Life Lumps and Bumps: How I pulled through 10 major life changing events in the last 5 years
In the last five years I’ve more loss than some oeople have in their lifetimes including divorce, closing my business, moved to a new city, my mother’s death, two abdominal surgery, my employer (Target Canada) closed, my new life partner moved out and my son went to prison and now I’m starting a new (yet to be named) business.
I’m not looking for pity just provide you with context of where I’m coming from. I was quite an angry, anxious and frustrated man.
Since then, I’ve found a spiritual practice that feels right for me. Bottom line, I feel better. I am a spiritual man that loves life, people and most days I feel comfortable in my own skin. Only took 60 years! :-) Yes there is hope for you too!
The biggest lumps and bumps in the last year were when my son went to prison and my life partner decided to live on her own. I was in shock. Today, I’m grateful for the time we had together and know it is the best for both if us. We are good friends and I expect it to stay that way.
Now I’m learning to live alone, I’m writing a new book and starting a new business.
Yet, there are days when all I want to do is turtle, pull into my shell and hide from the world.
When I turtle I am in a consuming mindset, pulling life to me. I am eating, watching, playing, listening, resting, sleeping or acquiring the necessities of life I am consuming. Consuming feels good but solves nothing. In fact, while I might be able to distract myself, delay dealing with any issues but consuming is not all that live is about.
My biggest challenge happens when I begin chasing negative thoughts and strong emotions.
I was experiencing an entire array of powerful emotions and unanswerable questions. I felt my life was out of control.
That all changed when I remembered that I am always in control of “how” I respond.
I used to get so wrapped up in my thoughts and emotions that I have a difficult time focusing and being present.
Now I know that I get choose my reactions and how I am going to view what is going on. I don’t always remember but most days I remember, “I get to choose.” This awareness didn’t just happen. It took a lot of hard work.
Whenever I become aware I am having a strong emotional charge, I pause, breathe and get present. I stop chasing or denying my Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS)
I began reading The Joy of Living, was introduced to the practice of mindfulness and began a Buddhist meditation practice.
It was like a breath of fresh air. I felt like I could literally breathe again. This was the beginning of a new awareness of the power of being present.
Gradually I learned how to observe myself, my feelings and thoughts. It was like I was watching a movie of my life. Yet, as fast as I would be able to catch myself chasing a negative thought, toxic emotions would rise up. It was like a freight train traveling a hundred miles an hour without brakes.
I had no frame of reference for figuring out how to deal with what was going on within me. I was indulging in a lot of blame, shame and guilt. I would observe myself, beating myself up. Judging what I didn’t do or what I could’ve done better.
My emotions and personal thought life were an absolute wreck.
For the last three years it seemed like every day a new memory would come forward to remind me of the mistakes I made. Somedays I would be angry and confused. It was a period of personal turmoil and angst.
Little did I know that meditation, mindfulness and conscious breathing would reveal one of my greatest life lessons.
I learned to breathe through my disturbing emotions, observe it and allow it to evaporate back to the emptiness from which it came.
I’ve come to the realization that all the emotional pain and suffering I’ve felt is created by me. I realized that I was reacting negatively because I didn’t know what else to do.
I learned to breathe and observe. Observe my In breath and the Out breath. It worked like magic. For a short while, until the next toxic emotion or thought rose to the surface of my awareness. ha ha
Slowly the power of power of mindfulness and meditation began to change my perspective and my life. The power of being able to get some distance from a strong emotion or feeling is transformative. Being able to look at what was going on, observe it and then watch it evaporate and disappear. It saved me.
I now know that I no longer need to be a victim of my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I was learning that I could feel pain and suffering without it owning me. When I would indulge these negative patterns I was really tapping into my own sense of inadequacy. And yet, I did nothing to create this situation other than to think about it.
My mind does not know the difference between something I imagine and an actual experience. To my unconscious mind they all appear to be real. Really they are more like a play or a movie I’m watching.
I can choose to be the actor on the stage or the director in the background directing how the scene of my life unfolds.
I can choose to watch and observe how life is unfolding from the armchair of the observer or I can choose to be the writer and director. As the writer or director of my life I get the opportunity to observe, be present, and watch the movie of my life unfold. I get to watch the actors on the stage of my life and then choose to shift perspective or reshoot the scene.
Where do I want to live? As a casual observer or the director of my life?
I choose to be the writer, director and producer of life movie to be titled, “Life’s Grand Adventure: The Greg Dickson Story”
How about you?