Getting Real with What Is (Tool #2, Awareness)

It’s no secret that I’m not into a one-size-fits-all system for dealing with the ups and downs of life. At the same time, it’s important for me to remind myself of the qualities I’ve strived to cultivate over the years: ones that have brought me a greater sense of passion, purpose, joy, and connection. This is the second in a series of blogs that detail how I personally incorporate the seven tools of my book, Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman, into my life.  I invite you to take a deep dive with me into the value of Curiosity, Awareness, Acceptance, Intuition, Choice, Manifestation, and Your Infinite Roadmap! Please let me know in the comments how you personally address and engage with each of these important tools in your life. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the white noise of our lives, and to lose sight of what really matters to you…or on an even simpler level, what you need in the moment. For me, this last year has been a giant lesson in getting present to what is. I spent the majority of my waking hours launching a book, building up Women For One, and troubleshooting the many challenges that came up along the way. That included saying goodbye to staff members, dealing with family members who wanted me to silence my truth, and handling everything that comes with being a mom to six kids who are in wildly different stages of their own lives!

In the past month or so, I’ve become more attuned to the fact that the second tool of my book, Awareness, is something I must return to over and over again—especially when it comes to my body. When I exercise awareness, I remember to make sure that my physical body is a sacred vessel that helps me to clearly see and feel everything that is going on in my life. It helps me to get present to what is, as well as how I want to respond. In other words, awareness is the key to making good decisions, from what I choose to eat to how my body wants to move.

Awareness is a step to change, but it isn’t a Band-Aid solution. I realized that remembering to use my body as a sacred vessel requires making a lot of changes around things like diet, exercise, sleep, and general nurturance. When I woke up to how much I yearn to reconnect to my body, I didn’t suddenly open my eyes to a world of rainbows and ponies and boundless energy.

When I started focusing and getting aware of what shape my body was in and what it really looked like, I was a little shocked, to say the least. It felt like opening the door to a closet I’d avoided for a few years because I’d been reluctant to face the clutter and the cobwebs. I was afraid of not knowing where to start. The truth is, the more willing I was to shine a light on that closet, the more uncomfortable I felt…the more I had shit come up…the more I saw things I couldn’t just unsee…and the more I realized the idealistic picture I’d painted of my body and what it would mean to get back into shape didn’t fit the reality.

That’s why awareness is so challenging. So many people figure: If awareness is going to just increase my sense of how shitty everything is, why bother exercising it? Why not just pour any time and attention I have to spare into work, social media, exercise, TV, etc.?

Our avoidance is there because it’s a way to numb us out to the present moment, which kind of makes sense. But it’s only sustainable for so long. You can choose to hide from what is, or you can get real with yourself, take off your blinders, and pull open the door to that long-locked closet. This kind of courageous awareness is the key to making the changes that will lead to a deeper connection with yourself.

Admittedly, I still have a long way to go. I still have my weaknesses (like tequila, French fries, and binge-watching my fave shows), but awareness around what I need in my life isn’t about getting it right or perfect. The clarity that I have around wanting to feel strong, healthy, and sexy helps keep me on track so I can face the issue head on. It helps me to be real with myself. This doesn’t mean judging my body, beating myself up for not being as healthy as I’d like to be, or saying, “Screw it—it’s too hard, so f*** it!” It simply means that I can breathe back into my intention, come back to what’s happening right now, and opt for connection to this present moment and to my body. It means I can see awareness as a gift rather than a life sentence.

To find out more about Awareness and the other tools, be sure to check out my book, Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman. Also, let me know how you’ve explored awareness in your own life! How can you connect with it this week? I want to know!

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About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of global community, Women for One, a speaker, coach, facilitator, and bestselling author of Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman. With more than 25 years of experience as a nonprofit and small-business consultant, Kelly empowers generations of women around the world to build the relationships, community, and confidence they need to achieve their wildest dreams. She finds daily inspiration in spending time with her husband and children in her home outside of Seattle.

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1 comment to "Getting Real with What Is (Tool #2, Awareness)"

  • Alex Andrea

    How much I needed to read this! The last month or longer perhaps, I’ve been caught up in busyness that stole from my mind and body the time I needed to relax, refresh, and renew. This week, my brain has literally been written on the pages of my “to do” book. Back to back tasks that left me tired and depressed. “When can I have my choices on activities?”
    This woke me up with a jolt of recognition to my plight. I do have to finish my obligations but I’m not adding more until I examine them with an eye for priorities-or necessities.
    Yes, I have your book that I’m taking to my daughter. I bought an extra to give to her and I’ll be taking notes from it while I’m on the plane.
    Thanks for this wake-up call!