One of my yoga students told me that she won't wear short sleeves because of her "crepey" skin. She started referring to how much her body had changed over the years. I said that as your body gets less flexible, your mind has the ability to get more flexible. It's a brain teaser. She liked that!
When we were younger our brains were very flexible (neuroplasticity) but the downside of youth is that we believed what we thought. HARD STOP. As adults, who have weathered decades of storms and life and ups and downs, we know that isn't the case. We cannot believe everything we think, and in truth, we have the power to choose our thoughts. I had no idea when I was in my teens or twenties or thirties that this was possible. What a relief to know it now.
This "superpower" has the ability to either make your day or ruin it. By choosing your thoughts, you choose your feelings too. When I think well of myself, I feel better. When I feel better, I do so much better. When I focus on what I can do, albeit humbling (thinking of my knee surgery) I feel better about my life. That's a win no matter what else is going on in the world. We have thousands of thoughts every day. Most of what we think today we thought yesterday. That explains a lot.
Another thing I often remind my yoga students is that we are BOTH AND people. We can hold two opposing thoughts at the same time and be ok with it. We can be disappointed or sad that certain people aren't with us at holiday time, and we can celebrate and enjoy ourselves just as much as we'd like. These two feelings don't cancel each other out--they just coexist. That's a flexible mind at work that can appreciate that truth.
With Thanksgiving coming up in two days, I am reflecting on the worst Thanksgiving I ever had...when my 6 month old Natalie was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. I had a refrigerator full of all the makings of a big dinner. I was waiting for my sister to arrive from New York. I had arranged fresh flower centerpieces on the dining room table. It was an unseasonable 60' day in Minnesota, and I found myself back at Children's Hospital waiting for news of what could possibly be wrong. That was 23 years ago.
Fast forward to now, and my Natalie is a senior at Augsburg and spends Thanksgivings with her boyfriend and his family. I have a refrigerator full of holiday food, and I am hosting my guy Lou's kids, spouses and our four grandbabies, plus my mom. And yet I still hold that memory in my mind, because it changed my life forever. I am a BOTH AND person.
There will always be something to be grateful for, and there will always be something to be disappointed, hurt or saddened by. I hear this from my clients all the time. It's the people in their lives that bring them the most joy and sadness. BOTH AND again. And, it is often the same people who do both.
So, with that in mind, I encourage you to focus your mind on what you want more of. What thoughts, feelings and then actions you'd like to be taking. Make them simple. Make them small. Make them doable so that you can feel success. Maybe all you'd like is to "get through the day." Picture what that looks like. And then make it happen. Maybe you'd like to feel less lonely. What would make you feel less alone? Whom do you need to talk to or where do you need to go? Maybe you'd like to go late and leave early. You can do it. After CovidWorld, we know we have plenty of options. The world turned upside down, and I know people who eat fish from the docks on Thanksgiving and let the family watch football and enjoy pizza. It's what works. We are BOTH AND people.
Here's wishing you the thoughts and feelings of gratitude for what you choose to focus on. You deserve that. You can have that. Happy Thanksgiving!
xo Coach Karen :))
P.S. If you aren't so sure about how things are going to be so festive and fun--join me tonight on ZOOM at 7PM central. It's interactive, and we will talk about the tips and tricks you can use to have the kind of holiday season you want--joy to the world--and you first! Ho ho ho--and you decide when. Pumpkin pie--if you like, but if you want to be home alone with a movie and a slice of chocolate mousse and a pile of fruit--let's figure it out together.
Coach Karen Astromsky is inviting you and your friends and family to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Not this Year, Satan! NO
Time: Nov 21, 2023 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 845 9865 1479