Well folks, if I am not living in the middle of a metaphor right now, then I don’t know what! There were plans for this weekend… plans that involved driving… driving to Maryland to visit with an longtime friend, driving to see my son compete in his first robotics competition, driving to Target to grab some needed supplies for upcoming Pi Day, and, as always, driving kids to their various activities… but instead something came up. The car is in the shop. For the next FOUR DAYS. And all I can think is “man, I sure am stuck.”
The word “stuck” has been popping up in my life often lately. How’s the injury? Stuck. How’s the house? Stuck. How’s life? Stuck. At every turn there seems to be some obstacle blocking my direct path to where I think I want to be…
But then again, is it stuck or is that just one perspective?
Perspective is such a driving force in my life. It can turn a positive moment into a negative one, or a negative moment into a positive one, in a snap. Sometimes it even feels like I’ve had a supernatural, magical experience when I can move my thoughts to the other side of the perspective. What a power!
But I don’t think it is magic, so much as practice that makes changing one’s perspective possible. And I have a few tools that I use that help me practice that control:
Meditation – Oh my, meditation is an amazing tool. It requires no money, no tools, no special location, no expectations. Just me… and my brain. That said, sometimes I do like to get a little help with my meditation practice and lately the app Headspace has been my go-to. I like to sit down with the app for about twenty minutes, five or six times a week. Would even more help? Yep. I’m sure it would. But “do what you can” is a motto I’m holding close right now, so the twenty minutes is what is working.
Podcasts – As a podcast junkie, I have numerous that I listen to regularly, but there are two in particular that teach me skills for shifting my perspective. The first is called Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Each week you find author Gretchen Rubin and her sister, screenwriter Elizabeth Craft, conversing about ways to live a happier life. The podcast goes hand in hand with a number of very popular books about happiness and habits that Gretchen has written. Both the books and the podcast offer up such simple, but effective adjustments that I often think, “Now why didn’t I think of that?!”
The second podcast is called The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo. This podcast is designed to help people who are becoming life coaches, but I find it to be extremely useful to those of us who are just trying to coach our own selves through life. Brooke delves deeply into the power our brains have over our lives and each listen leaves me with that “mind blown!” sort of feeling.
Books – Currently I am working my way through a book by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans called Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life. The book is based on a course taught by the authors at Stanford University where they teach students how to use the same problem solving skills used on designing the physical world to design and create a life that fits them. So far it has been chock full of messages that turn my life perspective on its head. Good stuff!
With these tools at my disposal, I find that I am becoming more agile at shifting my vision of things. It doesn’t always come easy; sometimes I need a kick in the pants, a reminder from a podcast or a book or my own blog… but once I’m on track, I find that I do know what a positive attitude feels like.
So all of this writing about perspective reshaping has me wondering… am I really stuck? Or am I actually moving… very, very slowly, but moving, none the less… and if I just put in a little creative thought, allow a shift in my thinking, that thing that was an obstacle is, well, probably still there, but it too has shifted a bit… off to the side… And now I have a little more room to think and a better view of my path ahead.
I think it might be time to throw on my shoes and walk myself to the grocery store for those Pi supplies…