There are moments in life when we are naturally more aware. When you are "in love" the sky seems bluer, flowers smell more fragrant, and little daily annoyances are easily tolerated. When you are ill, all the symptoms you don't normally live with seem extreme, and when you are well again, "normal" feels fantastic. When you are with a newborn baby, every part of this little human seems miraculous. When a loved one dies, you are hyper-aware of the moments you shared.

Another time of naturally heightened awareness is any "first-time" experience. One of my favorite parts of being a Teacher/Guide for Japanese exchange students was that I experienced seeing my world through their eyes. I imagined how our country and culture looked and felt to them. I took great delight in giving them many, many "first-time" experiences. The sites and sounds and tastes that I live with daily took on new poignancy for me as I watched others experience them for the first time. Later, when I traveled to Japan my own senses were super-charged by being in a completely different culture and place.

When have you experienced a state of heightened awareness? What was happening? Who was there? What did you see, hear, smell, taste, feel?

In the same way that our senses are hyper-aware during certain experiences, we can also become completely unaware of a particular habitual way of doing or seeing. A great example of this is to fold your hands, fingers interlaced. How does that feel? Did you have to think about where your fingers went? Now unfold them and interlace your fingers opposite. Doesn't that feel weird?? Did you have to think specifically of where your fingers needed to go? Notice how aware you are of where each finger is. Are your hands uncomfortable? Do you feel the urge to switch them back?

In this case, there is no right or wrong, no judgment call. Folding your hands one way or another really doesn't make a big overall difference in life. No one's going to call you out because you fold your hands right over left or whatever. However, you do have a new perspective by trying to fold your hands a different way. You not only notice how odd it feels to interlace your fingers differently, you are also more aware of the feeling of what works for you when you re-fold your hands in their natural pattern.

When I do this little exercise, I think of how many different habits I have in my life that I have developed until they are second nature. Some habits are benign, others life-giving and others malignant. The best and worst part of habits, is that they become second-nature. I can cease to be completely aware of my habits and how they are affecting my life.

Some habits are instinctual, a knowing of what works for me. Or they are instinctual, repeating negative messages over and over. Some habits may limit my experience of life; they become ruts of mediocrity or may even be downright destructive. Some habits may have a more profound effect, becoming ongoing sources of life, such as prayer, laughter, and exercise.

What personal habits contribute life to your life?

Both awareness and a lack of awareness can contribute to building habits. When I am aware, I may deliberately develop a habit of my choice. I can choose a behavior that will help to build my character. I can choose behavior that will help me to create a more meaningful life. Conversely, a habit can also be developed inadvertently. A habit may be a learned pattern of behavior, perhaps from childhood. It may be built by reacting over and over again in the same way.

While habits can develop without awareness, habits rarely change without awareness. Well, at least unhealthy habits. These sure do seem to be the easiest to develop unaware. And these habits that steal life from us require awareness to root them out. These habits are best destroyed by replacing them with life-giving habits. Awareness is essential to this process.

What personal habits have you outgrown? What personal habits do you want to discard?

While both healthy and unhealthy habits may be formed either deliberately or unintentionally, I believe that awareness is the key to spotlighting what is and isn’t working for me. I can expand my vision, clear the eyes of my heart, gain new perspective and hear from that still, small voice inside of me.

I can examine my habits when I take the time to be aware. I can get clear on old habits that need to be discarded. I can celebrate what works for me. I can discover new behaviors I want to develop. I can choose behaviors that will help me grow in character. I can respond rather than react.

What personal habit do you want to develop in your life?

As we cultivate daily awareness, we grow in purpose. Awareness helps us to define and give meaning to our lives. With awareness comes a seeking of grace and wisdom. With awareness comes a willingness to experiment; to break away from normal routine; to learn new ways of seeing, thinking, listening and being. Through awareness we discover a wider perspective. Awareness is a key to creating a richer and more purposeful experience of life.

Why not start right now? Look at a loved one as though you are seeing them for the first (or last) time. Immerse yourself in your feelings and allow your perception to open. Just become aware and see what you notice.

OR Go to a picture you have hanging in your home. Something you pass by all the time. It may be a painting or a print or a poster. It could be a photograph. Go and SEE it. Or move it to a different spot and notice how that changes your awareness. What feelings does it evoke? Remember why you chose to hang it on your wall.

The more aware you are, the more aware you will become.

Author's Bio: 

Kelly Morrison is a certified life coach and retreat life coach.

Kelly brings a willingness to be transparent and vulnerable, wisdom earned through experience, a student's heart, a teacher's confidence, a friend’s compassion and a child's desire to play and create. She listens with an empathetic heart, you will know that you are seen and heard. She asks great questions to help you find your own answers.

Additionally, Kelly has 20+ years’ experience in lay counseling, mixed media art, photography, teaching, writing and the creation of meaningful events of all sizes.

Kelly received her Life Coach certification from the Certified Coaching Federation and her Retreat Life Coach certification through Mountain Coaching. 

For more articles as well as news about upcoming retreats, sign-up to receive her newsletter! Cut and paste: