“How you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it”
~Norman Vincent Peale
I’m reading The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. It’s a classic and every page has nuggets of great wisdom that align and reinforce, from a biblical perspective, what Jill and I teach at 1 Life by Design.
This quote struck me as being especially helpful when we feel stuck or struck down by circumstances. Life can deal gut blows that can drain your energy leaving you discouraged and spent.
I had an experience like this just last week. I woke up feeling cheerful and then a friend called and her news felt like someone pulled the plug on me. Almost immediately all my energy drained. I felt depleted and going back to bed seemed like a legitimate, next-best step, except it was 10am.
The “facts” were not pretty and in that moment, I couldn’t think clearly, but I have a personal strategy for moments like this and I’ll share it with you, in case you find it useful.
I found that this 3 step strategy works for me because I start to see how my thinking about the “facts” is obscuring my power to be resourceful and to respond rather than react. It reveals to me that I am less defeated than I thought I was.
This is living a life by design.
When I did this process last week it took a little while to recover but I got there and the lessons I learned in my recovery were huge, lifetime influencing ahas. By the next day, I was deeply, authentically appreciative for the whole experience. It contributes to feeling even more confident in my ability to navigate and design my life.
Tiptoeing across the tarmac
I am looking for my flight
It has to be here somewhere.
Tiptoeing across the garden
I am looking for my light
It’s here somewhere
Tiptoeing across the gravel
I am looking for a space
It was here yesterday.
I found it.
Have you ever made the "I know it by heart" statement? It usually means that the speaker remembers key information without having to strain to remember it.
When I think of things I know by heart, I think of rhymes I learned as a child, multiplication sums and the 23rd Psalm.
But until today, I never really thought about what it means to say, “I know it by heart.”
Yesterday I went to the Detroit Institute of Art and I was privileged to see many beautiful masterpieces. I know these pieces because I’ve seen them in books for the last 35 years. I was moved to tears by them. Why?... well I’m not sure. Partly because I was seeing work that I had loved and admired for years but partly because something happened in my heart. Something I knew in my heart that I don’t know how to transcribe into language. I knew these pieces by heart. Something stirs in my heart when I come face to face with them.
And I have to say, growing up in a Christian faith tradition, verses from the Bible have the same effect on me. I know them by heart. They are embedded there. They reside there. One in particular that comes to mind, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
I know it by heart.
I think knowing something by heart means that information has moved from an intellectual space in the brain and has taken residence in the heart. Knowing this brings me both comfort and pause to reflect.
I don’t remember deciding to lodge Van Gogh's self portrait in my heart but it happened. My guess is that it happened because of a combination of repetition enforced by emotion. That’s usually how we remember. I want to be mindful of what I allow to take residence. I want to be mindful because what I know by heart is powerful.
i don’t think I know you.
I don’t think I know you either
he said to her across
the bridge of pillows that had
cushioned their love
How lovely that we get to discover
eachother like this
dereliction of a duty
a forsaking of the gift
that is this one life
here is your sliding door moment
the delightful designer
to be alive
the co-operative components
thrilled to be a part
of your life by design
it’s a little awkward.
You want company
someone to wallow,
to agree to the unfairness of it all.
I’m over here
with my cheery disposition
trying to ignore it.
Its not that life
is kinder to me,
or that my vision is blinded
by blue glass, butterflies and feathers
Its that I stopped
trying to be the most miserable person in the room.
to the bottom
became so boring.
It looks as though I’ve lost touch
with being human,
with being kind,
with being angry and sad.
I haven't though,
it’s just that I don’t linger
Lingering leads to a type of
malingering in life
which leads to
its a little strange
but come sit with me
in the sunshine
and leave the lingering
to someone else
for 17 seconds
Focus on what you want and then trust that the universe will yield it to you.
tight and tender
a notion of anticipation
the unobservable space
north of my puddly tummy
south of my renegade heart
breathe in two, three, four
hold it two three four
breath out two, three, four, five.
The sweet sensation of relief;
the letting go,
housed in a singular breath,
It's amazing what happens when you decide something.
The origin of the word “decide” comes from a French word meaning, literally, to cut off. So, there’s an implication that when you decide something, you’re cutting off from something else.
This makes so much sense to me as I’ve recently decided to change the way I eat with 100% commitment and dedication. I’ve played the 80/20 game as far as nutrition is concerned for several years, and if I’m honest with myself about it, it was more like 60/40.
At the beginning of this year I decided to eat healthy, nutrient dense food at every meal. 100/0
The decision required cutting off the 40% crap food and excuses I had been indulging in. I also decided I wasn’t going to whine about it.
And what a huge huge difference in my experience it has been. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I feel easy and in flow. It’s wonderful. It’s the feeling I think Abraham Hicks would describe as focused and clear.
To to be fair though, I didn’t just randomly decide something and it all fell into place. By the time I came around to making a decision, I had been thinking about my “Why” for several weeks and I cleared the way of extra stressors so that my Willpower could help me get some momentum going the first few days. (To learn more about Why and Willpower read this post. )
Making a decision can feel stressful and as if you’re losing one thing by choosing another, but I encourage you to try and see it differently - as an opportunity to experience focus and clarity. When you release yourself from the stress of missing out on something else, you give yourself a gift of a clear mind that is in flow and can focus on being successful at what’s in front of you. Your energy will be channeled in one direction, empowering your success.
I'd love to hear about your experience with this principle of decision, Feel free to share in the comments below.
never stop searching for beauty
there’s no magic otherwise
never stop searching for joy
it’s the way Life delivers suprise
you can stand in your reality
or you can look beyond the wall
you can claim your sinicism
or learn to fly in the fall
never stop searching for beauty
it would be a dull life if you do
never stop searching for joy
there are sparkles in every clue