Believing I Can Choose How I Feel
As I was doing the usual pile of annoying dishes the other day, I noticed that I was heading into an old familiar (although less common lately) space of frustration with everything. The water’s not hot enough coming out of the tap. The TV is too loud. There isn’t enough soft butter in the dish. I started blaming the discontent on my hormones….on the food I’ve been eating….on the weather, whatever I could to put the responsibility on something other than my own brain. I can usually talk myself out of a funk like this but sometimes it’s a challenge to make a negative funk like this into a positive.
Something was different this time though. The way I noticed it was accompanied by a roll of my eyes and a sense of exhaustion from letting it get to me. Why should I be “putting up with” these feelings, and why was I losing control over how I felt? No. It’s not the white flour or too much cheese that’s dragging me down. It’s not the annoying voices on that cartoon I can’t stand, or that the TV is so loud that it’s making me grit my teeth (and I know deep down it’s not really that loud at all). Or the bass beat from the apartment upstairs. It’s my reaction to it. If what yoga has taught me is true – that I deserve to be happy, that joy is my natural state – then choosing to react negatively to stimulus is what’s dragging me down. I won’t allow what I’ve conditioned in my brain as a “negative stimulus” to affect my happiness. I needed to change my inherent belief about reacting altogether, and when I trusted that, my “non-reaction” came from a deeper place. This time I didn’t make a negative into a postive – I made the negative into neutral, which in turn allowed me to access joy in life again.
I don’t think this is going to come so naturally all the time, since it’s taken almost 5 years of yoga and (albeit intermittent) meditation to come to a place where I truly believe I have the ability to choose. This was one moment of freedom. I felt grounded, solid, undisturbed, and tapped into the joy that I deserve to feel all the time, even if the crazy lady next door is yelling again. It was liberating really being in charge of my reaction! The old conditioning will probably come back but my new belief will hopefully help me to adjust my attitude quicker each time.
We only have so many days on this planet…and I choose to enjoy every single one. Now ask me this again when my moon cycle comes around and I may tell you where to go, but for now I like the conclusion I’ve come to.