Monday, December 31, 2007

Shifting your perspective

Question:How do you boost your expectations with Vitamin Joy so that you are guided to the Highest Vistas imaginable?


I have often thought of the dark part of the experience of life like a piece of black construction paper. Imagine if you will you are looking at the paper and all you see is a vast blackness. You inspect the paper, you look it over and then you tip it just the right way and out of no where, a tiny spec of glitter appears — that hope in the midst of the darkness that almost made it disappear.

Glitter for me is the metaphor of possibility. It is formless and shapeless, meaningless in fact, except for all the meaning I gift it. When I see a spec of glitter, I see the light — it is shinning upon me even in the smallest of ways. That visual reminder of the light is something I look for wherever I can — so putting it on my eyes (and subsequently, it falling on my eyelashes) often colors my life in such a way that when I move through the world, I get that lens flare effect of the light reflecting off the glitter when I look at simple things.

It is such a simple tool... And as a practice I have been engaging in for nearly 10 years, I have found glitter cheers me up like nothing else.

Other more universal ways to find the way back to the light that might be more approachable include:
  • Baths. They are gloriously refreshing and they can change your toxicity level if you put Epsom salt in the bath with it. Chemical body change just helps.
  • Adam’s wisdom about meditation has been 100% of the time spot on for me. Even if I don’t have a “good sit” that I am actually doing the sit always makes me feel like I am more on path.
  • Doing something with my body (or mind, though less so for me these days) that I was not formerly able to do — reminding me of how far I have come and that this journey includes the dark times.
  • Crying — the shower for the soul.
  • Dancing — predictably leads to altered states for me and the increase in endorphins is bound to make you feel better, at least for a period of time after
  • exercise — I at least get the endorphins even if I don’t get the altered state
    eating something nutritious – another form of chemical change
  • creating a nourishing experience that is inspiring — be it a hike, or a meal that I “shouldn’t have” (wrong food, wrong price, too much time, whatever) -- which often includes an element of indulgence
    sleep. This is by far the best cure for my negative states. James and I read an article in the paper a few months ago where they said some really high percentage of people don’t sleep enough (I think it was over 60%) and there is scientific evidence of the negative impact on emotional state/resourcefulness. (more chemical state change)
  • Alone time. Just getting in touch with what is going on often helps.
  • Perhaps the most difficult practice though also the one that allows things to shift the quickest for me is to be with the experience as fully as I can. The more fully I allow it to arise, the more quickly and fully it passes away. Acknowledging that I am feeling that way, perhaps even being witnessed in those feelings, often allows me the freedom to get messy and go into it in a way that serves my processing.
  • Surrender into the feelings rather than feeling like I need to combat them. Whoops! I’m feeling like shit again. Damn, I forgot about that part of the journey. Don’t worry, it will get better.
  • screaming into a pillow
  • punching my bed
  • doing an activity which requires a high degree of concentration in a domain that is not related to the upset — like driving my car skillfully through traffic – so I am 100% focused elsewhere for some period of time and can come back to the situation with fresh eyes/perspective
  • masturbation — always good for a state change which can provide temporary relief and will change your body chemistry as well.
  • distraction — movie, music, talk, walk.
    working really hard — diving into my work so I feel like I’m making progress even if I’m feeling like shit about the process.
  • taking a day off — so I don’t have to think about anything in particular.
  • laughter. (more chemical change in the body)
  • talking to myself.
  • singing. Especially in the shower.
  • oming/toning/playing an instrument -- the vibration moves things through.
  • massage.
    talking to one of the cool people in my life — different friends give different support, so I choose who to talk to based on what kind of support I want (commiseration, an ass kicking, sympathy, advice, perspective, witnessing).
  • Combining as many of the above as necessary to create change and allowing myself all the space I need to have the experience — even if it means all of these things.
  • Upekka

    A friend sent this on an email list I'm on -- it is a meditation to help stay in the center:
    You are the owner/heir to your own karma. Your outcome depends on your actions and not my wishes. No matter how I might wish things to be otherwise, things are as they are. Although I wish only the best for you, I also know that your happiness and unhappiness depends upon your actions, not my wishes for you. Whether I understand it or not, things are unfolding for you according to a lawful nature.

    This reminded me of a distinction/saying my friends gave me years ago which really helped me on my path, which is
    reworded/augmented by me to remind me of my path:

    I am me. You are you.
    My feelings are my feelings. Your feelings are your feelings.
    My experiences are my experiences. Your experiences are your experience.
    Your feelings and experiences are not my feelings and experiences. My feelings and experiences are not your feelings and experiences.
    I am fully responsible for me; You are fully responsible for you.
    My path is to witness without attachment and aversion, knowing I may witness you doing things that make me uncomfortable and I can not do anything about your choices.
    I will choose, regardless of my dis/comfort with your actions, from a place of what serves me best which can include sacrifice only if I choose willingly and freely.
    The degree to which I can remain in constancy with this knowing will determine, predictably, the degree of my emotional freedom and upset I create for myself in my life.