This post is a taking stock of the journey so far, which began when I turned 50 and continues now, four years later, with more gusto and fervor and, hopefully, lessons learned and applied. To keep things manageable, I decided to turn this into a short, multi-part series. Part 1 is here. Thank you for your readership and follow – it means the world to me to be able to share my insights with so many of you.
One of my biggest challenges has been consistency in forward propulsion in terms of attaining measurable goals. But 2022 threw me for a loop with a variety of major and sometimes detrimental unforeseen circumstances affecting every aspect of my life. In hindsight, I now believe I may have inadvertently manifested, or attracted, some of those events via the law of attraction, but let us get back to that another time.
Here is what I learned:
When something disruptive or negative happens, I find myself anchoring into those events by replaying the movie of said events in my head, not so much to wallow in its negativity, but to find the error where I went wrong.
Does this make sense?
Thinking, and overthinking, becomes a futile exercise in reaffirming whatever happened must have been my fault in some way. What could I have done differently to achieve better, more desirable results?
The answer is complicated. A simple response such as yes, you did x wrong and now you have to suffer the repercussions is not helpful, but neither is blaming or criticizing others. Sadly, this is what happened nine times out of ten; seeking to blame someone, primarily myself (but sometimes others) becomes the default program.
I dug deeper into this phenomenon of [self] blame and learned many things, some of which I shared on other social platforms such as TikTok or Instagram. Having these tangible clips or slides of positive affirmations or inspirational quotes to refer to when I transgressed in some way back to that woe-is-me victim mentality helped to put a stop to the default program of replaying that movie in my head.
To stay on track, I began to make notes in booklets, journals, various apps and email. As an end-of-year activity, I’m clearing out my phone where many of my notes or screenshots reside. I’m consolidating all the information into searchable categories in my Evernote app. I’m also transferring material from my old, still functioning laptop into my new, much more efficient laptop, staying mindful to only transfer what still suits my needs and ignoring or deleting everything else.
Suffice to say I have made huge leaps of progress in my If Not Now When journey over the past four years. I’ve crossed many thresholds, chose new avenues at forks in the road, pushed numerous boundaries, reconnected with old friends, released painful endings, armed myself with tools to further my education into the mysterious ways of the subconscious mind, and enriched myself with writing many published and unpublished words.
As I typed these words into my blog, I was once again reminded how quickly a seemingly nice morning can turn into a minor disaster. To illustrate progress rather than allowing the pre-programmed mental (negativity) movie to set the tone of my day, allow me to illustrate a typical situation in my household that could have turned sour with the blink of an eye. Instead, I caught myself and stopped the familiar movie from playing in my head.
Here’s what happened:
I got up extra early one morning in mid-December to make breakfast for my son who had to be at a varsity hockey practice at 7 am. I didn’t mind doing this; I’m an early riser anyway and these small tokens are appreciated in multi-faceted ways; I see it in his body language and hear it in his voice.
The point is, I made him a large mug of coffee which he took down to the basement after breakfast to pack up his gear.
I sat on the he couch with the Beagle waiting for my son to head out to the rink when suddenly, he came into the living room and said: “I’m running late but I spilled some coffee at the bottom of the steps”.
I told him not to worry about it, got a couple of paper towels and went downstairs to clean up the spilled coffee after my son departed. Not the end of the world, right? Happens to everyone at one time or another.
When I arrived downstairs I stopped short. What I saw was the opposite of “some coffee”, but rather probably most of the cup’s contents.
This was the first of several triggers which changed my body chemistry into a bundle of twitchy, tense nerves.
The basement area at the bottom of the steps is an awkward space and contains a dresser where we house mostly useless crap and some gift wrapping paper and light bulbs. A few steps away to the left is a furnace closet filled with a lot of useless crap and some batteries, flash lights and tools. To the right is a pile of hockey gear belonging to sister and dad, meaning equipment bags, hockey trees, sticks and assorted gear, much of it all over the floor in an effort to ‘dry and air out’.
The floor at the bottom of the steps has a slight tilt in it (the house is old, built in 1949) which meant that spilled liquid traveled, which it did, right toward the furnace closet and the hockey gear. As I stood there staring at the mess, I realized two pieces of paper towels in my hand weren’t going to be enough.
But it was at that moment when I felt the Old Me crash into the New Me.
The Old Me, apparently not dead and buried but alive and well, felt tense, irritated and pissed-off not because he spilled the coffee, but because it quickly became evident that no one had cleaned, swept or vacuumed down there in a very long time. The evidence was on the now coffee-stained paper towels I used to wipe up the coffee; it was covered in dark dust, mud or sand, dog hair, hair balls, and assorted other unidentifiable debris.
I felt like crying but caught myself. I knew that crying tears would result in lashing out in anger, first at myself, then at them. Neither crying nor lashing out in anger would serve anyone, including myself.
So, instead of reverting to the old movie of woe-is-me victim mentality (I’m the only one who cleans around here, wa wa waaa), I created some positive self-talk to turn my mind around. It went something like this:
Poor kid has had so much hockey lately, he must be exhausted. Dirt and dust isn’t affecting my daily life; I keep the main part of the house clean and that’s enough. They don’t blame me for dirty stairs, there is no need to blame myself. I am happy to be here for my son during this heavy stretch of double-booked hockey; he deserves support. The family appreciates my stay with them during these busy weeks of challenging schedules. All is well.
I’m not saying I’m good at it, or able to do this every time. I’m staying I acknowledge that this is going to take practice, and the more I practice the better I get at it. I’m also saying that I am the only person who thinks my own thoughts. Which means I can choose which thoughts to think.
Choose positive thoughts instead of negative ones is the key here, is what I’m saying.
The above-mentioned internal dialogue diffused my anger (somewhat) which helped set a positive rather than negative tone for the rest of my day. It’s not a perfect science, and I need a lot more practice to turn these, and similar events, into habitual positive affirmations, but I feel it working, albeit as baby steps.
The journey continues. Stay tuned for more.
Thank you for reading my post. The first part of this journey can be found here.
To check out my short affirmations videos, click the following links by topic: