Search
Close this search box.

Blog

Day 42: Creating my Experience

November 25, 2023

A lofty title, but this is what popped into my head as I lay in the bath helping my body warm up after a particularly cold swim this morning.

So much of my life has been spent at the mercy of my thoughts and feelings. I treated them as though they were factual representations of “the truth” – “he is a jerk”, “I am ugly”, “she hates me”, “this is unfair”, “I can’t do this”, “I am right”, “they don’t get it”…

I didn’t realise these thoughts were running on tracks laid down by my experiences and habits. As I said, I thought they were reflections of the truth – indications of reality and confirmation of my personality.

Over the last several years, between qualifying as a Mindset Coach, learning the practice of Transcendental Meditation, and reading widely around the subjects of happiness and positive psychology, I’ve learned to focus on the space between ME and my thoughts and feelings.

I say “learned”, which gives the impression that I now have the hang of it – but it’s a slippery little fish – that ability to rest in the space between ME and all the things that make up my experience.

What does this have to do with Joy?

Our minds are hard wired to be negative. It’s a useful safety feature. Our minds don’t particularly care about our ability to experience or express joy. Their job is simple: keep us alive, keep us safe. If our minds went into a state of bliss as we watched a majestic tiger approach, that wouldn’t be super helpful.

RUN! RUUUUUUUN!!! Is the far safer option.

But in our modern lives, we’re almost always safe. So now, with minds left on autopilot, we make ourselves anxious and miserable. We can’t settle or experience satisfaction because everything is a threat – the clipped email from a colleague, the snarky comment from our kid, the partner who neglects to notice our passive aggressive signals that we want them to help…

Our thoughts kick in, our emotions fire, our senses narrow and we take it all in as though it’s REAL, the only version of reality.

But there’s a choice. All of this exists in a spotlight and we are the controllers of the spotlight.

I love the spotlight analogy. I read it several years ago and can’t remember what the book was called. It’s quite long so I’ll leave it for another post but essentially, we only focus on the stuff in the spotlight but we are the controllers of the spotlight. We get to move it.

So far, my experience of joy and ability to express it has only ever come to life when I have made deliberate choices about where to place the spotlight of my attention. Recognising the element of choice in the moment helps me see myself as the meaning maker in my life. I reminds me that I get to decide whether to fall down the hole of judgement, negativity or dissatisfaction, or turn my face – turn the spotlight – and watch as new thoughts, feelings and sensations come into focus and I’m able to see things differently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Articles

more from us