“Some days you just have to steer back to center more than usual. Challenges or less than glorious feelings may arise. It is certainly easy to get caught up in them, face it, you and I probably have been doing that for many years.
Now is the opportunity to do something new. Now is the time to learn how to get back on track when we get swept off track.
I mentioned in a precious blog post that when we drive along the road in our lane we are not going totally straight. We are always adjusting the car (or bike) back to the center of the lane. We cannot drive perfectly straight. We move the steering wheel, sometimes ever so slightly, back and forth to keep us going as straight as possible.
In sailing the skipper takes the boat back and forth to stay in the wind. Adjustments are made to keep the sails full to continue to move forward. One cannot sail in a straight line, but one sets one’s course and navigates to it by this back and forth movement capturing the wind.
Rocket guidance is a computerized system that corrects the rocket’s trajectory to keep on course. Adjustments are constantly being made to keep it heading in the direction it is intended. It has been said that most the rocket IS of course most of the time, but since the destination is known, corrections constantly made get it there. (In other posts we will address how important it is to know your destination more in depth).
Oddly, enough these analogies of correction parallel our lives. There is no such thing as a straight, easy way to happiness or success. We move towards what we want and yet there seem to be times when things go awry. As we move along there are stumbling blocks.
We might complain that this is the case because there will always be down times for us. Just as there is night and day, cold and hot, tall and short there is good and bad. There are always contrasts in our world to notice and experience. Perhaps, we simply need to get over that. There will be good times and there will be not so good times. Accept it!
Since this IS the case there seems to be no point in complaining about it. To complain about it would be driving off course. To complain would be giving in to the less than glorious thoughts and feelings that would limit us. It would only make us feel worse. So we should not even go there. Good taste dictates we should avoid it.
We have to face that there will always be times that we don’t want, invite or enjoy. Still, this may not be a bad thing though.
Obviously, it is if one thinks it is.
Maybe our perceptions do determine how things are. Certainly, the statement, ‘Perception IS Everything’ leads one to conclude that what we perceive to be the case IS the case. Our thoughts make it so.
If instead, we considered these random unwanted events as opportunities to discover something presently hidden, this very perception could open up a whole new way of being for us.
Yes, it means reframing the act, the event or the situation. It means actively seeking the silver lining instead of paying attention to the dark clouds. It means instead of thinking negatively about negative events we choose to think positive instead. Instead of feeling bad we choose to feel differently. It means that we choose how to respond!
CHOICE! Ultimately we give ourself room to choose how to respond, instead of being swept along with no choices available.
When the world offers us moments contrary to what we want, hope for or expect, when we get things we don’t like and are difficult for us to handle THAT is the precise moment of opportunity. Instead of thinking about it as something that sucks, we CHOOSE to think about it as a hidden opportunity.
I am not claiming there is any intelligence in the universe. Perhaps, there is divine providence, perhaps God is in charge, perhaps the universe has an infinite intelligence that we would be wise to align with but that is not my concern right now. In this blog post I am not asserting any of that. Perhaps, there is, perhaps there isn’t, for my purpose here it doesn’t matter (even if ultimately it does).
Whether by intelligent design or random freak accidents whatever the situation IN REALITY IS, I do not know. BUT I am aware that HOWEVER I LABEL IT, determines how I react to it. IF I don’t like it, maybe I should change the label I put on it.
When bad things happen, whether small or large, when challenges come our way, after the initial shock, anger or disappointment, we would be best served to take a positive action instead of wallowing.
Like thoughts bring like thoughts so to complain only invites more negativity. If we find the positive seed inside the disappointment, the positivity will bring more positivity too. Of course, it all depends on you. Some people are comfortable feeling bad and of course, misery loves company. So you ultimately determine what you will make for yourself.
WHATEVER THESE MOMENTS REALLY ARE when these moments come to us consider it is an opportune time to remember to steer back to center. Declare it an opportunity for yourself whether it actually is or not.
If you want to transform your life when life provides you an unwanted moment (small or large) change how you think and feel about it. Determine what you will make of it.
‘Perception is everything’. ‘Possession is 9/10s of the law’. When life hands you lemons make lemonade’. Think positive first and foremost and whenever you discover that you slipped – take charge. Whenever you discover you have slipped choose to think a better thought.
When should you do this? Whenever you find yourself thinking negatively about yourself or others, or the world at large.
Assuming you are already practicing other things we discussed in my previous writings, then you use this when you are thrown some curve ball from the inside of you or from outside of you.
If you think unproductive thoughts such as ‘I’ can’t succeed or I am hopeless’, or ‘I am too thin, too small too fat. I can’t get ahead, the world sucks. I can’t get a promotion.’ Use it on any form of limiting thinking.
The first step, when we notice we are engaged in unwanted thinking and feeling, is to STOP.
STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING and WHAT YOU WOULD NORMALLY BE DOING.
Consider that whatever is going on would continue to go on unless YOU interrupt it.
Negative thinking typically spirals into more negative thinking. Positive thinking will TOO. For most of us we have to learn how to make that positive thinking happen. That is why I have said sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns and do whatever it take to get the positive machinery into motion.
FOR WHATEVER THE REASONS most of us are just pretty damn good already at negative thinking. There is a saying: “When the going gets tough you get what you practice”. Most of us have spent our lives practicing negative thinking so we most readily and easily and reliable get that day in and day out. When unwanted events occur we get what we practiced. Don’t concern yourself with what was, let it go, relax and decide to practice something better now instead.
No time to find fault or blame that would just be adding gasoline to the fire. You were born, you grew up and you learned to do some things well that aren’t always the best choice for you. Okay so what, we all have, Now let’s get on with instead becoming who we want to be and doing what we want to do. Are you ready?
SO — whenever you find yourself thinking or feeling or behaving less than gloriously to an internal or external stimuli STOP! DISENGAGE!
YES! We have to actually STOP! We have to disengage from the negative thinking and the negative feeling and break away from it. We need to create a space for a moment. We have to shift into neutral.
Neutral is a good place because from it we can choose where to go. In our car, from neutral, we can decide whether to engage drive or reverse and determine where and how we travel.
Breathing actually can help us do this. Taking a deep breath and holding it helps us get to neutral. Taking a deep breath changes our rhythm, shifts our physiology and interrupts the processes.
When we recognize that moment we do not want to be in – STOP – and take a deep breath, hold it a second or two and then let it out slowly. Do this a few times until you are able to notice the benefit from the change in your breathing. You can even let out a ‘sigh’, how audible depends on where you are.
We are intimately tied to our rhythms and our breathing. We have our own pace fast or slow, we breath as we do habitually SO a shift in breathing can lead to shifts in awareness. Our thinking and feelings are intimately connected to how we are breathing.
Remember, if you want to change your life you have to change things in your life. You have to change what you are doing. So you stop and get into neutral.
When you notice that ‘Arrrgh’ moment STOP take that deep breath, those breaths, create that pause. Get into neutral and from neutral begin to scan in your mind for better thoughts, scan you body for and better feelings. Look for the best that you have right now.
Or look for positive memories and talents that you have in your past. Memories that make you feel good, feel well being, feel positive, powerful, happy (whatever you are able to find) when you remember those and put your focus on them. Then feel what you feel as you remember these positive moments, these resourceful moments from your past. Stay with the good thoughts and feelings it is totally fine to linger in these.
You can also begin to ask yourself, what else can you feel that would feel better? What else can you think that would be more productive? What do you need to do in order to feel more positive right now? What would be the best possible benefit for you (and others, sometimes you need to consider others positively too) right now? What is good and new? How many wonderful feelings can you begin to feel now? Which good feeling will you discover first? and so on.
You, take a breath, you take a break, you get to neutral, you shift your awareness from what was a problem and begin to what you can think and be, feel and do that is positive and good.
When you do this you INTERRUPT your habit, you break a pattern of behavior and you chose to lead it into a more productive way of being and doing. You steer it instead of letting it steer you. You are interrupting your old habits to get free from them. Then you are driving your attention and feelings to what you prefer to have instead. Hopefully, you prefer to have positive thoughts and feelings.
You may have to do this more than once at first. Perhaps once, is plenty. You may have to do it a lot depending on the perceived severity of the issue. BUT do it you must! It doesn’t matter whether you have to do it once or a lot, the point is that by doing it you are engineering a change. You are freeing yourself up from reacting without thinking. You are taking a moment to think and decide how you actually want to be.
When you do this you ARE course correcting. You are learning to steer back to center. You are really taking charge of your own neurology. You are training your mind and your body. You are determining what will be and what you will focus on instead of being a victim of it. You are forming a great habit to have.
This is the incredible payoff!!! You are taking control! You are making your life and your experience and your moments more of what you want them to be! You are writing your history, creating your legacy.
You determine how you will experience these moments. You go from victim to victor in seconds. You go from being the backseat passenger in your car to the driver of your car! As the driver you are free to choose the destination and travel in that direction.
Are these challenges predestined, or ordained, or are they accidents and random? I don’t care, that is not the point of this discussion. They occur and that is enough reason to work with them.
When you begin to practice what I have suggested you begin to get free from limitations. You begin to free yourself from habitual conditioning, you begin to create space to be a new you and behave in a new way. You begin to experience the world with more delight.
Isn’t it important for you to feel the very best you can and to feel this way more of the time? Wouldn’t it be marvelous if you did?
If you thought yes to those questions then there are things you can do right now to be more of who you are.
You can learn to do more of what you are capable of doing to get you the results you have always wanted. Isn’t it worth it to you to learn how to better direct your thoughts and feelings? If it took 10 years to have a most incredible life wouldn’t you work at it? What if it didn’t take 10 years or 5 or even 1 year?
What if in the next few months you could make an incredible difference for yourself that would aim you toward the best you and best life ever would you commit to those months?
Some have said, even I have said, try it for at least 30 days. That is the minimum. If you could revolutionize your life for the better over the course of the next thirty days by how you think and feel and act would you do it? Wouldn’t that be worth it?
You will never know what may be until you attempt it. Anything worth doing is even worth doing poorly at first. If you do anything well, driving a car, playing an instrument or a sport, writing or cooking chances are you sucked at it at first but you improved as long as you kept at it.
Anything worth doing well IS worth doing poorly at first.
You can do this. You can really, truly do this. You can change yourself, you can change your behaviors, you can change your circumstances and the world. It may not happen over night, it rarely does, but you can do it. You can make your dreams come true.
Here is a recap:
NOTICE what you want to change. You become aware of it. Whenever a ‘Warning, DANGER Wil Robinson’ Moment Occurs – the very moment you become aware that you you are thinking less gloriously and feeling less gloriously than you want to you –
STOP– disengage by taking a deep breath. Hold it, let it out slowly. Sigh – repeat as necessary for a moment. As mentioned shifting out breathing shifts our physiology so if you wish you may actually shift yours body. Perhaps, you lift your chest up, put your shoulders back, put your chin up, or move around, walk about, take an actual break and move. If sitting you might stand up, move, or walk around. Again how large your movements depend on the environment you are in.
Obviously, do this when safe. Not while driving. This should go without saying but… You can do the mental process with your eyes open.
You take a deep breath to interrupt the pattern and to-
GET TO NEUTRAL In Neutral you scan and you –
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS and look for what is good and new. You seek the best thoughts and feelings and memories to –
CONCENTRATE on. Concentrate, entertain, focus on the feelings and thoughts. Savor these and linger on these. Feel these good feelings as fully as you are able. Remember, what we focus on expands. We become what we think about. Linger and then you –
CELEBRATE AND APPRECIATE yourself for noticing the triggering moments. Celebrate and appreciate looking for and finding the positive thoughts or feelings. Embrace these good feelings- linger and then –
IMAGINE yourself in the future doing this easily and naturally whenever you want to, need to and choose to because YOU ARE the kind of person who is able to do this naturally. See yourself as the person you want to be, already evolved. See this happy, healthy, positive you. Concentrate on this person and enjoy these feeling and the feelings of gratitude for who you are. No rush, when ready continue with your day.
Repeat as necessary.
SO What are you waiting for?
If you just had reasons why not come up, ‘its too hard, i don’t know how, i have tried things before, nothing ever works out for me’, then you provided excuses and those are the very thoughts you need to change. You can and you will when you give yourself permission to begin.
On the other hand, if you thought, ‘yup, why not, let’s do it, bring it on!’ GO for it! Now.
Simply, stop and imagine how much more fun and delight you can discover yourself having when you are feeling better more and more throughout each day. Wouldn’t it be amazing to discover that you have always had the ability to do this, but were just using it in the wrong direction? WOW that is good new!
Imagine aiming it in a positive, powerful, productive direction, for yourself, from now on. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
It’s similar to this: All the past many years you have been driving yourself to a less than glorious house. You can do it in your sleep. You know all the ways to get there.
But now you have an incredible new mansion to live in. Driving doesn’t change, you already know how to do that, but the direction you take changes. It is not harder to actually drive, nothing changes here, it is just that you have to learn a new route. You have to remember the new way to go.
There may be sometimes when driving you suddenly find yourself en route to the old house. When you notice it, no reason to get pissed off, just stop, change direction and proceed toward the new house.
Whenever, you noticed you were going in the wrong direction celebrate and appreciate that you didn’t go further and that you noticed and were able to make the correction. Be glad. Soon you will be driving only the new route.
So imagine how great it is to be living in that beautiful new home. Celebrate and be glad. In time you will know all the ways to the new home too.
It really is just like this. Change the direction of your thinking, aim it at the positive. Focus on who and what you want to be, keep concentrating as often as possible while feeling good feelings and incredible discoveries abound.
I wonder how surprised you would be to discover, for yourself, how easily you can begin to implement these positive practices, now, to develop powerful new habits that allow you to feel greater freedom, unlimited joy and find more astounding opportunities than ever before? Wouldn’t that be nice?” Rex Sikes
More on this next time. What kind of outstanding day will you create for yourself today and tomorrow?
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