“We often are taught to collect, collect, collect, gather, gather, gather, hoard, hoard, hoard…that we never even consider the possibility of starting over with a clean emotional slate by letting EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF BRAIN BAGGAGE GO and starting over with fresh hope, fresh faith, an open mind and endless possibilities. Some things that would be wonderful to leave behind are shame, blame, specific expectations, outdated beliefs, outdated identities and a scarcity mentality. It would be wonderful to let go of grudges, fears and beliefs that make us feel stuck.”
Melody Ross, “A Little Bird Told Me”
(the daily email for Brave Girls Club)
It’s that time of year again, folks. That time when everything is brand spankin’ new: new calendars, new planners, six weeks of still writing 2011 on all your checks by accident…
For our first weekly challenge, I’m giving us all a two-parter. (Because, really — when is your motivation stronger than on the first day of a new year, what with all of that Resolution Mojo in the air, and everybody making Grand And Sweeping Changes in their lives? We can handle a double-challenge this week, I think.)
CHALLENGE ONE: LET GO
Listen: nobody knows better than me that holding on to Stupid Things is probably the single most unproductive thing you can do in your life, with the exception, maybe, of Facebook. And at least with Facebook, you can turn off the computer and walk away.
Just like Melody mentions in that quote up there, there are a whole slew of us who are hoarding a whole lot of baggage. And I’m not talking about your closets, either. I’m talking about your brainmeats.
Sit down, at some point this week, and take an inventory of the past year or so. Not all of that “here’s what happened and here’s how I felt”, since by now, you’ve probably done that a billion times anyway. Just sit down with a piece of paper and find all of those places where you’re holding on to things like blame or shame, ideas or notions of who and what you are, or anything that sits in those dark little parts of your brain and fester, reminding you off and on that you’re not good enough.
Then burn the list.
Yeah, that’s right. I said burn the list. With fire. (Do it outside, though, please. I don’t want my first guilt of the year to be for someone awesome having a house fire.)
I did this last year, myself. Stuck in pictures of people who were dogging my heels and lots of giant writing about who other people seem to think I am. (It’s amazing how much of that gets internalized, isn’t it?) And as I watched it all curl up and char into ash, I’d love to say all the anger and, well, crap I’d had in my brain circled away with the smoke tendrils, but life doesn’t quite work that way. It takes time and work to get rid of all of the stuff you’re listing.
But what it does do for your brain is that it shines a light on all those dark places. And like cockroaches in a bright kitchen bulb, the bad stuff starts to scatter for cover. The difference is that now, you’re aware of it. You know it exists. You know it’s hiding behind the brain-refrigerator. And one by one, when you’re confronted with one of the nasty little beasts, you can squish it with your totally amazing roach-killin’ toe.
(Appetizing metaphor, there. Eegh. But you get my drift.)
Make a point this week to get out your spotlight and start shining light where the icky stuff hides. Give yourself — if not a clean slate — an honest one.
CHALLENGE TWO: YOU GOT ATTITUDE
This week’s focus topic is all about the attitude.
Of every single other thing we talk about this year…of all of the things I’m hoping to talk about…this bit? The easiest and most immediate change of them all. You can literally fix this problem in a second. One second out of your life.
And better, you are entirely in control of it, at all times.
Talk about an empowering thought, that’s an empowering thought right there.
No matter what’s going on, no matter who is aiming to push your attitude buttons, they’re still your buttons, and you have the control over who gets to push them, even if that poking finger is your own. We’ll talk a bit this week about instant attitude shifts, reframing techniques, and how you can constantly see the forest for the trees.
For now, though, your challenge is this:
Watch yourself closely. What things, people, and situations seem to change how you approach your life — for positive or negative. What triggers a change, and what happens when you feel it happening? Really stop for a second and observe your body. Do you stand up straighter when you have a better attitude? Are you more or less likely to be able to go into problem-solving mode? WHEN does positivity occur — after you exercise? After you eat? After you talk to a friend?
Moreover, determine for yourself what your typical attitude is. When your life pendulum’s at a standstill, are you generally positive or generally negative? (There’s nothing wrong with either…just observe.)
Happy 2012, Everybody!
Feel free to hop on over to the forum to talk about this first week’s challenge, and about any issues or observations you have on attitude in general. It’s gonna be a fun week.