How ageless beauty lies within our abilities to live forward not backward
Bill’s Tip for April: Spring Forward
‘Tis the season: People date, animals mate and flowers bloom as the days grow longer and the planet springs forward into its annual cycle of birth and renewal.
I found myself enjoying a recent morning digging in the dirt: Pulling-up a worn-out basil plant, then sprinkling a packet of flower seeds over the spot and mixing the soil.
I felt a twinge of sadness for the outgoing plant: Woody and withered, the basil was a faint remnant of the eager sprig I had purchased last autumn and a whisper of the sturdy plant it had become by early winter. Having recently “gone to seed,” the basil had spent its last gasps of energy coughing its tiny seeds into the potting mix below, passing to future generations the potential crack at life it had once been granted.
I thought of us in the context of my leafy friend’s existence: As people, we tend to long for places we’ve been, cling to established social circles and wish we were younger. Yet, holding this scraggily plant in hand, I began realizing that our true beauty lies within our abilities to live forward.
We tend to struggle against our circumstances instead of using these situations to propel us: How accomplished we’d feel if we learned from (not yearned for) our pasts; accepting with grace and gratitude where we’ve been, whom we are and what we still have to give.
As I carried the basil to the compost bin, its unmistakable fragrance filled the air one last time. Perhaps this was its pleasant farewell to the world – its salute to the cycle of life. I imagined the advice this time-honored plant might give us:
A life well-lived creates a good place for another life to grow.
This morning, I watered the clay pot where the basil had resided. I half-wondered which might pop through its soil first – the flowers I had planted or a new generation of basil made possible through the selfless efforts of my leafy teacher. My friend was gone but not forgotten and I had a hunch its impact would live on to experience yet another season.
Phillip’s Tip for April: Personal Training
Our lives can be overshadowed by our negative thinking. Endlessly looping about what went wrong, why it went wrong and who’s to blame for it going wrong can replace our fun with frustration.
Over time and left unchallenged, our brains can default to this unhealthy habit: We find ourselves negatively perceiving just about everything, leading us to under-appreciate – even miss – the happy moments and good experiences all around us.
The Daily Practice of Re-experiencing Happiness
Recognizing that you repeat undesirable thoughts over-and-over is your call to action. It is important to face your negativity head-on. Taking the following important steps will help you shift your focus back to the healthy positive attitude you deserve.
- Find a quiet, relaxing place to sit for 5 minutes without interruption.
- Recall events that made you smile in the last few hours. If today was emotionally challenging, envision your pet’s eager face as you arrive home tonight, a hug from a friend or your mother’s sparkling eyes, as you pay her a long-awaited visit.
- Recall these happy thoughts again. Take slow, deep breaths and focus on the pleasurable sensation these instances provide. Don’t complicate the happy moments as you reflect, just enjoy the purity of the exchange. Allow your mind to drift from event to event, taking in the joy that comes with these memories.
This exercise is one example of how The Mental Gym can help you re-balance your life by focusing away from situational problems and toward emotionally structured solutions. We customize exercises (like the one above) to find then fit your route to authentic happiness.
– Let us know if you’d like to schedule a workout!