AKA: Setting your internal weather system
As I sat down to write this blog, I was noticing the way the light is starting to be brighter, and the sun is coming up earlier and setting a little later each day here in the northern hemisphere. It’s a time when nature is announcing Spring, regardless of what the actual weather is doing.
Many of us are less connected with the natural rhythms of nature than we were even a few years ago particularly with the “stay at home” orders many of us have been under over the past year. (I don’t know about you but this stay at home business is starting to feel a little like what I imagine “house arrest” to be, or perhaps ground hog day (if you’ve seen the film).) So, the promise of Spring and the renewal of life is welcome.
Many of us wake up and look outside to see what the weather is going to be like that day. It can be important on a physical level, and we may modify our behavior. Rain expected? We’ll take an umbrella if we’re going out. If it’s cold, we’ll normally bundle up a little more.
And that brings me to the topic this month, which is this: Are you aware that you have the power to create your own weather system?
Let me explain…
Many of us define ourselves by our outer experiences, and what others think. We’re told by others what our strengths and apparent failings are from family, teachers and others, and given our daily information about the world from the news and social media. We may not even know what we really think deep down.
I remember discovering this for myself some years ago. I was at an event, and vividly remember the room, the sofa I was sitting on and those present. At this point have no idea what triggered it yet I became aware for the first time in my life that I didn’t like several family members. Now if it seems odd to you that I didn’t know this, imagine what I felt! I must have pressed it down so deeply because it came out of me as an outburst that so shocked me, I was stunned. Others thought it was funny. It threw me into confusion for a time, since I didn’t know what to do. You see, my entire life up until then had been predicated on the lie that I’d liked them… Now, what I’m talking about is behavior – rather than the underlying love, so that we are clear here. The love was there, yet I was unable to feel or access it because of the lie.
What I did is another story in itself. My point is that many of us don’t know ourselves very well. We often look to others to tell us who we are, and to figure out how to navigate the “weather” each day. Some of us assess the “weather” by watching the moody clouds of those around us. We’ve learned that is how we can keep ourselves safe by reacting to them accordingly or avoiding them altogether. We may watch or listen to the news or social media for what is happening and what to do.
We’ve been trained or conditioned that way. We also look to others for approval and by the response we know whether or not what we’ve said or done is “acceptable”.
Now you may be saying… well, Eve, what’s wrong with approval and people liking what we do?
Nothing… as long as you don’t define yourself by what others approve.
When we look outside for external validation or our weather gauge, rather than looking within, we will never be happy. We will never be in command and will generally feel a lack of control.
You have the power to create your own weather system. Whether you have a sunny or cloudy day is actually in your control – it’s up to you.
I’ve been working with this a lot on my own this month. We are all dealing with what I call “COVID content”. You may also have or have had some “Covid content” in the last months.
My “content” is that I live on my own and so don’t have much physical connection with other human beings. I was feeling a little down – not depressed exactly – but flat. Yes, I was doing some physical activity on a daily basis, but that was only a temporary “fix”. Zoom, Teams, Facetime and other video platforms are there. Yet they feel like a “plug-in”. In my experience technology can never substitute for human physical contact.
Since I practice what I teach, I have the support of other coaches who work with the same and similar principles. On a recent mastermind call, several had some suggestions. Yet none of the suggestions resonated so I stayed in the following question: what do I need to do or shift to regain my internal joy? Underneath it all, I had become clear that joy was what I was seeking.
Not long after, I received some insight.
You see, I’d been focused on the lack – on what I was missing – rather than the joy I was seeking. Ah-ha. That was it.
You see, the internal pictures that we make from our thoughts create our moment-to-moment feelings and emotions. And what we focus on expands. So, if I’m focused on making internal pictures of what I don’t want (in my case, I’m on my own, I’m stuck at home, can’t even enjoy being outside because of the weather, etc.), I will continue to feel (in my case) low.
Since I’d been focusing on the feeling of being on my own, missing personal contact, the stay at home orders etc. … that was what I was feeling.
Once I became aware of this, I used some of the tools I’ve gained over the years, and now teach, and turned that internal weather around so it is now much sunnier :). In the process I also experienced some beautiful healing.
And you can too.
It’s actually a simple process, though may not be easy at first because the patterns of thoughts that are creating this weather pattern in the first place are generally unconscious. Yet they are running in the background, day in and day out.
Thoughts and internal pictures of lack and fear may arise from a childhood or other experience or trauma that may seem completely unconnected. Yet when we have a painful or challenging experience, the brain learns to watch out for “danger” so we can avoid it. The current circumstances or situation may look entirely different, yet there will be something in feeling tone that matches the “danger” of the past experience and we will start to focus on getting away from that experience, which equates with what we don’t want.
Let me give you some examples:
- If we were poor and money was tight, we may start to have thoughts about not having enough – in any area of our lives (it may not be limited to finances).
- If we felt alone or unloved, we may focus on not having the physical contact, or find fault with those who are in our lives.
- If we didn’t feel liked, not being good enough, confident enough, smart enough … being too old, too young, too fat, too thin… being stressed, anxious, worried or, or, or… we will start to focus on what it is that we don’t want.
We are going through unprecedented and challenging times, so if you are experiencing content, this could be your moment to repattern and release some of that.
There’s a way to become more and more aware of the thoughts that are currently “in charge” of your mind and emotional state. There’s a way to take command of your thoughts and emotions – your inner weather patterns – rather than being buffeted by the winds of your past, or triggered by weather that is coming at you from the outside.
If you knew you could create your own weather map, regardless of what is going on all around and outside of you, would that be of interest?
If so, let me share a simple 3 step process to get you started.
Step 1: The first step is to have a vision for yourself.
If you’ve been following me you may not be surprised that this is your first step. Years ago, research was done at Stanford University in California, which showed that as long as the position of the first and last letters in a word are correct, if the other letters in that word are scrambled, people are still able to read the word and the meaning. t didn’t matter the length of the word. Now that’s fascinating to me. And, why this matters to you is that you have the first letter of a word: in the form of your current like – your life right now. And once you have the last letter (your vision or destination), you don’t have to know all the steps in between. As you attune to the destination, you will start to make choices along that path there.
Now of course, there’s more to this. However, it’s a start.
Most people don’t have a ‘destination’ or vision for their life. Or, if they do, they don’t work with it often or have a relationship with it. Today, with all that is happening, having a vision is even more important. Otherwise, we are living by default and reacting to the daily news and our internal emotions that may be playing havoc. We have ceded command and react based on what we are hearing from outside.
Our mental state doesn’t have to be under the same lockdown as we experience physically, unless we agree to that. Let me share an example of this.
Viktor Frankl was a neurologist who lived through World War II and a Nazi Germany concentration camp. He saw his wife walk to her death. After the war, he wrote a number of books, and developed a psychotherapeutic method. The method he created was where a person identifies a purpose in life, that is positive for them, and then “immersively imagines that outcome”. According to Frankl, the way a prisoner imagined the future affected his longevity in the concentration camps.
Now, some have since challenged this theory. Yet, creative visualization is a technique that is well known now. It’s a technique that athletes use to better their performances. They see themselves performing perfectly and receiving their medal on the podium and many have reported that it works.
I started using this as a technique many years ago when I was a 3 meter springboard and 10 meter tower diver. I was what is referred to as an unconscious competent and had my best results ever on the day I used this technique. I stumbled on it myself as an idea. Unfortunately, I wasn’t fully aware of it as a technique or the power it might have to change my results consistently.
Yet it’s now used by many to create lives they love living.
Let me share a few other quotes from Frankl that are appropriate here:
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
“…everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
This is as timely advice now as it was when written.
Step 2: if you have a vision for your Life, you have an idea of the qualities that person is living.
Who is that person?
What qualities does the person living the life you love have and exhibit?
Kindness? Generosity? Intelligence? Creativity? Patience?
Tune in now.
Even if you haven’t yet written have a vision for yourself, what quality would you love to embody more?
Who would you love to BE as you go about your day?
Step 3: Decide to experiment in BEING or embodying that quality for an entire day.
For example, if you decide the quality is kindness, do your best to be kind throughout your day. When someone says something or something happens that would normally send you down the rabbit hole to have tea with the Mad Hatter, bring the quality of kindness to mind and EMBODY IT in that moment. Then watch the situation unfold from there.
If you’re not “perfect” at this, or find yourself off track, give yourself permission to have a re-start. I don’t know anyone who learned to ride a 2-wheeled bicycle perfectly the first time. We don’t expect it of our children, so consider a little forgiveness if you feel you mess up. And if you are new here or didn’t see my newsletter on forgiveness, I’ve had feedback that it was very helpful. You can find it here: Restructure your Notion of Forgiveness to one of Freedom
You do have the ability to have beautiful weather in your own mind. However, you may also require support. Changing your thought patterns and emotional patterns requires a paradigm shift for we can’t see our own blind spots. Said another way, we can’t see the picture when we are the one in the frame.
If you’re now ready to make some shifts for yourself, I have great news!
I’ve recently launched an online, self-guided course that will teach you a system where you can transform your life. It’s a proven, reliable and repeatable system for discovering what you would love in a way that gives you clarity and confidence, and the tools to deal with those thought patterns so you have the energy and courage to go after it.
Thousands of people around the world have successfully used this system and are living happier and more fulfilling lives as a result. It works.
This is your opportunity to align with what truly matters to you and to start to create your “happy ever after” life, NOW! Click here to learn more.
May you have a beautiful month of March!
Much love coming your way,