Lately it’s been hard for many people to keep a positive attitude. They are hurting financially from the economic downturn and financial instability that has landed on our shores. When doom and gloom is being broadcast across the media it’s even more important to focus on what you want and the world you want to create for yourself. It’s important to take charge of your life and in doing so to take responsibility for it (even when you have evidence of being the victim all this does is keep you a victim so take responsibility for where you are and go from there). Everything you have done in life has led you to the place you are now, every thought, action, feeling, and emotion. If you want more of the same then keep feeling and doing the same. If you want something different then start being different.
The grumble is already filling the room as many of you are saying to yourself, “HOW? How can you be or think different thoughts when surrounded by everything you don’t want?” Well, that’s exactly what you need to do, take yourself away from what you don’t want. A friend of mine teaches a simple strategy…go outside. Do something you wouldn’t normally do. Take a moment to do what some people call contrary action. In other words, if you are depressed and watching TV then turn the TV off and go do something else, preferably something active and not sedentary. Turning off the TV and turning on the computer doesn’t count. Walking around the block, playing with the dog, even washing the floor does. If you are worrying about your future then take your thoughts away from the obsessive worry and think about something that makes you happy. When you can train your mind away from what causes you pain towards the things that make you happy then you can begin to change your life and break the pattern of what you have created in the past. The beauty is that in doing so, you focus on what feels good which can then bring about new ideas and opportunities. Focusing on what you want is expansive. Focusing on what you don’t want is restrictive.
Here is a little exercise for creating more of what you want and letting go of what you don’t want:
1) Write down the pain (anger, fear, sadness, etc.)
If you really want to get into it then write down that list you keep repeating to yourself of all the things that make you unhappy. Some of us do this in our head, some of us do this when we talk to friends, and some of us actually write that list down...either way, if you’re unhappy about something then realize that you have a list. Just telling someone else what is bothering you makes that list so listen to how you speak to others. If you haven’t written it down then do so now.
Take a good look at this. Is this what you want to continue to bring into your life? If not then BURN IT! Destroy it! Throw it away, rip it up, and release all that anger, frustration, and worry about it. Begin the process of letting it go. This is your chance to start over. No, this doesn’t necessarily fix all the problems (it can) but it does give you a clean slate to start fresh from. It can even put much needed distance between you and your problems as it will help to separate them from your true self. You are not those problems. You are not the bills, the economy, the mortgage. You are experiencing them and you can choose to experience something else…NOW.
2) Think about something that makes you feel good.
Seriously! Start the process of re-training your brain, your consciousness, to focus on what you do want. What makes you feel good. You’ve become highly skilled at noticing and finding evidence of the things that make you unhappy. Now, let’s start focusing on what makes you happy…possibly even on what brings you joy. A beautiful sunset, a quiet walk, a cup of tea…anything. This literally is the moment when you get to stop and “smell the flowers.” Visualize, imagine, or think about that thing or experience. Whatever works for you but be with it – FEEL it! The more you train your mind/consciousness to be able to move away from what you don’t want and towards what you do want the more powerful and happy a life you will live.
3) Write down what you want.
Writing things down does a couple of different things. It engages more of your brain than just simply thinking and it involves your physical body. Do yourself a favor and if you can write down what you want on a piece of paper with your favorite pen or pencil. Take the good feelings you achieved previously and let them grow as you write down what you want. Continue to focus on what you want and the good feelings associated with what you want. If for any reason some negative thoughts poke through your good feelings just simply invite them to be there and bring your focus back on what makes you happy. AGAIN, remember that by focusing on what you don’t want you just create more of the same. Opportunity and possibility come when you feel good so start feeling good now.
4) Meditate and daydream.
Part of meditation is the ability to focus your thoughts or to have no thoughts at all (depending on what tradition you are practicing). One step towards meditation is simply allowing whatever thoughts that come into your awareness to be there but to not place your attention upon them. Treat them like cars speeding along on the highway. You see them and then you don’t as they whiz by. If you happen to get into one of them you can always pull over, get out, and go back to observing them again. Meditation has many psychological and biological benefits but my favorite thing to do when creating my world is to daydream. Daydreaming provides depth and details to our dreams, goals, and desires and even more importantly it creates feelings. Don’t ever let anyone tell you to stop daydreaming because when you can “taste” or “smell” or even “feel” something then it is one step closer to moving out of your thoughts and into the physical world. This is similar to step two but make it even more active do your best to visualize, imagine, and think about your daydream on all levels of your being…take the experience deep into you.
5) Move on and move up.
Recognize that the most powerful gift you can give anyone is attention, including yourself. Children throw tantrums because they don’t get enough attention and plants (and people) whither when they’re ignored. So, the question is, can you pay attention to what you want and continue to move towards that? Just because something comes into our life that we don’t want doesn’t mean that we have to use it as evidence that our life sucks. You could just see it and move your attention away from it. The driver that just cut you off, you can keep directing your attention towards him/her and make yourself upset or you can move your attention to the song you like that’s playing on the radio. It really is your choice. This is all about moving on, away from what bothers you and up towards what makes you happy. Move on and move up and in the example of the crazy driver move away from the reckless danger they caused and towards the serenity of a calm peaceful drive.
So, what do you want? Focus your thoughts and bring it on!