Pigs (and People too) DO Soar
Nothing went right this morning. First of all, I’m a little under the weather as the ACTUAL weather in L.A. has lately been mood swing-prone (yeah … yeah … I know … it never gets too cold here … I shouldn’t complain) and it was even raining this morning, which we sorely need, but I tend to get a bit cranky when I’m wet, have a snotty nose, and my stomach is churning. Second, I’m on a learning curve with my new virtual practice … and had to quickly change my list’s email this morning to accommodate these new GREAT features so that you can literally one-click (actually three-click) to easily buy one of my packages (I hope my VA gets the changes in time). But, because I was cranky, I was also flummoxed by this learning curve; my trainer, Emma deserves a medal (I must email her and apologize later).
Then, I attempted to get dressed, and my makeup airbrush didn’t work … a part went down the drain when I attempted to fix it … luckily, I had a replacement … it still didn’t work and messed up my makeup (had to wipe everything off and start anew) … neither did my other one … switched back to the first, which luckily now sprayed as it should. All the while, I’m screaming at the top of my lungs (a tension release exercise from my old acting training), scattering my cat … who finally stood his ground, addressing me with a cocked head and a quizzical look as if to say … “Wuzzup!”
Finally dressed, I got into the long line of multi-flashing bumpers in L.A. traffic … and my GPS diverted me four times in the hour it took me to go 15 miles. Got back in line behind a long meandering string of cars at the dealership (maintaining my car’s lifetime warranty) only to find out that I lost my key (how can one do that walking 50 feet from the car to a desk?) and … it’s now 11:51 and I’m still waiting … half a day gone with minutiae … and …you get the idea … oh, did I mention that my computer’s keyboard needs to be replaced (the order was just emailed to me) so, sitting here with the computer and a latte (compliments of the dealership), I’m pounding on keys that may not work with the next stroke …
I don’t know about you, but all of that minutiae could lay someone low. Especially the sick part. Believe me … I’ve been a master at wallowing in the past. And wondered why until I recently read a book called Hardwiring Happiness. In it, Dr. Rick Hanson explains that we’re predisposed to record negative experiences in our psyche to protect us on some primal level (compliments of our Neanderthal ancestors … I thought we only inherited ancient guts from them that couldn’t digest present-day plastic food) … and have to work really hard to retain positive ones.
So how do you stop wallowing? Here are some ideas …
DON’T MAKE A MOUNTAIN OF THE MINUTIAE After years of taking in my own and other’s behaviors, I’ve come to the solution that minutiae are just minutiae. It doesn’t make you a bad person and you don’t deserve it … so don’t seek it out as a validation that you are wrong or are wrong. The screaming (actually releasing a propulsive or lengthened loud “ha” from the diaphragm) helped dissipate the frustration … I learned that from years of Method acting training. But whatever you do … distance yourself from all these minutiae. Research tells us one way is to talk to yourself in the third person. According to Jason Moser, PhD in a recent Newsweek article, saying to yourself “Why is Jill upset” rather than “Why am I upset” … “helps people gain a tiny bit of psychological distance from their experiences, which can often be useful for regulating emotions.”
TAKE ACTION All the third-person self-talk and other interventions you do are actions you can take to pull you from the mire. Yesterday, after the whole minutiae and dealership thing, I went to work for four hours. I didn’t overtax myself, handled some stuff, and then went home to rest so I could be better today (I am). Any action you take, however small, even if it’s reading or watching something uplifting or doing some activity that makes you feel better about yourself, can beam light into the gloom-and-doom corner of your mind. Doing nothing and dwelling upon how blue you are just makes you sink deeper.
OPEN YOUR HEART I’m doing Danielle La Porte’s Desire Map program in which you identify the feelings you want to feel when doing your chosen work and going after them. Goal-setting has never worked for me; it didn’t get to the core of what I really wanted to do with my career and my life. Working through La Porte’s program, the phrase “OPEN-HEART” appeared many times when I answered her questions. And I began to understand that I had closed my heart because of so many disappointing things that had happened to me.
Heaven knows I’ve removed so many dark-heart blocks from clients as an intuitive … some that even looked like metal cages with locks … that I began to realize that I too had locked up my heart. Let me explain … negative thinking can spiritually lead to what I call “thought-forms” … barriers that you actually make yourself out of fear and learned helplessness. Whether you believe that you’ve created actual physical blocks or that you have a radical case of mental blinders doesn’t matter … either can lead to chronic wallowing.
So now all my identified feelings (La Porte encourages you to identify your core feelings and strive for them) begin with “Open-Hearted” … like “Open-Hearted Joy” and “Open-Hearted Empathy”. It’s pried apart my heart and allowed me to fly.
BREATHE Breathing is the cornerstone of most spiritual, martial, and mind-changing disciplines such as yoga, Tai Chi, Karate, meditation, mindfulness, and my beloved Qigong. Haven’t you heard the phrase “Breath is life?” Truer words were never spoken.
I am again so grateful for my prior training as an actor … and as a singer from the age of 8 (my mother, who was tone-deaf, noticed talent early-on and sent me down the street to the local singing teacher, whose daughter was the original Rose as child in the original production of Gypsy) gave me a deep respect for the breath and what it could do. And now … in my 70s … when so many can’t breathe … I am so thankful for my breath. I can’t however, hold a note over a minute as my director wanted me to do at 20 when I co-starred in a revival of Carousel (I heard that they’re reviving it yet again on Broadway this season) … but I now I DO say to myself (compliments of Dr. Moser), when faced with the day I just had … “Breathe, Jill, breathe!” Works every time.
Leave Your Comments About How to Ditch the Wallow and Fly out of the Mud Below
What do you do to stop feeling blue? How good are you at it? Do you sweat the small stuff?