Embrace the Polar Vortex!
I know that you are all thinking that I have lost my mind with that title. However, hear me out. The unbelievable winter of 2013–14 has come to pay all of us a visit (at least in the U.S.). We have all struggled with a boatload of snow, ice and frigid temperatures. Additionally, a wide variety of circumstances have occurred as a result: a crazy amount of school closings and delays, auto accidents, losing electricity and heat for days, falls on the ice, being stuck in airports for days on end, and the list goes on and on and on!
My question to you as well as myself is, “Are our thoughts about this winter causing us stress or peace?” If you wake up in the morning to freshly fallen snow, are you immediately frustrated and stressed about all that observation entails (shoveling, cleaning off the car, driving on slick roads, etc.)? Or are you looking outside and simply breathing in the beauteous gift that has been left literally on your doorstep?
If your response is the former, then I hate to tell you this, but you are starting your day by choosing on some level to fight with reality. Your subconscious beliefs that say something like, “It should not be this cold in southern Indiana,” or “We don’t get snow in Atlanta,” or “Winter should be done by now,” are causing you added stress. You are having a subconscious argument with the brand-new snowfall that came during the night instead of accepting the current state outside your door. So, I’ll ask you again. Are those thoughts causing you stress or peace?
If the answer is that you feel peaceful and relaxed having this ongoing war with Mother Nature, then by all means, keep fighting. However, if you are like me and your honest answer is that it’s stressful to focus on all the inconveniences that lie ahead as a result of the snow, then you have already taken a huge step toward embracing the polar vortex. You have admitted to yourself that the thoughts that you are entertaining are stressful. That’s the first step in a journey to see how our thoughts create the stories we tell ourselves, framing how we perceive any given day.
Negative thinking breeds more negative thinking. How many times have you woken up and stubbed your toe in the morning or gotten frustrated that the shirt you wanted to wear was in the dirty laundry and had a stain on it? Did you find it easy to climb out of the basement of your negative perceptions to go on and have a marvelous day, or did it feel like an uphill battle all day long? I have had plenty of days like this where it seemed like the day was one of clashes one right after the other until finally the best part of my day was lying down to go to bed, putting the day behind me. Those days are anything but fun. So, I asked myself, “Is there another way to experience a day like this?” In fact, there is another way. Just as negative thinking creates more negative, positive thinking creates more positive in your life.
Now, I am not an advocate for going through life with a fake smile on your face, forcing positive mantras through your brain in an attempt to have a brighter outlook. However, I have discovered, with the help of Byron Katie, that I can only control myself. I can’t control the weather or how well the city plows my street. Realizing this has helped me to decrease the stress in my life tenfold. Katie explains that the more time we spend mental energy in other people’s business, even Mother Nature’s, the more stress we create in our own lives. So, when I think thoughts like, “Winter should be over,” “The schools should be open today,” or “Spring will never come,” I am only hurting myself as I start down the warpath of negative thinking.
When this happens to me, I find that I stop living in the present and let my thoughts take over my life. During these times, I don’t allow or appreciate what simply is. I begin my day trudging up the waterfall because I have perceived the weather as an inconvenience and a pain in the ass. I now make a conscious effort to appreciate whatever comes my way, observing its beauty and trying to see the opportunities from the circumstance. Of course, occasionally I still fight with reality. However, I have learned that I would rather go with the flow of what Mother Nature delivers as opposed to battling the reality of what is. As Byron Katie says, “You can argue with reality. You will only lose 100 percent of the time.” I guess I have begun to see the beauty in what is, even if it’s the polar vortex.
Spend a few minutes noticing your day with fresh eyes.
What do you notice?
What can you appreciate about the day?
I just wanted to share with all of you some wonderful news in my life. Come April, I will be traveling down to Atlanta, Ga., to present at the National Summit on Health and Fitness for the American College of Sports Medicine. I am truly ecstatic about this opportunity.
My presentation is entitled “Living for the Long Haul: How our injuries and illnesses can show us the way forward as opposed to holding us back.” Creating this presentation has been an act of passion for me. The topic stems from my personal struggles with my body, how I have discovered a new way of interacting with my body, and how it has made all the difference.
The Relaxation Revolution, a new telecourse based on the information from this presentation, is coming soon!
In the spirit of embracing that which we cannot control, I would like to remind us and share with you the awesome song by The Rolling Stones entitled “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” which encourages us to try to love reality for exactly what it is and by so doing, we may get what we need!
This Ralph Marston goes perfectly with the message from this month’s e-newsletter. Enjoy Ralph’s message and begin to embrace those unwelcome interruptions that are in your life.
Until next time,
Safe Space Life Coaching