It is that time of year again when day and night are of equal length, which happens when the Earth’s pole tilts neither away from, nor towards the Sun and the Earth is perfectly balanced.
Today is the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere; the event is known as an equinox – a celestial event that happens twice a year in March and September. I believe it is nature’s signal for us to take a moment and assess if our lives are in balance, which may send each of us spinning in a new and celestially inspired direction.
Begin by asking yourself two simple questions:
If your life is in balance and is circling your priorities and orbiting your values – celebrate it!
In the next few days or weeks, take time to do something special for yourself or others in your life to savor and share just how good happiness and being balanced feels.
Reinforcing happiness and sharing the good times can deepen and expand our sense of well being, which helps us create new pathways in our brains that can strengthen our resolve and help us mentally and emotionally maneuver life’s twists and turns and to discover and enjoy new roads to happiness, purpose and well being.
If your life isn’t tilted toward your dreams, you can realign it!
Take a moment to congratulate yourself for being honest about your situation – that’s a huge first step.
Next, become aware of any self talk that doesn’t seem celestially inspired! Becoming aware of your negative self talk is like pulling back the curtains on the Wizard of Oz – stop fooling yourself and stop believing the negative stories you have created. Start tipping the scales in your favor by sharing encouraging words with yourself that reinforce hope and the fact that change is possible – “Just because I am having this thought, doesn’t make it true!” “Wow, I never realized just how negative I can be, perhaps there is a better way.” “Maybe the story I am telling myself isn’t helping me or my relationships, I know I can do better.” “I can do this!” “I’ve made changes before, and I can do it again.”
Keep reminding and reassuring yourself that change, just like the seasons, takes time but is perfectly natural.
Then set some time aside to reflect on how you really want your life to look and feel, and begin tilting your actions and thoughts in that direction. Don’t be afraid or talk yourself out of asking for help, trying something new or taking risks – if the leaves didn’t fall new ones would never grow.
You can do it! I know you can. Start planning your changes today, so six months from now when the Earth’s axis is tilting toward the sun, your life is tilted in the direction of your dreams. I did it, and I know you can, too.
I am a big fan of Rick Hanson, Ph.D.’s work. I have read his book, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence and I have taken his six day “Positive Neuroplasticity Training“.
I liked what Rick wrote in a recent blog post and wanted to share part of it with you now . . .
“For one or more of the items just below, imagine what it would feel like for you to have the freedom not to:
- Press your point home
- Struggle to get someone to change his or her mind . . .
- Worry what other people think about you
- React to what is swirling around you
- Act on an impulse
- Get into an argument
- Be swept along by anger
- Identify with a mood or point of view passing through awareness
- Take something personally
- Take responsibility for the experiences of other people . . .
. . . Faced with things that grab you in daily life, play with phrases like these in your mind: I’m free not to . . . I’m free not to __________ . . . I’m free . . . there is choice . . . Slow things down, pause, buy yourself some time, that space of freedom between stimulus and response. If others are getting intense, try gently talking to yourself, reminding yourself: You are free . . . you can choose your response . . . they are over there and you are over here . . . there is a freedom . . .
Notice what it’s like to feel freer. Enjoy it. Let this experience sink in.”
Giving yourself space is an amazing gift. The sense of freedom and joy it brings is deep and rewarding. It is not always easy, but with time and practice, you can learn to take a moment, or a breath before getting caught up into something you may later regret.
Prime Your Brain
Begin by replaying a moment of freedom or heartfelt joy in your mind. Remember how good it felt to you; envision the circumstances and then savor the feelings you have that arise with the memory. Let them sink in so you can truly feel how good freedom and joy feel. By allowing yourself to fully experience the moment, you are priming your brain to be able recreate the feelings at a moment’s notice.
Keep it up and you will eventually develop a form of positive instant recall, which will signal your brain to release calming hormones and chemicals that can help you quickly relax, while increasing your creativity and resilience.
Most of us are can respond with anger or sadness at the drop of a hat, but calmer more resilient, folks are equally – if not more so – efficient, at giving themselves space and at instantaneously bringing up happy and/or peaceful reactions.
Practice Brings Peace
The next time you let something or someone kindle a knee jerk reaction in you, pause and practice the phrases Rick mentions above – or use similar phrases that sound right to you – to redirect your attention and to remind yourself you always have the option to proceed down a more positive, peaceful, and relaxing path.
If you do give in to a negative response, don’t beat up on yourself, simply focus on something that makes you feel marvelous and tell yourself you will do better next time. A little self-compassion goes a long way, especially when blended with practice and patience.
I promise you, if you don’t give up, you will be giving yourself one of the best gifts you have ever received – peace of mind and more time to enjoy it.
“When we talk about balance, so often it’s our tendency to focus on the things that are OUT of balance. Today, let’s celebrate the things that we’ve got really right. ” Chopra Center Meditation
86,400 – The number of seconds you have each day.
How will you spend yours?
I hope you choose to spend them with those you love, or at least letting the ones you love, know that you love them.
I hope you spend them doing what you really love or by taking risks in the direction of who you really want to be, no matter how scary that feels.
I hope you spend them working to change any injustices you see, and don’t worry if there seem to be too many on any given day, simply act and know your time was well spent.
I hope you spend them making something more beautiful or peaceful, or by simply being more aware of the beauty and peace around and inside of you.
If you do any of the above, your time will be well spent, and you will have given the world the gift of you having lived your 86,400 seconds well, which is truly a gift to behold.
Are things in your life falling apart or into place?
Have a great day!
Patrice Koerper Robson is a United States Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, who served in Macedonia from 2006-2009 beginning at the age of 53. She is one of only 460 people over the age of 50, who have served annually in the United States Peace Corps (Approximately 6% of the Volunteers who serve each year are over the age of 50).
Patrice loves Macedonia, and is happy to have traveled back to the tiny, mountainous country many times. Her first return trip was in the fall of 2010 for two months to visit friends and work on projects. She traveled back again for a month in 2011, and as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer for four months from 2012-13.
In 2016, she and her wonderful husband, Dan, spent their extended honeymoon in Macedonia combining five weeks in the ancient and beautiful city of Bitola with side trips to Venice and to the Isle of Corfu. Patrice was also a Response Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia for four months from 2011-12, which she plans to revisit in the future.
Patrice’s main passion and occupation is Wishful Thinking Works life coaching, workshops and presentations, which combined with her family and friends and travels with her husband, are all part of the life she is really wants.
I am enjoying “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath this summer and love so many of their tips for personally and professionally enhancing your life. One of their free resources tips for spicing up your marriage or relationship is a fun one, and I thought this summer might be a great time to take advantage of their advice.
Art Aron had couples engage in a date a week for ten weeks. One group did a standard date. For example a couple that habitually went to dinner and a movie would have dinner and a movie. Another group did something different than what they would normally do. If they normally see romantic comedies, they might take in a horror film or an action/adventure. If they normally ate Italian, they might try Vietnamese. The biggest increase in marital satisfaction was among the novelty group.
Any type of change will be good for your hearts and souls, and you don’t have to commit to ten weeks to feel the benefits. Whenever you “Break the script.” by trying something new, you increase the odds of creating a memorable moment.
The goal is to get started thinking of new and different ways to bring joy and memorable moments to your lives, all of which can strengthen the bond between you. Your options are endless, the choices are yours, and a cool summer evening or breezy sunny day will make every memory just a bit sweeter.