What if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the statement above was a given? How would your day begin and end and what would be sandwiched in between those two slices of fragrant, raisin flecked cinnamon toast (if that is your bread of choice…for some it might be hardy organic 12 grain with a whole bunch of seeds, or a a delicate, fluffly croissant)? I invite you to take a moment to contemplate if it feels like a ridiculous question or the most ‘of course’ one in the world? For this born optimist (as I referred to myself in yesterday’s entry), it is as natural as breathing and yet, there are times when I need to be reminded, in the hustle and bustle of daily activity, to take a deep breath, just as I need to be tapped on the shoulder and recognize that something wonderful has ALWAYS come out of even the most painful experiences.
Yesterday, as I sat with patient after patient in my day job as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital, it took all I had at times, to maintain that knowing. Hearing stories that would curl most people’s hair, I am always amazed at the resilience some people exhibit and the utter will it takes at times, for folks to keep on keepin’ on. Then there are others who, in some ways, continue to identify themselves by their wounds, rather than the triumphs over the adversity they have faced. I asked a few pointed question of one such person who sat in my office…”What if you could see yourself as a healthy, functioning (I hesitate to use the word ‘normal’, joking that it is a setting on washing machine) person? How would you act, what choices would you make, how would you feel?” She responded that it would feel weird, she wouldn’t know how to feel, but she did know that she would refrain from harming herself as she had so many times before. I challenged her to take a look (as I do with many abuse survivors) at the ways in which she continued to perpetuate the abuse that had been inflicted on her in her life. It’s a common theme among survivors who still feel like victims. She smiled and seemed as if she was REALLY letting it soak in, that she could have a different type of life than she had been experiencing. She then asked me for literature on one particular treatment modality that could benefit her.
Last night, I attended a class that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, called No More Difficult People, taught by Dana Lightman and found that these ideas were reinforced, that we are always at choice with the ways we respond vs. react to anything that comes our way, once we realize the mental mechanism behind it. It is not about what anyone says or does, it is the lenses through which we view anything that occurs. Any of us can get scooped up and carried away by our emotional overwhelm and overload. It is referred to as emotional hijacking. I think of it as a tidal wave of feeling that sometimes sweeps me off my feet and knocks me on my tush. My recovery (and yours) depends on how readily I/we can get back up and dry off. There have been times when I have remained soaked and feeling much like a drowned rat and then there are others when I have basked in the warmth of the sun, shaking my head in awe at what I have rebounded from. As Oprah says at the end of each issue of O Magazine “What I Know For Sure”…is that, regardless of appearance, something wonderful is ALWAYS there for me and for you.
In the midst of any given day, I can find something to ‘kvetch’ or ‘kvell’ about. For those who are not familiar with those Yiddish terms…here is a primer. The first word means to complain persistently, to whine or catastrophize. The second is to burst with pride, joy and excitement over an accomplishment. What amazes me is how quuckly I can shift back and forth between those polarities. All it takes is mindful recognition. It also takes intention setting. Each morning, sometimes even before I open my eyes, I state my affirmation that I am attracting amazing people and having extraordinary experiences and each day I do. It doesn’t mean that things flow smoothly all the time. It does mean that I am better able (sometimes with a pretty wild internal 2 year old temper-tempest) to gracefully recover when things don’t go ‘my way’…although, since I believe that the Universe is on my side (and yours).
What wonder do you anticipate today?
A little reggae to begin and end your day? http://youtu.be/zVdfANgPAz4 Wonderful World Beautiful People by Jimmy Cliff