We think a change in circumstances will transform the way we feel, but it’s our feelings that change our circumstances.
I read the above quote in an article by Martha Beck on the plane back from my retreat, it’s been weighing on my mind.
It isn’t the first time I have read this idea. Similar idea in the self-confidence class I wrote about earlier, the concept of our feelings are our feelings, we control behaviors and choices around them. I like the idea that I have control but honestly don’t feel like I do.
I really enjoyed the retreat, I was pretty successful at unplugging and was present. Had one day thinking and anxiety but was able to let it go.
I want to say around Monday the residual of the retreat wore off and a deep sense of sadness came over me, I came back to the same circumstances that I had left, nothing had changed. For me, vacation renews me and for a bit (apparently only a couple of days) I feel like life is grand and I’ve got this. But then it sets in that nothing has changed and things still suck.
So, change how I feel about my circumstances, but how?!?! I’ll think in my head, ok Amy, feel differently, ready?? Go!! Nope, feel the same.
I’ve read a lot about the brain and that it works to keep us “safe”. Safe for our brains is the status quo, even if that status quo doesn’t serve us. We create patterns and ways of thinking that are difficult to change, but not impossible.
Also add in the element of control. The circumstances that I view as sucking are the ones where I have no control. I want to change them, fix them, do something but they aren’t in my hands. Back around to then I can only control me. I find that frustrating and honestly I feel a little like a petulant child. Stomping my foot and throwing a tantrum.
So much here–control, emotional intelligence, attitude, my brain. Such a simple concept, just change how you think, focus on your attitude, be positive. What’s that saying? 97% attitude, 3% effort. Something along that line.
Seems to be a daily struggle, unless I am at a tropical island yoga retreat! Ah and there lies the answer, just need to win the lottery!
But in all seriousness it is doable. I have to make the effort, take the time to recognize where my head is and consciously decide to change my thoughts around the circumstance. I have to recognize that yes, the circumstances suck, yes they are out of my control and YES, I have the ability to change how I think about them.
I find being outside helpful, focus on the trees, the flowers, the mountains. Reading a good book will get me on another track. Spending time with my dogs. Small steps, small changes. I want instantaneous change that sticks, I also want world peace–but those things take time and effort.
Until next time, enjoy the present!