What I focus on, grows.
pause. Let that sink in – what you focus on … grows.
I got a flurry of emails from an ex who hurt me very badly in the past, whose partner also hurt me very badly- they were The Borgias in my mind: twisted, dysfunctional, cruel, toxic people who sought to create drama and constantly needed the attention (or heightened emotion?) of being in the middle of some kind of emergency. It was constant – the alarms, the fears, the over-the-top emotional scenes and traumas…I mean…there was even a huge drama in an airport about an altered passport! These people have chosen to live David Lynch style, heartless, mindless, empty dramatics.
I was so much in it, i didn’t see it. I bought into his definition of reality, and I said “yes” to every emergency. My heart was never peaceful; I had ulcers – I was ill and in pain from the schizophrenic nature of their dysfunction.
For a long time, I thought it was my fault. (he always puts the responsibility on others, and I chose to buy into that.) Then, I pitied him. I pitied her. Now, I am realizing it is their choice…I don’t need to pity them; I need to quietly wish them healing and turn firmly away, and go on with the incredible life I have chosen.
But I didn’t get to this conclusion right away. Whoever sent those emails – it could have been either of them – pissed me off for a few hours..I sunk right back into the old crap. It’s easy and fast to go there, because it’s habitual in the mind – that’s why, when carving new neural pathways, we have to be pretty quick to catch and correct the thoughts.
So. I was angry. And then I stopped using up my beautiful day with those thoughts, because I remembered:
what I focus on, grows.
I was wasting precious time in the anger again, in letting my mind run in habitual thought-pathways about the Borgia couple – let them poison each other! they are no longer welcome to poison my mind or my beautiful heart or my life. The mind, if unchecked, can run through past harms like it’s touching rosary beads – – reminding. strengthening. giving life to things that no longer exist.
“thoughts are things,” my great grandmother used to say. I now understand what she meant.
This Email Incident was an attempt to pull me back into that story – and I have the power to simply side step, and tell myself “That is not my reality,” and choose happiness.
Sometimes people who want you to continue to validate their dysfunction by being IN it with them are like an attention -needing kid who has a temper tantrum at a party, goes and stomps into his room slamming the door. “DON’T talk to me!” he yells, red-faced, “I AM IGNORING YOU.” So, the party goes on; people shrug and smile awkwardly at each other, then manage to start having fun again.
So, he has to open his bedroom door and yell , “I’M IGNORING YOU! Don’t you Dare talk to me!” … because no one is paying attention to his needy dramatics.
So. I simply stop the thought pattern that is tracing old, well-worn pathways, and carve a new pattern by turning it around. “that was a relationship that taught me so much, and I give gratitude for it,” is how my thoughts run these days, mostly. “I loved. I was loved, truly, and I learned and grew. It no longer serves me – I am empowered by moving away from things that are harmful. By doing this, I reinforce this message to myself: I value you.”
You can stop harmful thoughts or reactions any time – you don’t have to continue just out of habit. Just stop, be gentle with yourself, and with compassion, reframe.
a few hours after this email storm, I had a coaching call with Ana and the incredible Freedom Sessions group.
I realized during the call that my life has expanded in gorgeous ways since that toxic mess was cleared out of my life and mind.
I realized that some people simply do not know the joy of being happy — of simply being happy. Of proper nutrition, of doing what you love, of building self-esteem so you don’t need to feed the ego; of knowing that by actively creating a beautiful home and fulfilling social life and happy, freaking amazing LIFE, a person is putting healing into the world…
it’s not, any more, about reacting. I was simply reacting the entire time I was with him. I was reacting my life.
So. If you look at your life and realize that you are reacting to whatever comes along,
start simply, start small. Start with defining a few absolute core values.
start with asking yourself “am I creating my life, or am I reacting it?”
Are you saying “yes” to someone else’s story, or are you writing your own?
Then, set your intention. Who do you want to show up as in the world? If you could leave one thing behind you to define you after you are gone, what would it be?
If you could make a sculpture that represented you, what would it be?
If you can’t figure out an intention, daydream. Think of the times – Ana calls these “peak experiences” – in your life when you were absolutely, completely, blissfully happy.
Then, break it down. Write it out. Write about your peak experiences, and there will be a few core values being met in those experiences. That will tell you what is important to you, and what you can begin honoring EVERY day.
If you are living in such a way that these core values are not being honored regularly, it is time to shake it up. Time for change.
The next step is to begin the clearing process. This may take a long time, and it may be difficult. I had to finally face that my relationship was not what I dreamed it was. It simply wasn’t. It wasn’t serving me, or honoring me in a way I deserved – it never did. It was toxic and harmful; it was constantly being jerked around by neediness and drama. I had to clear it out of my life. But the thing is – I didn’t even clear it out. When it came right down to it, I didn’t have the heart to do it… I simply kept him at arms length and kept expressing distrust. There comes a time when even if you try to force yourself to stay, once you acknowledge that you MUST clear a relationship out of your life, it might just happen whether you actively end it or not… because your subconscious will get to work on what you know you need.
So : clear it all out. Old clothes that don’t fit, old furniture you’re hanging on to, and relationships and jobs that no longer serve you. Sometimes the things we are living are manifestations of an old, old story that we wrote long ago…they no longer fit.
Those relationships are like baggy, pleated-front, tapered ankle 1980’s pants .. they may have worked for you once. Honor them as having been great in your life (or laugh at how silly you were to wear them) then – TOSS THEM!!!
THEN, here’s the fun part. (well, tossing things out is kind of fun too, even if it is hard)
but the really fun part – sitting with the void that happens when you end things. There’s going to be emptiness for a while, and it’s going to be uncomfortable.
If it isn’t uncomfortable, you haven’t quite gotten rid of the old habits yet. Those old things can be sneaky – they’ll try to disguise themselves as “needs” sometimes, because they are habit and they’re comfortable, even if they’re not great for your growth or your soul….
so. Once you really have gotten rid of the things that no longer serve, you’ll be a bit uncomfortable. but the COOL part is, if you let it be – just sit with emptiness and breathe in that new space,
new and amazing things and people start coming into your life. People and things you have called there. Things that you have checked out with your core values, and know that they are in alignment with what you want and need.
All of a sudden, you’re not taking jobs because you NEED to, you’re allowing them. All of a sudden, you’re not needing friends or partners, you are simply showing up and allowing them, because they mesh with your growth process… they lift you up, they don’t hold you back.
It’s a pretty freaking awesome place to be in…
and the thing is, (here’s what happened to me for a few hours the other night when I got those petty emails) — you left things in the past for a reason. You knew you needed to discard those things and end those relationships for a very important reason. Don’t pick them back up again!
Don’t let them suck you into focusing on them again. There may be people who want you to enter back into their dysfunction and drama; there may be people who find that their Greek Tragedy isn’t complete without having you around to be a part of their pain – there may be people who fear your growth and resent your success –
Don’t pick them up again. Don’t say yes to those old stories – those are not yours to carry any more! If you focus on them again, they will grow. If you focus on the hard things, they are all you will see. If you choose happiness, finally, it is time to make a different choice –
suit your actions to your words – choose happiness. Clear out the negativity blocks and focus on gratitude for the great things that are showing up!
What a beautiful, miraculous thing this life can be, if we only learn that we are responsible for our own stories – that no one can “make” me be unhappy; that was my choice, and it is my choice now to not spend a second more focusing on negative interactions. It is my choice now to focus on my incredible novel, my wonderful friends, my sweet balanced dating life, and the happy home I am building. It is my choice to focus on becoming a Maggid, on expanding to fill the (a tad dangerous) new life plan I have come up with; it is an adventure – it almost feels like a fun game. That is the life I choose – exhilarating, fun, full of love and joy and possibility.
And when I think of my new sweet herb garden that I will greet each morning, and our fruit trees and the flowered walkways we are planning, I giggle to myself and say “what I focus on, grows.”