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Changing the way we think can change our life.

Live as if There is No Tomorrow? Scary.

"Live as if today was your last day" Is this supposed to be a tool for how to prioritize what I would like to do today? Scary. No way. Changing the way we think can change our life. Fear based living vs. Values based living can lead to more peace, calm, resolve even in challenging times when there seem to be no easy decisions.

This quote was the entry point in what was supposed to be an upper level meditation program I was listening to. I found it anxiety producing, distracting. Not at all mind clearing or inspiring. It was more of this same old subtle (not so subtle) doom-and-gloom style, punitive thinking that we have become so accustomed to.

Punitive = something taken. Reward = something given.

What was taken if it felt punitive? It felt as if there was an attempt to chip at my inner sovereignty and joy, my sense of security - There is no tomorrow? Last DAYS!? GAH. Do I want to walk around feeling like my decisions and actions are based on how my tomorrow could be taken? We all know this is true, life is not guaranteed. This method pushes into our MOST basic, instinctual awareness, enabling even low levels of fight, flight, freeze to turn on - to make decisions from that exquisite place within us - always on the job keeping us from getting eaten by a saber tooth tiger. Any decisions in the day, then come from avoidance or preparation, awareness of something being taken - OUR LIFE! All we love and know. Yikes! No thanks.

I know, I know, live like there's no tomorrow, live for today, etc. is supposed to be this concept of no regrets, pushing us to have our highest priorities in the forefront - but why? There's the hidden hook - because life is fragile and we can lose everything. YIKES. Fear based living! Take that extra step - but why? - in these catchall expression that are so-called motivating or comforting, guiding in some way, if we pause and think, feel into them for the emotional story under the story, we discover the actual connect points. In this case, it seems the connect point is to grab ahold of life! The emotional story under the story is to not take any moment for granted because (but why?) ... you know what's at risk, what's coming! Any time now! Are you ready? No! I'm not ready!

If we give this more thought, well... I'm not sure how most of us would actually behave if we truly thought TODAY WAS OUR LAST DAY. It's an emotional idealism that we would be inspired to, say, not take each other or our time for granted, get our butts off the couch or something, right? We often fall short of this idealized list, too, and end the day or week, or resolutions feeling discouraged. (There's a whole science on why this doesn't work out for us, check it out here later.) There have been some Twilight Zone episodes exploring human nature in the last day scenario and it's not very pretty. We're not taking that hot air balloon ride or being extra sweet to our someones. This live as if there is no tomorrow concept is romanticized at best and a great example how phrases become so culturally mainstream that they become embedded in our thinking without challenge.

The Twilight Zone - The Shelter, TV Episode 1961
The Twilight Zone - The Shelter, TV Episode 1961

I think we can do better.

I know we can have more inner peace in the process, too.

These kinds of phrases are numerous and we are very accustomed to them. Once you begin shifting your awareness to these communication styles, you will notice them everywhere in our expressions, pain-point marketing, self-help/improvement lingo and even spiritual guidance. As a result, our ingrained thinking, perceptions, and expectations of ourselves and others becomes shaped in this pain avoidance, survival, striving, comfort model. Once we begin to notice these phrases, we can have a conversation with them. Think about them, feel into them. Ask: What do they feel like in your body? What does your mind associate with them? If you touch into your "but why -> where's the emotional connect point/the story under the story?" and find a match, (not an idealized imaginary view of what you would like to think, feel, or maybe might be if that situation were to maybe happen and that kick in the pants were helpful) that your core values align with what you discover, great!

What if it doesn't? A change in thinking can change your life, right? Even only a small tweak in thinking can create a huge life ripple. You can choose to rephrase it. Try several versions of it and feel, think, sense into what is a better match. This can be a quick and playful process, or a more contemplative one over days, weeks. You'll know as you lean in. Make it a toy rather than a labor. Maybe a part, maybe the whole phrase's meaning is a no go after all. Huh. You get to release it in part or in whole. Be yourself. By shifting to think, feel, sense in a more reward/something given practice, we allow ourselves to experience different possibilities, expectations, connections, and perceptions in our inner and outer lives. When we stop prioritizing from a fear-based mentality to a love or wonder based mentality, we come from our core of values, living into what is meaningful to our unique self as a collection of beliefs, thoughts, connections, experiences, and design.

Personally, I feel, how awful, really, to "Live as if there's no tomorrow." I reject that model. I am happy to focus on being my best self each day because this aligns with my values and joy. This is a powerful shift from fear to love, and invites a calm, engaged core as the base where decisions arise from as my day goes on. The actions I take in a day may look and seem exactly the same from either phrase - live as there's no tomorrow vs I focus on being my best self each day, but my inner experience and motivation is completely different, which shapes my body chemistry, my thoughts, my energy, my engagement, risks, and connections.

Making the Shift: A Best Self, Right Now.

What if we live and prioritize as if right now matters because every moment has its own value, simply because it does? And, because we are tuned into our values, our unique integrity, and inner code, our inner alter of morality, imagination, love and beliefs, and whatever that leads us to, what matters in that moment is of value? What can you add or give to your life, in any circumstance that is easy or more challenging, in your thoughts, feelings, body, spirit, values: support, curiosity, joy? Love?

(Reward! Something given/added)

Phrased another way. As we live, become accustomed to thinking in this reward/add, giving centered way of prioritizing how we focus in a moment, each moment is it’s own rewarding , space. That space is of value to us and informed by our values. How we engage in moments is not constructed by fear, or fear avoidance, it’s based on what we value, which can be full, enough. The reward is inner calm, alliance with our integrity, beliefs, connections. Our thoughts, feelings, actions and interactions in these moments build on each other, regardless of how easy or difficult the circumstances may be. The reward is based on the moment itself which has it’s own value, even if we don’t always notice, because we are busy living it as our best self. Yes, it's a circle or a sphere, self feeding.

We become intrinsically motivated.

Intrinsic motivation is when we do an activity for the inherent satisfaction of it rather than for some outer consequence avoidance or acceptance. When we are intrinsically motivated, we are moved to behave, choose our thoughts and actions for the fun, challenge, or ideal rather than because of external pressure or rewards. We are connected with our integrity, values, and joys!

We have changed our thinking,

which grows a core of inner peace,

and changes our approach to life.

Does this mean we don't plan? Of course we plan, and we practice. Reward: something given. What will my future self thank me for by doing this now?
retro clock with lights Birdi Sinclair Begin Peace Blog

Sometimes we need to be still enough, even very briefly, to check in and update. Remembering what it is we value in a moment that is challenging, busy, or new is where the practicing in the moments comes in handy.

We can ask ourselves things like: What is my core telling me - my body messages, my feelings, instincts, experience, and thoughts? Where is my home/center - my truth? What do I most value? What is my intrinsic need, and the need of this moment - are they the same or different? What is one shift in thinking or responding, one action small or large I can create in this moment that I can agree with?

This conversation can happen quickly because our inner wisdom knows stuff and is just waiting for us to ask! Also, we can spend deeper time with ourselves sifting through these questions in general.

This helps us separate from the constant messaging that is masterfully or habitually targeting, subtly or not so subtly, our guilt, fear, avoidance, damage or wounds, and activating our biological responses so we are deciding hundreds of things from a very different place as we go through our day.

Change your thinking, change your life -> AND Inner Peace is Real

Punitive/ something taken, loss - Not enough: What if I mess up, if I miss the deadline, if I disappoint someone, if I ...then I will lose my health, my work, my connections. I didn't do (x) again! I'm never going to get passed this point, I'll be alone forever, The best is behind me, If only....

Switch to:

Reward/Gains/ something given, added - Enough: What if I remember my core: I am kind, I am creative, I am intelligent, I am present, I am distracted, I am unsure, I am anxious, And even still - I am prioritizing this because it means this to me. I know I will also care about others while I focus on this, because I can grow and do many things. I hold space for others, and be fully in what this moment needs of me.

Let’s challenge ourselves to be a little free-er from that fear structure as any form of motivation and to be present with ourselves and how we relate to these types of phrases. Eat your vegetables, someone else is starving - OR - I eat my veggies because I choose the portion and type that is right for me.

Free from fear-based living. Open to love, joy based living. It starts with a shift in thinking.

Notice. Nurture. Now.

Please reconstruct this concept however it suits you. I will reconstruct the phrase of no tomorrow into, “Live today as if today were today.” or “Live today as if it were filled with moments that are important to me.”

Or simply, “Live today.”

May all beings be in peace.

Ama la vita d’altro.

In Kindness,

Dr. Birdi Sinclair

Spiritual Guide, Peace Coach

Birdi Sinclair Signature

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