These are the random thoughts that I caught on my voice recorder while cooking dinner. I am tempted to share the recording and you can hear pots and pans and food sizzling in the background.
Have you ever heard somebody say, "they are all just experiences"? That is true. Everything in life is just a neutral experience. It is only our limited, human, brain that defines an experience as a good experience or a bad experience. We search to give every experience a meaning, to categorize it, to define it, put it someplace where we can refer to it over and over again. In which case, it becomes part of our story - the joy we had or the heartache we experienced or the stress or the sadness or whatever emotion we chose to put in that experience and then create a story about.
But when you go back to the actual event or the actual moment, all it was was an experience. And, if just because, at that moment, it was not the experience you desired, it wasn't the outcome you wanted in that moment, we have a tendency to take the experience and define it as something not positive or not good, and that is where the damage begins. The damage starts when we interpret our experience in some sort of a judgmental fashion - good, bad, I was betrayed, I was hurt, they were out to get me, etc. When in reality, all the experience is is just an experience. And how we feel about the experience is simply a choice. And, at any moment, we can change how we feel about the experience. We can make a different choice about the experience.
I think of some of the people I have met who have had some experiences that I found find very difficult and painful. Yet, they tell beautiful stories from these experiences. They talk of these experiences from the perspective of the gift it gave them. Yet, the actual event or experience, has not changed. But their perspective and the story they have told about the experience changes the experience so greatly that it changes the outcomes they have in their life; what they do and who they are as a person.
One of the most profound experience I had with this experience is when I did a weekend meditation workshop. I went in with a firm belief and a number of stories that supported this belief. And, somewhere, during one of the meditations, I realized, the story I had been telling was 100% false. It was such a big, fat lie. You know when you tell yourself a lie that is so big it changes how you walk, how you talk, how you act, and what you do. This was one of those! And, all of a sudden, I saw all my past stories around this belief as completely false. It is the weirdest experience. It is like KNOWING that the world is flat and then finding out that it is in fact round. Now, I had had many people tell me over the years that my belief system and my stories were inaccurate, but I could not see it. I really thought, "they do not really know". I did not understand how they did not understand how terrible this was. And, so it made me feel more lonely because I felt like the people who loved me the most, did not get me. In reality, I did not get me. They saw me perfectly clearly. I was the one with blinders on. I did not understand the perfection of everything that was going on around me.
And, to be honest, to this day, I do not see the specific gift of every single one of those experiences, some of which I defined as painful. What I do see is that every one of them put me on a path. And, I do see that the horrible, terrible, no good story, I made up about them, is completely false. And, some of the experiences that I had labeled as so terrible, that by simply thinking about them for a second or driving by the Starbucks where it started, etc, I could be in tears in seconds. Out of nowhere, crying, remembering this traumatic event. It is very different now... I see it was never traumatic. The only thing that was traumatic was the intensely traumatic story I told about the event. The other day I was in DC and by total happenstance drove by the Starbucks where I met someone that ended up in a hurtful fight. And, I kind of chuckled. As I was getting close to the Starbucks, I wondered if I would cry or be upset. And, instead, I looked at it, and it just looked like a Starbucks. It is hard to explain but this was an auto-cry response, I avoided this part of town, and now, it is not a good memory, it is just a memory - not good or bad.
I have learned to understand, and trust, and believe, that every experience is leading me to where I need to be. This is so true and so powerful and so impactful in my life, that I have chosen that this is the truth for me. And, overall I have seen that this is the truth for me - everything that happens to me serves my greatest good. On a side note, I could have chosen to believe something completely different and I would have the reality to match that. I could choose to believe, I am alone. I am unsupported. Life is hard. And, my reality would match that.
I know you all know these concepts already. How well are all of us really living this? Whatever experience you are having today - health, with a child or partner, job experience, financial experience. Have you defined it as good or bad? Have you told a story about it? When it happened, did you say, "This always happens to me. This is just my luck. I don't know why I am surprised?" How committed are you to choosing to see this experience as a neutral experience as opposed to a good or bad thing that you have to deal with or manage or cope with? We know our perception and how we see the world changes the world around us. If you have not experienced this, I offer you this opportunity, to change your perspective and then watch "facts" and "reality" change to meet your new perspective. Say, "I am always supported." And, then think of all the ways this is true, and then watch, as more support shows up in your life.
When you have this experience of "reality" changing to meet your new story, we call this a miracle. There is no way, I knew this was not possible, there was no way this could have happened, and yet it did. It is a miracle. The miracle came because you chose to look at the situation with a different perspective. You chose to drop your label of the experience and see it for what it is, an experience without judgment and without a story. That makes room for the miracle. This is a very powerful concept and a powerful practice. Changing your perspective about anything in your life, is very powerful; about a person, an event, or job, etc.
I don't want to sound like, "hey just change your perspective." Like it is that easy (though, it really can be in many cases) in some it takes more of practice. It is clear and simple, but simple is not always easy. There is "work" required to change your perspective. The "work" is to keep returning to this practice of willing to see the situation in front of you differently; willing to see it as an experience without judgment. Michael Singer wrote an entire book about this called, The Surrender Experiment. Just like if someone says to lose weight just give up gluten, dairy and sugar. That is simple. But to do it takes some amount of "work". Go easy on yourself as you take on this practice. If we knew how to do this at all times, we would. In a moment, it is not always easy to know how to change your perspective.
The way I learned to do this is through having a Coach. I have people in my life who can see a series of events and see the story I am telling about it and in a moment give me a perspective that is so different then the perspective I am having, that it will completely change my experience. That is the benefit of having a coach. They can see in that moment what does not seem available to you. It is like if I tell you, "you are on the wrong TV channel, change the channel." Well, you know how to use a remote, you get that peace will come from changing the channel. But, which channel? Which channel has that peace? Do you go to another channel that is almost identical to the channel you are on? Or, a channel that is even more terrifying than the channel you are on (which is what happens when we talk about the event/experience with most of our friends). What if I told you, "No, go to the opposite channel than the channel you are on". That is more guidance but not enough to know where to go. You need someone to tell you, "You are on this channel which causes these thoughts, feelings, beliefs and story. What you want, is this channel, this is the show, this is what is happening... see the difference in what you are thinking, feeling and believing on this channel?"
There are a lot of ways to have the experience of changing your perspective. For some it can be connecting to nature, for some it is doing a spiritual pilgrimage, a vipassana, walking the Camino de Santiago, others it is a life event. For me, I gained it through working with a Coach in a defined spiritual curriculum. Here is the basic way to do it to get started, Ask. Ask to be shown something different. Ask for a change of perspective. Ask for God, A Higher Power, Your Higher Self to show you a different perspective.
To summarize, keep your experiences as neutral as you can and ask for a change of perspective when you feel your experience is not positive. Ask to be shown the experience in a different light. This, my friends, is the work. My wish for you is that you see everything in the light of love that truly exists and not in the darkness and confusion that gets associated with the word, "reality".
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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