What you look for, you see. If you look at all the things around you that do not work, that is all you’ll see. If you only look out for people who are not happy or kind, or who radiate some form of negativity, that’s exactly what you’ll see.
Changing your life is as simple as changing your gaze.
What are you looking for?
Technology is moving rapidly. In fact, it’s moving a whole lot faster than I am at this stage of my life. So I have some choices. I can focus on all the things I don’t know how to do and feel overwhelmed and fall farther and farther behind, or I can focus on one or two ways to communicate with the people I serve and get really good at that. I can use those consciously selected forms of communication to share my work with people and to gain the information I want to acquire.
It’s all a matter of choice. It’s all a matter of where you look.
What are you expecting?
If you expect to be uncomfortable going to a gathering, you probably will. If you expect to find one or two people for some deep conversations, you probably will. If you expect to feel like you don’t belong, you also probably will. You find what you look for. You get what you expect.
Raise your gaze
If you see your job as draining, inhospitable, beneath your skill level, there is only one place to look – within you. All you have to do is shift your gaze. If you spend a whole day looking for something positive, something aligned with what resonates with you, you’ll find it. And when you keep looking for the positive every day, you’ll find yourself surrounded by it!
Do you see the broad picture or the narrow view?
It’s easy to get caught up in the mud, the mire, the daily disagreements of our world and we begin to feel hopeless and helpless. But, when we raise our gaze, we see possibilities and experience hope and positive expectation.
You can move toward either, the positive or the negative. You can allow yourself to be caught up in the downward pull. Or you can raise your gaze and float upward – to the greater, broader, more inclusive view.
Which would you rather do? Your choice.
To see where you’re focused, write it down
At the end of each day, make a list of all the positive experiences you’ve had. The things you’re grateful for. The wonderful lessons you’ve received, the insights you’ve gathered.
If you can’t think of anything to go on your list, just sit there until you do. Maybe you’re just not looking in the right place.
I was sitting in my soft chair with my cat, Sebastian, nestled comfortably beside me. I almost missed that moment. I almost just watched television instead. But in a lovely mindful moment, I tuned into the incredible softness of his coat, his steady warmth, his quiet breathing, his contented stillness, his loving companionship. Such a lot to be grateful for in that small portion of my day!
Start saying “thank you” with more awareness
Even if there are people that you’re not drawn to and exchanges you’d rather not have, find something to thank them for. You may even find it hard to find something to say, but you have to find something positive because there is positive in every situation, in every person. The positive might even be a lesson you’d rather not have learned. Look for it. Find it. Comment positively on it.
My oldest daughter was brain-damaged at birth by a forceps delivery. As she grew, I realized she would not be able to become my vision/version of what my children could become, smart, educated, etc. It was a huge gift she gave me because I had to look hard to see her gifts. She is good with people. I began to help her recognize that gift and incorporate it as a positive quality in her life.
How hard do you have to look at someone you find different to see what their unique gift is?
Gifts come in many shapes
A woman I play cards with is very controlling. It seems important to her to be in control. It’s not important to me. So I go along with whatever she suggests. Unless she crowds me. Then I will rethink it. But for now, in this situation, I can let it go, ignore it, and allow her what she needs by letting her feel she’s the boss.
A new member joined the group and the gift he brings is a viewpoint of life that is totally opposite from mine. I get to try to understand him because he represents a whole vocal population in the country that I have never experienced before. No, I am not drawn to the qualities he exhibits, but in trying to find my way in a casual social situation, I am expanding my heart, broadening my view, and yes, strengthening my own values.
In the midst of negativity, there can be positive insights.
Let go of what doesn’t matter to you
Another senior here is somewhat obsessed with cleaning. If you walk any place with her she is very judgmental about how others did not clean up well in the community social areas.
On one such occasion, regarding the cleanliness of the floors in our community kitchen, I turned to her and said, “I don’t even see it.” What matters to her is not even in my realm of observation. It was helpful for me to realize that. It opened up space for me to be more accepting of this particular need of hers.
What is in your level of observation? What are you trying to control that you have no control over? Let it go.
Handle your corner of the world
My house has wonderful things in it but it is also a bit scruffy because I have a cat who scratches places other than his scratching posts. I choose to focus on my wonderful crystals and shamanic items and simply sit in my comfortable, scruffy, scratched chair and cuddle my warm cat.
There’s no one here to be bothered by any of this but me, and I’m not bothered. I’m content and happy and love all my nearly-too-many things.
Handle your own corner of the world and let the other guys handle theirs.
What to do when negative energy tries to invade your space
As I’ve said to you on other occasions, I just can’t be around anger. It hurts my body, so I get up and leave the situation.
If I were in a group where someone seems negative to me, I would do several things – 1) look to see where my own judgemental-ness was coming from, 2) either do mindful breathing or assume a mudra to change my own energy, 3) invite them to change their negative energy or 4) excuse myself and leave. I would take some step to defuse the negativity.
You have many options when faced with negativity. Pick one and don’t stay stuck in a less than positive situation.
You see what you’re looking for
To raise your gaze, begin with gratitude. Notice what’s good about the situation that bothers you. Shift your gaze. Come at the situation from another direction. Look for the good – in everything and in everyone. It is there. And you will find it.
To Sing a Deeper Song, Consider: