Friday, July 5, 2013

Making Stuff Up

I often say that I'm a graduate of MSU.... Making Stuff Up.

My perceptions are just that, my perceptions.  When I get an emotional hit from a thought like 'why isn't she talking to me' or 'why did he do that to me' I try to remind myself that I'm making stuff up again.

Abraham Lincoln once said that "People are just as happy as they make their minds up to be".  So why is it that we often choose to invest in the thoughts or ideas that make us unhappy?  I think it has a lot to do with paying too much attention to what we don't have, rather than being present with what we do have.

Try this next time you are feeling lost, separate, sad or even angry.  Make a gratitude list... some of you may be saying - that again!  It's a tried and true exercise for changing your perception which in turn will put you in touch with a greater sense of your well-being.

I recall being stuck in traffic one snowy night on my 3 mile commute from my office to my home.  It was maddening that it was taking over an hour to get home with such a short commute.  I found myself in this vicious place, I think we call it road rage.  I had been deduced to screaming (behind the safety of my closed windows of course) at some poor soul who was trying to make a turn on to the road I was on that was obviously gridlocked.

Of course the obsurdity of it all struck me when I was deduced to such a fit of anger.  I felt stuck in my emotions and behavior and needed some relief.  It was then that I remembered my gratitude practice.  My first thought was "no way, that won't help".  But I reasoned with myself that I needed to do something, this was crazy.

With both hands gripping the steering wheel like my life depended on it I took a deep breath and begrudgingly said "Ok I'm grateful for my breath".  That wasn't so bad, so I tried another, "I'm grateful I have a car",  "I'm grateful I'm healthy".... I grasped for the obvious things like a woman being thrown a life line off a boat.  I was in fact drifting in a sea of confusion and pain and this simple practice proved to be the life line that brought me back to sanity; more that that it brought me back to peace.  As I released my thoughts of frustration and anger and got present with myself I got in touch with my true sense of well-being.  I changed my perception.

We all have the ability to choose our perceptions even in the darkest of moments.  It all starts with a willingness to let go of what's difficult and grab hold of something larger than the situation we are in.  Am I willing to stop making stuff up about the situation?  That's the question to ask, once you get honest with yourself the rest is easy.