Happy New Year, dear friends! For a few years now, I have been writing a theme for each year that has been directly related to my journey through life. It has become very clear to me that as we enter into 2016, this is a larger test of many of the life lessons and experiences we have been gathering through the past few years. It feels like the last few years were practice tests leading up to the SATs or the scrimmages leading up to the big game. In 2016, for us to truly thrive as a world community, we are going to have to take on our biggest challenge and that is the choice of where we place our energy and focus.
At every moment, you are making a choice about the situation you are in – you choose how you see it (perception), you choose what you think about it (thoughts), and from those choices, you have feelings that arise. For most of us, this is an automatic process. We are so used to situations being the same as they were the day before, that we walk into situations with pre-determined perceptions, then we have thoughts, and before you know it we have an emotional response (your emotions follow your thoughts, if you ever want to feel differently, notice what you are thinking and choose a better feeling thought). An example of this could be a co-worker who we perceive as always being annoying. Since this our perception of that person, before they open their mouth, we have already perceived what is about to happen, our thoughts are already reminding us of the last 100 times they annoyed us, and our blood pressure is on the rise. And, that is one of the many automatic behaviors that all of us, as humans, experience. We do this hundreds of time each day. Choose automatically, and for most of us, choosing in a way that ultimately harms us and others, rather than lifts us and others up.
2016 is about our ability to conscientiously choose – choose to see differently, choose to think differently, so that we can choose to feel and create differently. We have seen what we are creating in the state of the world today. What is happening on the large world stage is happening in individuals as well. When I talk to people, there is pain, mistrust, anger, fear and hopelessness. These are the normal daily emotions I hear about. When you read the headlines, you see more of the same – pain, mistrust, anger, fear and hopelessness. This comes from a perception, followed by thoughts, followed by an emotional response. In order to change the world and to change our life, we have to change our perception of what is happening and choose better thoughts about what is happening around us.
The key to changing this lies in our ability to change focus – to choose to see things as we want them to be versus how we currently perceive them. This is where the choice comes in. It is easier to be on autopilot and allow the perception, followed by the thoughts, followed by the emotions to run its course. It is much harder to see an event, PAUSE, and then make a conscious choice about how you will perceive the event. This is simply a choice. But simple does not mean easy. Using the co-worker example from above, this is what it would look like… you see your co-worker open their mouth, the automatic tape of perception starts to run, you say silently (or, even out loud… I had to do that a lot at the beginning… STOP!). Then you PAUSE and take a breath. You make a choice about your co-worker – they are a good person, they are a hard worker, they are a human being like you with good parts and hurt parts, and you listen to what comes out of their mouth with the perception it is going to be good, it is going to be helpful, it is going to be loving. And, then see what happens. This practice is magical. Try it but, start with someone who does not annoy you greatly. Like all of our practices, it is a habit and takes some time to develop. Eventually, you can use it in the most trying of situations.
The practice of PAUSING and then choosing differently is not an easy practice. It requires you to be present in the moment; to be fully consciously aware of where you are and who you are speaking to at any given moment. It requires you to notice when feelings arise and think back to the perception and thoughts that lead up to those feelings. And, most importantly, in that moment, it requires humility to choose again. By the time you have the feelings, the choice was made already. But, that is ok, because the practice is allowing yourself the gift to choose again. To STOP where you are, realize you made an automatic choice that is not helpful, and choose again. This time, choosing to focus on something that uplifts and fills the world with love and light.
Hi! Welcome to my blog, Lunch with Cinderella. I love writing about my life experiences and the fact that they may help spur some cool experiences of your own. If you are here, leave a comment... I read them all and love hearing from you!
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