Maybe it's a self-preservation-thing-turned-habit: expect the worst and either be prepared or pleasantly surprised.
But that's the thing: we never seem to be prepared (because that small, still part of us refuses to expect the worst?) and, really, pleasant surprise only lasts as long as we can keep our minds at bay.
So here's the question: when did we become such slaves to the voices in our heads? And tell me this: how often is that voice wrong? How rarely does true disaster strike, despite on-the-hour (or minute) warnings otherwise?
Well. Here's a thought: next time it pipes up, I'll kindly ask it to hold its tongue. If I must, I'll pull out the reams of evidence discounting prior predictions, but a good "shut up" here and there might just do the trick.
It's a learning curve, petals, but we'll get there.
I'm as tired as anyone abut the advice of looking at x or y from a new perspective. For one thing, you have to change out of your super-comfortable pity pants which, let's face it, takes more energy than most of us have at the moment. And, for another, you might just have to accept the reality in which you live. You might have to accept that there are some positive aspects to your days and that everything is not terrible all the time.
My very best friend in the world passed on this insight recently: the brain would rather be right than happy. **The brain would rather be RIGHT than HAPPY.** Sadly, that is incredibly true, at least speaking for myself. We have to work at finding happiness. The brain will find all kinds of easy reasons for our misery, but I'm not sure happiness is hardwired. Or maybe I just missed the download. Either way, happiness is something that can be taught. We just need to find the willingness to learn.
I've never really taken to New Year's resolutions for so many reasons--most of which can be found in the pages of this little blog. But this year I've picked up something different, not a resolution, but a, what? Phrase? Affirmation? Mantra? I'm not entirely fond of any of those labels, but I suppose that's what it is. A sentence. There. That's better. An anchor to pull me back from the wickedly familiar brink.
This year my sentence, my anchor, is 'find ease.' That's it. Find ease. I've written it on small scraps of paper, stuck post-its on my computer at home and at work, and used my best penmanship to write it on cardstock later tucked into an extra frame by the bathroom mirror.
Here's my thinking: my kryptonite is anxiety, which is constricting and itchy, entirely too tight for comfort. But there must always be space somewhere because I am, after all, still breathing, aren't I? So there must be room also for expansion, for relaxation. And where the body goes, the mind follows....
I don't generally celebrate the new year--maybe it's just too much world-wide momentum, too much expectation, and too much (in my experience) false hope buoyed up on the hangover of the holidays and the unstable, frozen January ground. Instead, I jive much more naturally to the astrological new year--April and Aries. It just seems to make more sense to this body to look for hope where there's a chance for last frosts, first growth, and the life inherent in Maine's ever-present spring mud.
As usual, I spent my new year's day quietly in front of the fire, darning holes in sweaters, finishing sewing projects, and generally keeping to myself. But there's an ominous flip-side to stubbornly resisting the pull of an undertow so much bigger than one small self--the expectation of the day pulls at you, and the more you resist, the more it shoves you into some dark space you had no idea was a mere few steps away. Once you're in, you're in.
So, next year, I think, I'll revise my new year's routine...
January first is my least favorite day of the year--so much so, that I spend the entire sweet, soft, post-Christmas week dreading it. December 31st is mournfully bittersweet--comfortable, no matter what the prior year has brought. That whole one-one thing of the new year--it's like a new pair of school shoes--too shiny, to uncomfortable, biting into your feet, layering pain on top of the absolute horror of a new school year.
Throw in the itchy new clothes, and we're talking one bummer of a first day.
But then, I don't buy new clothes. I'll jury-rig a pair of jeans, a pair of shoes, for years. I cried when I had to retire the old Bean boots I 'inherited' (read: stole) from my mother; I think they were older than me.
So, no. I don't like this whole new year thing. But then, I never was one for parties, for glitz, for leaving my quiet corner of the world. I'll take the quieter flavor of drama in my beginnings--a mad snowfall, a full moon so bright it wakes me from sleep, tides so high...
I read this great article recently by Gregg Krech about action and resolution. The mind will always, always throw up roadblocks. That's what it does. But the body? The body can just *get up* and go do something, taking the mind along for the ride.
Right? Think of the middle of the night. You wake up and have to go to the bathroom. Your strange sleep-mind pitches all kinds of scenarios and alternatives, but eventually you realize that it's all madness; you *have* to get up. When you get back to bed, a few minutes later, your mind realizes it really wasn't worth all that creative effort.
Life is like that. We don't have to know how or why. Our body knows. That's enough.
For me, the battle against anxiety and depression, tension and resistance had ruled my life for years.
But then I realized I was thinking of it the wrong way. Why is it a battle? Why was I focusing on that battle? What if I focused on everything around that battle? What if I quieted that struggle by heightening the peace that inevitably came between each dissonant sound?
And it works. It works. But, here's what happens: usually, we have moments of absolute clarity and feel as though we’ve conquered our demons, but then, right around days 3-5 (ish), they come roaring back, fiercer than ever.
This is tension. This is resistance. This is what happens when we resist the moment we’re in. We get anxious. We feel as though there’s a rift between where we are and where we want to be.
One of the first tools at our disposal is relaxation. I know—it’s hard; it takes time to learn to relax.
The key—NOT JUDGING yourself for how you feel. As soon as the tension creeps in, move...