27. Living the Dream

Hello, hello!  How were your 4th of July celebrations? My day was filled with memory creating moments.  Of course my husband and I tackled more of the weeds in our yard. Then we went to Lowes to get a few things and the checkout guy finished scanning our items so my husband put his credit card in the machine and the attendant looked at the screen and said, $13,000? What did you buy?  David and I looked at each other, wait, what? He had kind of an accent and spoke softly so at first we weren’t sure what he said.  Then we realized what he said and were like, uh, back up the bus! $13000!  We were buying some anti-shaking pads to put on the bottom of our washing machines and somehow the receipt said we purchased 344 sets!  That’s a lot of washing machines, my friends!  We were too far into the transaction and so we had to return the elusive 342 of the 344 sets of pads we purchased and get it credited back to our Visa. 

But I’m living the dream!  A little later I got together with some of my family and we had a BBQ and I got to play with my grandson and then we went outside and shot off fireworks.  My friend came by with her miniature horse all decked out in red, white, and blue so I took my grandson over to see it.  He’s turning 1 on Sunday and I’m pretty sure never seen a horse before.  David set him on the horse’s back, which maybe was as tall as my waist, but he was not having it.  You could see his little brain thinking first, “what in the world is this big, hairy creature” to “nope, I’m done”!  Our neighbors were setting off so many aerials, we got a free show and great seats!

Life can hand us so many opportunities for good, bad and great moments, can’t it!  The challenge sometimes is how do we take all these moments and turn them into a brilliant life lived? If you’re trying to make goals and find the motivation to do it or maybe you’re in the season of 50% negative and you’re just not loving your life, how can you collectively still embrace your life and live it with confidence and love for it?  Did you know that we are each in a relationship with our lives?

When I talk about relationships with others, it’s all about how you think of them.  We can’t touch it, or feel it, and it isn’t tangible.  It’s the story you tell yourself about it.  How you’re thinking about a relationship can be completely different then how the person you’re in the relationship with is thinking about it. 

So for example, your relationship with one of your children.  You might be thinking, “Oh, I love them, they are the best kid, I love to be around them, life would be miserable without them.” And they might be thinking, “I love them, but why can’t they just leave me alone, they are always asking me to do stuff with them, and they embarrass me in front of my friends.”  So you’re thinking that your relationship is so good and so your relationship is so good.  If you ask them what they think about your relationship, their story about it may be, it’s alright.

And your relationship with them doesn’t end when they leave the house and go to school, or work, or get married.  You still have a relationship with them because you’re still thinking about them, even when they aren’t right there with you.  And sometimes your relationship with them is better the less time you’re around them because it gives you more time to develop a different, better story about them in your head.

It’s same when people you love die.  Your relationship with them doesn’t just end.  You still have your memories and thoughts about them and each time you think about them, you’re strengthening that relationship, depending on how you’re thinking about it.

Maybe you think that your relationship is based on how you treat them and how they treat you and think about you and this effects your relationship, but it doesn’t. Now, if they are treating you in a way you don’t like, it may cause you to think differently about them and you start treating them differently, but then that means that your story about them has changed in your own mind.  Does how they treat you, make it more of a challenge to manage your own thoughts about them and how you show up around them?  Absolutely!  But your relationship is all about the story you’re telling yourself about it. And their relationship with you is all about the story they tell themselves.

If you’re still not convinced about how your relationship is only the story you’re giving it, take for example someone who stalks an actor.  The likelihood that the person has ever met the actor or had more than one conversation with the actor is probably really slim, yet they’ve built this whole relationship with them in their head and feel like they can’t live without them. They probably create stories in their head about interacting together and being buddy-buddy.  Maybe they’ve even planned out their wedding to each other and what their kids would be like.  They’ve created an entire script to a make-believe life.  The actor, on the other hand, is like stay away from me you crazy!  Two people have two very different opinions about their relationship with one another.

The same goes with your life.  Did you know you have a relationship with your life? Remember, it’s all in how you’re thinking about it. If you’re thinking, my life is hard, my life is boring, this life has nothing for me, then you’ve basically got a bad relationship with your life.  If you’re thinking this life is fun and challenging and I can’t wait to get up and get the day started, then you’re embracing life for what its offering and have a great relationship with it. 

However, since I know life is 50-50, your relationship with your life is probably closer to mine and it goes through its seasons and sometimes it’s more of a mental challenge and a deliberate choice to focus on the 50% amazing parts and sometimes we temporarily allow ourselves to believe the shifty salesman in our brain.  So give yourself a little compassion when you do this because we all have our moments.  The more important question is, what are your collective thoughts about your life?   

Did you know this matters?  Right now I’m reading a book called Winning The War In Your Mind by Craig Groeschel.  He opens the book with saying, “Our lives are always moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts.  What we think shapes who we are.”

So if you’re a person who’s always thinking my life is hard or why can’t I get a break, how would thinking that feel?  For me, I’d be feeling depressed, tired, and maybe hopeless, but definitely not motivated or brave or like I could conquer the day.  If your strongest thoughts shape who you are and your thoughts are causing you to feel depressed, tired or hopeless, which direction is your life heading?  Your current thoughts will determine your future. 

What is your focus about your life right now?  If someone asked you, how’s it going?  And you were to answer it truthfully without worrying about repercussion, how would you answer that?  How are you doing?  What comes up for you?  Do your thoughts lead you to a more positive answer or negative?  If it is positive, is that a truthful positive or is it a knee-jerk reaction you’ve developed to that question?  Is it, “it’s alright” or “it’s good” or “it’s fine”?  Whatever your response is, good to know, right?  It’s how your brain is used to reacting.  It’s not necessarily right or wrong, just good to know.

With my washing machine’s drain motor currently out of commission, if we want to do a load of wash, we need to closely monitor the cycles so we can unplug the drum hose and allow the water to drain and then replug it when it’s filling up again for it’s next cycle.  And it goes this way back and forth until it’s run through all the cycles. 

My son was completely out of clothes and we were going out to dinner with grandma and grandpa so he needed to do a load.  I told him to set his timer and check back on the load every now and then so he could manually drain the water when it was time, but he chose to just sit there and wait for each cycle instead of continually checking back.   I really didn’t know how long each cycle took and about two hours later of him sitting there, playing on his phone, and waiting and monitoring, it finally finished.  He told me that he just wasted two hours of his life for nothing.  I said, “that’s not true.  You just spent two hours of your life to make sure you had clean clothes.”

I think the problem was that the amount of attention it took to clean his clothes wasn’t how he was used to.  So it seemed like a waste of time because he would have rather been playing games.  He was so fixated on how miserable those two hours were that he didn’t want to accept that there was a silver lining, his clean clothes.

I tried to model for him the different way of looking at it, but he was more content with complaining.  I think sometimes we need to model a different perspective for our kids because they haven’t had a lot of practice with managing their thoughts and most of them don’t realize they don’t have to just believe the thoughts their brains are offering them.  To be honest, I think there are a lot of adults who don’t realize they have a choice over what they think either.  But we do, so how lucky are we!?!

And it makes sense that his brain went there because it’s easier for the brain to continually remind him that this is painful, and it doesn’t like to be in pain, so focus, focus, focus on the negative part so we don’t have to do it again.  Ironically, focusing on the painful part was keeping him in pain. 

You have a choice on how you want to see your life.  You get to decide which side of the 50-50 you want to focus on.  In the case of my son, do you want to focus on the fact that you think you wasted your life or focus on the fact that now you have clean clothes? I just wasted two hours of my life wouldn’t feel that great to me.  I have clean clothes feels much better.  You could make a case for both to be true.

If you got to write the story of your life, if you got to choose how you wanted your life to look, how would you choose to write it?  Did you know it’s always a choice?  You choose what you want to focus on.  If you don’t like the story that’s coming up, then rewrite it.  Deliberately choose what you want to think.  Not saying to make up this fairytale that isn’t true, but what’s going on that’s good?  Hop over to the 50% amazing side.  You’ll find what you’re looking for, whatever side that is.  And it doesn’t mean that you’re sweeping the 50% messy side under the carpet.  There’s nothing wrong with noticing it and then choosing to focus on the amazing parts and using that energy, that fire, to help you overcome the messy parts.  To create a more peaceful, less painful life.

Let’s take a moment and look at our lives.  How do you view your life?  How do you view the people in it?  How do you view your house and your yard? Boyd came by to look at my washer and he said that my yard looked like the garden of Eden.  What was my response?  You haven’t seen my backyard.  It’s more like the garden of weeden.  What was my focus right then?  My weeds. But as I look at my yard and all the work we’ve put into it, I’m living the dream!  I have a beautiful yard and it’s been transformed since we moved in.  And I love my house inside.  It offers me all the space I need and I love how I’ve decorated it so I get to just sit and relax and enjoy it.  It was nothing like the tiny, 1-bedroom apartment that could fit in my current kitchen when I first got married.  But guess what?  I loved that apartment too.  Why?  Because it was mine.  It was my own space that I got to call home for David and I.  So I was happy and in love and living the dream back then too!  That’s because it’s the story I’m telling myself about it.  It’s not made up, but instead of focusing on how tiny it was, the focus was, this is my own space. My own little home that I get to decorate and create new memories in.  And instead of focusing on my weeds and the dusty wind that blows at my home now, I’m choosing to take in all the beauty we’ve created and the comforts it offers us. How do you view your home?

How do you view your job?  My job as a coach is amazing!  I love to help people and I love hearing how I’ve helped people.  The people that I get to meet and work with are amazing!  It’s also been incredibly hard and challenging and full of bumps that I wasn’t expecting.  If I’m being honest, I don’t always think it’s amazing.  I don’t always think I’m living the dream because I don’t manage my thoughts as well.  And I get duped by the salesman in my head who says its too hard and not worth it.  But when I choose to think about it on purpose, I tell that salesman I’m not buying it!

How do you think about your body?  Did you know that you have a relationship with your body?  What’s the story you’re believing about your body?  Is it a miracle?  Does it offer you touch, smell, taste, sight, and sound?  I’ve been so blessed that mine does!  I get to enjoy the nature that God created for us and I get to watch funny, romantic movies and I get to taste different foods from different cultures.  I get to smell the rain when it first hits the pavement and the roses that sit on my entryway table.  I get to hold feel held when I give hugs to people I love, and I get to feel my soft sheets during the summer and warm, cozy blankets in the winter.  Does your body offer you a mode of transportation inside and outside of your house? Mine does!  Are there a lot of things I don’t like about my body?  Yep!  And this is where the salesman in my brain’s the best, but when I stop and think about what a miracle my body is and how much it offers me, I’m living the dream!  How do you think about your body?

How do you think about your car, the money you make, your neighborhood, your church?  You have a relationship with all of them.  What is the story you tell yourself about them?  Are you living the dream?

Embracing life, living the dream, is a state of mind.  It’s an intentional story you tell yourself and continue to tell yourself. Whatever your circumstance is, that’s not what’s creating your life experience.  Don’t wait for life to be fun, make it fun!  You find what’s fun.  Don’t wait for life to be more amazing, you make it amazing!  Or interesting or fulfilling or more pleasurable.  Don’t wait for it, look for it. Your brain will create it if that’s where you’re going to put your focus.

Remember, our lives are moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts.  What’s your story?  What’s your relationship with your life?  What are your thoughts about it? Is it “ it’s fine” or are you “living the dream”?  If you look for how you’re living the dream, you’ll find it.  I promise!  Let those thoughts shape your future and I can’t wait to see what you dream up!

Have a brilliant day!  Bye!

If you’re looking for a life coach, I’d love to be yours.  If you want to lose weight, better your relationships, or need help with crafting your confidence, I’ve got you!  go to myinnerlove.com and sign up for a free mini-session today.

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