This weekend I had the pleasure of speaking on the topic of success at the Thin Air Summit in Denver. Part of the experience was a Q&A session where my friend Brian asked, “What do you do when you have a bad day? How do you get out of it?” Well, today is one of those times so I thought I’d answer the question best by sharing the process with you.
Most mornings I wake up and write. This morning I woke up to an early telephone call and felt like someone not only threw the book at me, but expected me to jump in and play the part. Please allow me to explain.
In 1983 when I was a stressed, overworked VP for a real estate firm, I hired a temp named Donald, who also moonlighted as a spiritual teacher. After working with me for three weeks, he decided to give me a needed education. He explained that life is like a book, where each day we make the choice to either wake up and jump into the book or to take a step back and realize that we are actually the author of this book, not just an actor. We are so much bigger than our stories- those crazy, overly dramatic situations we create in our lives. He realized that I was deep “in the book” of this new job, experiencing all the stress and drama possible. And I wasn’t having any fun either!
He explained that when we are struggling to pay the bills, when we get fired from our job, or can’t find enough hours in a day to get everything done- that may seem very “real” and may appear to us as that’s who we are, but on a deeper lever, we know it’s not. More accurately, that experience may be something that’s showing up in our world, but it doesn’t define who we are. He reminded me that first and foremost, I am a spiritual being having a human experience. I do have a choice in everything, everyday- even when it appears that I don’t.
I know that what I focus on grows and I was only focusing on the stressful aspects of life. The only way for me to get out of that situation was to consciously make a choice to do so and change my focus. I now know that as the author of my book, I do have control over my life. And as good as that sounds, that doesn’t mean I remember this every day or in every moment either.
What seems to be the determining factor on the quality of my life isn’t how much stuff comes at me each day, but rather my reaction to it. The telephone call this morning interrupted my normal routine of writing in my journal, meditating, visualizing and setting the intention for the day. The book was thrown at me and I was expected to jump in and play my part. Unfortunately, I jumped right in and played the game acting as a player in the drama. I so wanted to get into the “he said, she said” of the situation and prove I was right. The entire conversation was frustrating and uninspiring. When I hung up I felt resentful for the interruption and then angry with me for allowing myself to get sucked into the drama.
And then finally, after a few minutes of pouting and virtual stomping, I laughed and felt grateful for remembering that I know better. Just because the world is hurled at me- I don’t have to catch it! I have the choice in that moment to jump in and play, or not. Once I remembered that I am the author, everything became easier. Nothing was as serious as it seemed just moments before. I have the power to make the choice to play the game or not- and today, I’m just not playing. I shut the book and put it down. There are more fun things to do, so instead, I’m rewriting the script to fit the day I choose to experience.
So in answer to your question Brian, “Yes, we all have ‘bad days’, or difficult moments”. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter if you forget who you are, what matters most is how quickly you remember the your true magnificence. Change the pattern. And like exercise of any kind, the more we do this, the better we get at it, and the shorter the virtual stomping time has to be.
Do I still have to deal with this situation? Probably. Does it have the same emotional fire over me that it did earlier this morning? Not a chance. See it for what it is- just a little drama and nothing more. I am responsible for my world. I choose to step out and remember that I’m the writer of this thing called life. Let’s go write some really good stuff and have fun! ☺
This Post Has 7 Comments
That’s a really insightful post. I’m glad I started following your Tweeting 🙂
Continuing the book metaphor, I think having reference pages full of past experiences and perspective is also very important. When the drama arrives, reference it to a far more difficult situation in the past that you found a way through, gain some perspective, and let it go.
Drama and it’s associated emotional effects are often self-perpetuated, and the more of the unnecessary strife we can eliminate, the more time we have for the light-hearted things, the smile-worthy and passion-inspiring.
Excellent post. This is a great way to frame the precious time we have and an inspiring way to truly sieze the day. Thanks for always sharing your inspational stories and insights.
that’s good! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…
People REALLY need to get …we are NOT our problems, misunderstanding and reactions! Whew.. breathe! It’s so true..we can’t be reminded enough. It’s like meditation….doing it once feels good, but the discipline to choose to do it and reap the rewards from repeatedly doing often requires a “loving reminder” to self!!!
Conor, you are SO right! I love the reference pages… we all have them full of growth experiences. What a beautiful way of looking at it. Thank you for sharing and for being a part of InspireMeToday.com. Please let us know how we can serve you better. It is our #1 priority to inspire you to realize each and every day just how magnificent you truly are. Now, let’s brush off our wings and go fly!
Thanks so much for sharing an important perspective on life. In every instance we have a choice. It’s not about who we are – it’s about who we are BEING in each moment. We have a choice to pick a response that empowers us or one that drags us down.
It’s so important to step back and recognize the story for what it is. I’m happy to play in a FUN story and I’ll do what I can to change my perspective so I can react to something that is fun, that is supportive, that does support me in the story. In that way, I educate others about what supports me and what doesn’t. I can always exit the story if it doesn’t offer enough value for the time spent.
Thanks for the GREAT post!
Gail, great reminder of those little things that come out of no where! Like you each day, hour, and moment I decide how I feel and how my day is going. At anytime I can change my attitude and by doing this change my day as well as the day for those around me. One of my “secrets” for getting myself back where I should be… I have about 20 goals and intentions in my wallet with me at all times. Anytime I feel funky, down, or negative I just pull out those index cards and read them a few times. This works for me almost every time!
Gail, I’m so blessed to be in your circle. If only everyone was as authentic and positive as you, the world would be abundant with so much more possibility. I’m guessing at times I just need to get up and step away from it all, it’s easy to get so consumed in this newfound passion of mine that when the flow stops, I get in a funk. And perhaps that is natural. The flow occasionally just needs to stop. When it returns, it does seem to return with more clarity each time. Next up for me to discover is ways to extend the flow so it lasts a little longer each time.