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Everything You Want’s a Dream Away

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So this is not going to be a re-hash of The Secret. No vision boards, no checks in the mail, no looking for answers that don’t show up. Instead, it’s a step-by-step for getting clear on what it is you want in your life. About damn time someone just laid it all out, right? You are welcome.

Step One: Listen to the Asshat voice in your head, and hear what it is saying.

Does the voice in your head repeat, however subtly, each day that life is “hard,” “stressful,” “chaotic”? And indeed, is life those things to you? Well of course it is. Because you are thinking the same shit, day in, day out. And without any new experiences-plus-emotions to punctuate your day, the same thoughts occur. Remember, experiences + emotions = memories. If you are doing the same things, thinking the same thoughts, going through the same motions of each day, PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW LIFE CHANGE IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. You are right. It can’t.

Step Two: What is happiness? Get real clear on this as it applies to your life.

Let me guess, you want to be happy, right? And you will be, once the laundry is done, you write the book, publish the article, the kids graduate, and you move back to where you should have taken that other job to begin with. Yes, then you’ll be “happy.” But let’s be honest, how will you know? Have you every had a close family member or loved one point out to you how happy you should be, when clearly you are anything but? How miserable is that?

Understand that circumstances do not make us anything. Even mushrooms grow in poop. So you, dear reader, are certainly capable of growing and changing despite the spectacularly flawed relationship with your ex, the meager balance in your bank account, and your ailing parents. You can evolve as a human being, even with the wrong job, cancer, and problem teenage kids.

So what is “happy” to you, anyway? And what stands between you and “it”? One guess!

Step Three: Notice the negativity bias that is baked into the plasma blob that is your brain.

As cave dwellers, humans evolved constantly scanning the environment for what was wrong, abnormal, out of sync. Ever had a splinter you couldn’t see, but you could feel it? Our brains are so exquisite that constantly searching for what is not right is one of the easiest things it can do. This skill was definitely needed in the time of saber-toothed tigers who could pounce any minute. But is it really needed now? Not really, but instead the negativity bias skill reinvents itself into anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. So yes, human evolution is somewhat responsible for “hamster wheel brain,” where you just can’t seem to power down and you worry incessantly.

Quite frankly, the brain has to busy itself with something. It’s like the WOPR computer from War Games — it has to DO something…like repeating a thought or a phrase, making you wash your hands over and over. And noticing the shitty-ness of life is so easy for the brain to do that you do it without thinking. Training your brain NOT to do this is a challenge, but once you get good at it, you can hopscotch your happy ass all the way to joy. I’ve seen it — it can happen.

Had an “A-Ha” moment yet?

Is what we want really a dream, or is it just shifting what we say about where we are?

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