Monday, August 20, 2012
Another Oprah-inspired Monday Mantra - I originally thought it was her who had spouted this little bit of wisdom, but it was actually a guest on one of her shows. Jill Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist who suffered a stroke sixteen years ago, aged 37 and an important part of her recovery was the energy of the people around her. Her brain injury made her more perceptive to people's energy and it taught her a lot about how people present themselves and the effect, conscious or not, that someone's energy can have on another person, on their environment and in the wider world. Energy can't be faked. People often aren't aware of the power their energy, positive and negative, has on others. Hence, Jill started asking people to take responsibility for the energy they brought into her space while she was recovering (you can see more here) and she has maintained that standard for her life ever since. A simple concept, but a very powerful one.
I think if these monday mantras have a theme, it would probably be that it's up to us. It's up to us to make the life we want. We have to take responsibility. We all have the power to keep from wallowing in emotions that don't serve us well. We all have the power to choose what energy we put out there. We all have the power to choose what we focus on.
For example, on Friday morning I got some really exciting and promising news which thrilled me to my core and then, within half an hour, I also got some really, really shitty news that toppled me off the high I was on. I was furious. Hurt, angry and utterly, utterly furious. I felt like I would combust with rage at the injustice of the situation. I had expected better, heck I deserved better, I said indignantly to myself as I paced up and down. But then after about ten minutes of feeling like crap, it hit me. What the hell was I doing? I had had some wonderful news earlier in the day....and I was going to forget about that, ignore that potential, because of a situation that hadn't gone the way I had hoped and that I couldn't change?
So I decided to focus on the exciting and promising news instead. And, surprise surprise, I had a much better and more productive day for it. There was a residual sting from the shitty stuff, admittedly, but I felt so much more powerful by shifting my energy towards the things that would serve me, that would uplift me, that would move me forward.
It's not easy to do, and nor am I saying it's the correct response to every negative situation - I just find it a more helpful way of being. Being positive, or choosing to focus on the positive, doesn't mean you're out of touch with reality, it just means you're taking responsibility for the energy in your life. Taking time out to grieve a major disappointment, a blow to the heart or a serious loss....that's different. That's not the stuff I'm talking about. I mean the small things - small blows, small hurts, small disappointments that in a year's time aren't going to matter that much - that aren't ideal but certainly aren't worth wasting a day of your life wallowing in when there's so much to be grateful for and proud of. Sadness, sorrow and disappointment are a part of life, even a happy life.
In addition to taking responsibility for your own energy, you have to take responsibility for the energy you allow in to your life. There are a lot of people out there who don't take responsibility for their energy and there is only so much of this you can allow in your life if you're going to keep reaching, striving and becoming the person you want and need to be. A couple of years ago I decided I had had enough of toxic people because, for some reason, I seemed to keep attracting them, despite all the positive steps I had taken to become my authentic self! There was obviously still something in me that I needed to work on (the chronic people pleasing, wanting to be seen as a "nice" person) but I think most of all it was me needing to grow a bloody backbone, stand up for myself and take responsibility for what I was allowing into my life as well as what I was putting out there myself. Realising that I was allowed to want to only associate with people who enhanced the quality of my life was an incredibly profound thing, and it changed my life for the better. Having high standards for the company you keep is one of the highest acts of self love there is.
In fact, to go off on a little tangent (just for something different, ha ha), I get just as many emails from people who are thinking about leaving or have just left their marriage/long term relationship as I do from people wanting to lose weight and get fit. They ask me how did I cope and how did I recover from my divorce and find love again....and my answer to them is "I learned to love myself." And usually that advice turns people off because they think it's such a cliché. I did too, once upon a time. When I heard the phrase "loving yourself" I used to think it meant taking yourself "out on dates", buying yourself flowers and investing in a vibrator. Those are all great things to do as a newly single person but actually what it means, from a healing and an authentic living point of view, is taking all the love that is inside you, all the kindness, support and care that you would normally reserve for others (others whom you want to love you), all the energy that you would put into making someone else's life happy, and give it to yourself so that you can start to go through life with confidence and trust that you can create the life you want and deserve without relying on anyone else to do it for you. It isn't easy - I had to go to counselling for years to learn how to do it - but taking responsibility for your life never is. But the peace and the empowerment that comes with it is completely worth it.
When you learn to be completely happy in your own company you can just be yourself around people instead of trying to impress them and you can enjoy other people for who they really are as well without expecting anything from them in return. And that is when you tend to meet the right people, your people - be they friends, lovers or a future spouse. Well, that's certainly how my experience went anyway! It's different for everyone of course but I think that being comfortable, happy and confident in your own company makes you a much better friend and partner.
Anyway, there was a point to sharing that little insight, and it's that taking responsibility for the energy you put out there and also the energy you allow yourself to be surrounded by will go a long, long way to making your life a happy, deep, true and satisfying one. Energy is all around us. It reflects who we are, what we believe about ourselves, our actions, our thinking. For every action, there is a reaction. Your energy also draws people in to you, to reflect who you are and what you're putting out there. If you don't like what is being attracted and reflected to you....maybe you need to change it. And don't be afraid to. It will radically transform your life!
So today, I invite you to be conscious of the energy you bring to a space or situation, and the energy you surround yourself with. Is it good energy? If not, why not?
What is Monday Mantra?
I love inspirational quotes and about seven years ago, when I had no motivation, no direction and no idea how to make my life what I wanted it to be, I read something that changed everything. It was a small quote in a magazine, from the Australian marathon runner Pat Farmer. He said “if you really want to do something, in your heart of hearts, you will find a way. But if you don’t really want to do something, you will always find an excuse.”
It was so fantastic….and made so much sense. It became my mantra. It still is.
Now, through my various trawls through the internet, I see many things that catch my eye and fire me up, and I want to share these with you. So I put them all together and post one a week. Something that I think is worth sharing, something that I think is good to be reminded of. Something that might just be for you what that Pat Farmer quote was for me.