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Mindful : October 2018
to inspire the people around us. Putting yourself out there can be dramatic, but it doesn’t have to be. At its core, bravery just means allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I know a psychi- atrist who is a very shy pub- lic speaker, incredibly re- luctant, yet in demand. She told me the story of a recent speaking engagement of hers. Already feeling rocky because of a difficult situa- tion in her family, and not very comfortable speaking in public at the best of times, she suddenly found herself paralyzed mid- sentence, unable to talk. At all. For several moments. Do you notice that time never feels as long as those moments when awkward- ness hangs in the air? After a not-so-delicious silence, she put herself out there and told the room about what was going on inside her. Many said that moment had the biggest impact of her whole talk. Who knew putting herself out there would include falling apart in public, and that acknowl- edging it might be the big takeaway for her audience? START SMALL, GO BIG There are other ways that we can put ourselves out there that might not have the same adrenaline-triggering qual- ities, but can bring change anyhow, and strengthen our bravery muscle. We can simply say hello, or good morning, or take other small acts of daring kind- ness toward strangers. We can put ourselves out there by agreeing to chair a com- mittee. We can put our- selves out there by letting people see us grieve or go gray. We can put ourselves out there by standing up or standing down for the greater good. According to psychologist Rick Hanson, the primary way to cultivate resilience, compassion, happiness, gratitude, and confidence is “to have experiences that get encoded into last- ing change in our neural structure or function.” In other words, if you want meaningful, lasting change in your life and you are seeking a way to open up to a wider band of color and choice, and if you are tired of settling for a life that keeps you small, you actual- ly have to be somewhat out- rageous. You have to take risks. And when we break the habit of playing small, we create possibilities for something new in our lives. Sometimes, when we take a leap, it leads to flying. But unless you put yourself out there and open to the possi- bilities that come with new experience, you’ll never really know for sure. ● STEP BACK FROM YOUR LIFE AND RECALL ANY MOMENTS YOU COULDN’T IMAG- INE SURVIVING. YET YOU DID SUR- VIVE, AND MAYBE YOUR DARING EVEN BECAME A TURNING POINT FOR POSITIVE CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE. A mindfulness-based approach to becoming aware of and breaking free from the five hindrances to your happiness SHAMBHALA PUBLICATIONS Enlighten your inbox: shambhala.com/email 4720 Walnut St. | Boulder, CO 80301 | shambhala.com “An honest and compassionate manual for relaxing the grip of our conditioned re- actions. With humor and practical clarity, Mitch Abblett illuminates the painful re- sponses we reinforce every day and offers kinder practices in return—ones that sup- port the gradual, skillful process of opening our hearts.” — Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness 20% OFF with code MNDFL1030 through October 30, 2018. READER SR ECEIVE 30 mindful October 2018 inner wisdom