“But what is fear? Nothing more or less than the negative use of faith… faith misplaced”
~ Ernest Holmes
Living on Canada’s West Coast during winter can be a challenge. It rains a lot. To make matters more arduous, in the northern hemisphere, wintery daylight begins around 8 am and sunset happens shortly after 4 pm. Needless to say, the sunlight is limited. This can lead many people to suffer from a condition known as, Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka: S.A.D). This acronym aptly describes the experience of SAD, as depression and moodiness are the primary symptoms. It can be nasty, as residents forewarn those who may be considering relocating to ‘beautiful British Columbia'.
Snowbirds travel south in search of sun; escaping the cold, wet and snowy conditions. These air travellers soar above the clouds as they go, where they discover that the sun is always shining. The bright rays at those rarified heights are the same as they ever were before the clouds gathered below. Imagine the relief they must experience in rediscovering that light!
My life coach recently shared a statement for challenging times: “Give up the interpretation that something is ‘wrong’ here… even if there is something ‘wrong’ here.” He explained further: “If I feel unsettled, it's because I believe that something is wrong.”
Our conversations, fuelled by the news and other media, often have a focus on ‘problems’. Our brains’ “negativity bias” (where negative events have a greater psychological impact than positive ones), has been crucial for our survival through much of the history of our evolution. In modern times, however, media outlets quickly learned to capitalize on this, realizing that ‘sensational’ (often negative) stories boost sales. This kind of focus skews our perceptions, making us believe that the world is more dangerous than it is.
In truth, to experience a life full of potential, we must confront perceived doom with a different focus and determination. We must refuse to succumb to the effects of doubt and fear. I know that when I stand up and look outward with a more ‘panoramic’ sense of vision, even what had seemed to me to be overwhelming traumas can begin to seem insignificant.
My husband frowns when he finds me perched on our city roof top. I love it up there. The roof view is spectacular, and quite different from that of my living room window. Inside, I feel trapped, but, just 15 feet higher up, everything shifts: the clouds don’t appear nearly as dark, and I feel a new sense of empowerment.
The same is true for my spiritual practices. I can meet my meditation cushion and journaling desk feeling forlorn, but after 30 minutes, I am renewed. I am able to rise above my sadness and worry. Conditions no longer appear gloomy once I have made it to the end of the clouds and embraced the Great Truth… there, the sun is always shining.
Change, the nature of Life and of the world, is inevitable. This is good news, for I can learn to embrace the never-ending twists and turns by knowing that, if I don’t like the conditions of my life today, they won’t last forever.
Knowing all things are connected, I am inspired to hold fast to the affirmative side of life, right here, and in every moment. I look out of my window and over the ocean. The water is beating against the rocky bluff, as wind drives rain against my house, and its power is magical. It puts my life and my concerns into a new perspective. What am I, next to an ocean storm? The wood stove warms my back and the candlelight flickers in the draft. I sip from my teacup and conclude this article.
It is a great day when we remain unmoved by external factors; confident in the ever-represent Good. I meditate on this belief:
"In the truest part of myself, where I understand and perceive deeply, I recognize Life as Free Spirit. I see the Universe as vibrant and indestructible. I recognize my inherent strength as complete and unbroken; wise enough to know myself as unaffected by physical or mental challenges. I reveal to the world how I see Life from my genuine understanding. With boldness and confidence, I affirm that I am a free, strong, and joyful spirit, untouched by pain or illness."
I aspire to meet each day grounded in this belief, and so I experience a welcome relief from the drama of fear.
ACTIVITIES for TRANSFORMATION
Journalling and Reflective Writing:
Set aside a specific time each day for journaling, and ask yourself the following:
~ How do I perceive the challenges in my life, and how can I reframe my perceptions more positively?
~ In what ways can I remind myself of the ever-present 'sun' behind the 'clouds' in my life?
~ Reflect on a recent challenge, and explore how looking at it from a 'rooftop perspective' might change your feelings about it.
Mindfulness and Meditation Practice:
Incorporate a daily mindfulness or meditation practice into your routine.
~ Spend a few minutes each day focusing on your breath and observing any thoughts or feelings that come up, without judgment.
~ Practice a 'panoramic vision' meditation, in which you visualize yourself rising above life's challenges, and viewing them from a detached, broader perspective.
~ Meditate on the affirmation provided in the text, internalizing the belief in your own unbroken, joyful spirit.
Establishing a habit of introspection and mindfulness, allows you to apply the wisdom from the eColumn to your personal growth journey. Enjoy the journey