Did you know that October is Positive Attitude Month? I just found out and it lit a smile on my otherwise sleepy face this morning. As I look out my window, I see a grey sky and have the desire to go back to bed. Flannel sheets feel pretty appealing on a chilly morn. In this moment, I KNOW I have a choice. I could grump and grumble “I don’t wanna” get out of bed and go to my full time job that is 45 minutes away and then take a CEU class tonight to help me maintain my Social Work license, which lasts until nearly 10 pm on a night after a day like yesterday when I kept a similar schedule. OR I can take a deep breath and recognize that I am beyond grateful that I have a job that allows me to make a difference and pays my bills. Many people can’t say that.
The class I am taking is called No More Difficult People and is being offered by the dynamic and engaging Dana Lightman who I was thrilled to have met a few years back when she taught one called Power Optimism. The idea is that optimism (although she claims to be a born optimist…me too:) is also a learned skill and with it in our tool kit, we can move gracefully through even the most challenging situations. She uses a concept that she calls re-interpretation, that I refer to as re-framing. What it comes down to is viewing ANY situation; even one that could be excrutiatingly painful, as something meaningful from which we can learn and grow. It doesn’t mean we have to like it, or even desire it, but can use it to heal old issues and move forward. It comes down to this…while we may have no control over the circumstances we encounter, such as the death of a loved one or being at the whim of someone else’s choices, we ALWAYS are at choice about how we either respond (with mindful awareness) or react (with impulsive, shoot from the hip 0-60 in ten seconds flat behavior that doesn’t serve us or resolve the problem) .
At my day job, I come face to face with folks whose default mode is often victimhood. While many of them were at one time, ‘victims’ of someone else’s behaviors, one of my chosen roles is a guide who shows them that there are alternatives to continuing to see themselves that way. Sometimes a person will get an incredulous look on his or face as if to ask, “You mean I don’t have to keep feeling like this? You mean things can change?” I assure them that this is indeed the case. And then there are others who steadfastly and with entrenched beliefs, contend that the way things have been are the way things will always be. That’s when I think…”Ok. game on!” and I pull out my own tool kit of metaphor, concept, life lesson that has come my way, in order to reframe their beliefs that have kept them stuck where they are. Think of the movie Groundhog Day as a symbol of the definitition of insanity…’doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.’
Keep in mind that I’m not talking about sugar-coating or denying the events that are occurring. If you wrap dog poop in a pretty package, it’s still dog poop. What I am saying is that it is possible to find meaning in the madness. Think of times in your life in which you overcame challenge and turned it into triumph. I can list many in my own life and I remind myself frequently when confronting the ‘it’s not fair, how come….’ doubt monsters that tell me that I am not where I want to be in my life.
Last night, I came smack dab against one of my own doubt monsters. Most people see me as bright, cheery, confident and optimistic, or so I’ve been told. I had a book signing that had been set up for several weeks and I was excited about it. Heading over there, the old thought “What if no one shows up? What if no one buys the book?” hammered away at me. That chattering monkey mind can be so very clever. I walked around the store which I love since it contains so many cool things to peruse and many of the items are spiritually eclectic. I took deep breaths, reminding myself, as my friend Reid Mihalko loves to say, and had encouraged me when I was feeling nervous about facilitating Cuddle Party workshops “Darlin’, the event will go as the event will go.” And so it did. By the end of the night, I was delighted to have had a steady flow of folks coming in and taking home the book and some sweet surprises of friends that I didn’t expect, but whose bright smiles and celebratory hugs brightened my night. Sometimes it really is that simple a reframe. I look back on the past 53 years of my life and am certain that (although it may not seem that way at the time), things always work out for the highest good.
Do you see yourself as an optimist or pessimist? Are you a glass half full or half empty kinda person? My contention is that the glass is always filled to overflowing, since, even if it is only partially filled with liquid, the other portion is filled with air. In what ways will you celebrate Positive Attitude Month? What ‘impossible’ beliefs of lack and limitation can you transform into ‘I’m possible’ briliantly shining reality? I daresay that you will enjoy the outcome so much that you will make it an every day event.
I encourage you to go to Dana’s website and learn about ways to ‘optimize’ your potential.
POWER Optimism Quick Tips
Start A Positive Bank Account
Say “thank you” for the little things that happen throughout your day, like finding a great parking spot, seeing a beautiful butterfly or meeting a deadline. Making daily “positive deposits” pays off…you can draw on your positive surplus to offset setbacks.
Freedom from Fretting
Create a worry box to curtail constant rumination. Write your worries on a piece of paper and put them in the box for safekeeping. Set aside a worry period to read the papers in your box and remind yourself that these thoughts are off limits while they are in the box.
Whistle A Happy Tune
Take a catchy tune, one that really gets your toes tapping and your blood flowing. Now, create your own positive lyrics to go with that tune and have some fun singing your new creation. Before you know it, you’ll be humming the “positive” throughout your day.
Mental Rehearsal Pays Off
Tap into your imagination’s positive potential by rehearsing your desired performance in your mind. Be sure to put yourself in the visualization. Now, play the scene in your head as if you were watching yourself in a movie. Enjoy the scene. Smile and feel the satisfaction of success.
Turning Your Desires into Reality
To turn your new desires into your current reality, try creating a collage that describes your desires in pictures and words from magazines or clip art. Hang the collage in a prominent place where you can easily see it. Look at it often and feel yourself growing into the ideas expressed in the collage.
http://youtu.be/iJgxJ6JrPkc Wake Up-John Legend and The Roots