Dear Resilient Readers:
You know that quote from Mahatma Gandhi that says something like if you change yourself you can change your world?
It’s a bold thought and one I decided I should check out for myself. On one level, I have always known that if I change certain things in my life that my world will change. Take for example if I change what I eat or how much I exercise. I understand the different results I will get when I pursue those kinds of changes in my life.
But what would happen if I changed the way I reacted to personal and work situations that I find stressful because they constantly repeat themselves over and over again? This is sort of new territory for me. In some situations, I try to ride it out thinking that the other person is going through a phase of being cranky or tired or stressed. In other situations, my first instinct is to give back as good as the other person throws it to me. Then, about a year ago, I got this deja vu feeling and realized that some of these situations and conversations were repeating themselves and maybe one of the reasons was my reaction to it.
It dawned on me that certain parts of my life are not going to change and instead of continuing to fight it all the time or waiting for it to change on its own, I should try and change the way I react or deal with it. I think this is one of those things you kind of have to figure out for yourself because if someone else tells you it doesn’t seem to always ring true. I guess that is human nature. It took me awhile but the light bulb finally went on when I found myself doing and saying the same thing over and over.
What to do? I tried a few different things: not saying anything back, talking to my siblings or friends about it, talking to myself, praying, venting to the bathroom mirror while brushing my teeth. It got a little better but I still didn’t feel as though I had found a long-term solution.
I would say for about the past year, I have been really focusing on the whole concept of trying to learn to find peace within myself. I knew that we all had the ability to heal ourselves from the trauma of losing a loved one but for some reason I had never thought of healing in terms of other parts of my life. Silly me right?
First of all, at least for me, it is difficult to accept that some parts of my life are not going to change as much as I want them to. That they will pretty much always be the way they are right now or they will get worse. Finding inner peace with this is a lot harder than I thought. A LOT.
Going back to the old way of dealing with these issues would not work. I knew that much for sure. So pushing ahead, I have been taking meditation and yoga classes and learning an extraordinary amount about silence and harnessing my inner emotions to try and bring about calm within myself. In the beginning, it was much easier said than done. In fact, the first couple of times were a wash. I sat in complete silence with my eyes closed yet my mind was ping ponging all over the place and I couldn’t get it to settle down.
I didn’t get it but I knew I had to keep trying. I knew there was something there. It just hadn’t clicked yet for me.
I feel I am making progress but I have much, much more to continue to learn and practice. It’s definitely something I would tell others to try whether they are in the midst of grief or just trying to become more centered with their life and its positive and negative energy.
Gandhi was smart man!!