I was talking to someone last night. They told me they took a notebook one day and made a mark every time they made a judgement about someone or something. The page was black by the end of the day. I have this conversation all the time, and most of the time I'm not even listening. Why do we give so much weight to the things we don't do instead of things we accomplish? Why do we give so much weight to the things that go wrong instead of the things that go right?
If you're reading this you are still breathing. That's one. Staying alive through grief is amazing. If you're reading this you are searching for something. That's two. Searching instead of staying still is amazing. I know there are a lot more. The problem is we look at the big things. Damn, I haven't written my book yet. That's true. Millions of people have written books and I haven't. I'm writing the blog. Why don't I notice that? We all have things we'd like to be accomplishing. It's good to set goals. It's good to notice how to change so that you can accomplish them. However, while you're doing that, don't forget to look at all you do every day. When I was in the darkest place, wanting to die to be with Artie, I tried to do one thing a day that I could be proud of. Even if it was only a five minute something.
Now I'm trying to accomplish more. I agreed to do a "media fast". The person that asked me had a week in mind - but understood when I said I'd start with one day. I always talk about how many DVDs I watch. On Sunday, when I have nothing planned I'm not going to watch any DVDs or go online except if I want to write. I'm also not allowed to deal with any discomfort by drowning myself delightfully in sugar. I'm curious what I'll do.
If you ask my friends who I am they will describe a different person than I will. They will tell you about my good qualities. I'll tell you about how I've failed. Same person. Different perspective. A lot of people I love who are very successful do the same thing. They don't see their own successes - but they see mine. I can't accomplish more if I don't feel good about myself and about life. I can't feel good about myself and about life if I feed myself bitterness all the time. I have to learn to look at myself differently. Through the eyes of friends, of a pet, of Artie but really through my own eyes. My mother was very critical of everything I did or tried to do. She's dead. Her voice is my voice. I need voice lessons to train myself to be as nice to me as I am to others (most of the time!). Why should I have patience and compassion for someone else but not for me?
I wear my wedding ring and Artie's because I love him. I also wear them because to me they say, "I am loveable. Someone loved me enough to marry me." If I take them off do I stop being loveable? No. It just feels that way to me. We attach so many meanings and feelings to our stories. Someone told me today about taking your story and picturing it being on the outside of you instead of the inside of you. Then you peel away all the layers of information and feeling until it is just energy. Fill it up with a new layer of things - leaving out the ones that cause you pain. Then put it back inside. We talked about babies. They cry and cry. Then they smile and smile. Without language they are totally present. They aren't going back and thinking about what made them cry over and over again. They aren't adding layers and layers of sadness and criticism and pain. They are curious about what is going on right NOW. How do we do that as adults? You can pay attention to what is happening now in the world, not what is happening in your head. It's not easy - for me anyway. But it's getting easier.
I didn't work on my book today. I did go to exercise and rowed a mile on the rowing machine among other things. I went to a hypnotherapy session and hopefully made some changes. I'm writing the blog. I answered e-mails. I talked to my daughter. I walked. Remember that question I keep asking? And...what else? Typically I would ignore all those things. If I think of them as amazing - well, then it seems I've had a good day after all. I've been accidentally happy more than once. Many times. Shifting the way you think shifts the way you feel. It's okay to start really small. Something really big is made of little things. The whole universe is made of tiny particles we can't even see. That's pretty amazing.
What did you do today that is amazing? Pat yourself on the back. Give yourself a high five. Imagine those who have died giving you a big hug. Now, what amazing things will you do tomorrow? xo
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