Using Negativity to Practice Gratitude

Upset

This week, some things have tried to jump out, tackle me, and take me down.  In the overall grand scheme of life, they are NOT the big things.  I am sitting here right now asking myself why I let these small, but not nice, things get under my skin?  Why do we, human, react first and sometimes think later…or maybe we don’t think at all?  How can I be a leader, a mentor, and a yoga instructor if I let negative people influence my feelings?  I guess it’s because I am human and just trying to do the best I can at any given moment just like everyone else.

So what did I learn this week?  What lesson did I take away from having a bully type teacher take things out on my child in subtle, but nasty ways?  What did I learn from the woman who didn’t get any facts straight, but called me to say some nasty gossip out of the blue just because she wanted to instill some doubt in my thoughts about the high school where my daughters go and it’s safety?  Did I lean into fear, negativity, worry, doubt and anger for a bit?  Yes.  It was like my impulse where my children are concerned.  Did I then take a step back and breathe?  Yes.  But why wasn’t the breathing part first this week?  It was a reminder that like all good skills, you have to practice.

I hadn’t been stretching my gratitude muscle as much as I thought.  

As I sat with this and tried to put it in perspective, I thought about how sad these two people are in their lives.  I also thought about how the school still needed to know to possibly look into things, so after cooling off, I did send my nice e-mail which was received and made me feel better.  I was able to articulate from the former teacher perspective and still be thoughtful as the parent.  I did feel better when I addressed the concerns.  Now it was time to shift into gratitude.

Using Negativity to Practice Gratitude:

  1. I asked myself what was true about what I heard.  I then turned it around to what can I learn from this?  There were so many lessons to be learned there.  So many.  How did this make me feel?  Could I teach my daughter to stand up for herself in a way that wasn’t rude or disrespectful?  How could I show her that sometimes even authority figures get it wrong?  But in a way that is helpful to teenagers and won’t hurt them in school.
  2. What benefits could I pass on from this?  I am going to be honest, when I get in “seeing red” mode, I think of zero benefits and that helps me zero as well.  Was there a calm way I could think outside the box?  Yes.  I learned that I could let go and move on as my daughter did and she said she had it under control and would be fine.  The benefit is trusting that it will work out in the best possible way and provide growth to us all.
  3. I then asked what I could be grateful for from these situations.  It could always be worse.  << This statement, while it feels unfair perhaps, is true.  Sometimes we are so mired down in our own “stuff” that things feel like an attack on our well-being.  It feels like a personal and quite unnecessary way to show us things that need our attention.  That was what this showed me.  I am grateful for my relationship with both of my daughters.  I am grateful they come to me with things.  I am grateful that I have support from my family as well.  What do I need to praise more in this situation?  And I knew that it was the trust in my children to make the right decisions.

If you liked this post, you might like my 30 Days of Gratitude that you can use immediately. >>>  Here is the E-book link.  <<<

How to improve your karma.

Karma is frequently misunderstood as a “new age” buzzword.  The thing is, karma has been around since the beginning of creation.  Jesus even said for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap….Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.” 

So what I want you to focus on right now, is improving your labors so to speak whatever your beliefs happen to be.  We can all agree that this world would benefit greatly from good deeds.karma

Dial up the good karma

  1. Watch your thoughts throughout the day.  Are the majority of your thoughts negative?  If the answer is yes, try keeping a thought journal.  Start off with a positive affirmation for the day.  Whenever you feel yourself slipping back into the negative, go to that affirmation and repeat it.
  2. Don’t blow your top…practice patience.  I know that you immediately want to scream, curse, or flip off the driver who cut in front of you.  But take some deep calming breaths and send them good energy…to get to the hospital on time as that’s the only possible explanation for why they cut you off…right?
  3. Watch your words…because they might be sour.  Trust me when I say that I know how difficult it is to keep foul words to yourself when someone does something particularly nasty.  But that is actually their KARMA.  I know.  I know.  It doesn’t make it any easier, but repeat one of my favorite mantras “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” even loud enough for them to hear if you need to, but at least it will be puzzling to them.  I say this all the time now where people can hear me.  It’s better than other things I could say.
  4. Remember it’s like a math test.  All the good against all the bad?  Somewhat…but how about it’s a test of how you respond to these situations.  Kind of like a big ole’ Hunger Games set up in your head…but hopefully less violent.  May the odds be ever in your favor.
  5. Think with the heart, not the ego.  This one is pretty dag-on difficult.  When something happens, gossipy folks, backstabbing co-workers, lying leeches, or whatever come into your field of vision, put night vision goggles on.  What?  Yes!  Pretend you can see right into the heart of matters and see their pain.  Their ridiculousness and ugly words as the hurt they have not been able to let go of.  They are speaking through that and trying to drag you into it because they can’t see past it.  But you can, so think with the heart.  Let love guide your words, not spite.  That’s on them.  Rise above whatever they are putting out there, because you truly can raise your karmic level.

Karma powerNeed a place to turn up your Karma?  See the Head|Heart|Health Club tab here on the blog.

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Choices…

Look at that.  Right there, I made a choice to change the way my blog looks just by adding this quote at the top.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if all choices were that easy?  When Deepak Chopra writes about Applying the Law of “Karma” or Cause and Effect, he has this to say:  Whenever I make a choice, I will ask myself two questions: “What are the consequences of this choice that I’m making?  and “Will this choice bring fulfillment and happiness to me and also to those who are affected by this choice?”change>>> More choices under Head|Heart|health Club <<<

How often do we genuinely pause and ponder these two questions?  You see the problem is, I think we don’t stop to think about it at all.  If you are about to do something, but you have not given much thought as to what happens next, it is best to actually pause and consider this.  The last year I was teaching, I made a plan to begin changing my career and go after what I really wanted.  I wanted to write, and I found that I had a knack for social media.  I knew that the consequences were going to include struggle as I continued to build up a writing portfolio.

The first time I was contacted by an editor who wanted me to submit an even longer piece for publication, I felt the excitement and happiness of my choice.  The first time I got a rejection letter in the mail, smeared with some sort of greasy substance, I felt the doubt of my choice.  All in all, I knew that my well-being was better off for having made the choice to take a chance.  I knew that without a doubt, my life would not change working all the time and coming home too exhausted to write.  I am happy with change.  Hopefully, my life is about to change again as I am ready for something new. 

 

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Choices…

changeLook at that.  Right there, I made a choice to change the way my blog looks just by adding this quote at the top.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if all choices were that easy?  When Deepak Chopra writes about Applying the Law of “Karma” or Cause and Effect, he has this to say:  Whenever I make a choice, I will ask myself two questions: “What are the consequences of this choice that I’m making?  and “Will this choice bring fulfillment and happiness to me and also to those who are affected by this choice?”

Choices do have consequences.

How often do we genuinely pause and ponder these two questions?  You see the problem is, I think we don’t stop to think about it at all.  If you are about to do something, but you have not given much thought as to what happens next, it is best to actually pause and consider this.  The last year I was teaching, I made a plan to begin changing my career and go after what I really wanted.  I wanted to write, and I found that I had a knack for social media.  I knew that the consequences were going to include struggle as I continued to build up a writing portfolio.

The first time I was contacted by an editor who wanted me to submit an even longer piece for publication, I felt the excitement and happiness of my choice.  The first time I got a rejection letter in the mail, smeared with some sort of greasy substance, I felt the doubt of my choice.  All in all, I knew that my well-being was better off for having made the choice to take a chance.  I knew that without a doubt, my life would not change working all the time and coming home too exhausted to write.  I am happy with change.  Hopefully, my life is about to change again as I am ready for something new. 

The Law of Pure Potentiality…

I need to clear up some common misconceptions.  Yoga is a practice.  Not a religion.  Just like how Buddhism is a way of life…a practice or philosophy.  If you come from another religion or way of life can you take these philosophies with you back to your religion or way of life?  Yes.  But people fear what they do not know or understand.  So they are afraid to go deeper into the world of “stillness”.  Therein lies the problem.  At the beginning of my yoga practice yesterday, the teacher said “Be still, and know that I am God.”  When we are practicing our stillness…or just being, we are closer to who we are really meant to be.

This is where Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success come into my practice.  One of the absolute hardest steps for me to apply to my life is to take time each day just being silent.  Some people who know me are laughing…my parents I’m sure.  But what this really means is that I have to work at just being.  That seems like such a small thing…to just be.  To sit alone in silent meditation actually means that you clear your mind.  As thoughts come and go you focus on the moments between the thoughts.  Not the thought itself.  Pretty soon you are focusing on those in between moments for even longer and one day, you will come to realize that your thoughts have finally stilled.

And therein lies my problem.  One thought produces one more like it, then it spirals, and so on and so forth.  So I am working on this ability to carry stillness with me.  Chopra writes “Through silence, through meditation, and through non-judgement, you will access the first law, the Law of Pure Potentiality.”  Many times people say “Oh I’m not judging…but blah, blah, blah.”  If you have to say you are not judging, here’s a hint, you might be.  But that’s okay for now.  Work on letting that thought go and focusing on something positive you learned from that situation.  If your mind is constantly on re-wind and you are judge, jury and executioner of your thoughts and you can’t let the negative go from a situation, you need meditation in your life.  You know it costs less than therapy…it does.

Here is an introduction for you to watch:

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Motivational Monday…

I’m going to be honest, there are times these posts are difficult to write.  I look around, and I see poverty.  I see hate.  I see failure.  I see mankind struggling.  However, I am reminded of a book I used to read as a child.  It can be heard here:

I also listened to the lyrics by John Denver as can be read here.  My daughter said “Who is John Denver?” and I let out a sigh.  I like the part in his song that said “Just think you can, just think you can.  Just have that UNDERSTOOD.  And very soon, you’ll start to say I always knew I could.”  It occurred to me that the part I am struggling with is the understanding.  If I take that out of the equation and move to acceptance, this is the way it is going to be, so I might as well have that UNDERSTOOD, I can achieve the end result faster.  I am the only one who can change my thoughts.  Are you waiting for someone else to come along and push you up that hill?  If so, you might be waiting a long time.  Most people are so bogged down by their own problems that they fail to see when you need a push even if you have told them, are holding a sign, or have it engraved on a plaque.  Don’t wait for them to help you.  Change your thoughts now.  I think I can.

“Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you… yet, someone survived… You can do anything you choose to do.”  ~Maya Angelou

Day dreaming…

More than a handful of adults close to my age find themselves wondering if they have reached the peak of their career.  Did I accomplish what I set out to do or did I make a mistake?  We question ourselves…why didn’t I get my master’s degree?  We dream of possibilities and choices we have yet to make.  In the end, the choice is ours.

I know many people who have gone back to school in their 30’s.  I envy them.  I think it takes a whole lot of courage to say to yourself that you are not where you thought you’d be.  I know two people who went back to school to become doctors.  One of them is in her 40’s.  It is never too late to make your dreams a reality.  The biggest hurdle we face is ourselves.  Overcoming our fear of rejection and failure.  I read once that life’s real failure is when you do not know how close to success you were when you gave up.  Along the same line of thinking, I also read that Greek armies would burn their boats in ancient times once they arrived on the enemy’s shore.  There was no turning back.  I am pretty good at burning bridges when I need to, but perhaps I should focus on burning my boat instead.  I would have no choice but to move forward.  Something to think about for tonight.

“All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.”
~T.E. Lawrence