Monday, August 2, 2010

Finding Opportunities in Discrete Challenges

By Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO

Photo by mdemon via Flickr, used under the Creative Commons License.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So while yesterday my partner and I spent a marvelous day on a coastal Maine beach and then enjoyed fish tacos, it makes sense that today I am holed up in my office whittling away at my to-do list. That does not mean that I am happy about it. In fact, I am rather grumpy about being in the office. I have tried to remind myself that, in reality, I should simply be grateful that I had the opportunity to spend time at a beach yesterday – so many cannot. I should also be happy that I have a to-do list and an office within which I can work on that list. Easier said than done. I am reminded of something that I read a while back. When one has a headache, instead of dwelling in the pain and discomfort, see it as an opportunity to be grateful for having a head in which to experience an ache, and to enlarge one’s focus to the entire head holding the ache.

Maybe then I too have an opportunity to focus on the day holding this grumpiness, not on the grumpiness itself. It does help actually. Suddenly my irritability becomes a small part of my big day, a day which is still mostly unwritten. As my grumpiness shrinks, I am reminded that the attitude with which I am approaching my tasks is simply that – an attitude. While it is true that by feeling grumpy, I can better understand and appreciate its opposite – happiness and gratitude – it is also true that I can change my attitude whenever I choose. While wallowing in negative emotions has a certain stickiness factor, it is not an insurmountable task to let these negative emotions go. Sometimes, to do this, I focus on the emotion (anger, irritability, etc.) and then take a deep breath, purse my lips and blow this anger/irritability/etc. out. Let it go, literally and figuratively. By now, after writing all of this, my grumpiness is truly a withered feeling in the past part of this day.

Funny how, now that I am feeling more contented, my day seems filled with many more possibilities. Maybe I can finish early and take a walk in the woods, spend some time on the back porch… Who knows? So in the end my grumpiness is held within my much bigger day, just as a headache happens in a much bigger head, and we are each so much bigger than our discrete challenges.

1 comment:

  1. It's so true the simlpest of things can always bring a calming to a frustrated moment.