Whenever I mention to people that I teach stress management, meditation, and life mastery skills, they almost always say to me, “Boy, do I need that!” We live in a very fast-paced world. Information, opportunities, and challenges are expanding exponentially every day. Life is full, to say the least!

Too often, our experience of life is like a series of breathless, unconscious, one-after-the-other chase scenes in a fast-paced movie. Rather, I believe life is meant to be a series of vibrant still shots or landscapes, to savor and enter into with just a sprinkling of the right amount of madcap scenarios to add some spice.

Often, as soon as we wake up in the morning, we are immediately mentally inundated with an infinitely long “to do” list. Instead, I would propose that we start off our day by focusing on creating an exquisite, rich, high-quality “to be” list.

As I see it, it’s not about what you want to do today that is most important, but rather, what you want to be, or feel, or experience. What qualities of life do you want to primarily participate in today: peace, balance, love, courage, happiness, joy, humor, harmony, confidence? Or do you really want to go into a lowest-common-denominator default mode and experience their opposites?

Why not begin your day by jotting down the quality that you would like to experience and embody that day? Then, as the day progresses, create various practices that will help you to remember and reinforce that quality so that your day is filled with what is really most important to you and with that which will bring you the greatest lasting value. For instance, you could choose feeling “peaceful” as the most important “to be” quality for a particular day. Therefore it would be with peacefulness that you would want to begin, follow through with, and end every activity and interaction in your day.

In other words, let the quality you want to experience be more important than the list of goals you want to accomplish. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, and with whomever you are doing it, always ask yourself, “How can this interaction be permeated with the quality I have chosen today?”

Here is a technique, one of many I have developed and taught over the years, that can help you to refocus on your quality again if you realize that you have lost it.

First, slow yourself down; next, take seven deep breaths. As you breathe in, imagine that you are breathing in the quality that you have chosen for that day; see and feel it permeating your whole body-mind, and then, on the exhalation, see and feel its opposite being expelled. Really feel it and see it as you breathe in deeply and gently. At the end of these seven breaths you will feel refreshed and on target again.

Just trust that as you learn to be consistent with focusing on your quality, you will be surprised that you not only have had the pleasure of experiencing the positive quality you have chosen, but as an added bonus, you also find that what was most important on your “to do” list has been accomplished easily and effectively.

Note that what I am suggesting you begin practicing here is an “art,” and sometimes, when you first sit down to create a work of art, things can get quite messy. Don’t be discouraged if at times you lose your vision and just can’t seem to be able to keep your chosen quality in focus. In time you will get better at it. In time, as well, you will learn that if you do lose your focus, it doesn’t really matter! When you do lose it, first, just notice that you have lost it, and then, with a sense of humor, have a good laugh at yourself, give yourself a break, and when you have calmed down, gently come back to practicing the quality you have chosen.

So, when you wake up in the morning, why not begin with your “to be” list, and then, let the quality that you have chosen permeate your whole day. To help you stay focused, do the breathing exercise described above as often as you can remember; do it while you are driving your car, standing in line, waiting for someone, etc. Also, some folks find it helpful to put Post-it® notes up everywhere, with the quality written on them as reminders. You can even write your quality on the palm of your hand or automate a message on your computer.

Just imagine, after a year of practicing this, how rich and full a tapestry of qualities and experiences you will have woven into the fabric of your life and into the lives of your loved ones as well as many others. I know many people who have turned their lives around practicing this simple approach!

It is possible! Give yourself a chance; you deserve it. You won’t always do it perfectly, but it’s never about being perfect, is it? It is all about the journey and not the destination. Remember, you can always, every day, in every moment choose “to be” filled with a wondrous joy, peace, and love. It is a choice, and it’s yours. You are a human being, not a human “doing”! Begin your day by putting first things first: claim your mastery and step into and experience who you want “to be” today!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways.html

Author's Bio: 

Yanni Maniates, MS, CMI, is the founder of The Life Mastery Institute. He has been teaching meditation, intuitive development, healing, and metaphysical subjects for the past 20 years. He is certified in mediumship and numerous holistic and esoteric healing modalities. Yanni has published articles, book reviews, three meditation CDs, and a number of certification programs. He is also publishing a book on self-mastery to be released in 2006. The primary focus of all his work is to help people experience the “Embrace.” Yanni offers individual intuitive consultations, the Mentor with the Masters® Program, Spiritual Renewal Retreats, and much more. Visit his Web site at http://www.LifeMasteryblog.com.