I'm sure many of you already saw or heard reports about the recent study that a majority of people would rather give themselves an electric shock than spend 15 minutes alone in a room. More men than women would shock themselves, but still, there are a lot of people who'd rather feel pain than be alone and let their minds wander.
I think that's...CRAZY! Don't you know what you're missing? Being alone in your room is the best part of everything. Apparently, this phenomenon isn't new: One of my Facebook friends told me she wrote an article about this in Prevention before the Internet was a known entity in most people's lives.
Why is this?
I think we've been told over and over--and by many sources--that self-reflection is dangerous. It's selfish. It's likely to lead to things that make us feel guilty. It might cause us to reexamine EVERYTHING in our lives and perhaps break some rules. We'd rather punish ourselves than celebrate our special uniqueness and examine our deepest fears and our utter perceived aloneness in the universe. After all, you might just remember that you're going to die and you can't take it with you or think what does it all mean and OH MY GOD...SHOCK ME NOW SO I STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS!
Well, for some reason I happen to be an absolute expert at spending time alone in my room. It's one of my top-five favorite things to do. (Of course, I've never given myself an electric shock, so maybe that's more fun?) All the tips below are assuming you are truly alone, and not in some observation room with a two-way mirror.... And notice I'm not asking you in any way to focus on your fears and your darkness, because I believe turning on the light is the best way to make that darkness go away.
1. Look at yourself in a mirror. Really look. Stare into your own eyes. Who are you? Think about reincarnation and what you might have been in a past life. Do you look happy? Healthy? If you saw yourself on the street, what would you think of you? Try to turn off the negative voices and focus on the positives only!
2. Think back to when you were little and try to remember who you thought you would be. Who are you now? Are you living up to your childhood dreams? If not, why?
3. Feel your body. Sure, go ahead and touch it. But also just feel it from within, give it an emotional scan and think about what each little ache and pain might be trying to tell you. What purpose does it serve in your life? What would make your body feel awesome?
4. Practice self-love. Can you give yourself pleasure without feeling guilty? Without resorting to the Internet? Just using your imagination and your own body? If touching yourself is too far to go, can you truly look at yourself and feel good and loving and appreciative of who you are, faults and all?
5. Think about your biggest dream for your future; what does it look like? I always like to think backwards--from the big D. When you die, what will you regret if you haven't accomplished it? Now imagine your biggest dream coming true. Is it a place to live? A person to love? A contribution to humanity? A creative pursuit? What is it? Imagine it.
6. Think about how you'd redecorate the room. If all else fails, just imagining redecorating the room you're in is always a fun game.
7. Think about your favorite people. Who are they, and what do you love about them?
8. If you could go anywhere you wanted in the world, where would you go? Don't let fears of money, wars, or disease narrow your list. Remember, you're safely alone in a room. Dare to dream!
9. What would it take to be happy in your life right now? OK with all the big things, then what about the little things? If you had to make ONE change in your life when you open the door to this room where you're sitting peacefully alone, what would it be? What would be the biggest, boldest change you could make to make yourself happy RIGHT NOW?
10. What's stopping you? Why? Do it anyway. Do it anyway!
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com