Life is the greatest roller coaster ride we will ever take. The ups and downs, the unexpected changes, the twists and turns, are all a part of living. The roller coaster ride of life can be miserable and uncomfortable or exciting and rewarding. Our states of mind and body are key factors in how we handle these changes. The problems of life do not go away magically. We have to consciously work on making our lives more positive and joyful.
Once in an ENCHANTED SELF workshop, one woman related a story about her Thanksgiving dinner. She had recently suffered a painful and unexpected breakup with a boyfriend. Although she was experiencing grief, she had a strong inner desire to reclaim her sense of self and move forward with her life.
It was interesting to hear her speak about the family meal. As she looked around at her extended family seated at the table, she became filled with love and felt the love reflected back towards her. It was then that she made a conscious choice to stay focused in the moment, to remain in a loving state and to share that love with those around her.
There were some inner struggles during the course of the evening because Thanksgiving held poignant memories for her involving her ex-boyfriend. When these memories surfaced, she deliberately chose to put them aside. After the family gathering, she confidently exclaimed, “I won!”
Her conscious decision to remain in a positive state of being, coupled with the feelings of love that she felt toward everyone, were the most critical factors in staying focused in the moment. She had triumphed because she did not succumb to feelings of depression and pity. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz when she clicked her heels and said, “there’s no place like home,” she realized that the things she was searching for — strength, love and happiness–could be found in her “own backyard.”
The support and love that comes from our family and friends, as well as the inner strength we develop when we get to know and accept ourselves, was right there.
We will always tussle with dark thoughts and the negative sides of our personalities. Sometimes there will be unpleasant events in our lives, but we can choose not to let these things invade our sense of self-dignity and worth. When we make conscious choices about how we will respond to difficult situations, we feel empowered. For that moment we are in charge of our destiny. Nobody ever said that achieving positive states of mind and body was easy, but then again nobody ever said it was hard. It’s a matter of focusing on the positive, and self-education.
Positive memory retrieval is the tool that enhances our ENCHANTED SELF journey. Reaching a positive state of inner and outer harmony is the essence of THE ENCHANTED SELF. One way of reaching this state is to give love and support to our selves and to others. Let’s make this year a year of growth, peace, harmony and shared optimism.
Exercise: Heightening Our Experience of Pleasure
This exercise is designed not only to help you remember and validate positive aspects of your past, but to emphasize the need to stay more attentive to positive happenings in the present that may precipitate pleasure.
Were there moments in your childhood when you felt particularly happy? These moments can be from any age — from your earliest memories through young adulthood. When you find a golden memory, savor it. See yourself at that age and experiment with letting different senses reconnect to that happy time.
- What was going on at that moment?
- What were you feeling inside?
- How did your body feel?
- Were there any aromas?
- How did things look around you?
- How were you acting?
- What was the weather like?
- What was the scenery like?
- Were you with anyone?
- What was it like to be with that person?
Take time to really enjoy this happy memory. Now scan your memory bank and the most recent past to see if you can think of one thing that you enjoyed doing in the last week. Give yourself permission to relive through your memory that pleasant time. Again, use all of your senses to reconnect you with that wonderful experience.