Monday, July 15, 2013

Claiming the Calm

Dave Barry

Delphine-Gay de Girardin

Norman Vincent Peale

Okay, it’s time to write.  I have very little time and I’m not sure what to say at the moment.  The important thing is that I will do what I say.  Here are some goals (not tasks) for the day.  Here are the things I need, not want, but need to do:
Be on time or early at every place I said I would be.
Stay present and focused no matter what happens.
Get some work done.
Have fun and not be so task oriented.
Practice the presence of God.
See my kids as part of my life, not a distraction from it.
Live in a state of grace and forgiveness, giving and receiving both.
Live in a state of expectation that good things will happen today.
Ask God to forgive me and cleanse me from the fear that I often feel.
Be thankful for all that is good in my life.
Create a list of tasks I want to accomplish today.
Play softball with my girls.
Be truthful about what I’m feeling.
Love my girls.
Wait in joyous expectation for good things to come at the right time.
Release anger immediately and peacefully if it comes.

That was a good list and I was writing, I realized how much and how often I run away from life, allow myself to be fearful, angry, preoccupied or unhappy when there isn’t really anything wrong at the moment.  I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with this.  Many people I know seem burdened with many tasks and obligations.  But the secret is not always in getting these things done.  Yes, it’s nice when I do.  Yesterday, for example, I wrote a blog, met a client, wrote a resume and did a radio show.  On the personal side, I got some time alone, some time with friends and with my daughters.  I got to play catch with my 7-year-old.  (She’s pretty good.)  Still, sometimes I still feel fear or anxiety.
To relieve myself of unpleasant feelings, it helps me to acknowledge and allow them.  For example, “Yes, I’m feeling anxious and that’s okay.”
Then I want to go to the next step.  There are options here.
I might look at my anxiety as an actual physical thing inside me.  This is a technique that helps me be very present with my anxiety, which may feel like a pit in my stomach or a black hole or a thorn.  I bring my darkness into light.
I might question why that anxiety is there and do “The Work” around it.  This comes from Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is.   It involves four questions and a turnaround.  I’ve mentioned it before and it has worked for me with amazing results.  I take something that’s bothering me and I do The Work.  For example, “I’m not going to reach 175 blogs this month.”
1.     Is that true?   I don’t know.
2.     Do I know for sure if it’s true?  See #1.
3.     How does that thought make me feel?  Anxious and frustrated.
4.     Who would I be without that thought?  Peaceful and excited to reach my goal.
5.     Turnaround – I will reach my goal.  I may even exceed it.

I’ve done this many times and it’s been extremely helpful.  I recommend the book for a more in-depth explanation.
I might pray or I might ask for prayer.  I can’t count the number of times prayer has brought me peace.  The rational mind may reject the supernatural, because we can’t see it.  That doesn’t make the supernatural any less real any more than oxygen or electricity because we can’t see them either.
Why would I do any of these things?  It’s okay if the anxiety is there, but at the same time it’s not.  It’s not preferable.  I would rather feel peaceful and joyful.  In fact, that’s one of my life goals, to be peaceful and joyful as long as and as often as possible.  This goal, like any worthwhile goal takes work and focus.
Finally, there’s one other way to claim my calm.  That is to be in my Purpose.  For me, that means writing.   It also means being present with each moment.  It means setting goals and creating tasks to reach those goals.  It means to Get Started and to Keep Going… and to do those things now.