There’s a familiar philosophical saying that states, “Where attention goes, energy flows”. A similar quote by noted psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung states, “What you resist, persists.” To me, these perceptive sayings are two similar ways of saying the same thing—they simply mean that the more we focus on something, the stronger it grows and the longer it will remain in our consciousness. Whether they’re aches and pains, negative thoughts, or allergies and illness, the more thought and attention we give them, the greater will be their affect upon us.
I’m sure you’ve all had those days—the ones where you get up in the morning and you just feel “off” somehow? You may have even gone to bed early and slept well, but when it came to getting up you just weren’t feeling the enthusiasm you needed to actually get up and carry on with the day. Sometimes, you might succumb to the feeling, shut off the alarm, call in sick to work, and pull the covers back over your head. Other days you might just shake it off, get up, and get on with it—often finding that your weariness was just a temporary feeling.
So what made the difference between these two reactions to a less-than-stellar start to the day? You did! In the latter reaction, you looked past a limiting, negative feeling and chose to focus on the possibility that you could experience something better instead. By making the conscious choice to get up and embrace the day despite your initial feelings, you set your intent to look past these limitations and experience the day in a new and positive way.
There are lots of other times when this strategy is helpful as well. When things suddenly go wrong during the day, when we feel illness or pain, or when we’re feeling afraid, frustrated, and angry, we’re often tempted to surrender to the influence of these negative “triggers”. At such times it’s important to realize that we do have a choice. We can allow them to overcome us—or not. If we acknowledge them, accept them, appreciate them, and let them go, we may then consciously choose to look past them and focus instead on the things, already inside us, that we would rather acknowledge and bring forward—things like health, strength, calm, and comfort. When we make the right choice, often before we even realize it, the unpleasant thoughts or feelings will have passed and we’ll be right back on track.
I think of this principle often, but I can almost guarantee I’ll be reminded of it every year on my—or someone else’s birthday. Those are the occasions when some have a tendency to bemoan life and complain about getting another year older. Me? Nah. I don’t think so! I choose to embrace the day. I’m grateful to have experienced another 365 days of life on this wonderful earth of ours—and I’m looking forward to experiencing as many more as I possibly can before I move on to the next mysterious adventure that awaits.
As I frequently tell my family and anyone else who will listen, age (and every other limitation you can think of) is just a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it just doesn’t matter!
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