Straight to the point—life is all about choices.
Free your mind
Do you know what really grinds my gears? And, this is so ridiculous—
Hanging the washing out.
I know, right?!
We’ve got a rotary clothes line and when it’s windy (hello, Wellington!), it moves every bloody time I go to hang something up.
But, on the weekend, as I was about to grumble headlong into the wind—
I just stopped.
Took a breath and smiled.
I chose to list all the things I was grateful for—how the wind magically spins the washing line to dry the clothes, and the electricity to run the washing machine, and even having a washing machine, for the water and detergent to fill it, actually having clothes to wash …
And, then I saw a beautiful Tui and my neighbour started cranking some old school tunes, so I had a little boogie, dancing with the wind and the birds and the washing line.
It sounds a bit (completely!) cuckoo, but it sure was a helluva lot nicer than feeling frustrated and grumpy.
Play a game with me—
Think of something right now that makes you frustrated or angry.
Feel that frustration or that anger.
Really feel it. Is your heart beating faster? Your blood rushing, your muscles tense, your jaw clenched?
Now, keep thinking of that same thing, but change your feeling to acceptance.
Take a deep, refreshing breath and let go. Just let it be.
Next, move from acceptance to gratitude.
That might be a challenge, but keep that thought or experience (or person?!) in your mind and feel grateful for it or them.
You might even say a quiet “thank you.”
After you’ve felt grateful, shift into wonder. Let yourself just be genuinely surprised—in a good way.
And, once you’ve felt that wonder, that awe, change your mind again—this time into joy.
Smile and let that thought, experience, or person go. Move on.
Now, let’s take stock.
What felt good? The tense frustration or anger?
Or was the calming acceptance, gratitude, the wonder or wonderful joy a more pleasant experience?
If we can, just in this short game, choose what we feel about something or someone—why would we ever choose the negative?
Leaving the past
I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.
~ Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist
This is why. In dark situations, choosing may not even feel like an option.
When heartbreaking things happen, choosing the light is deep, deep in the easier-said-than-done basket—right alongside gratitude and non-judgement.
Why be thankful for heartbreak?
How do we not judge those who do us wrong?
How can we just go on?
Put simply—not lightly, this isn’t about downplaying anyone’s experiences, but for the purposes of this post, we’re going to look at this in black and white.
Even though real life is anything but.
If we look at things simply—we have to go on, right?
This is life—this is it. No turning back, only moving forward.
As we talked about in the gratitude post, we can find even the most basic of things to be thankful for—a refreshing breath, a cloudless sky, a hot cuppa.
And judgement? Well, no matter how much we may judge others, the only person we’re really harming is ourselves.
Sadness, bitterness, ill will—as much as we may want to wish it on our enemies, they get to choose how they react to it (and they’re far more likely to react to their own thoughts than to our words or actions).
And that’s if we even display our animosity outwardly to them.
If we’re just seething quietly away to ourselves, well—we’re just seething quietly away to ourselves.
Either way, we don’t win.
Unless, we choose to change our tune.
A new view
Whether we believe it to be true or not, whether we believe ourselves capable of it—we have the choice as to how we react to things and people and situations.
Just like the washing line example (lame, lame story, I know!), we can choose whether we want to get upset and dwell in the dark places, or say c’est la vie, learn a little lesson, do a wee jig, and move on.
It sounds like I’m making light here, but I guess that’s really the point—that we will continue to live in the dark, until we choose to get up and open those curtains wide and let the light shine in.
And we shine on out.
This doesn’t mean that we’ll never come into harm or experience hurtful things—life happens (and it can be a bitch!). But, by choosing how we react? Sometimes, we can avoid the hurt altogether—or, at the very least, we take the power back from those trying to hurt us.
We can deal with it a bit better, move on a little quicker.
We would often say this person hurt us or that person made us mad—but that’s only true if we let it be true.
It’s not their doing—it’s our choice.
Consciousness is responsibility—taking care of our own hearts and minds and wellbeing.
Consciousness opens our eyes—it gives us the awareness to be able to direct our energy and our life in the direction we want it to go.
Consciousness—the consciousness of becoming mindful is living with the light on (not literally, save power, save the planet!).
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
~ Anaïs Nin