I recently watched an interview of Sadhguru, and a quote stuck with me.
“They think they are suffering life. They are not suffering life. They’re suffering the two most fantastic faculties that human beings alone have: a vivid sense of memory and a fantastic sense of imagination.”
With that revelation, I began to think of how my mind uses painful memories to paint visions of how things can go wrong in the future. My memories are responsible for my anxiety.
As you may know, I love books about understanding the mind. I am currently doing a deep dive into the works of Neville Goddard, and I was led to a book that gave me a new piece to this mind puzzle.
“Start now to observe your reactions to life and do not allow yourself to become identified with any unlovely state…. If you continue to have the same reactions, you have not changed your feelings.”
When I combined the two teachings, I realized that my memories of sucky moments in my past, were painting negative expectations over my visions of the future. I was worrying that what happened before, would occur again. I was feeling worried because I was reacting to the past, rather than reacting (in advance) to what I desired in the future.
This revelation is not groundbreaking science, but this discovery for me is HUGE. When I fully believe that what I desire is mine, I am not worried. My reaction lets know that I am not yet fully convinced, or focused, on the outcome I desire.
One of my core beliefs is that “thoughts become things”—what we envision with dominant emotions becomes our reality. When I picture a situation going wrong, and fear it will occur unfavorably, my thoughts predict and create that outcome. My memories of similar situations going wrong, choke out my positive expectations of things going right.
However, now that I am aware that worry is my reaction to envisioning things going differently than I desire, I can use that reaction a signal to refocus. I can take control of my thoughts by being aware of how I feel.
So I decided to create a new habit. Whenever I feel worried, I will ask myself, “What am I reacting to?” That simple question helps me to recognize that I am focusing in the wrong direction. Anxiety and excitement are the same energy, just one is focused toward we want and one is focused toward what we don’t want. With this new habit I am forming, I can catch myself mid-thought and turn my attention to what I want.
And, guess what. I am already beginning to see shifts!
We often think it’s major events, and unexpected miracles, that turn our lives around. The reality is that our lives are driven by our thoughts. Small shifts in perception, can bring about HUGE changes….
In one of my empowerment workshops, I taught a group of young ladies how small shifts can produce great results over time. Here’s how it works….
Imagine that you have the super power to walk (safely) through walls. Imagine you’re standing outside your front door holding a gigantic ball of yarn. Tie the free end of the yarn to your front doorknob, face the street, and start walking forward. Pass through houses, buildings, and traffic. Look around. Where are you after 3 blocks? 6 blocks? 3 miles? Okay, hit rewind, and quickly travel back to your front door. (You’ve already tied the yarn to the doorknob and are facing forward.) Now, pivot (turn) your feet slightly to the left (about 15-20 degrees, if you need specifics). Okay, now start walking. Where are you in 3 blocks? 6 blocks? 3 miles? In 3 miles, from that small pivot, you are nowhere near where you ended up after 3 miles walking straight forward. (You may return to reality, now, lol.)
This is how dramatic the shifts in our consciousness can be. By making small shifts in our thoughts, we can make MAJOR shifts in our lives.
As we begin to pay attention to our reactions, we can see if we are truly in alignment with what we desire to manifest. Are we facing toward our goals, or away from them?
This morning, as I found myself worrying, I asked myself, “What am I reacting to?” I realized that although I desired a better experience this morning, in my mind, I was reliving yesterday and the day before. As I began to pay attention to what I was reacting to, I realized that I have been doing this in other areas of my life. It finally made sense why I was not manifesting the experiences I desire because I was still envisioning— and REACTING to what I don’t want.
I am so excited about the possibilities that this simple practice will create in my life. This morning, alone, I saw how things shifted. I stopped freaking myself by anticipating things going as they had before. I caught myself reacting and remembered to focus on what I want. By simply noticing when I felt worried, and pausing to ask, “What am I reacting to?” I witnessed a shift from what seemed inevitable….
I am sharing this with you now because I want everybody to win. I want to save you time, pain, drama. If I discover something that works from me, I’m not waiting til I’m in my multimillion dollar villa to share it with you. We can all rise together. Everything I’ve learned and applied from Neville’s teachings has brought me closer to my goals. And this new revelation for me, I can tell is going to be a major gamechanger….
Maybe you have a habit of worry. Begin to pay attention to your reactions, (for example, feeling anxious, when you want to feel hopeful). The simple step of noticing when you feel this way is a big step. Then, you can become aware of what brought on that feeling by asking yourself, “What am I reacting to?” Resist the urge to go back down that rabbit hole. Instead, simply recognize that you feel the way you feel because of what you are focused on. If you desire to feel differently, you’ll need to shift your focus.
Maybe shifting completely to focusing on what you’d rather experience is too far for your mind to travel in that moment. Instead you can choose to focus on something that makes you feel better. Playing (or thinking of) a favorite song, can help. Getting up to grab a drink of water, can help. Saying (or thinking of), a positive affirmation/mantra, can help. (And if you’re familiar with work of Joseph McClendon III shaking your toosh, can help. )
Yesterday, I started doing a jigsaw puzzle, that helped. When I found myself feeling “off” or focused on something worrisome, I set my Pomodoro timer for 15 minutes and sat with my puzzle. I read a post yesterday that said that there are studies that say playing Tetris is a huge way to shift, even after major traumas. )
The main thing is to begin to be aware of our reactions— to pay attention to the thoughts that are causing our feelings.
Let’s create a new habit to interrupt thoughts that cause us discomfort. This small practice can bring about big changes.
“If you do not like what you are encountering in life, rearrange your thoughts by changing your consciousness.”
Whether we’re in the midst of a family struggle, or we’re just having a tough day, kids tend to watch our body language, and blame themselves.
Recently, a parent requested support because their 5-year-old believes that when the parent appears sad or upset that it means they don’t love them.
Although this child is younger, this post also applies to parents of older children. We have to keep in mind that we establish most of our core beliefs by the age of 7. So it’s important to address these beliefs early and to recognize that, if unchecked, they are still at work well into adulthood.
Children follow our body language to figure out what things mean. These meanings they come up with become beliefs.
Let me show you how beliefs get established. Let’s say that a two-year-old toddler notices that every time Mommy says, “I love you,” she smiles. Then, they notice that every time Dad or sister or Grandma or auntie says, “I love you,” they smile, too. This toddler may conclude that a smile means, “I love you.” So when they see someone look at them with an angry or sad face, especially if it’s one of those same people that smiled and said, “I love you,” it is very likely that they will conclude that a sad or angry face means, “I don’t love you.”
All of this is going on in the child’s mind so we don’t know about it until they bring it to us. So what do you do with when you realize that your child has developed this belief?
I’ve learned is that reversing roles is often a great teaching tool in relationships. Sometimes it’s hard to process new information once we’ve developed a belief so it helps to look at things from a different perspective, even when the child is very young.
Below is my response to the parent’s request for support on handling this situation…
“… if you have a moment with her when you’ve calmed her down after she’s been upset and things are back to normal, you can revisit this. So say she’s back happy playing, reading, watching her video and you say, “Do you love, Mommy (me)?” And she’ll probably say, “Yes.” And then you can say, “When you’re watching a movie do you love me?” “When you’re laughing do you still love me?” “What about when you were sad, did you still love me?” And she’ll probably say “Yes” to all of them, and you can say, “Well, when I’m happy, I love you. When I’m sad, I still love you. When I’m eating my vegetables, I love you. And even when I make you eat vegetables, I still love you. I always love you and I never stop loving you, even if I have a sad face, or angry face.” And it might be a conversation that gets revisited, or even turned into a game of “Do you think I love you, now?” And if she says no, it turns into giggles and belly tickles saying, “Of course, I still love you.” My daughter is now 12 and I still revisit this conversation. When I’m sad, tired, having a bad day, I still say to her, “Don’t worry about how my face looks. I’m not mad at you. I’m just tired/having a rough day. I love you.” Kids make it about them. So it’s important that we reinforce that it’s not.”
So often the struggles in our relationships with our children occur due to miscommunication through our body language. And other times it has a lot to do with the meanings they place on our behavior. Often their conclusions are so far off from what’s really going on.
So if you’ve been in a bad mood lately, or are not feeling well, or are just having a bad day, consider telling your child that. You don’t have to give them the details but just let them know that it’s not about them, AND tell them that you love them.
You may be surprised how often their response is, “Oh, I thought it was my fault.”
I am an outlier. If you want me to immediately pivot from a choice, tell me, “Everybody else is doing it.” I do what aligns with my beliefs, interests, and priorities, regardless of what everybody else thinks about it. However, being an outlier makes it really hard to be a people pleaser. For most of my life I tried to be both.
One of the greatest challenges I’ve faced as a parent has been to stand my ground with my parenting decisions. Ultimately, I’m going to act in the best interest of my child, regardless of who agrees with it. The hard part is vocalizing that.
I. Do. Not. Like. Conflict. I want everybody to be happy with me, and smile at me, and tell me nothing but good things about myself. When I make my inevitable outlier choices, I end up having those annoying, awkward conversations, where people feel it’s their job to tell me their opinions and how I’m making the wrong decision because I’m not doing what they would do in my situation.
When I became a parent—and I mean during my pregnancy—I decided that I had to do what was in my child’s best interest. I had to follow my gut, even if that meant I had to stand up to my own momma (and if you know her, you know…..). I went most of my life doing things I didn’t want to do, just to keep the peace, but as a parent, I realized that my child’s physical, mental, emotional, and even social wellbeing matters more to me than avoiding those awkward moments.
It has taken time to get to a point where I initiate those awkward convos, as needed, rather than wait ’til they come to me. This week, I’ve already had a few and I’m gearing up for a few more. It’s a sign of my growth that I am standing in my power and saying, “I don’t care what you think; this is what I’m about to do.”
Just because something worked for someone else does not mean that is best for my child. As I grow as a parent, I realize more how important it is to exercise boundaries. We often have people around us who are very opinionated about our parenting choices. We can hear others, but ultimately we need to stand in what’s true for us and best for our children. We get the privilege of being their advocates. Sometimes that means we need to speak up and say what we are/are not going to do, when it comes to our children.
If you are a recovering (or practicing) people pleaser, know that the more you exercise your boundaries, and take the risks to stand in your truth, the more you develop inner strength. It’s important for me to catch myself when I’m tempted to back down from following my internal guidance, and ask, “What is my intention?” It helps me remember where my focus belongs. It helps me not take the easy path, just to avoid the conflict. It helps me stay aligned with my truth.
We need to follow our instincts, hold our boundaries, and speak our truths, even if our voice shakes.