Today signals the end of the first half of 2017. It marks the end of a three-month period wrought with significant life changes for me, including the end of my four year relationship, over a month of transient living, and capped off by packing up my first fitness studio location. It was tough to see the studio completely bare on this last day – the floor in rolls scattered everywhere, equipment gone, posters removed, and photos packed, leaving behind a shell of the fun atmosphere we built to make exercise fun.
All this change has been a lot to handle, marked many times by the desire to lie in bed for days on end, until the feelings passed, but I couldn’t do that. I had to coach classes. I had to go to meetings, I had to travel and see family. All things meant to help by keeping my mind occupied, but instead left me surrounded by others and having to suppress how I was really feeling.
I find it best now to do whatever I’m feeling, knowing that whatever feeling I’m experiencing, whether good or bad, will pass. They will change. I can’t always control when, but I know they will change. Just like everything else.
More change is coming. I’m not quite sure exactly what, but I have a plan. I know what I’d like to happen, and I think I know how to make it happen. What remains is execution of the plan. I can prepare and I can execute. That’s it. Can I worry about the results? Sure. Will it help? Not at all.
Worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra problem by chewing bubble gum
– Mary Schmich (as heard in “Wear Sunscreen” by Baz Luhrmann)
So what am I hoping will help? Giving everything, every thought that pops into my head, a mental swipe – right or left.
Right is for things I can control, like what I eat, my daily routine, how I nurture relationships, and how I spend my time. Say I want to exercise. I exercise. Not much to worry about as I am in complete control.
Left is for things I cannot control, and am therefore banning myself from worrying about. Will the new idea for our business work? Will I be able to remain living without a corporate job? Will the weather be nice for the next outdoor event we booked? I can’t control any of these, and refuse to waste time and energy worrying about them.
The things I can do to prepare for these situations, I’ll do to the best of my abilities. How well I do them and how much effort I expend is under my control. The outcome is not, so I refuse to worry about it. Worrying has only served to ruin my day, and not positively impact anything.
The recent uncertainty is scary, yet exhilarating. There is the excitement of something new and the possibilities that lie ahead. The idea that I can do my best every day and have faith things will work out the way they are supposed to work out, regardless of how much I worry.
Here’s what I began doing to help me determine what to focus on. I sit in complete silence for several minutes, letting thoughts enter my head freely. No phone. No television. No disractions. The idea is to see thoughts enter your mind, and immediately swipe right or swipe left. Not quite meditation because I want to focus on the thoughts, not letting them pass without a swipe.
As each thought comes to the front, I ask myself, “Can I control this?” If not, I’d give it a mental swipe left, to the bucket of things that are beyond my powers. If I can control it, I swipe it right, write it down at the end of my silent session, and make sure it ends up in my daily tasks.
As things change, I like to know my next moves. I like to know where to focus my mental energy. Focus on those things I can control, and learn to let go of those I cannot.