by Elaine Turner
Have you ever thought about focusing your attention on the things in your life that come easily? As humans, we possess a negativity bias – we tend to focus on what’s hard, instead of focusing on what’s effortless.
It seems we are wired this way and it is a hard habit to break. You see, we are programmed for fight or flight so focusing on stress and negativity is a way to ensure our survival. However, we aren’t fleeing saber tooth tigers any longer; and the stressors affecting us today might not deserve the energy we give them.
I am the first to admit that I succumb to negativity bias. I am a warrior and a conqueror, always assessing what in my life needs fixing. Lately, I have been firmly planted in the “fix it” mode, and I’m realizing it’s not working for me any longer. I need to change.
I experienced a wake-up call the other day over lunch with a good friend. She was talking about something my son had done that meant a lot to her and she said, “Do you realize how compassionate and mature your son is?” Well, I nodded my head but deep down I felt pangs of guilt, as I am not sure I tell him often enough how much I appreciate his heart.
We can so easily fall into that place of taking something completely for granted because we are so focused on what to fix. I started to think about all the things Harrison has brought to our family — stability, strength, loyalty. I told her he had just spent seven days with his grandparents in Florida and how much fun he had. I contemplated how many 16-year old boys want to spend time in Florida with their grandparents and realized how lucky I am and how fortunate my parents are.
After they returned my mom wrote me a text that read, “E, we had a GREAT time! Harrison is a wonderful grandson. We feel so blessed that he would want to spend the week with us and is not completely bored by our company. Love you, Mom”. Well, after reading it, I smiled, giggled and quickly found myself in “fix-it” mode again. Now I know I should relish in this extraordinary blessing a little longer, and communicate gratitude for my son, and my parents for taking him to such a beautiful place.
So I’ve been reflecting on those things in everyday life that might seem insignificant but are little reminders of all that’s good in the world. What are some of the small things in your life that bring you joy? Here are some of mine:
- My shower. I love my shower. It’s got just the right water pressure and it’s just the right size.
- My hand soap. I have a particular brand of hand soap that I love! It’s called Savon De Marseille in the olive and lavender scent. I stock up on it so I am never out. Every time I wash my hands a smile runs across my face. The smell is so refreshing and clean.
- My bed. OMG! I am a huge believer in splurging on the bed — the sheets, the duvet and the mattress. I am a Tempurpedic freak and every time I lie down I have faith in the universe once again.
- My yoga pants. I confess, I am a Lulu junkie.
- My books.
- Fresh orchids. To me their beauty is unmatched, so I indulge.
And then, what about the people who are in your daily life but you might not know at a deep, intimate level, but their mere presence brings you comfort or makes your life just a wee-bit easier. For example, I have the most wonderful man named Jose who comes to my house twice a week to deliver dry cleaning. He’s always smiling and willing to help me or call and double check something. He consistently takes my calls if I can’t find something or he’ll swing back by if I really need an item.
Are we too busy fixing all the other shit in our lives to stop and think about the people who are helping us and making our lives easier?
I see a woman named Rachel every three weeks to get refills on my nails. Every time I arrive, she has a warm neck roll ready for me and a huge smile on her face. Rachel and I don’t talk much. I am not sure Rachel knows what I do for a living or if I have children. She seems to know that I need to decompress. Mostly we communicate without words, through our hearts. We connect via body language, facial expressions, gestures and energy. This can be vey powerful. I think about how lucky I am that she is a part of my life. After every appointment, we smile, hug and tell each other “I love you.” I know this might sound odd, but I do love her. She’s a blessing in my life that supports and nurtures me.
Who are your support angels? Appreciating these types of people in your life creates more room for appreciating the key figures in your life. I have an incredible husband who supports and helps me and our family so much. I also have the most creative, wonderful design team. They are not just my employees but they are my friends. They inspire me every single day. They are a blessing in my life. I adore them. And, last but definitely not least, I have a super-human nanny named Wendy.
I literally pray every night and give thanks for Wendy. Wendy is like a rock. She is unruffled by my family’s daily challenges. She is there every single day ready take on whatever is at hand. She smiles all the time and giggles with me when the shit hits the fan. She offers compassionate advice on how to help Marlie. She is a fixture in our lives. Inevitably, when she does go on vacation, by day four, my children ask, “When is Wendy coming back?”
Here’s my point: start to turn your gaze towards all that’s working, all that’s good. If I’m not mistaken, the word in Sanskrit that describes this is drishti – wherever your attention goes, energy flows.
So, give it a try. Focus on the GOOD STUFF!
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