

Ramana Maharshi, 20th Century Hindu sage

Image from Unsplash by Jan Kopřiva

Over the past several years I have become increasingly fascinated by my meditation practice and other mindfulness activities.

In my experience, meditation has never stomped on the brakes to bring my mind to a complete stop.

It does, however, help me tap the brakes to slow things down, so that I may take in my inner and outer worlds at a calmer and more peaceful pace.


Where might meditation and other alternative mindfulness practices help you slow down your mind to more fully experience your days at a more optimal pace?

Awaken to each new day. Be mindful that it is a miracle

Awaken to each new day. Be mindful that it is a miracle.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Davide Cantelli

Many of us live our lives on auto pilot. We start our days by pushing the button of our programing, proceeding from task to task with little thought except to move to the next and the next.

Perhaps this is why we so enjoy the novelty of travel, in which each day brings new sights, sounds, and tastes for us to experience. Instead of having to leave our home and communities to see what’s new and different, maybe we can tune our senses to their miracle settings. Maybe we can delight in the wonders around us we often miss out of habit.


How can you be far more mindful of the miracles around you as you navigate your days? How would turning on and tuning in to your super senses help you embrace those special moments of living, without ever leaving home?

How often do you play thought dominoes

How often do you play thought dominoes where one thought cascades into another and another?

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Bradyn Trollip

When was the last time you saw a domino exhibition? How long did it take to topple all the tiles? How many hours or even days did it take to set up?

Domino experts know all too well that one slip of the hand can destroy much of their effort well before showtime. Given this possibility, they almost always place blocking structures to stop the cascade of tiles to limit the damage.


How can you use your own mindfulness efforts as tools to slow or stop the domino thinking that can sometimes topple your days?

Mindfulness and concentration are interdependent

Mindfulness and concentration are interdependent. Concentration is the magnifying glass and mindfulness is the light.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Stephen Kraakmo

How fired up have you been feeling lately? Who are the people and what are the things that spark your interest and grab your attention? To what degree are you fully engaged and focused on aspects of your life that light up your heart and soul?

Think back to a time when you first used a magnifying glass. How long did it take you to learn that they could not only enlarge the objects you were viewing, but also focus the sun’s light to make fire?

How mindful are you as you go about your typical day?

What is the wattage of your awareness lighting your path?

How often do you take the time to truly concentrate on your relationships and daily activities to set your life ablaze?


Where and how could greater mindfulness and concentration fire up and brighten up your life?

Re-examine all that you have been told. Dismiss that which insults your soul.

“Re-examine all that you have been told. Dismiss that which insults your soul.”

—Walt Whitman, 19th Century American poet, essayist and journalist

Image from Unsplash by Markus Winkler

In our journey toward greater mindfulness and self-awareness it can be helpful to stop and re-examine our own perspectives and views of the world around us.

Where and when did you first become aware of specific beliefs?

What factors had you embrace them as your own?

To what degree do you remain open to examining your thinking and not simply accepting what you’ve been told to believe and how to act?

Just because we have done something a particular way for many years does not necessarily mean it is the way to go when you have new information to consider.


What are some of your current beliefs that no longer serve you? How might revisiting your thinking through a more soulful lens help you live a more fulfilling and meaningful life?