Creative prompt…The Bright Side of Life.

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The quote above is from the Monty Python song ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’ A very cheerful tune in itself…I hope you can sing along whilst you are reading…

Hello there, this week, I’m contributing to Nikki of FlyingThrough Water and her creative prompt ‘The Bright Side’.

There is so much goodness that comes from being positive, looking on the bright side, not dwelling on the negative. This has been promoted heavily in the self-help movement as Positive thinking.
Keeping Gratitude journals are excellent ways to maintain our focus on the good things in life. Even if at times it feels as if life really isn’t going in our favour.

But is it necessary and even healthy, to ignore a huge part of life when things go wrong?
To attempt to deny the feelings that accompany the less desirable parts of life?

It’s easy to fall into the pattern of blame and negative thinking with phrases such as ‘this always happens to me’, ‘I never win anything,’ and ‘everyone else seems to be having a better life than me…’ These defeating self talk patterns can swim around and around in our head for days, weeks or even months. Believe me, I know. I’ve been called a catastrophizer in the past…
We are unaware of how much it’s become an ingrained, almost reflex attitude to life. We are in great danger of attracting more of what we don’t want through these negative reactions.

This isn’t acceptance of the challenges that arise. It’s more about living in fear.

But there is another way of accepting the curve balls that life throws at us. It’s called Positive Psychology and is described beautifully in a short interview here by a researcher called Barbara Fredrickson. She believes resilience and strategies for managing the hard times is the more proactive way to respond. I hope you find it helpful.

 Dr. Andrea Dinardo writes about these important topics in her inspiring blog,
Thriving under Pressure.

Can we still find happiness when we are facing hard times that can rock us to our core?
Can we really just look on the bright side of life that readily?

I believe it comes down the that beautiful expression…
We can ‘make lemonade out of lemons’…

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Now, I can see a huge pile of sour, bitter lemons presenting themselves before me. Yes, they are here, they are not going away anytime soon.
What to do with them now they are mine? Somehow I took ownership of them without even asking…

Well, I can try to ignore them, long enough, and the rotting sphere of once brilliant yellow will call us to attention even harder. Glossing over things and ignoring them can only be of value for a period of time.

Or

I can sit with them for a while, say ‘hello lemons’, ponder ‘what am I going to do with you?’
Leaving them in the back of the fridge in the dark will not make them go away.

Ok… attitude shift.
I’ll take those lemons, slice them open to allow the light of  day to penetrate, squeeze them until the juice inside runs out, after all, the only way to remove the juice is through squeezing them… and when I have taken what I can from them, it’s now time to find a way to make it work for me. To restore the sweetness to life, even in the midst of discovering that things aren’t proceeding as planned or as I wished them to be.

I add sugar…

So perhaps it’s not about desperately thrashing around in a stressful state aiming to remove or find a quick fix for something…

It’s not about turning a blind eye to the challenges, less than desirable experiences and negative parts of life, as if they didn’t exist, attempting to sweep them under the carpet.

Perhaps looking on the bright side of life is truly about acceptance of what is, sitting with negativity, sadness, disappointment, just long enough for our emotions to feel seen and heard. Once we name the beast, we tame the beast, and could we even find a way to love it?

Like a recipe I need to modify, it’s not possible to remove the ingredients already mixed…

But what I may choose to do is add a sprinkle of this, a dash of that, a pinch of something extra, until before us lies a totally new recipe, while still incorporating the initial ingredients.

I re-write the recipe.

Adding Love to the situation through…
Discovery
Belief
Choice
Surrender
Trust
Peace

Loving what’s presenting itself to us just now manifests as…

Adopting a fresh attitude,
Discovering how this issue is contributing to my growth, through choosing to believe it’s here as my teacher,
Creating a purpose for its existence even when it seems near impossible at the time. Cradling my thoughts into surrendering to ‘what is’, if I cannot change the situation.
I can also choose to see it as something that is part of a bigger picture, one I am not necessarily privy to just now, so I can add trust along with the surrender.
Perhaps with time, I am able to reflect, to see the experience as a superpower; one that affords me the opportunity to serve others going through their own tough times.

As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet,

‘There is nothing either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.’

I’ll leave you with this beautiful piece, called
‘Amazing advice on Happiness at 92 years old.’

It’s relating a story about a 92 year old lady with vision impairment who knew the time had come to enter a nursing home. Her story, I’m sure, will melt your heart. I hope you have time to read it when suits you… there are many gems of life lessons contained within…

As always, I am very grateful to you for being here.
Thank you again Nikki for an awesome prompt…

Much love,
Di xx

 

 

Lessons from a year of Yoga…

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The wall hanging in the studio for Yoga class. I really loved its imperfect appearance with the wiggly words…

 

Hello and welcome to a new post…

I joined Yoga in July last year to recover from the back pain I wrote about in three parts. I’m including the links for easy access. You are welcome to read about that journey if you are a new friend here…

 Curiosity, and the blessings from back pain… Part One

Curiosity and the blessings of Back pain… part two.

Curiosity and the Blessings of Back pain… Part Three

It’s been an eye opening year, and the benefits from Yoga are becoming palpable. These lessons were borne after a class. I began to notice subtle changes over how I was managing setbacks and disappointments during certain poses…

It was as though I’d become less reactive and more patient with myself…

May you enjoy them as they lay their goodness upon me…

✨For every forward bend, inversion, stretch, there is an opposite movement. Too much of one position can create imbalances and cause our body to grow into that stance until it takes much work to undo it.

✨There are times when it hurts…
Hold through the pain, let it flow through you and trust it be over soon, as nothing lasts forever…good and bad.

✨Focusing on breathing, and remembering to breathe through the challenges, creates a naturally peaceful state, and encourages us to be fully in the present moment…

✨Sometimes we cannot do a pose alone. We need to lean on someone, taking turns at being the one who holds the other person up.

✨Remembering that if a pose is unattainable this week, there is always next week. We are forever changing, evolving, or just having a bad day, so it’s certainly worth attempting it next class… we will more than likely attain it then…

✨And if we don’t, remember there things called are baby steps that edge us ever so slowly towards our goal.

✨If we rush into a pose, we may make an incorrect decision about how it’s meant to be…
Take your time.

✨It’s important to remain flexible.
‘Rigid’ doesn’t allow for new moves, and has the potential to keep us stuck in the one position.

✨Sometimes it makes such a difference looking at things from upside down, to fully appreciate what we are looking at.
Often we look without truly seeing.

✨Maintaining poise and balance during a movement allows us to look ahead, to remain relaxed during the challenging poses.

✨Keep your eyes on a focal point. Choose something to focus on and keep it in your sight to maintain balance. Once your eyes roam, and determined focus dissolves, you lose your way…

✨If you lose your balance, don’t stress and be unkind to yourself.
Regain your poise, take a breath, focus and start over…

After all, it’s called ‘Yoga Practice’ for a reason.

✨Don’t, at any cost, compare your ‘now’  to someone else’s ‘now’ who appears to be attaining the poses perfectly…
Life is a journey and we are all on a different part of the path…
Follow your own lead and carve your own…
Only compare where you are today with where YOU were last time…
We can be inspired by them, but not at the expense of our self-worth.

✨Finally, I’ve learnt that we really are one.
We share each other’s joys,
We share each other’s pain.

….Namaste…

Thank you for reading,

Love,
Di 💜