9809136824_917ee3d5ee_zIf someone were to hand you a magic wand, and tell you that it had the power to instantly transform your world, you’d use it, right? You’d be crazy not to.

Well, you do have a magic wand, but it’s shaped more like a melon than a sparkly stick. It’s your brain.

Since our interpretation of all experiences in life emerges from the brain, any change in our brain alters our reality. At the most basic level, your reality is nothing more than  your brain’s interpretation of some electrical impulses.(see blog:  My Reality Is Not Your Reality)

When giving meaning to these signals, our brains add memories, beliefs and attitudes about ourselves, others, and the world influenced by family, religion, school, culture and life experiences. Every spoken word we hear, word we read, experience we have, absolutely everything, is always, always the product of our brain’s subjective interpretation of stimuli.

By changing your thinking, you can change your world. It’s that simple. Simple, but not easy.  Through neuroplasticity, the brain”s ability to change its’ physical form and function in response to actions, perceptions, and even thinking and imagining, whatever you do repeatedly becomes etched into your brain.

Any situation, person, or thing can be seen from multiple perspectives. With conscious awareness, (See blog: The Meaning Of Mindfulness) you can choose your thoughts, attitude, and response to the world around you,and with consistent practice, this pattern becomes physically wired into your brain. Ta da! (See blog: Responding Rather Than Reacting)

Take for instance, someone in your life who is a royal pain. I’m sure you can think of someone, maybe even a couple. Yes, there’s no disputing that this person may provide plenty of situations inviting grief and aggravation into your life, however it’s your choice to see them only from that one point of view.  You could choose to back up, broaden your view, and look at them more objectively. Acknowledge and own your attached emotions, judgements, and opinions and how they might be coloring your thoughts about the person and the situation.

Then try on a new perspective, even a conflicting one, considering what their thinking, wounds, and motivation behind their behavior.  While still being a royal pain, this person can also be seen as a teacher for you when you consider how they may be pushing you to grow and step outside of your comfort zone.  Ask yourself if there is something you could learn from your interaction with them and be willing to be honest and open with yourself.

I’m used to living alone. Recently, I not only had my two sons living with me, but also another 19-year-old male. I thought I’d become this calm, centered, mindful being,but I found myself getting agitated at insignificant, petty things arising with them in the house.

I found that I’m really sensitive to the sweaty boy smell, and instead of pointing the finger at them, I had to look at my own reaction, what it was activating in me, and what I could learn from the experience. Patience. Tolerance. Compassion.

On a much bigger scale, my ex-husband found many reasons to continue the conflict years after we divorced.  While it took me a long time to realize and acknowledge his positive contribution to my life, I can see that he was one of my greatest teachers providing me with countless growth opportunities. I’ve made tremendous strides in strength, courage, and self confidence with each damn lesson.

Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun philosopher, gives the unique advice of going directly into the situations from which you want to instinctively run in her book, The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics).  In these situations is the opportunity for personal growth.

According to Chodron, we always have a choice to let the people and circumstances of our lives harden us and make us increasingly angry and afraid, or we can let them soften us to become more compassionate. This wisdom, or magic wand, is always available to us although we tend to block it with habitual reactions and living unconsciously.

So, pick up your magic wand and get busy. I don’t mean to imply that *POOF* you can make everything just as you want it. I mean that you can cultivate peace, joy, and acceptance at any time because, although you can’t control what happens, you can control how you think about and respond to it.  Magic!

image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dbnunley/

9 Comments

  1. Tony Piparo Reply

    Great post! You have grown so much since we first met almost a year ago now. Or at least you hid all of this inside of you. Keep it up. You are graduating everyday. Oh, and I,do still like my canteloupes orange thank you.

  2. Debbie Hampton Reply

    Nora and Tony, thanks so much! I think we ought to have a big graduation celebration! Woohoo! Whadya think! Because you are right. I make the passing grade every day in which I live my life in peace and happiness.

    It has been and will continue to be a journey and a learning process which only gets better. They say at yoga: the better it gets, the better it gets. It is pretty darn good now!

  3. brokenbrilliant Reply

    Great post! We really DO have a choice in how we view the world around us, and the hardest situations — and people — have much more to teach us than those who barely catch our attention.

    I think that difficulty can actually be a sign of real growth — it means that we've passed a point of ease and are ready to learn something new. I think my life would be just fine without some of the difficulties I've had, but it would not be the same life I have now, so it's all good.

    Keep up the great work!

    BB

  4. Debbie Hampton Reply

    BB…I LOVE your perspective in that the level of challenge comes with a certain ability. Never thought of it that way before. My life is an advanced placement course! 🙂

    The more challenges I have the easier it gets to handle the and the more peace I find. I really love the wisdom in the saying "If you like where you are, you can't complain about how you got there."

    Here's to being able to carry bowls of soup upstairs and water for the cats!

  5. Very well said Debbie, i like the fact that we can always switch the way we operate our own brain, instead of just being the reaction of what happens to us.

  6. Debbie Hampton Reply

    Hubert, I agree with you totally. It is great. It is like having super powers and puts us completely in the driver's seat. The road is gonna have heart thumping twists and turns and pot holes even. Expect them. It is our job to keep the car on the road. I plan to! Happy travels.

  7. HiYa Debbie,
    I love the magic wand (and cantaloupe)! Love it!

    You're speaking my language, lovely. And, good for you to see the hardships and challenging circumstances you're facing for what they are, growth opportunities. Seeing them for what they are might not make them easier, but I can speak from experience and say that I do think these experiences help to frame my experience.

    I hope someday we can meet, I'll bring my magic wand, you bring yours, and we'll have a blast of a party. POOF!
    🙂
    Excellent article, once again.
    ~xo

  8. Debbie Hampton Reply

    Lori, howdy and backatcha! I know you have your own set of very challenging circumstances. Like we have discussed before, I really believe it is because of these difficulties we are as awesome and exceptional as we are. Seriously!

    They have forced us to seek and rise above and beyond. Plus, they make for a very rich life. Look forward to having a *POOF*-ing party with you one day!

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