Is there something in your life slowing you down? Is there someone whose conversation fills your mind with dark thoughts? Is there an addiction that trips you up? Is there a compulsion eating up your time and energy? Who, or what, is sucking your mojo?
Nothing? Really? Be honest.
Try this exercise. Set aside ten minutes where you know you won’t be interrupted. Lay flat on your back and take six deep breaths—releasing each one slowly. For the six breaths, think about nothing but your breathing. Then let your mind wander. For ten minutes you are absolutely free of your frustrations.
Now, imagine your life without that frustration. Maybe your frustration is so huge, so overwhelming, you think you can’t let it go. But you can. And what if you did? Imagine your life without that devil on your back. Imagine a day—from the moment you wake up in the morning until you go to bed—without that frustration. What would your day look like? How different would it be? How would it change you? Your behavior? Your happiness? Your thoughts?
Often the problem is not really a problem unless we make it one. We assign the power. We allow another person to constantly hurt us. We pick up the cookie, cigarette, bottle, or phone. “The fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves,” William Shakespeare wrote. And that’s the worst sort of fault—the one we can root out, but don’t. The fault that eats at our self-image and kills all our hopes.
Another exercise: take any object, even one as small as an iPod, and hold it in front of your eyes. It’s all you can see. But if you move it away, you can see all sorts of things. Consider all those other things that fill your life and be grateful for the good. If you can, shake off the bad. If you can’t set it down and walk away from it, try moving it out of the forefront of your thoughts and sight.
So much easier said than done. But is it really? Sometimes we think it takes eons to change, but history tells us otherwise. The Apostle Paul went from an antagonizer (I know that’s not a word, but I can’t think of a better one) to a disciple in a few short days.
So, what can you shake off? What can you cut out of your life? How can you restart?
What if you stopped obsessing about your weight? Can you throw out your bathroom scale? Treat yourself to nourishing food? Take a walk outside? Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are a beautiful child of God?
Are there gossips or Negative-Nellys in your life? Can you find someone else to chat with? Or when you are forced into their conversation, can you steer it in a better direction? Maybe you have to say—“I’m feeling a little down, can we talk about something happy?”
Is your car a clunker? Can you replace it with a bike?
If you need some money, is there something you can sell?
If you’re lonely and bored, is there someone you can serve?
Find one thing in your life that you can absolutely live without and get rid of it. Set it down and walk away. When my friend’s husband left, she took all of his things that he left behind to the beach and built a bonfire. In the Book of Mormon when the Anti-Lehi-Nephites resolved to be a peace-loving people they buried their weapons. Is there something you can burn? Do you have weapons to bury?
I do. I’m doing it today, because it’s hard to dance with the devil on my back.