The evening of January 5, 2010 started off as a peaceful night. My daughter, then 2.5 years old, was asleep, my husband was out (I think at a Canucks game) and I was relaxing on the couch in a very pregnant state. Then I remembered something I was really, really angry about and quickly I started entering this dark and stormy space inside me. Why would this creep up on me when I had been looking forward to this quiet evening with no distractions, no plans, and nothing to do but be with myself? Probably because there were no distractions, no plans and there was nothing to do but be with myself! So, from the depths of my mind and my heart tumbled these thoughts, scenarios, words, visions, people and I was mad as hell. The last time I got that worked up when I was pregnant, my water broke hours later – 5 weeks sooner than my due date and since I still had about 7 weeks to go in this pregnancy, I knew I had to remove myself from this anger…and I had to do it fast. Taking deep breaths, willing my heart to slow, I started to think.
What could I think about that would remind me that this particularly upsetting situation was really just a small thing in the grand scheme? What would help me remember that my world was so much bigger than the hurts that were carelessly tossed my way? Suddenly my mind went to Greg Mortenson. You may know him as the Three Cups of Tea guy – the mountain climber who “lost his way” and stumbled on to a community of mountain-dwellers who nursed him to a full recovery. In turn, he overcame mental and physical challenges to build them a school as he promised and has now built…gosh, I don’t even know how many schools, in various regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. You can read more about his books here.
He popped into my head that night because I had just purchased a ticket to see him speak at a local school. His presentation was coming up a couple of weeks from that point (another reason I was determined to stay pregnant!) and I was beyond excited to be in the presence of someone who has done such incredible things and lived to tell about it. I’m sure you can imagine that it’s no easy feat to set up schools, primarily for girls, in Afghanistan and Pakistan! It doesn’t quite work the same way as it would here. Thinking about Mortenson, having just finished reading his book, reminded me that there is so much to be done in this world and better still, that there are so many awesome, amazing, loving people in this world…and suddenly focusing on a handful of people who had such different meaning to their lives was kind of like a waste of time.
I’m not saying that something that makes me that angry should be swept under the rug (I always think that that only causes a bump to swell – something easy to trip over!). But it did put it in perspective. It made me feel like I am an able person who can do something bigger and better with my life than dwell on the negative things that really don’t have to affect me as much as I let them.
This is totally easier said than done, but later that night when I pulled out my journal to work through these feelings, I couldn’t help but feel inspired. I started brain-storming ideas of how I can give back to my local community and my night did a 180.
Getting rid of emotional clutter is a MUSTfor living a healthier, fulfilling life. And if you come to one of my workshops, be prepared to look in the nooks and crannies of your mental attic for the grudges gathering cobwebs! But I was in a pinch that night, more concerned for my blood pressure than for a long term solution and it was amazing the peace I found in someone else’s love for humanity, literacy and female empowerment.
Do YOU have a go-to thought for when you really need to turn your thoughts around? Do you have a physical practice that helps? Deep breaths? Yoga postures? And what are you doing about the cobwebs?