Hi Wednesday and day six of 2016. It's been interesting. I've been diving back into leading the #15daysofjoy challenge for 2016 which has been so much fun. It is once again inspiring me to see people care about choosing joy in their life consistently as a part of kicking off the New Year. And it's not too late to join in. You can sign up on my homepage and start receiving the challenges today.
Commitment continues to be on my mind as a central focus for 2016 for me. Showing up for relationships even when the goin' gets tough. Pushing work ahead even when my mind tells me it is unworthy. Sitting down to write the heart strings of my soul into my computer even when my eyes feel sleepy. And as I've been thinking about commitment I've been thinking about how the idea of it can create a sense of dying freshness in my mind. Like the old farm house that is falling apart and about ready to collapse, but damn it you are committed to holding onto that old piece of history.
Of course that is pretty ridiculous. Commitment doesn't have to mean that the grass grows burnt and the floor boards loose their lacquer. Because in any moment we can plant more grass or re-polish those floors.
Here's what I'm saying. Newness is a choice. And sometimes I forget. My mind tells me that things are forever the way they are. My mind gets worried, fearful, anxious, frustrated, and in those moments I touch the deepest core of my survival mechanism...the animal inside of me. When I'm connected to that part of myself, and I allow it to take the wheel and drive, I cannot see that in those moments I absolutely have the choice to choose something different. In every moment I have the opportunity to push what I'd call the "reset" button. You know that red Staples "easy" button in the commercials? Think of one of those that says RESET. In big. Bold. Letters. Any moment, in any interaction, in any situation, we can choose to approach the situation from a different perspective. We can choose to believe something different. We can choose something new.
Seems simply enough. Then why is it so difficult? Because those survival mechanisms, patterns inside of us are well practiced. They have created well trodden paths in our brain that make the choosing something different pathway quite new and dare I say scary at times. Uncharted. Grass tall, jungle trees thick, overgrown weeds covering any trace of a path other than the well manicured path of what we always do. And what we always do feels safe. Even if it always produces disaster.
When I remember that I can absolutely choose something different in any moment and choose something new, choose to push reset, the results are...different! I finally take the momentum off the gas pedal of my mind believing that things can never be different and I create something different.
You know what's not possible when I believe things have always been a certain way or can never change...change. Newness. Reset. Refresh. Yup. Not an option. Boy the mind is funny. But when I exercise a different choice, a different opportunity, newness, reset, refresh, something different is possible. I like possibility. It's something I like to hang out with regularly. I relish to hang out with possibility in every moment and in every situation. I decorate the halls of my heart to seduce possibility in every chance I have. I am in love with possibility. So when I'm not wading in the fun pool of possibility, I know it's only because I've chosen not to.
So for this week's Joy Tip Wednesday I want to invite us to practice newness. To practice choosing something different. To practice seeing the the reset button at times we forget. It goes something like this:
- Notice today if there are any moments, interactions, situations, where you find your mind spinning. Where you find yourself suffering to any degree and acknowledge that you are currently hanging out with your survival mechanism.
- Ask yourself, what is not possible if I continue buying into this story? What is not available if I continue to hang out with the animal instinct of myself?
- Then decide to choose something different. A different story. Any damn story. But something, absolutely, fundamentally, different. New. Something that creates a sense of reset in your mind.
- Check in to see if this story made the pool of possibility in your back yard. If not, mmmmm choose something different. I'm just inviting you to swing open the doors of newness. And newness means that there has to be at least one new possibility that feels good.
- Repeat. As often as you wish. If you trip and go into the old pattern after choosing something new...it's cool. We all do it. Think of it as a trip on a nice stroll on a sidewalk and then start again. You can press reset as many times as possible. That's the great thing.
- Notice what happened when you choose to approach things from a different perspective. What did newness bring? How did you feel differently? Show up differently? Interact differently?
- Celebrate choice and your ability to exercise it. When I can dance in the light of choice that I've chosen it empowers me to keep on choosing in future moments and situations that I might otherwise believe I'm unable to choose in. And hey, if a choice I made didn't create an outcome I desired...well it's an opportunity to learn and I can choose something different the next time!
Listen, I get it that this is absolutely easy sometimes and absolutely painstakingly difficult at times. Are you having a difficult time choosing something different? Grab a friend, a family member, your partner, anyone and ask them to help you think of a different way of looking at the situation. Or, perhaps your choice for something different in that moment is literally doing something different. Sometimes when I find my mind stuck, I do absolutely anything different. If I'm sitting at my desk working I move my computer and sit somewhere else. If I'm writing I may stop writing and clean. If I'm listening to music I may turn off the music and sit in silence. If I'm indoors I may leave and go outdoors. Different. New. Reset. Refresh. Get it?
Have fun with this one because when I really think about it, it's like a fun game. Life feels a little lighter and more playful when I recognize that in any given moment I always have choice. I always have the opportunity to show up different. To engage in a conversation differently. To think differently. To do differently. And that feels exciting because then opportunity, possibility, is infinitely in the palm of our hands at any given moment. It's just up to us to see it.