Unplugging – It’s not just for your TV.
by Vincent Mancarella
Imagine that a friend told you she was having trouble losing weight and she didn’t know why. You ask her what she had been eating and she tells you that she hadn’t really paid much attention to that, but, now that you mention it, she’d been eating lots of cookies, ice cream, potato chips and candy. What would you tell her? Seems rather obvious doesn’t it?
Well, what if that same friend told you that she was unhappy in her life, constantly filled with frustration and depression. When you asked her what her typical day was like, she said she spent the day at a job she didn’t like very much, then, she came home, had dinner alone, watched her favorite reality TV show, finished the day watching the news (which she found disturbing) and went to bed. What would you tell her then?
As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” But that doesn’t apply only to food. We are also made up of what we ingest with our other senses. Many people are very aware, if not downright obsessive, about what they eat, especially if they are on a diet of some kind. However, those same people aren’t always so diligent about what goes into their minds on a daily basis. Yet they have no idea why they are filled with a constant feeling of dissatisfaction, frustration, unease or even fear.
Does that sound familiar? We often spend time and energy on situations or people that really don’t have the right to sap that much from us. Have you ever spoken, for example, to someone who would exhaust you time and time again with mere conversation? Have you ever put a whole lot of effort towards something that you knew wouldn’t give you the satisfaction you were looking for, but you kept putting your energy towards it anyway? Well it is time to take charge of your life and do a little unplugging! It is time to take your energy and your focus away – unplug – from those things that drain you, and plug into those things that energize or excite you.
Before we discuss how to unplug and just what unplugging is, it’s important to mention what unplugging isn’t. Unplugging does not mean not caring about the people and events around you. It does not mean being “alright” with everything that people do. And it doesn’t mean being apathetic and giving up your hopes and dreams. On the contrary, unplugging really is an opportunity to stop leaking your energy to those things you don’t like and don’t serve you in your life, and applying the energy to those things that do serve. Unplugging is designed to enhance and rejuvenate your life, and one of the great benefits of unplugging, as you’ll see, is it can be used on many different levels for many different situations.
Unplugging from your past
One area that constantly drains us of our energy and passion is one that no longer exists. And yet, like a great movie, we play it over and over again. It is our past and all the mistakes that go along with it. Regret is an unfortunate but normal human thought. Who among us hasn’t made a mistake or two (or a hundred) that they wouldn’t love to rectify? What we don’t realize though is that every moment we spend replaying our past is another moment lost to create the future. Even worse it is another moment lost to being present to what we have in this very moment, the only moment that truly matters. Another example is the old relationship we would have liked to change. It could be a long term relationship with an ex that didn’t work out, or just a small argument with a stranger that we relive because we just realized what we should have said to him. Either way, the same rules apply. You are not going to be able to change it, so let it go and move on.
One argument I hear a lot is that people don’t want to unplug from the anger or hatred towards another person because that means they would be letting that person get away with hurting them. It is just too painful to forgive them. Never forgive, never forget. Unfortunately though, what many don’t realize is that, by maintaining their anger, they aren’t hurting the other person, they are only hurting themselves. Most likely that person is getting on with his life and may not even be bothered about your feelings, or even remember you at all, for that matter. But you, on the other hand, are expending energy you could be using to make a better life for yourself now! Just remember, you don’t have to agree with what they did, you don’t have to like it, but at some point, you do have to let go of the pain.
Unplugging from Outside Influences
This is probably the easiest and most straight forward way to unplug. We are regularly bombarded by all sorts of different sources of influence. From the 24 hour news, to advertising and marketing, to our friends and family, we are constantly being told to think this, buy these, and do that by people and companies that have very specific agendas. Unfortunately, those agendas don’t often have our best interests in mind. So take some time to think about what outside influences you are constantly under and ask yourself, “Do I really like the effect this is having on my life?” Begin to fill your mind and time with positive influences. Replace the unhelpful influences with helpful ones.
Unplugging from Internal Influences
Have you ever gone on a diet, cold turkey, and promised, from that moment forward, you were never going to eat, say, another piece of pizza ever again? What was the very next thought? My guess was it was probably something like, “Boy would I love a piece of pizza!” When making changes in our lives, it is often the self-sabotaging mind-chatter that is the hardest obstacle to overcome.
This is where unplugging can be very effective. You see, what many people do in this situation is tell themselves that they can’t have what they want, and they try to convince themselves that this is a good thing. Sticking with the pizza example, people will often fight that urge for pizza all the way to the moment they eat an entire pie. Then they will feel bad because they cracked. They failed. But tomorrow they are definitely going to start the new “no pizza” diet.
Well instead of fighting a battle you rarely win, try unplugging from the battle altogether. When you hear that mind-chatter simply stop. Stop focusing on what you want and start focusing on what you really want. Unplug from the desire to have the pizza and plug into how good you are going to look and feel when you don’t eat the pizza. Plug into as much of the positive benefits of not eating the pizza and less of the reasons you shouldn’t eat the pizza. In short, unplug from the negative reinforcement and plug into the positive.
The Art of the Unplug
A great technique to help with the unplugging process is to visualize the unplug. Visualizations are very useful because they help your mind clearly understand what you want, and they often work on a subconscious level so you can get down into the root of the problem. You can use this exercise as often as you’d like, for as long or as short a time period as you’d like, on as many energy drains as you would like to remove.
Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Then imagine the person, place or thing is in front of you. A plug is in your solar plexus (right below your rib cage and above your stomach) connecting you to the object. It is getting stronger and stronger as it drains your energy from you. Really take the time to experience the energy draining object or person. What does it look like, feel like, smell like. Feel how much energy is being sucked out of your body. Notice how energized the object is getting, using your life force.
Now, pull that plug out of your body and as you do the cord snaps back to the energy sucker. Watch as this thing that was once feeding off of you slowly disappears, until it is completely gone. Next, take a moment to feel how powerful you are getting now that you are no longer being drained of your energy. Feel yourself getting stronger and stronger.
If, at this time, you have something to which you’d like to apply that energy, simply see that object or person in front of you. Then imagine you have a plug coming from your solar plexus. You plug into this new object and the connection between the two of you actually feeds you both energy. Take a moment to experience how good it feels to be connected to something that feeds you energy.
Remember the more real the exercise is for your mind, the more effective it will be. So really go for it. Make the visualization vibrant and colorful, filled with as much detail as you can muster. Create the scene in your mind and trust that once you have unplugged, the energy leech is gone for good.
Then when you’ve finished the visualization begin to bring that separation into your life. Start taking actions in your real life that will help you with the unplugging. Again, you can do this as much as you’d like. Start off small, if need be, and then use it on anything and everything that you consider to be a negative influence. In just a short time, you will notice a considerable difference in not only your energy but your whole life. Happy Unplugging.