Thursday, July 20, 2017

The "How" = Paralysis [Step 1 to addressing this age-old Question]

I often notice themes in the thoughts, feelings and conversations of those around me and closest to me. The most recent theme that surfaced was what I like to call, "the How."

The How can lead to:

  1. Confusion
  2. Procrastination
  3. Analysis Paralysis
  4. Immobility
  5. Laziness
  6. Fear
  7. Avoidance
  8. Distraction-tactics
  9. Derailing
  10. Setbacks
  11. and the most dreaded.... nothingness. A total and complete halt and lack of movement. In other words, you stay stuck.

The How is the age-old question we ask when we want to change something.  We want something else, want to be something or somewhere different, we want to acquire or achieve something... "But, how?" We just don't know HOW to do it, get it, be it, or get there from HERE.

Here sucks... but how do I get out of "here?"

Let me share a story with you. I recently stumbled upon a note I had written someone about four years back. As I read it, I gasped in horror [insert gagging face here]. Someone had asked how I was doing, and I basically said: life sucks. In different words, of course, and in MANY words as I described ALL the ways my life sucked. From my point of view now, it sounded like I could find something negative in any situation. And I did just that. I went on and on about why my life sucked [cue: snoring]. I think the most alarming thing about this message I had written was that this was a story I had told for YEARS. And guess what? Because I kept telling the story, it kept it alive and real for me. The story kept feeding itself and recycling and my situation never changed but compounded to be MORE of what I was complaining about as the years passed.

Fast forward to 2017... with the story still playing actively in real life, I decided one day to make a new choice. I decided that I was going to stop being the victim in this horror flick and start shifting my perception so that I can not only receive more blessings but RECOGNIZE them as they came along.

This was a process. It's months later now and I am JUST beginning to fully embrace my life as it is and the challenges, and maintain a good attitude about it. Not just a good attitude, but GRATITUDE for what is, and what isn't.  What I complained about in 2013, I am grateful for today. Not an easy switch, but totally doable with practice and patience and commitment.

Here's the problem... 

So often we get stuck in the "how" that we live in LACK and keep repeating the same old stories. Our stories are our beliefs and become our reality. With our view so narrow, we can't even recognize the good things that come our way. We are too busy focused on what's going wrong. So blessing after blessing, lesson after lesson, are passing us by... and we are too busy whining and moaning to notice... never mind embrace them!

We wonder HOW can we get from A to Z? From here to there? Our options can feel limitless or limited. We don't know the answer and we become incredibly frustrated. Incredibly overwhelmed. And sometimes, hopeless. But here's a teeny, tiny secret wearing a giant red cape, coming to save you.... 

You don't have to DO anything or figure anything out to start changing your life. [insert applause here] 

The How is less about doing, and more about being. Being grateful, that is, and shifting your focus, attention and perception. That's it. Pretty simple stuff, kids. Not always so simply to implement and maintain, though, as you have to recondition your brain and programming. And ditch those stories (they really aren't serving you anyway). 

So, Step 1 in the How is to:

  1. Ditch the story.
  2. Re-focus your attention and energy.
  3. Practice gratitude daily.

Instead of complaining about your job, for example, find ways to appreciate your job and what it gives you. It provides income, learning, opportunity, social interaction... the list goes on, and it's your choice how to create that list. Another example... if you're complaining about how you always have to do the chores around the house, be grateful you have a house to do chores in. Be grateful you have an able body that allows you to do those chores. Shift your focus and perception off of what's missing or wrong, and onto what's right and how much you do have. 

Here's another secret: as long as you're breathing, there is more right with you than there is wrong (Cory Muscara).  With every breath you take, you have choice and power. And the fact that you're breathing indicates you're alive, and life is limitless. There is always something to be grateful for. 

So, here's how it works. The more you focus on the positive, the more positive things are brought to you. Period. And not only that, you are able to recognize and accept positive things in your life because that is now your focus. Thoughts become things (Mike Dooley); the more you focus on the good, the more good things are born and brought to you. If you're busy telling that age-old snooze story, you guessed it: you're going to continue living in the hamster wheel. The more you cling to your story, and play victim, the more it will continue to show up for you. And even if it doesn't, that's all you're going to see, anyway.... more story, more drama, more yuck.

So How do we change our lives? Step one..... change our minds. And watch life unfold before you... it doesn't seem like much, and you may say, "that's it?" [insert raised brow] but give it a try... gratitude with a shift in perception is a surefire way to turn a bad mood around, a day around, a week around, a month around, a year and ultimately..... a life. 

But, hey, you can sit there unsatisfied with this response and continue to ponder your "How" as you stay stagnant, stuck, bland and bored. Your choice!

I'm going to go with Gratitude ;)

Psst.... I am grateful for YOU, reading this. Keep your head up. You're going to get there.

(( to be continued...))

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Water Bottle "Challenge"....

I was driving back from the store last week, and was hit with a totally unexpected turn of events...

As I was driving, my water bottle fell over.  Yep. That's it... but what's interesting here is that this seemingly insignificant occurrence became an important message for me. And it came bearing not one, not two, but THREE lessons within it... 

When you stop laughing or shaking your head I'll continue............ (pause)

OK so, here's the story.  I was driving and I had the bottle standing up against my bag and the back of the passenger seat. It fell over.  I picked it up. As I refocused on the road, I noticed in my peripheral it had fallen, again. So I picked it back up. I moved it around, adjusted it some and carried on driving. As I approached a red light, I looked over and saw it fall...AGAIN. I laughed, and left it there. 

Now, here comes the important part... 

I could have easily gotten annoyed and my day could have taken a quick turn sour if I let this get to me or feed my "story." A story is something we play like a broken record and attach incidents to. For example, I could have said, "Seriously? Why does everything go wrong for me?" Admittedly this sounds silly BUT.... tell me how silly it is when you spill your coffee while you're driving and you're late to work. 

So, here is lesson numero uno, compliments of the water bottle: We cannot control the water bottle, aka LIFE. But we can absolutely choose how we respond to it. When we are hit with stimuli, it's our choice to feed our story, fuel our ego-fire, or take it as it comes and respond differently or more peacefully. I chose to see this very non-important occurrence as an opportunity for growth and learning. A water bottle falling over, seemingly meaningless, became a message for me to share. Through the "challenge" (the bottle not staying up) I was able to uncover a hidden gift. We can always choose to find healing, growth and lessons in challenges. That is our choice. And how we handle what comes to us, will dictate the quality of our moods... and our lives. 

Secondly, the water bottle became a symbol for the human existence. We will often hit a bump in the road, and fall down. The important part is that we get back up. And yes, we will fall, again. It's inevitable as we ride with the ebb and flow and life that we will go up and down and all around. We will stumble and fall, and that's OK. It's all part of life and expansion and learning our soul lessons. 

The third lesson I took away from this 30-second experience was that we are very much like the water bottle in the sense that, just because we fall, doesn't mean we lose our value. When the water bottle fell over, I didn't have to throw it out. It didn't lose its value. It's still water, it's still hydrating, it's still good for the body. It was not tainted in any way. When we "fail" or fall, we do not lose our value or worth as a person. We are not muddied, tainted, or ruined. We still remain intact, we are still priceless and beautiful souls in our human bodies. Falling is part of life; part of being human. What's inside does not in any way, shape, or form, get tarnished.  Falling and getting up makes us stronger, not weaker. Remember this when you're having a self-loathing, beat-up session after a stumble-and-fall. 

Yes, this can sound very silly from the outside... but any experience we encounter can become meaningful for us. And life holds valuable lessons and messages for us when we are willing to quiet the mind long enough to pay attention and receive them. 

So, to recap:

You are a water bottle.  Ha.  No, but yes... symbolically.

  1. We cannot control our environment but we can control our response.
  2. We will hit bumps in the road and fall, and that's OK. What's important is that we get back up. 
  3. Just because we fall, does NOT mean we lose our value or worth. Quite the opposite.
Take this with you as you journey through life and remember.... it may be a bumpy ride, but it's your ride and you get to choose how to view and experience it. 

Sending positive vibes your way!