Let me ask you an important question. Why does it matter how you feel?
What are the first thoughts you think as the universe awakens you from your slumber? Did you know that your first thoughts guide the direction and energy of your day? So if that is true, what is going to be different tomorrow?
Every thought leads to a feeling, and every feeling leads to an action. If your first thought in the morning is something negative, then it will cause you to feel something, well – NEGATIVE. Worrying about something you have no control over, sets you up for fear. Then fear causes you to behave in ways that you believe will protect you from something THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED. It is the same for anything predictive that comes to mind. If you wake up with a mild headache thinking “Oh no, a full blown migraine is on the way”, then of course your next actions are going to be to prevent or protect yourself (unless you enjoy migraines). This action kicks in the stress hormones in your body that flood you with fight or flight chemicals and shut down other physical processes so everything is focused on the perceived DANGER. Now for the rest of the day you will be on guard. One of the major problems with this is that you actually may end up making the headache worse!
What can you do instead? If thoughts provoke feelings and feelings lead to actions, you can start with thinking about how you want to feel instead. What is a more productive and healthy feeling for you? This doesn’t mean you discount the problem or illness at hand, it just means you begin to look at it in a more loving way. So ask yourself instead what you can do to feel better, look better, or to behave differently.
Here are some examples:
From the OLD WAY OF THINKING to a NEW WAY OF THINKING
I feel like crap! ----- What can I do for myself to feel better?
I can already tell this day isn’t going to go well!-----------What are 3 good things about this day?
Oh no! It's already morning???----------This is going to be a great day!
If he/she says one more ugly thing to me…---------I wonder what he/she is struggling with.
How we feel has everything to do with how we think. Write your thoughts down first thing in the morning and see how your mind works. If what you see on the page doesn’t serve your good, then change it up and see if you can find a better feeling by changing your perspective. The process of attracting better things in your life, starts with having better thoughts. When you feel better, your actions will serve you and others in more positive ways. At the end of the day, ask yourself “what is better?” and write that down. Try this for a couple of weeks and see if it doesn’t start changing the way you feel. Your body AND mind will be happier for it!
Nothing is easy until the challenge has been overcome. You have thought those thoughts all your life and it will take time to change. I promise you it will be worth it if you will try. When you are working toward improving your perspective you will empower yourself to do many things you have been wanting to accomplish. Then you will think new thoughts, feel new feelings, and take new actions. Happiness is what really matters. When you are happy everything begins to work and the struggle subsides.
What matters to you today?
A spiritual mentor once stopped me mid-sentence as I was explaining a new breakthrough. Because the experience was unfamiliar to me and I was struggling with its validity, I indicated to her that it was “weird”. She wondered out loud if there was a more positive word I could use to think about my timid epiphany, and made a few suggestions when I drew a blank. As I listened to her more seasoned perspective I tried the words on like new hats. I don’t recall having ever considered rearranging my thinking to change the way I felt about an event prior to that day. I marveled at the way the new words tasted. Interesting, Intriguing. Fascinating. They all seemed to lend the experience a deeper and more expansive meaning. It was like stepping into a massive library with all the answers in front of me. My job was just to immerse myself in the process.
No two people see any situation in exactly the same way. We see things the way we want to see them – the way it serves us currently. If I didn’t understand something back in those days, it was weird. If you introduced me to a new food, I was more likely to say “no thanks” or “not interested” - because it was “weird”. Staying within the confines of the familiar in all things was more comforting to me. However, it was also quite limiting.
At the beginning of this year, like many other half-hearted dreamers, I made a resolution to lose weight. There are very few annual rituals that have resulted in less commitment or determination for me than weight loss. Everything else in my life zapped the energy that was stored to care for and nurture my body. (Single working mom, yardwork, housework, etc.) When all the important work was done, the best I could manage for myself was to at least eat more salads. I was hoping that all the spiritual and emotional work I had done in recovery would result in some magical breakthrough whereby I would wake up one day completely willing. To do what, I had no clue. Something inside me knew I wasn’t ready to release my grip on the 45-50 extra pounds I had been hauling around. Every diet I would consider seemed to be shot through with “weird” or unfamiliar foods. Going back through my journals, I seemed to be obsessed with my inability to move forward with any kind of plan that would get me to a healthier weight. It became my favorite subject to explore and my least favorite to act upon.
In the past year or so I have made huge changes in my life that are going to put me in a place in which energy, stamina and endurance will play a vital role. At 57 I went back to school, started my own coaching practice, conduct workshops, speak, and author a weekly blog. It occurred me that standing in front of an audience for several hours at a time might be challenging with the weight I was carrying. My mentor’s words came back to me as I contemplated my next steps. What if I looked at this from a new perspective? “Losing” weight had always been a daunting and unreachable goal for me. Besides the universe often conspires to help us find lost things. In searching for a more empowering and positive way to look at the journey I wanted to begin, I considered the feelings around the phrase “eating research” as an alternative for diet. Could I pick SOMETHING to try and just look at the process as an observer and see what happened? I also knew through lots of emotional and spiritual work that the weight I carried was armor to protect me from a world that I had been terrified of for years. I was happy now. It was safe to let it go.
The problems I had experienced from being overweight included many of those things the average American suffers from. Achy joints, elevated blood pressure and shortness of breath prompted me the most. My bookshelf is packed with diet books, all sitting there staring at me every time I walk by. It was time to try one. The anti-inflammatory eating plan seemed to stand out as what would get me some relief, albeit restrictive. That is what I wanted to do…remove something. No weird food – just discontinuing the consumption of many things like sugar, white flour, etc., and replacing those with fresh fruit and vegetables. It entailed a lot of thought and preparation of fresh foods and I can sometimes spend big blocks of time in the kitchen. Considering my use of words, I journaled what I was feeling as I went through the process. Lighter. Encouraged. Energetic. Proud. Seeing the loving words that I used in my journal to encourage myself gave me hope.
I got creative with the things I could eat and reintroduced myself to weird. Some of my concoctions have been quite interesting and often they actually taste good. Sticking with it killed the cravings I had for bread and sweets and I have consistently dropped an average of 5 pounds per month. All from changing the WAY I see the process. I am off my blood pressure meds, have more energy, think clearer and get more done every day. That mashed banana and almond butter I dip my apple slices in, no longer feels weird – it is delicious. Spinach and kale find their way into lots of things and my smoothies are a work of art.
We are nearly half way through the year and my perspective keeps changing with the days. Hubby has come on board and we spend time together preparing things to pave the way to our improved health and slimmer physiques. Finding new ways to see this experience, writing them down so I can celebrate the successes, and being grateful for each small step has created an atmosphere of love in our home. Treating myself with love has caused me to be in love with the person I see in the mirror each day. The numbers on the scale are secondary, how I feel and think of myself is what motivates me to continue. I am on my way to a new and healthy body!
Whatever you are struggling with today…consider looking at things in a different way. Listen to what you tell yourself and consider changing your words. Weird just might turn into wonderful!
During this politically charged time in our lives, I have often caught myself, just prior to posting or sharing an opinion on social media, and asked myself “how important is this?” How important is this to what I am trying to achieve today? To my happiness or success and that of others? As a public figure (and social media assures that we all are) it matters to me what kind of image I project. The “pause button” is part of my makeup, and for this recovered “rageaholic” that was a necessary add-on to the package. Though it took many years of self-discovery, screw-ups, and difficult challenges – I no longer throw fits, blame, and get angry for the sake of winning an argument. Nothing like seeing yourself in the behavior of a discouraging presidential candidate to ignite wounds and defensive behavior. It’s amusing to me to observe this in others now that I don’t have to protect this once cherished super-power – judgement. In the book “A Course in Miracles” judgement is considered an attack on MYSELF AND others. If I am judging you, it is because I find something lacking in me.
I would guess that the only folks who don’t think there is something broken in our system are the ones who fight to keep it that way. The finger-pointing, back biting, and underhanded tactics that seem to permeate our political systems have been going on since the beginning of time. History repeats itself whether it is on the marble steps of an ancient Greek pyramid or the steps of the Nation’s Capital. Everyone is trying to protect what they have, believe in, or aspire to accomplish. However, my political views aren’t nearly as important as what I do in my own backyard or how much integrity I practice. Who I am every day has more impact on my life than anything in the news. My judgement about you has never made me feel good about myself – and that goes for my opinions on lots of other things as well. The things that upset me the most are often those things I have the least information about or those things I am trying to keep secret. To put myself in check, these are some of the things I ask myself:
Each of us can be mindful of our own behaviors and feelings at any given time we chose. All it takes is a pause and an honest look at what we are doing, saying, and being in the world. It can be as small as what we say to our partner or child the moment we wake up. Our first thoughts in the morning or our last thoughts at night. Asking ourselves “what am I doing for others today”, or “what can I do better tomorrow” can also help us be mindful of how we interact with others. An honest look at ourselves on paper in the form of an inventory, a journal or a letter to God, is a cathartic learning tool for self-discovery that can help us see how everything we do IS important.
How important is this to your piece of mind, to your peace?
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Every blog I share comes from the heart and has a challenge or a question within it to help others explore new ways of thinking. I hope that as you read the blogs you would consider starting conversation by commenting. We can learn so much together!