Hello again.
My apologies for the long wait for this post. I’ll do my best to keep this one short and… sweet?

It’s hard to look away from the frustration that has followed the controversial economic breakdown in the US and the subsequent “bailout” that was granted to attempt to fix the mess with taxpayer money. The US presidential campaign circus is at its peak, we’ll all soon be game to the advertising frenzy of Christmas shopping season, and news outlets keep dishing out tension everywhere we turn. It seems like so many things are going awry at present, and sometimes we feel a wave of helplessness come over us.

Often it can be difficult to stay levelheaded through the ubiquitous – and frequently negative – media blizzard. After all, how is one to respond to all the crap that is happening around us that we wish weren’t so?

The next statement may seem be a bit disconcerting at first, but consider it nonetheless. The real discomfort inside each of us in light of all this is not caused by a particular event itself, but rather by the resistance we build up inside when considering the situation. We don’t like what is happening and at times feel bitter about and even want to find someone to blame for it.

Our point of view on any subject that we feel negatively about can be helped by shifting our focus, like a photographer changes the position of the camera to get a different view of the scene. When a new perspective is taken on, our internal experience of it is different, even though the situation out there may still be the same. Our emotions depend on what point of view we take on, and that point of view is a choice, whether conscious or unconscious. When we trade blame or anxiety for a conscious look at how we’re seeing the matter, we are free to find new ways of seeing the world that will guide us in the direction we want in order to improve our situation.

When we’re blaming or fearing something our body pays the price at a molecular level and our thoughts get clouded by doubt and impossibility. Whatever is within our field of influence also suffers. We get clumsy, our spirits drop, and our performance leaves a lot to be wished for. We can use that same amount of time instead to find a way to get through it. Since every moment of our lives is lived in a certain state of mind, can we choose one that will help us become stronger than circumstance?

The answer, of course, is yes. It may not be easy at the beginning, as it is like learning any skill. Even if we’re not successful the first time, adopting the habit of noticing whenever we feel negative and then resetting our sights frees up a lot of tension that otherwise keeps us stuck in the blame and fear rut. This may not happen right away, but when we hold our focus on a possible solution, at least one will appear sooner or later. Instead of saying “freaking maverick, greedy Wall Street assholes”, trade that description for “this is a more complicated situation than before, so I’m going to focus on how I’ll manage through it”. We can always ask others for (constructive) suggestions as well, but the important thing is to keep our focus north of the issue. When we use language in a different way to describe the same thing the way we feel about it will change.

This is not to say that no one is responsible for the economy to have come to its present condition, or that your coworker did not make that uncomfortable remark about you. Nonetheless, an internal shift of focus helps to put each of us in a clearer place that allows us to make the best choices for ourselves and those around us. This can help to improve any situation, while blame and avoidance will not.

Whenever you feel discomfort, zoom out of the situation and you’ll have a much broader choice of views to take. This is intertwined with our last post about change, and it also brings personal accountability into the mix in a tangible way. And boy, do we need that right now!

Input comes in.
I feel bad about it.
I notice my resistance.
I zoom out and refocus.
My internal experience improves.

Keep this in mind and play with it.
It can help any problem get lighter.

Stay Conscious,