Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Deepening Self-Awareness

with 9 comments

At this very moment, take note of what muscle(s) you are unconsciously clenching in whatever position you find yourself. One aspect of deepening self-awareness involves moving our unconscious activity closer to our consciousness. This doesn’t mean we have to be thinking about every single breath or heartbeat, but you can become more “aware” while not being exclusively focused on each one.

Sometimes, awareness occurs within a split second, too. That’s all the time it takes to notice where your posture might be clenched. Then it’s on to the next attention-getter.

Maybe the rapid-fire jump of attention is the thing to notice. Slow a mind down and the body will happily follow.

The most valuable reward I have discovered with my growing self-awareness (a term I actually have an aversion to due to the unappealing aura associated with over-indulgence of said behavior) is an equal increase of awareness for those around me.

Coming from the perspective of the self-centered focus of depression to any increase in balance toward healthier attention for others has been a very positive boost for me in my journey toward optimal health.

In contrast, an unanticipated flare-up in nerve discomfort from the bulging of a degenerating disc in my lower back snaps my attention dramatically back to self over all others. Try as I might to avoid the onset of self-pity, the pull is stronger than gravity and almost as relentless.

Mind and body are engaged in a battle of wits at this point. Should I refrain from moving? Should I clench all the other back muscles to prevent my moving into a position where the mild discomfort becomes a jolt of stabbing pain? Will excruciating pain actually happen, or is that just an archived memory from when it did happen one other time years ago?

I’ve been treated with traction and therapeutic exercise over the years to ameliorate the impact of the worst symptoms. These days the impact is much more subdued. But the memories remain.

The daily planking exercises and yoga stretching I have been doing for the last few years have provided me with better core strength in my body than ever before, but that doesn’t stop degeneration. At this point, I credit the muscle-building effort with softening the blow of the failing discs and allowing me to continue to function, albeit a little stiffly, through occasional periods of decline.

I am slowed, not incapacitated.

There is another fella around these parts who is forging onward despite an uncomfortable affliction. The extent of frostbite our rooster Rocky suffered on his wattle and comb is clearly obvious.

It’s hard to tell if his growing orneriness is due to that or simply a function of his continuing maturation into the valiant protector of his brood of hens. For some reason, he has chosen to single out the Buff Orpington for ex-communication from the group. I’m guessing she was the previous dominant hen and he feels a need to go overboard in making the point he is now the one in charge.

Both Cyndie and I have needed to demonstrate our dominance over him lately to assure he understands the ultimate pecking order around here.

Rocky needs to improve his self-awareness to become a better leader who recognizes how everyone around him is feeling about his actions and behaviors.

Now check to see if those muscles you noticed being clenched a few minutes ago unconsciously tightened up again.



Written by johnwhays

March 13, 2021 at 10:45 am

9 Responses

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  1. Great post! I never really thought about paying close attention to what my body is doing when I’m having certain thoughts. I notice I rub my forehead when I’m frustrated 😒

    Positive Obsessions

    April 8, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    • When we become aware of our unconscious behaviors, it allows us to choose which ones to keep nurturing (The Positive Ones!) and which to unlearn. (Clenching My Teeth. Ugh!)


      April 8, 2021 at 5:18 pm

  2. Quite a unique post! I enjoyed reading about the conundrum of self-awareness, as well as how you tied it back to the reader’s own self-awareness at the very end! Would love if you checked out a post of mine about self-awareness.

    Jimmy Warden

    March 24, 2021 at 5:46 am

  3. Nice post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Sending you positive vibe that you may get well in body mind and spirit. Also that you may grow in being aware of being aware of awarenes. Namaste.


    March 14, 2021 at 8:42 am

  4. Good luck with bending Rocky to your will. Perhaps you are engaged in a duel to see who reaches enlightenment first.

    Jim Parker

    March 13, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    • Thanks, Jim. We’ve seen positive improvement after practicing a few rounds of “dominance training” thus far, so I remain optimistic.


      March 14, 2021 at 10:13 am

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