walk at night


By Nina Rubin


I’m impatiently waiting for the new iPhone to be released and know my phone has absolutely no more space.

It’s reached capacity and works very slowly, sometimes shutting down apps unexpectedly. I can’t update anymore and my only option is to upgrade. Since my phone has been on the fritz, I don’t take as many photos and can’t text or browse the internet as much. As this phone’s technology has become obsolete, and using it causes frustration, I’ve become more present in my daily surroundings.

Our phones and computers often need software updates to fix bugs and add apps. The reminders sing to us with electronic melodies and we’re prompted to install. It’s time to plug in our phones or tablets and wait for the installations, either short moments or longer. With the bigger installations, I find myself impatient.

In life, the same thing happens to us.

You feel extreme fatigue and notice a cold coming on. Or maybe you’ve worked out too hard without rest days and your body isn’t recovering quickly. Some of my clients are prone to starting arguments with their boyfriends when really all they want is to be heard and accepted. The prompts to recharge our batteries when we’re exhausted is the human version of software alerts to update something in our lives.

The key is to listen to these pings.

These alerts are the body’s way of saying this is not working anymore. We need to brainstorm and find a new way to update ourselves.

I have to be actively mindful to make changes, or to upgrade my life.

How do I do that? I return to some of my favorite Gestalt books, talk with my coach or therapist, or look inwardly to identify what is working. But, the thing that keeps coming up for me over the last few weeks is the concept of giving something up in order to get something better. It’s this sort of upgrade that I’m really turning over in my mind.

One of my yoga teachers has been talking about the concept of trading something for another that may serve us better, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. He uses the example of a yoga practice. If we want to have a solid, flexible, strength-based practice, we must eat well, get enough sleep, and practice consistently. In other words, we may have to give up the late, boozy nights or our thrice-weekly pizza habit.

At first, going to bed earlier feels boring. You may wonder why you’re going to bed earlier for yoga! In my life, I’ve had to let go of some of my self-sabotaging thoughts in order to move forward with this blog and grow my coaching practice. In order to get and stay fit, I’ve had to be mindful about eating in moderation even though I’d absolutely love to (over) indulge in chocolate chip cookies regularly!

But more to the point, when I’ve relinquished my white-knuckled grip on doing things the old way, I’ve actually upgraded myself. These new habits took some time to start and keep.

I’ve made significant choices to listen to my obsolete, unwieldy practices so I can get something better.

Sometimes the upgrades don’t feel good immediately. Much like when you upgrade Microsoft Word and you’re not used the the new layout, you wish to return to the old-familiar. In life, the old-familiar is easier but not always better. Sometimes we need tweaks to make it fit. The tweaks are often attitude adjustments or can be an examination of the upgrade with a new set of eyes.  Regardless, some awareness must wash over us and then some actions must be started.

The exercise of upgrading ourselves isn’t always easy, but in the end is usually rewarding.

Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall