When I was invited to participate as a contributing editor in an internet newsletter, I was all at once flattered, enormously thrilled, and instantly filled with absolute panic! My mind suddenly went on overload. I heard myself thinking, "I don't know anything! How can I write about something when I don't know anything?"

Of course, once I threw all gears into reverse, put my brain in neutral and eventually clicked into park, I realized that this sort of thinking was typical and that I ought to have known better by now!

This was an unconscious reaction to the fear of the unknown. In other words, I had no idea what I should write about, let alone what I could write about! I was thinking unconsciously.

Living and thinking unconsciously is what all of us do from time to time. And some of us are better at it than others. This I have learned: if we desire to succeed at anything we need to train ourselves to live consciously - to be in the moment - to know every step of the way what motivates us, what our capabilities are, and to make deliberate choices in what direction we need to go in order to achieve the best results for us.

So how do we accomplish this? It takes patience and a great deal of practice, but it is possible, my friends. If I can do it, then so can you.

Often we allow ourselves to be conditioned by events in our lives, and by the reactions of others to what we have said or done. When a child receives a smile, they know that they have pleased someone. When they receive a frown, they learn that this is not a good thing. Naturally, a child has no choice. They are conditioned by this response. However, we carry this into adulthood, and then nobody thinks to tell us about it! Finally it becomes an unconscious way of communicating. We have learned how to interpret facial expressions, body movements and sounds. We now have no need for words. There it is - we are now living unconsciously.

In order to break ourselves of this habit, like everything else, we must become aware of what we are doing. It is not an easy task, to learn the ability to watch ourselves. In order to be successful at building a business, a marriage, teaching children, making and keeping friends, cooking, cleaning, riding a bike, driving a car, watching television - we must be able to recognize our moments of unconsciousness. Okay, yeah, sometimes it is good to be unconscious when watching television - that's what we do it for - it's our escape. But, ever wonder why we feel the need to escape? Does it not take infinitely more energy to live our days in an unconscious state? Goodness -- Hopefully, we don't drive in this state!

Here's how I consciously came to be here at this very moment in my life. I had a successful working career, making enough money to get by, a cranky but loveable husband, two beautiful children and one amazing grandson. To all intents and purposes, I was living a reasonably happy life, able to pay my bills, and all seemed right with the world. Or was it? Why then, was I looking around at everyone else and thinking that I would rather be them? Something was not right in Camelot! I was suddenly reacting to things in ways that were foreign to me. Was it menopause? Were the horror stories I had read about women throwing complete dinners out of windows because their family had dared to complain, suddenly creeping into the pages of my life? Was it possible that this had something to do with my unease? No. That was not the whole story. This was much more. I was in the process of unveiling my previously uninhabited life. I was realizing that I had not been in my life for a very long time! All this time, I had been outside looking in! And what I saw was making me feel very uncomfortable. My spirit had not been in harmony with my physical being for close to a decade -- or heaven forbid, even more than that! I had become a mere spectator. It was time to get serious.

After much soul searching and conscious thought, I resigned from my job. This had an additional benefit, which I hadn't reckoned on. Of course, this momentous decision threw my husband into complete panic. But, it also forced him, in the process, to become conscious too. He was now looking at me differently. True, I could have misinterpreted this, for he could have really been thinking that I had finally completely and utterly lost my mind! That I was lost to him forever -- So Long Oolong! But as I became more fully conscious myself, I saw that he was also shifting in the process - he was not only sitting up, but he was taking notice - an absolute bonus.

What I had accomplished through this one single action was to bring to a complete halt any prior misconceptions about what would happen tomorrow. I was embracing my fear. I awoke the morning after my last day at work and the sun still came up over the horizon. The birds were still singing. People were still driving down the road. The mail carrier still delivered my mail. And the neighbor was taking her dog for a walk. Wow! I never knew that the neighbor even had a dog. I was actually participating in my life for the first time in years. I was appreciating the rise and fall of the sun. I was actually smelling the coffee brewing. I could check my messages in the morning instead of late at night. And I was feeling every moment of it all. Simple things.

So how do I pay my bills now? Well sometimes I don't. But don't get me wrong. I want to pay my bills and I will pay my bills. Now I have faith that I am living consciously, I will find better ways to fulfill my obligations as well as to fulfill my self. Of course, I'm not advocating that everyone reading this quits their job. There are other ways of consciously participating in your lives. And you will find it easy once you stop and think about what it is that you are actually feeling. What it is that you really want for yourself - what would really make you happy? And once that is accomplished, then you will find the way to make it happen.

That is what I am doing here. Starting up businesses, like many of you, having fun experimenting with what works and what does not. Being in the moment. May you all have as much fun living consciously. ©Deirdre Moignard Miller 1998

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it...always." ~ Mahatma Ghandi

Footnote: Ten years later, I have four grandchildren and a thriving business!

Author's Bio: 

Deirdre Miller, RMT, IARP is a Reiki Intuitive, certified Usui Reiki Master/Teacher and Spiritual Medium. For over ten years, she has taught and practiced Reiki Energy Healing and Spiritual Counseling in her studio, SpiritLight Works, LLC in CT as sole owner. Deirdre has enjoyed a successful career in a variety of fields spanning three decades. Her latest endeavor came as a result of resigning from a responsible position in a local college to explore a less stressful lifestyle by utilizing holistic medicine and the healing arts, and committing herself to helping others to do the same. Deirdre is a member of the International Society of Reiki Professionals, the American Board of Reiki,the Association for Spirit at Work, the SE CT Chamber of Commerce, is a former executive board member of her local Community Center, and co-founder/director of a scholarship program for Theater Arts students. A distinguished member of the International Society of Poets, Deirdre is also a published poet and editor of an online newsletter, "Messages from SpiritLight at Home." She also designs/operates two web sites: www.spiritlightworks.com and www.spiritlighthome.com, and publishes her own blog at www.spiritlighthome.com/blog.html
She lives in Connecticut with her husband. Contact her at deirdre@spiritlighthome.com or call 860-464-4037.