Day 2 – Why Awareness Matters

Why you should pay attention:

For a long time in my life, I didn’t pay attention. If anything, I actively avoided paying attention to what was going on. One of the reasons I smoked so much pot for long time is that it helped me avoid difficult thoughts and emotions.

Of course, there were a lot of things I did pay attention to. I paid attention to how popular I was and whether or not I had a cool job. I paid attention to how successful I appeared to others, and I paid attention to how attractive my girlfriend was.

But all the important stuff, like what I was called to do with my life, the fact that I was living out of alignment with my values, the fact that I wasn’t treating myself or other people with the respect they deserved, and the fact that I was investing a ton of time into things that didn’t really matter – all of that stuff I totally ignored.

But that all changed when I started meditating.

What amazed me and still amazes me about meditation is that it always helps. It doesn’t matter how I’m feeling or what’s going on in my life. When I examine how I feel before I sit down and how I feel after, there is always less pressure.

Of course, meditation has never solved all of my problems but it has made the joys deeper and the woes a bit lighter. And while meditation is important, it’s what it gave me that had a bigger impact.

You see, once I learned how to pay attention to my breath, I started paying attention to other stuff too. I paid attention to how bad my body felt because I was a smoker.

  • I paid attention to how I used pot to avoid my problems.
  • I paid attention to how I got caught up in negative thought patterns about myself.
  • I paid attention to this empty feeling I had inside me all the time.

And because I paid attention, I started to take action towards changing those things.

For a long time I had thought that the reason I couldn’t change was a lack of willpower or character, but as I started to make changes, I realized that all I needed to do was pay attention. When I noticed what I didn’t like about my life, the motivation, the will power, and the ability to create change naturally arose.

Moreover, I’ve seen this pattern played out again and again with my clients. A client will bring a problem to me and want a solution and the first solution I always offer is the tool of awareness.

As soon as they start paying attention to it, 80%-90% of the time, it starts changing. Often they don’t even have to come up with a solution, because the solution will present itself as soon as they start paying attention to the problem.

Paying attention activates your innate wisdom, your innate perfection, and your innate desire toward clarity.

I know that these innate qualities exist in you.

Because if I the former stoner hippie rocker could find them, then you can, too.

And I’ve seen client after client discover this wisdom for themselves. All they had to do was take the time to look at what they liked and didn’t like about their lives and sure enough, they’d find all sorts of ways of creating more happiness in their lives.

And so, that is the challenge for Day 2:

I want each of you to create a happiness journal.

It can be a physical journal, a Google doc, an Evernote folder, or even a Pinterest board.
And for your first entry, I want you to write down 4 – 6 things that you do or can do on a regular basis to create happiness.

Then do one or all of these 3 things:

  1. Write a blog post about these 4 – 6 things and why you don’t make space for them or what you could do to create more space for them. Then create a trackback or post a link to them in the comments below.
  2. Share one or all six of these things on Facebook or twitter with the hashtag #30dayhappy.
  3. Share this list with someone you care about and then tell us about it in the comments.

11 thoughts on “Day 2 – Why Awareness Matters

  1. I’m very excited about this and will be following along but something is so cool about writing stuff down so that works better for me. Also as a part of my happiness that includes not using Facebook so that is out. thanks for these suggestions.


    4 – 6 things that you do or can do on a regular basis to create happiness.

    1. Watch the hawk outside my window on the church steeple survey his domain, waiting for him to soar.
    2. Drive Highway 1 to West Marin on a summer day.
    3. Finish a hard or long put-off task: accomplishment.
    4. Do something or make something that pleases my partner.

    I’m too shy to share beyond the comments for now. I think of this as an inward journey I am doing for myself which will yield wider, outside benefits later.

  3. Second part:

    Why you don’t make space for them or what you could do to create more space for them:

    #1 I do as pretty much a daily practice: awareness of the birds
    #2 is constrained by time and I view it as a treat. I’m planning on doing it during the nice weather here this weekend.
    #3 is up against prioritizing, organizing, and motivating: big obstacles for me.
    #4 perhaps scheduling a weekly thing

  4. Take the dog to parks, call friends, limit chore time to x minutes a day (so the rest of the time is fun/relax time). I shared this with my fiance and he had some more ideas.

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