A note on perception, how to react differently.

My stomach woke me up with sensations I'd never really felt before. Two thirty am and I couldn't get comfortable nor back to sleep. I just lay there hoping the tiredness would kick in soon. The entire morning was unrolled the same. My stomach burned and the urge to vomit seemed to surface far to frequently for my liking. Things were going down hill fast as my body started to ache all over. All I wanted to do was lay under a blanket on this 31 degree day. Any sniff of cool air gave me relief for about two minutes then chilled me to the bone. These moments seem to drag on for a lifetime, especially at night.

Rewind a few days earlier and I was barely awake, the hot running water only slightly relieved my stiff tired body. It was probably just after six am and not even the bright bathroom lights could wake me this Friday morning. I'd jumped into bed at around 11.45pm after a tiring day of 7 hours of massage, 3 hours of training and 4 hours driving, no wonder I felt stiff. I eased my neck to the left to stretch and get some relief from my tight achy muscles. Not quite stretch as far as I'd liked so I stretched a little more. Ping...the noise has sounded more like a piece of fabric tearing as I felt an unusual pull down the right side of my neck. I knew something wasn't right as I moved my head back to centre. I was right, I couldn't move it past centre. The mini panic attack set in a I tried to reassure myself that hot water would sooth out the problems. Not this time.

I couldn't seem to get a break and I wondered what I had done wrong to bring all of this on. Picking up my mail this morning there were not one but two unwelcoming envelopes. I'd been pinged speeding twice on the one day to the tune of $508. One of which I recall was a dropped speed limit 100 to 40kh for roadworks where there was not a workman or bollard in sight.

This all came to a head when I returned a call from my mother who answered on speaker phone from a busy cafe. She couldn't understand what I was saying and kept asking me what the fines were for? She must have been confused as I swear she thought I was saying I'd received ‘speaking fines’. The rage welled through me as I was infuriated that I'd be out of pocket $508 and I couldn't even get my pity and shame across to my mum.

What flew from there were some beautiful pearls of wisdom, the first came in a Facebook post from one of my mentors...

The second perhaps even more timely came just a few hours later in an email from the universe. “How is it Abby, that with so many brilliant beings on your planet, so few recognize that when one's life encounters turbulence, choppy waters, or setbacks, it's always a sign that things are about to get wildly better than they've ever been before? And by brilliant beings, I'm not talking about the dolphins (this time). Don't fight it, The Universe.”

This got me thinking about some of the setbacks I'd dealt with before. Id encountered far greater misfortunes in life. What I realised was that in a week or so, these all consuming, soul destroying problems I was experiencing right now would be only a figment of my imagination. Even the greater misfortunes in my life were now distant memories. In fact, hurdles that had transformed into invaluable life lessons. Events that I don't wish upon anyone, yet don't regret that they fell into my life's path.

I've always thought of my life as a roller coaster. I feel like I've experienced incredible highs, along with horrible lows. But my life is just a series of events, label them what you wish...good, bad, ugly. I bet everyone would perceive them in a different manner. What is a roller coaster are my emotions, brought on by my perception of these moments….

Often emotions get a bad wrap. Most women fully understand and live the entire scale every week (sometimes every day). Men, on the other hand seem only to dip their pinky finger into the emotional bucket every few months if their lucky. So where am I going with all of this? I was presented a theory by a mentor of mine a few months ago, he explains it like this…

...we think our lives are made up of positive and negative events. To each of these our reactions, emotions and thoughts can also be positive or negative. Normally a positive event brings positive emotions and vice versa. But we can also choose a negative reaction to a positive event, and a positive reaction to a negative event. Are you still with me?

Now let's change the terminology just slightly. What if these events were now labeled ‘triumphs’ and ‘challenges.’ And our reactions and emotions seen as triumphant and challenging. The mood and energy of these moments, events and times in our lifetime shifts slightly so we can see them in a new light.

We are so good at labeling things as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ attaching our emotions and playing them out as expected. But what if we stopped to think that we have a choice on how we respond.

Choosing your response

  • The first thing we must do is bring awareness to times when our emotions take over. Our thoughts spiral out of control and our emotions automatically follow.
  • Allow yourself 10minutes for the emotions to rise, feel the feelings that come up and be ok with sitting in this space.
  • After 10minutes, make a conscious choice to leave these concerns in the past.
  • Finally choose a different response. Take a different thought and respond differently.

Our thoughts create our feelings which create out actions (or inaction). A lot of the time we do not have awareness around our thoughts so we operate on auto pilot. This can be why we may think we have no control or don't have a choice. But if we can step out of the situation we can begin to take that control back. I always like to ask myself "how will I feel about this in a year from now." Most of the time I laugh because it will be a distant memory or completely forgotten.

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