Life has been a bit of a shambles lately…. Well, I’m not sure if it’s been life or if it has been the way that I have been relating to life.
Sure, I have had some emotional upheavals. In particular, my father has been quite ill. In fact for the past while, I have been struggling and fighting to keep my balance in a life that is full with work, children, new home and a parent who needs me and is over 3000 miles away.
Then, the sunshine came. It may have taken the storm to completely rattle all of my foundations, but it came.
Last Friday, I landed back in Ireland after ten days of visiting my father in Canada. It had been a heavy visit that was filled with sadness and caring and plenty of visiting. However, the departure was filled with an intensity that weighed me down to a place of surrender. There was no where to turn but to submit to the melancholy that had completely engulfed me and it was this acceptance or surrender that, in turn, freed me.
I stopped fighting. I stopped struggling. I accepted. And then the sun came. Literally.
I stepped out of the airport, the sun was shining AND I had four days off ahead of me.
Somehow, with this surrender or acceptance of the fact that life is tough at the moment and that perhaps I need to release any sense of trying to be in control and just go with the flow, I was able to really relax into my days. What is more, I was able to stay connected to the moment and really savour the good and the blessed that was all around me. In fact, Rick Hanson’s practice of ‘Taking in The Good’ became embedded into all of my experiences.
I’ve written about Rick Hanson before. He is an American neuro-psychologist who specializes in the neuroscience behind the negativity bias that has become part of the human condition. What is the negativity bias? Rick explains it as such: throughout any given day, 10 things good, 7 things neutral and 1 thing bad might happen. Yet what most people will talk about is the 1 thing bad. He says it is like as if the brain is Teflon for the good, but Velcro for the bad.
So, you can imagine the state of my mind with all of the difficult emotions swirling and sticking to me like glue. I was feeling overwhelmed and tired.
As I made my way home from the airport, I started to think about my own bed and I started to feel the shadows lift. I have a good house that I really love being in. This is good.
Once I got home and had a nap, I allowed my friend to make me dinner and to invite other friends in who make me laugh with shared stories. I have good friends who I really love. This is good.
Once I had a rest, my friend and I spent the weekend in the sun hiking through the country side, climbing steep trails while supporting one another with permission for breaks and plenty of sweets. I have support, my health and my vitality. This is good.
The weekend carried on with golf, more friends, quiet meals, long lies, and more turning towards ‘This is good’.
It became clear that this turning towards ‘This is good’ really is a choice. It reminded me of something my colleague Heather Regan Addis told me that she learned while on retreat in India. Her teacher Situ Rinpoche said that any given moment is a perfect moment. It’s actually all about how we relate or how we perceive the moment.
So, as I stopped struggling and fighting, the sun came out and I was able to notice that actually ‘This is good’. The emotional difficulty has given me an opportunity to be grateful. I have a house. I have family. I have friends. I live in a beautiful country. I have support, my health and vitality. This is good.
My challenge for you for this week is to turn towards ‘This is good’. Can you find the good in each moment? And then, can you savour it- even if it is just for a few moments?
If you are a member, why not log on to our Weekly Sit tonight for some ‘Taking in The Good’ or the practice that Rick Hanson has designed to rewire the brain, addressing this negativity bias.
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