“Pura vida” is the expression of eternal optimism used by a comic character, who unfortunately can’t seem to do anything right.
Making Sense of Unhappiness in the World
In these uncertain times, when we’re all struggling with several statements or questions, like:
“What am I going to do next?”
“I’m overwhelmed by everything right now.”
“I see so much pain and suffering in the world.”
“I’m an empath and I’m getting run over by the negativity and violence in today’s world.”
It is difficult to find our quiet space, our internal calm, and our innate optimism. But here’s the deal, this is the world we live in, these times are likely to get harder rather than easier. If we accept the world as it is, we can begin to redefine our approach to living within it.
Where Am I At This Moment?
I’m listening to music, writing from my happy comfy chair, and feeling optimistic and positive. I am aware of some of the awful imbalances in the world. I’m most connected to the issues of global warming, political integrity in the US, and dads who get their state’s preset and unfair “divorce package.”
I am deeply moved by these topics. (Of course, there are others.) And here’s how these issues sit in my consciousness.
A. Global Warming – I can do my part in energy conservation and reducing my carbon footprint. I can contribute to political candidates that support environmental protection policies, I can contribute to non-profits that take action on climate change. And then, I have to let go of global warming anxiety.
B. Political Integrity – justice for the perpetrators of the Jan. 6th insurrection. Continued involvement in get-out-the-vote activism as well as candidate support. And then, I have to let go of the political crisis we are facing here in the US. I can’t worry or think about the rest of the world, at the moment. And most importantly, I LIMIT MY EXPOSURE TO THE NEWS.
C. Father’s Rights – Actively seeking a change to the federal laws or state laws, requiring the family court system to consider 50/50 shared parenting as the starting point for divorce negotiations. This one is a pipe dream for two main reasons: 1. attorneys make a ton of money encouraging divorce and litigating divorce decrees and disputes. 2. The states make a huge amount of money based on their child support collections each year. Their staffing is literally based on how much budget is supported by the child support enforcement division.
Letting Go of Anxiety and Fear
Here are a few of the laws of life that help me unhook from the daily anxiety that floats aggressively just of my circle of influence and immediate concern.
7 Present Moment Focusing Thoughts
- I can only control my behaviors. (actions, responses, output, connections, social)
- The things I cannot control can take their place in my bulletproof glass box. (“Oh, hello there, work stress.”)
- What I think, what I put energy and time into, that is my LIFE (in real-time)
- What I ignore, deescalate, defer, and delete can continue along without my input or concern.
- Pausing in this moment, I can say, “I am safe, I am healthy, I am happy, I am living with ease.”
- Priorities for me today are: a. work, b. mental health, c. creative output, d. rest and relaxation e. exercise
- The rest is just distraction. (entertainment, drama, strife, self-sabotaging behaviors)
In this moment I am feeling some anxiety. I have a process I use to break the cycling hold the moods sometimes have on me.
- I Pause my activity and breath for a few seconds. I notice my mood or energy.
- I recognize the feeling and label it for clarity (anxiety, sadness, joy, fear, anger)
- Breathe with the awareness and identification of this feeling.
- Take the next right action. (In alignment with my plans, or in contradiction to the anxiety — in this example.)
I might be feeling some fear and anxiety right now. BUT, I am not being chased by a tiger at the moment. I am not at risk of losing my life, love, or liberty. I can notice the wonderful things around me. A bright day outside. A warm place to write. A fast new laptop that plays music while I write. There is not one thing in my life at this very moment that is threatening me.
Sometimes the process of noticing the good and safe things in your life is enough to push out the foggy bad vibes that were creeping in. Sometimes I need to take some action to resolve what is causing me anxiety. Sometimes, I just need to notice, label, and get on with my activities as they relate to my goals and objectives for the day, for the week, for the year.
Every Day, Hour, Second Is Sacred
Your life is made up of moments. The question is how you want to look at your life to give you insights to setting and keeping your intention and integrity.
In each moment, in each action, you are either taking a step TOWARDS your goal(s), or AWAY from them. I use a razor of clarity in all situations. In work: is this activity supporting my work today? In a relationship: does this activity give care and warmth to my relationship? In mindfulness: does my next right action support my authentic goals and move me TOWARD or AWAY from my goals? In dealing with others: how can I respond to this request, or this disconnection, with clarity and honesty?
The Razor of Clarity
As we manage our thoughts, moods, and time we can use this Razor of Clarity.
Does this move me TOWARD or AWAY FROM my goals?
It’s as simple as asking that question as often as you find yourself making a decision, resetting yourself during the day, pausing, and checking in with yourself. In this sacred life, we have a limited number of hours in our day. The same number of hours as every other being in our space-time continuum. By checking in with your intentions and actions on a regular basis you can begin adjusting your life towards the life you want.
John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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