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Stop Wasting Precious Time.

Stop Wasting Precious Time.

Im realizing more clearly everyday that possibly the biggest crime we commit is in wasting our precious time.

You do it, I do it, we all do it to some degree.

One Persons Wasting Might be Another’s Calling.

Don’t worry, I am not here to shove a bunch of causes down your throat that I feel is worth everyone’s time. Everybody is different so we all have to define what activities are a waste of time for ourselves.

I can see something as a complete waste of time, and another person will find a level of joy in it that I may never know.

Though I will say that if you find yourself lost in a blah world where hardly anything makes sense, then no doubt a lot of time is wasting away..

How can we tell if something is a waste of time or a calling? Well, there is a saying from the Philosopher Alan Watts that rings through my mind often.

“Do you dig it?”

If I am not digging it then I am probably in the wrong place, or the wrong head space! And if the thing is dug, then we may be on the right track.

Life is too Short to be Wasting our Time.

Our time here in these bodies on this Earth is minuscule. We are basically here for a flash of a flash of a moment. To be off in our heads worrying and chasing down people, places and things that will leave us feeling empty is just stupid.

Often times when I am chasing what I don’t dig, I get an empty feeling. And when I am feeling empty, I know things need to change. The feeling tells me I need to find some things that I legitimately dig!

Life is too short for too many things we don’t dig. I am so grateful that I have woken up to this realization.

Learning is not Wasting.

One of my greatest joys is learning about myself. I am grateful to be blessed with this desire.

Though throughout many years I was astray from this calling, and much time was wasted. But thankfully I was able to make it out of the painful world of active addiction, and back into the real world.

Now I can be full of anger and regret about wasted time, or I can learn from it. Lessons learned ensure the past was not a waste!

But any lesson I have learned about the past that I continue to disregard, I am now wasting my damn time. And I am likely wasting the time of everybody around me.

Wasting the most Precious of Times.

Now I consider it a crime to waste my own time. Though I feel it would be an even greater crime to waste the time of those around me. Who really comes to mind hen I say this is my 3 month old daughter Ada!

In my wifes post a couple weeks ago, she spoke of learning how to stay in the moment from our infant girl. This reminded me of how easy it can be to become completely distracted from the beautiful features of life. It reminded me how much I fail to stay focused on what is right in front of my face as well.

But today I am now fueled with a commitment to waste as little time as possible for myself and others. This also means a commitment to develop a better relationship with the moment, the only time that exists.

It’s Never too Late to Quit Wasting Time.

All that we have is right now, the present moment, and it is never too late to quit wasting it. Sometimes it may take a jumping off a cliff moment, where some long held relationships need to be left behind.

Other times it is as simple as just focusing closer on the present moment and appreciating what is right in front of us.

That’s right, just because I feel like I am wasting my time doesn’t mean that I am in the wrong physical space. It could be that I am wishing for something that isn’t meant to be, or has not yet come to be.

It is amazing what some relaxed breathing and focusing on what I am grateful for can do for me. Just 15 minutes can take me from feeling completely lost to being planted firmly back into my calling and the present moment.

There are all sorts of things to be digging in this present moment right here and right now! I invite you to slow down and feel how much they mean to you.

And as I said above, if you are just learning this lesson, latch onto it and quit wasting your time. It is big lesson, and one that may have to be learned over and over again. If you are anything like me, it may take multiple reminders a day..

Thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would like you to do a couple things for us!

  1. Please share this article on your social media.
  2. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  3. Follow the conversation on our Facebook Page!

 

Much Love,

Travis Hagen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Surrendering Obsessive Thoughts, Coming Back to the Moment

Hey everybody, today I am going to touch on something we have all had from time to time. That is problems with our thoughts!

In this article I found that the earliest evidence for meditation goes back to around 2980 B.C

This means that that for roughly 5000 years, people have been looking for ways to slow down their thinking. As well as get in touch with their bodies in the moment.

Now I imagine that human beings have been looking for ways to slow down much earlier in history. But we will just leave that as speculation.

That tells me that for at least that long, thinking has been a tricky subject for the average human.

Now with my history of mental illness and addiction, I understand the torturous nature of thinking well.

But meditation was not born for those whose thoughts are susceptible to insanity. It is a tool that is helpful to human beings of all brain types.

I realize that meditation is a word that can turn some folks off. I am not really talking about meditation here, but for what meditation does that has helped people find respite in the act for so long.

For me, what it does is simply calm my brain down. In this article, it says that “there is a decrease in beta waves which is a sign that the brains cortex is not processing information as much as usual.”

I don’t know about you but the processing of information can be a painful routine to be in. Especially the times where it seems like the process has gotten out of control.

Thinking becomes such a habitual thing, so much so that quite often I don’t even realize that I am doing it. In these times my thoughts can take me on a ride that I may not like. But of course that depends on the emotions I am feeling!

I have no problem being taken on a ride of thoughts that are laced with happy feelings. That can be pure bliss. Though when the thoughts are laced with worry, shame, guilt, anger, or regret, that can be a pretty horrible ride.

The problem comes when we get caught on this ride and don’t realize we are on it! In the recovery community that saved my life, we call this OBSESSION.

Obsession is THE LIE, it is the FANTASY. It is the cause of the tremendous problems I had throughout my life.

Now don’t worry, I am not claiming victimhood over Obsession. Though I can claim some ignorance of a problem I had within my own head.

Thoughts can pretty easily be gotten back on track!

By back on track, I mean that we can take a little control over them. And by this I mean we can slow them down, so they aren’t as much of the speeding train they may feel like sometimes.

Like I said, I don’t claim victimhood over my thoughts, or my emotions for that matter.

You may be wondering how? How can we go from a sometimes violent, obsessive, internal temper tantrum, back to stable mental and emotional states?

Here are the steps to get back into our right minds.
  • First, we have to catch ourselves obsessing on a thought.
  • Second, we need to let ourselves know that we no longer want to stress ourselves out with this thought pattern.
  • Third, we have to actively make an effort to slow down our thoughts, and surrender to the moment.

Catch ourselves obsessing on a thought.

For me, a thought tends to get of control when I have left the energy in the thought unused.

When I procrastinate getting the taxes done or work paperwork done, the approaching deadlines continue to excite the thought. When I am either unwilling to take care of it, or not understanding how, the unused energy continues to create more stress. Since the energy wasn’t used, it stays inside of me, sending my brain for a loop.

Another problem is that I can end up defending my obsessive thoughts. Maybe I believe I need to be freaking out, or maybe I blame someone else for the way I am feeling. These can both be dangerous defense mechanisms for obsession, so watch out!

But the good news is that if you realize you are stuck this crappy obsessive process, then at least you aren’t completely enveloped in it. This means that there is room to take control and get out of it!

Let ourselves know that we no longer want to stress ourselves out with the thought pattern.

Feel like crap because your brain is spinning of control? Willing to admit that you have some say in stopping the thought from terrorizing you?

Great! Now I am here to say that you are completely capable of working yourself through it.

I know that it is painful and probably overwhelming. And there may be disappointment, letting go, and grieving to be done. But there is a light out of this stressful thought process!

There is something to the power of positive thinking, a sort of acting as if I have the power to change something. Even if I am not necessarily believing I can! So i welcome you to believe that you can quit stressing yourself out with your thoughts.

If we want out, we need to admit it to at least ourselves! And even better if admitted to another person that can and will help stop the obsessive thinking.

It is only when we admit we want out and a better way to think, will another pathway begin presenting itself!

Surrender slow down

Actively make an effort to surrender our obsessive thoughts.

To me the main message I can give is that there are all sorts of times all throughout the day when we can breathe a little bit and take our minds off of our routines and problems! We don’t necessarily need to set aside 20 minutes to meditate, although that would be extremely helpful.

Deciding not to think for a little bit and allowing the energy inside of us to settle is an act of surrender. Some may feel surrender is a act of weakness, but this is obsession just trying to control the show!

Through surrendering my thoughts to the moment I can get my mind back into the moment.

Even if i will be driving in my car all day long. I can turn off the radio, and do some relaxed breathing! If by some craziness there is not one single moment in the day to sit down, I can still watch my breathing and be mindful while taking care of my daily business.

Don’t believe the lie that says surrendering to the moment just isn’t possible. And no this will not ensure we are taken advantage of, or miss important opportunities! This is just the fight or flight response talking, which is fear.

It is good to believe the fear when actual danger is present. But for the majority of people reading this most moments are not that dangerous..

So if you are caught in obsession or just thinking too many fearful thoughts, I welcome you to breathe and just slow down a bit. If you are obsessing, the thoughts will not slow immediately. It may take up to 20 minutes for the fight or flight storm to pass. But once it has, you will be happy that you surrendered and gave the storm a chance to move on!

Thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would like you to do a couple things for us!

  1. Please share this article on your social media.
  2. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  3. Follow the conversation on our Facebook Page!

Much Love,

Travis Hagen

Be Busy Chasing the Right Things in Life.

Be Busy Chasing the Right Things in Life.

Lets face it, letting life get too busy is extremely easy to do.

We need to make money or we lose our things, or don’t end up accumulating things in the first place. As we accumulate more things and relationships, this means more responsibility.

Jobs need to be maintained to make money. Also, our families, our homes, our toys, need maintenance to keep them from falling apart.

All the responsibility a successful life brings can be intensely pressurized! 

But pressure or not, I enjoy having both nice things and healthy relationships. Even though having both of these can be a challenge, it is entirely possible to balance it all out.

Being Busy Chasing the Wrong Things is not Good for My Health.

First of all, I don’t think there is anything wrong with having nice things..

But I tell you what.. As much as I desire having these things around to take care of my wants and needs, healthy relationships are much more important.

In all actuality, the things I bring into my life are only useful in so far as they enhance the growth of my closest relationships. That and they are within my means to maintain them. Meaning I have the time, energy, and money!

Honestly, I am going to have to say that if the things chased or acquired are not useful and are outside of my means, then they really aren’t that nice at all!

Don’t get me wrong, there are many things that are outside of my means that I would adore having. But giving too much attention to these things, is horrible for all areas of my Mental and Emotional Health.

With a mind like mine, it’s too easy to get wrapped up in the not having the things I desire. All the while, being disconnected from all the beautiful things I already have in my life.

Being disconnected, even ungrateful for my current situation is a cause for unnecessary stress and mental obsession.

Stress Busy

If I am Going to be Busy it Needs to be with Chasing the Right Things!

I have some pretty amazing things in my life these days! These things work wonderfully to enhance my closest relationships.

The work that needs to be done to maintain these things and relationships alone can sometimes be overwhelming. My wife and I work incredibly hard to keep what we have in good repair.

To be chasing too many things and relationships I don’t already have can leave my current belongings and relationships with less time for maintenance. With less maintenance means more relationship wear and tear. As well more opportunity for relationship break down.

So if I am going to be spending time dreaming big about my next things, relationships, opportunities, I sure as hell better make sure that my “house is in order.”

Having my house in order means that I do not leave my relationships and belongings too needy.

So if the car or house are breaking down, I need to get them fixed. And of course, if there are pressing issues with my wife that is causing relationship strain, that needs attention ASAP,

The same goes for all relationships that currently make up my foundation!

To be day dreaming about a bunch of new life experiences while my foundation is in shambles, now that is just plain silly. It is also a clear sign of DENIAL.

I doubt I am the only one here that lets there priorities get out of whack. Lets see if you can relate with this list. If you can then you may be a little guilty as well!

Busy Priority

Here are some signs that show we’re BUSY getting our priorities out of whack.

  1. Procrastinating what should be taken care of.
  2. Giving more of our minds to what we want to buy than our close relationships.
  3. Spending far too much time staring aimlessly at our phones.
  4. Feeling like our healthy relationships are some burden to bare.
  5. Day dreaming too much at work.

Is it ever responsible to be busy

My philosophy on the subject is that if the relationships are not too needy, then we are safe to dream big about what we currently do not have.

But if we are in Imagination Land while things are falling apart around us, THEN WE NEED TO WAKE UP. Wake up and come back to reality!

Our lives need us! That goes for the lives we are currently living, and the lives that we are set to attract.

But it all starts from taking great care of our current situation, relationships and belongings. Which also builds a solid foundation to support all of the new things and relationships that will be coming.

Okay, so I began this article talking about chasing things. Now I hope it clear to you that I believe we first need to “chase” a solid foundation for our lives. We need to chase that solid relationship with our selves, families, jobs, current belongings.

Busy with Relationships

We need to put in the hard work to take care of exactly where we are at. And then and only then can we responsibly chase down anything else!

Here are some thought provoking tips to help Busy ourselves responsibly.

  1. Spend ample time with our closest relationships.
  2. Take good care of our own bodies.
  3. Have a Gratitude practice.
  4. Look to create value for our relationships.
  5. Meditate or just take time to breathe and turn away from our thoughts.
  6. Discuss expenditures with everybody that will be effected.
  7. Ensure current belongings are well maintained.
  8. Don’t spend money frivolously.
  9. Pay attention!
  10. Turn off the Cell Phone from time to time.

Be Busy Being Well.

It is amazing what building a solid foundation in my life does for my mental and emotional state.

I don’t always follow my own advice perfectly, or even very well at times. But I do know that this works!

Developing healthy relationships with the people and things in my world is no mystery to me anymore. I know how to do this. But if it feels like a mystery to you, then I hope reading and applying what you’ve read here helps you immensely!

The most joyous times I have are when I look at my life and know that my hard work helped make all this happen. That my commitment to be good to what I have and the relationships I have developed, have made life amazing.

Not only that, but it has made life just a little better to all of my relationships!

Thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would like you to do a couple things for us!

  1. Please share this article on your Social Media.
  2. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new posts sent directly to your email.
  3. Follow the conversation on our Facebook Page!

Best of luck to you with building your relationship foundation. But remember, don’t spend too much time day dreaming about the future, if the present is too messy!

 

Much Love,

Travis Hagen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Through the Pain of Life.

Living Through the Pain of Life.

In my last post on My Life Experiment I talked about Staying out of Default Mode Living.

Today we are going to talk about emotional pain, which I feel is generally the reason we hold ourselves back from living the fullness of our lives.

After I put that article out, I got the answer to a question I didn’t even realize I was asking.

Why do individuals (including myself) continually go back into living On Default, and neglect to create more positive experiences for themselves?

That was the Question. The answer that came is that LIFE HURTS.

The unfortunate truth about life is whether we show up and attempt new things or not, there will be pain.

That and LIFE doesn’t really give a damn if we are experiencing pain or not. It will not slow down for us to catch up. If we don’t change, the pain will only intensify.

In the recovery community I am a part of, there is a saying about pain and change.

It goes “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

Well actually I just stole Tony Robbins paraphrasing of the statement! But it captures the essence of an issue all beings face.

Over my last 9 years in recovery I have experienced a great deal of success! But there have been many occasions where I have had to experience great stress and worry before making a new change.

Don’t get me wrong I am not a using addict any more and that type of pain was pure torture style suffering! Even though I do suffer at times these days, the type of suffering pales in comparison to what it once was.

The pain is pain though and says something needs to happen. It is my bodies way of signaling that I need to make a move!

When my hand touches a hot stove top, the pain receptors in my brain tell me that I need to move my damn hand.

The same goes for when I am caught in a situation where I need to make a decision to move into a new direction! When I procrastinate on changing, stress builds.

Stress is pain. It is the equivalent to the burning sensation from the stove!

Throughout my life, unfortunately I have been a glutton for punishment, unable to “take my hand off of the hot stove.” Even though my flesh was searing..

For many years I came to believe that the intense stress I felt, was just the way I was. So I accepted it, and then tried to numb it out with chemicals, living inside a fantasy in my own head, and many other fruitless activities.

But then the stress was even greater than my ability to numb it out. At 26 years old, my Liver, my Pancreas, my Kidneys, my Nervous System were all ready to give up on me.

For me, there was no where else to go. I had a dilemma.

  1. Keep using, and probably kill myself.
  2. Quit using and enter into a world that freaked me out almost as much as the idea of death did.

I took the latter option and entered recovery.

This is only my bottom and it was extreme. I realize that most people (whether an addict or not) do not have to go to this extreme to change. And I am immensely grateful that I no longer do either!

We do not have to wait until the pain of staying the same is more painful than that of changing!

Great amounts of pain DO NOT need to build for us to enact substantial changes in our own lives.

Like I said above. “Our bodies tell us when something needs to change.”

For all those years, I had no intellectual clue that stress meant I needed to make a change. Thankfully I know this now!

I would say that these days I deal with the kind of stress that your average human being does.

I feel it coming, usually procrastinate some, and generally take care of things before things get too crazy inside of my head. And before the stress builds to the “pulling my hair out stage.”

I am an individual that is susceptible to high anxiety fairly easily! This means that the level of self care I need to have in my life needs to be on point.

That or my stress reaches a point where I find myself wondering if I need to be on anxiety medication once again!

There is nothing wrong with medication, but I try to look through all my other self care options before I move in the medication direction.

self care for pain

The options that I look to reduce my stress and pain are as follows:

  1. Take time to listen to my body.
  2. Make Decisions promptly when they come up.
  3. Do not Procrastinate on taking my next actions.
  4. Meditate.
  5. Talk to others.
  6. Maintain a Therapeutic Writing process.
  7. Stay physically active.
  8. Have some fun.
  9. Put the phone down for awhile and breathe.
  10. Maintain a Healthy Diet.

What these self care options do is help me to keep my stress, at a manageable level.

With my stress at a manageable level, life does not hurt quite as much as it could. And when I am not in so much emotional pain, it is so much easier to step up and take on the next amazing opportunity!

Though I also realize that the pain is also the reason why I wouldn’t want to do everything on my list that would help reduce my stress! Self care can be hard to want to do as well sometimes! But that may be for another article…

No matter what, I need to act! I just need to just toughen up and do what I need to do! knowing that if I don’t, more unnecessary pain awaits

I have chosen to live! And if I am going to live, even though i know pain is inevitable, I would rather not suffer.

That is the message I want to leave you with today.

I hope you choose to live today, to step up and keep moving through the pain. Because in my strong opinion, it is entirely worth it!

Dont give up. When the hard work gets put in, the beautiful rewards may be just around the corner. It would be a shame for anyone to give up just  before “the miracle” happens!

On that note I thank you for stopping in to My Life Experiment today! If you enjoyed what you have read please share this on social media.

To join the conversation on our Facebook page come check us out 🙂

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Thanks again and Much Love,

Travis Hagen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for Getting Life Off Default Mode.

Tips for Getting Life Off Default Mode.

Hey everybody! In this post I’m talking to you about Living Life on Default Mode.

So, what is Default Mode? Well thanks for asking!

Default Mode is about living life in the comfort zone, it is about minimal risk. It is neglecting to experiment with and expand our lives in a positive way!

Living this way requires no real creativity.

This Psychology Today Article claims that “Creativity of all types is a premier form of psychological adaptation.

Now I’m not just talking about just writing, drawing, and all that kind of creativity.

Creativity is simply about using our energy to affect change in the world in any form. Well.. Change that goes along with the morals we adhere to, of course.

If I create outside my morals, there is possible guilt and shame to deal with.

I have heard many times and said many times that “idle hands are the devil’s playthings”.

 

This is said to mean that when we don’t busy ourselves with productive things, we are likely going to start causing some problems!

The problems can start innocent enough, maybe telling a few more fibs than usual. But, if the devil is allowed to play for too long the more intense the problems become increasingly mischievous.

I am an addict in recovery. Before i got clean, my problems were of high intensity. I was dying and killing other people around me.

The reality of my past hints at what awaits me if i do not take enough healthy risks and make enough healthy commitments.

The years i was rapidly destroying my life, I don’t contribute to living life on Default. That was a different beast altogether!

That’s what I call Addiction.

In recovery I have heard the Disease of Addiction described as having to live an amped up form of what it is to be human.

This means, higher intensity of emotion, intensity of thinking, and intensity of desire. And lets not forget intensity of anxiety!

By this logic, I must also have a high intensity of creative energy!

Actually, so much energy at times that I have no clue what to do with it. And all this energy, when not used responsibly becomes intense anxiety.

I just mentioned the addiction part because that is what I have to deal with! Many others have there own energy burden to bare..

I am fully aware that every human being has huge pools of creative energy. Whether an addict or not, that energy needs to find its way into the world!

Above i said that Life on Default is life in the comfort zone. Or maybe more like the habit of reducing anxiety to as much of a degree as possible.

Staying comfortable may be attractive. But seeking comfort for too long turns into the habit of living on Default.

The dilemma I find is that whether I choose to create, or refuse to, there is going to be anxiety.

When I choose to create, I get the anxiety up front. Because to create is to challenge myself, and doing things that challenge me can be stressful!

The funny thing is that more often than not, when I am sliding into Default Mode, I don’t even realize it. I may fool myself into thinking that i don’t need to challenge myself like I once needed to.

Even still, whether I know I am holding onto too much creative energy or not, there will be psychological consequences.

Over time that “old anxiety devil” begins talking more loudly, and guiding me to act in ways that may not be acceptable.

Now I hope you aren’t thinking that I am talking about some sort of evil possession. Just, that the energy I don’t create with is going to find a way to do so!

We seem to be back full circle to the area where I am in danger of Addiction rearing its ugly head. Also in the spot where most human beings are going to find themselves working with unproductive stress.

This is likely the time when poor decisions find themselves being much more easily made!

If you are following up this point I hope you are getting the picture that being sufficiently creative is necessary for good health. And not creating sufficiently is hard on humans of all Mental and Emotional capacities.

Don’t worry I am not saying that we all need to be GO GO GO all the time! Just that a balance needs to be struck between being comfy, and using our creative energies.

In the last post I put out titled “Making the Commitment to Live Life”, I laid out my history with making positive commitments.

To tie that article into this article I think we need a list! A list of tips for staying in the right headspace for making positive commitments, and keeping ourselves in the drivers seat of OUR OWN LIVES.

 

TIPS FOR STAYING IN COMMITMENT AND OUT OF DEFAULT LIVING:

  1. Surround ourselves with healthy people that will push us to take healthy risks.
  2. Keep ourselves out of Fearful Thinking.
  3. Develop Self-Awareness to get in touch with our own Consciences.
  4. Use a Therapeutic Writing practice to stay in touch with our emotional states.
  5. Set aside relaxation time to recharge our own batteries.
  6. Develop as much Gratitude as possible.
  7. Share the gift of our creative energies with other people, be of service.
  8. Teach all that we learn, to others.
  9. Allow ourselves to stretch our abilities to learn new things.
  10. Take plenty of opportunities to just breathe and be cool with the present moment.

Using these tips basically everyday of my life, I don’t know where I would be without them…

I have been able to guide a brain that so easily slides into insanity, and use it to create consistent success that I am very proud of living!

Alright folks, so that is about all that I have for you today!

Thank you all so much for stopping by and checking out My Life Experiment. If you find this article helpful, please give it a share on your social media to help spread our message!

Also if you enjoy our content and would like to receive them directly to your email, and receive a printable Therapeutic Writing Guide, then go ahead and sign up for our email list!

As well, If you would like any of these tips expanded upon, go ahead and stop by our Facebook page and send us a message!

https://www.facebook.com/MyLifeExperimentblog/

Much Love,

Travis Hagen

 

 

 

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creative-explorations/201503/creativity-and-mental-illness

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