If you read or watch the news, you’d think the world was going to Hell in a handbasket. You’d be hard pressed to call it a “beautiful catastrophe,” although you might call it a catastrophe.
BEWARE! THE APOCALYPSE IS NIGH! BATTEN THE HATCHES! PREPARE FOR WORLD WAR 3!!! ZIKA IS GOING TO GIVE EVERYONE TINY HEADS AND A GIANT CORPORATION IS GOING TO DESTROY EVERYTHING!
Sometimes that’s what I get from news stories. Does that feel familiar?
And that’s not even half of it… 2017 was a shitty year by many standards. A lot of people saw a lot of awful.
My community was hit by fire, which was quickly followed by flooding and mudslides (Welcome 2018!).
And when it comes to natural disasters it’s okay to find out when you need to evacuate (of course!).
That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the 24 hour news cycle blowing everything out of proportion to the point where EVERYTHING feels like it’s blowing up. Just read a few click-bait headlines on social media and you’ll see what I mean!
It’s gotten to the point where I often laugh reading headlines. Yes. Laugh. The more fear-based the headlines, the more likely I am to laugh.
Why do I laugh? Because every situation can be seen from many different angles. These fearful views may be real perspectives of situations across the world – but there are other perspectives as well. The ones plastered across the news just happen to make us feel poopy (technical term).
But what’s the other option?
Two Sides to My Mornings
This used to happen on the daily: It’s morning and I’m laying in bed. Suddenly my son comes racing in the room.
“I want up! I want uuuuuppp!”
He pulls on the covers, hoists himself onto the bed, and tackles me. He jams his fuzzy head into my chin, jarring me. I blink, groaning.
“I want hold Mama! I want give hug! I want give kiss!” He then nuzzles into me, wrapping his little arms as best as he can around me, through the blankets. He presses his tiny lips to my cheek.
He sits up, grinning, triumphant in his affectionate show.
There are two ways I could take this. I could grumble at the rude awakening – at the knees in my kidney or the palm to my throat as he hoisted himself onto the bed. I could be annoyed, grouchy, and all-around irritated.
I could enjoy his garish love. I could enjoy my little boy’s need to share his love in the most innocent, straightforward, and unbridled way.
I choose the second. I smile. I kiss and hug him back.
“I love you so much!” I whisper in his ear and he grins wider. My heart swells.
Yes, of course I’d like more sleep, but I love these moments.
That is an easy example – one that anyone can say, “Oh yeah! Of course! He’s a sweet little boy!” It’s probably easier for someone to change their perspective in this kind of situation. But here’s the thing – any situation can call for complaint or gratitude; it all depends on your perspective.
The Magic of Reframing
By December 2015, I’d almost entirely given up complaining. It has been the most liberating thing I could possibly do. I did a pretty solid job of giving it up for all of 2016 – until probably around the election if I’m honest.
During that time, everything was amazing and light. I easily reframed things. Is the coffee cold? I am grateful for being able to choose the temperature I want using the microwave. Is it hot? Well, I just got fresh coffee! Don’t have a plan for dinner tonight? There are a ton of leftovers! Is it raining? Thank God for drought relief! Is it sunny? What a beautiful day!
See how this works? It’s a great practice and one I recommend to my clients regularly.
During this time I didn’t berate myself if I messed up and complained, or joined in a negative conversation out of old habit. Why didn’t I berate myself? Partially because I practiced self-forgiveness, but also because when I mess up, it’s a gift (this is so meta – seeing the positive in this!). It’s a gift because shows me how much work I have left to do – which is good because then I can improve. This works in every area of life – talking about anything – thinking about anything.
So what happened that I slipped up in a big way? Well, being an empath (and one who is particularly sensitive to systems) I felt the collective horror, hate, anger, and division that raced through society during 2017. I felt shock wave after shock wave, and it had an impact.
It wore me down. I slipped into older patterns of behavior. And I didn’t really notice what was happening until I was in the thick of it.
Because I’d done so much reframing work, I had the bare bones in place so I could still exercise some of this “look at the bright side” patterning. It just took a lot more work and effort than it had before because of all the social stuff going on.
This led me back to basics – where I needed to purge negative energy from my life (some television shows became off limits, while certain people got muted on social media). I began pushing myself to increase my gratitude practice. And this helped a great deal, because there’s nothing like a gratitude practice to help you work up to reframing and feeling appreciation for even the difficult things.I slipped into older patterns of behavior. And I didn't really notice. #intentionalliving #spirituallife #reframing Click To Tweet
Bodies, Wellness, and Old Patterns
I did hit another snag, however. Pregnancy. It’s easy when you feel well to focus on the good stuff, because you’re not worried about the basic things. Your energy can be devoted to gratitude because you’re not having to focus on healing or navigating pain etc.
If you don’t feel well, your energy is divided and it takes more effort and intention to feel good and stay high vibe. It takes more work to stay in a positive frame of mind as opposed to slipping into old thought patterns.
During the first trimester, I didn’t feel terrible, but I didn’t feel great. I was sleeping a lot (still am), felt nauseous most of the time, and just bleh. There was even a time when I felt like everything was “gray” – the way I sometimes describe being depressed. I literally lost all interest in things and it was hard for me to get myself to do anything.
My f-bombs increased, as did my whining. I slipped into old patterns left and right. It was shocking to me to watch – how could I be calling people names? Who is this person? Where did she come from?!
I was seriously horrified and felt like a total hypocrite because I wasn’t following my own advice. It was like all that time and effort I’d spent hadn’t happened!If you are unwell or feel crappy, you may slip into old patterns. #truthbomb #thoughtpatterns #reframing Click To Tweet
I’m sharing this because it’s important for you to know – if you are unwell, feel crappy, or are going through a challenge (especially with the body), this might happen. It’s okay. There are some good things that come from this kind of experience – in short, and opportunity for some SERIOUS reframing!
- You find out how much more work you can still do. If you slip into old patterns, maybe it’s time to go back to basics and re-purge as well as re-evaluate.
- You get the opportunity to practice self-forgiveness.
- It’s a good time to assess and understand any lessons you might have to learn, and then learn the shit out of them.
In my case, I’m learning patience, focusing on the things I want to do (as opposed to “shoulds”), and Divine timing. These were lessons I’d been working on for some time, but had been ignoring in one way or another. Now, I’m working on them with abandon, and it feels really, really good.
As a result? I’m finding it easier to feel good. Suddenly I’m able to express more gratitude throughout the day. I’m also able to reframe a lot easier… though I’m sure making it to my second trimester didn’t hurt!
Even in the most difficult moments, it is possible to find goodness. It is possible to find something you can appreciate. I really recommend it. Look for the good. Look for the thing that makes your heart light in every situation. It does take practice at first, but I think you’ll find life so much more wonderful if you do.
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- Between Chaos and Order: The Need For A Middle Way - June 18, 2018
- Spiritual Mamas: Intuition, Spirituality, and Motherhood - June 4, 2018
- Neither Selfish or Selfless – Only Loving! - April 30, 2018