One of my favorite quotes is from Marianne Williamson, where she defines the word miracle:
“A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love – from a belief in what is not real, to faith in that which is. That shift in perception changes everything.” – Marianne Williamson
A miracle really is as simple as that. Have you ever experienced a shift in perception where you actually felt the tension and resistance melt away, dissipate and disappear entirely? It can feel so effortless and sweet, yet these moments can feel few and far between. I understand that in the trenches of day-to-day life, despite the most sincere intentions of maintaining a positive attitude, you get triggered. Sometimes, it’s by the most simple things, like an unexpected traffic jam, a phone call from a friend who wants to celebrate good news that just makes you feel jealous, or your parent who is asking when you will next visit. If you’re like me, you often find yourself wanting to give up as finding a good feeling place is so out of reach amidst this chaos.
I’ve practiced my positive mindset enough now that I have a few tricks up my sleeve that work incredibly well in moments like these – when you are triggered. In fact, I’d like to call them miracles. Because these 3 “tricks” are a way to shift in perception from fear to love – from a belief in what is not real, to faith in that which is. And these 3 tricks address common negative emotions that you are likely to encounter on a daily basis. So if you’d like a few tricks up your sleeve and a few miracles in your back pocket, read on. Here they are:
Why do we feel envy? Because your progress and results have been measured since the day you were born. Remember the APGAR score assigned to infants after they are born? You are measured and then pitted against everyone in the world for your entire life. This creates an environment of competition. In a competitive environment, there is one winner and at least one loser if not many losers. So if we have a desire to win – which every human being has – then we will have a default desire for others to lose, including those we love deeply. Enter envy. It’s an inaccurate belief in scarcity. Here are some flavors of it: “if someone else has good fortune, there won’t be enough left for me.” Or “I need to be just like [fill in the blank], only better.” Or “If I had what she has I’d be happy.”
What’s the miracle shift for when you feel envy? It comes from a South African philosophy called Ubuntu. The word doesn’t have direct English translation, but essentially means, “I am because we are.” The word Ubuntu reminds us to be collaborative instead of competitive. In other words, humans didn’t become a dominant species by competing. Think back millions of years ago when humans found safety in numbers and cooperation. If your neighbors thrived, they increased the collective resources and then so did you thrive. So it was natural and instinctive to share abundance.
The next time your best friend calls to boast about her daughter’s full ride scholarship and acceptance to a prestigious university and you know you should feel happy for her, but all you feel is envy since you can’t figure out how you are going to pay the tuition for your own daughter who desperately wants to go to a private university you can’t afford, try to replace your story with a story of ubuntu. Your friend’s good fortune does not negatively affect your ability to have good fortune. Even more, her good fortune actually increases the collective resources for the human race. This may seem too big picture and hard to grasp, but a small shift in perception will make all the difference in the world. Her good fortune is good for you. At a minimum, the universe is lining you up with people receiving good fortune on a subject for which you have a lot of desire. That’s a result! That means you are lining up with it. That means it’s coming for you too.
Why do we feel anger or frustration? It has to do with control. When we can’t control something we want to control – like someone’s behavior, someone’s words, or a situation – we feel frustration and then anger. Most of us have it the wrong way around, which leads us to being control freaks to some degree. In other words, we are creating by default when we have the ability to create by design. We create by default through observing the conditions around us. As you observe a condition that you like or want, you feel good. As you observe a condition that you don’t like or want, you feel bad. So we mistakenly believe that in order to feel good, we need certain conditions to exist. Then we go and try to manipulate conditions so that the ones that make us feel good show up. Sometimes it works. But in the long run, we get frustrated and angry because we cannot control every single external condition. It’s impossible. What you CAN control is how you feel. And if you choose to feel the way you want to feel when the condition exists, before it exists, and practice that “vibe”, the universe will bring the condition to you. It is as real and true as the law of gravity.
But when you get triggered, it can be very difficult, even impossible, to feel the way you want to feel when you are more aware of the absence of what you want. For example, if you are driving to an important meeting and hit an unexpected traffic jam, you will feel frustration and then anger. You might be so far down the emotional spectrum that a jump to feeling happy, joyful and light hearted is impossible.
What’s the miracle shift when you feel anger or frustration? Gratitude for the reason causing the anger in the first place. When you are stuck in that traffic jam, and you are feeling frustrated with the traffic…how about shifting your mindset to feeling gratitude for the vehicle you are driving, gratitude for its power, gratitude for the fact that it gets you and billions of people in this world to so many places that wouldn’t have been possible 100 short years ago? Feel gratitude for the road systems themselves. Yes, they may be under construction which could be the reason for the traffic, but take a step back and find wonder in the millions of miles of excellent roads all over the country, all over the continent, and even all over the world. It’s mind boggling and we are so lucky to have these road systems in place that took years and years and years to establish.
Why do we feel guilt? In my journey of mindset discovery, I’ve come up with my own definition of guilt:
“Guilt is felt when you are taking responsibility for someone else’s joy, happiness, security, and wellness.” – Meredith Hill
We have the ability to influence other people and their joy, happiness, security and wellness…but we are NOT responsible for it…not even our children. When a person is fully connected to the joy and love within him and he turns his undivided attention upon another, the person receiving will feel pure love. This undivided attention will draw out the love within the other. That’s influence.
But most human beings, once they experience the delicious feeling of having someone’s fully connected, undivided attention on him or her will want it more and more and ultimately become dependent upon it. We forget that we have the ability to connect to this joy, love and source within independently, without another. That’s why the phrase “looking for love in all the wrong places” is so accurate. It’s a problem that most people wrestle with – on both ends…the giving and receiving.
Guilt shows up when you have taken responsibility for another’s connection to source. Yes, you have the ability to influence that and probably have many times. It always feels good. But it is NOT your responsibility to foster another’s connection to source and you don’t want to teach them that.
What’s the miracle shift when you feel guilt? Remember that you are not responsible for anybody else’s happiness, joy, security or well being. You weren’t wired that way. You weren’t born to take on that responsibility. And they weren’t born to seek it from any place other than from within. Even your children. If you continue to act the way he or she wants you to act, or say what he or she wants you to say, you teach him or her nothing. In fact, you reinforce an unhealthy dependency upon you for his or her well being. So stop it! Well, maybe not so harshly. You can find a way to take action from a place of love that may or may not be consistent with what he or she wants you to do.
In summary, I have found these 3 miracle shifts in perception to be life-changing. They may seem small and insignificant but I think they are excellent tools to keep in your back pocket for those moments where you get tri