Read part one here.
Taking these into the new year. . .
Don’t miss it
A foundational concept in somatic experiencing therapy and psychoneuroimmunology is something called creating resource for your nervous system. Basically, that means generating and holding positive emotions daily. You are probably missing out on the power of this.
It’s like the gas tank being low in your car. The gas station can be right there, but you can still drive by it. You have to have a moment when you realize, “Oh there’s the gas station. I actually need gas. I’m gonna pull in, I’m gonna fill up, and then I’m gonna go where I need to go.” That’s what it’s like with positive emotions. Recognizing them and intentionally taking time to have them fill you is a practice that revolutionalizes the systems of your body.
Go fill up.
Resisting pain makes it hurt more:
I learned an invaluable lesson through three natural childbirths – resisting pain makes it hurt more. This year, I got a deeper understanding of how this applies to physical and mental pain. With physical pain, like taking a cold shower or natural childbirth, it’s when you begin to tighten your muscles and resist the cold or the contractions that make it painful. If you learn to relax your muscles and embrace the sensation, the ‘pain’ completely changes. Same with mental challenges. They often hurt more when I resist them instead of acknowledging and exploring them. Suffering = pain x resistance
If you are experiencing any pain, that could be a signal you are resisting something that needs to be embraced.
Seek new experiences, not material things:
In this ‘age of the influencer’, people are buying a lot of stuff. I get it, but I also had to push it back this year. Material things break and will be forgotten over time, but experiences live with you forever. When I look back, I remember the day I moved to Costa Rica, the years of weekend retreats in the mountains to hear God, and sailing in the Maldives on our honeymoon, surrounded by islands echoing the chants of Muslim prayer 5x a day.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once wrote that “a mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” I want experiences that will mark each year, not things.
Life is a series of experiments:
Nobody — not a single soul — has or ever will have it all figured out. The unknown is a land of infinite opportunity. Yet most people perceive it as a land of immense risk. I had so many excuses to start writing again until I approached it as an experiment. The creator of the Dyson vacuum cleaner worked on over 5,000 prototypes before he nailed it. Steven King was rejected 41 times before his first manuscript was accepted. You get the idea. . .
Here’s your sign, just start. Go experiment and keep going when it fails. That’s how anything good in life works.
Go on a victim fast:
If there is one mindset I want to destroy for myself and my kids, it’s being a victim of circumstances. I can fall into this so easily, and it has taken a daily reminder that feeling like a victim will literally not change one thing, but actually make it worse. When I recognize I am complaining and acting like a victim of life I:
- acknowledge the emotion I am feeling
- figure out what I need and how to get it
- adjust my perspective and expectations: I have a ‘perspective shifting’ book I wrote full of stories that completely get me out of thinking just about myself and more about the big picture and point of life
- Help someone else
The more you catch and correct the automatic victim response that we all have, the less it will come up.
The validation lie:
I want you to like me. I want everything I write to connect with every single person on the internet. I want a 5/5 rating every time. And that will kill me.
If you judge your success or view of yourself based on the feedback (or lack thereof) of others, you’ll never make it. Stop checking for feedback and do what you feel called to do. Whether you reach 1 person or 1 million, keeping your focus on God and whatever he is asking you to do is all that matters. Being tied to validation, attention, and numbers will be the biggest obstacle for you actually doing what you feel called to do.
The comparison cure:
I fully understand how destructive comparison and envy are, but I felt like I couldn’t stop. I wanted to be free from it. I didn’t know how.
I realized I struggle with comparison most when I am seeking God the least. Once I realize He is the only one that can lead me into a life that uniquely fires me up, no one else matters. A phrase I use often is “I send them love, Jesus I focus on you, use me, and do whatever you want to do”.
The hard is the only thing that can scrub off the mess:
Imagine a pot that has a bunch of grime and stuck food. You can try to wash it with a soft sponge but it won’t get the really disgusting stuff off. You need something gritty and hard to do that. Hard situations will bring up the grime that’s already there. A soft sponge feels nice, but it will also not get the crap off of you that is blocking you from receiving more. Words and works of influence most often come out of the trenches of pain because you can access places you couldn’t go before when you in the midst of it. It’s causing you to dig deeper because you have no other option and it’s the digging of the greater depths that gold is found.
Difficult times can get you places you would not have been able to go otherwise.
You need the ebbs to get the flows:
As much as I’d like to be ‘on’ each day, I have learned something that has changed everything. Instead of seeing those unplanned seasons of feeling unmotivated and depressed as bad, I now see those feelings as a signal to tune into stillness, rest, prayer, reading, and listening. Embracing the ebbs because I know they are part of the process. Life is meant to have lows. When you become okay with that, life gets a whole lot more peaceful.
Be fully ON and then fully OFF – don’t flat line
You want your heartbeat to go up and down up and down, you don’t want it to be flat-lined, then you would be dead. Most of us go through life just flatlined. Never fully ON and never fully OFF. I learned that I can’t be fully on, focused, and impactful if I never fully shut off. Checking social media, browsing the internet, texting, etc. does not allow you to shut fully off and recover. When I have an input shut down at 8:30pm and no inputs on Saturday Sabbath, I find when I go to write or get things done, I am 20x better at it.
Romanticize your life any chance you get:
Light a candle at dinner. Eat your meals outside in the sunshine. Pick some wildflowers on your daily walk. Create a curated playlist of your top feel-good songs, and dance to it daily. Spend some time close to water and just listen. Lay down and look at the beauty of the stars on a clear night. Just one time a day, pick something to completely shift your atmosphere.
Find of the Week
Colorado winter has been brutal on my skin. This overnight hydrating mask is my go-to.
My husband’s company apparel line has quickly become my favorite! Sustainably made with the best message to remember every day.