What if you could rewrite the story of this year?
I don't mean in a "rewrite the facts" kinda way. I mean a "rewrite the story we are telling ourselves" kinda way.
Shakespeare reminds us, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
Many of us find that we tend toward negative thoughts and emotions. And it makes sense; some scientists believe that our brains are hardwired to respond more strongly to negative stimuli, possibly as a way to avoid danger. But if we're not mindful, these tendencies can leave us unhappy and anxious, endlessly scrolling social media. Hence the phenomenon of doomsday scrolling.
My own thinking reminds me of the old car I used to drive in high school — a '72 Buick Electra, a boat of a car with no power steering. Much like my thinking, it wanted to pull to one side. It was my job to keep it centered between the lines.
But here's the trick. I couldn't keep it between the lines without first acknowledging and accepting the situation. At first, I fought with it, taking it to multiple mechanics in an attempt to figure out what was wrong and then fix the problem. No matter what they tried, it always pulled. Once I accepted that's the way things were, I could let go and focus on what was right in front of me — cruising.
Acceptance leads to an opportunity to show up differently.
A rewrite is as simple as making a choice to focus on the good bits and let go of the uncomfortable parts. Adding a dash of gratitude to the mix also helps.
When I reopened the shop in June, I spent the first few days having conversations about everyone's quarantine stories—jobs lost, routines interrupted, separations from loved ones. It was exhausting. So on day three, I changed the narrative. I began every interaction with the question, "What was your unexpected gift from the quarantine?"
Most of you looked at me like I'd gone mad!
And then there would be a momentary pause, and your faces would light up as you told me how you connected with your neighbor, were rethinking your work life, or enjoyed the sweet date nights your partner created. The conversations would then turn to a funny story about your kid, your next-door neighbor, or how inadequate your dad is at Zoom. By the end of the shopping appointment, we were both laughing, and this year started to feel a little easier.
I'm choosing to rewrite 2020 as the year I got to slow down and redirect. I got to spend time taking care of my body that is recovering from a hormonal imbalance, cook healthful meals, and nap every day. I got to catch up on simple things like gardening, connect with my long-distance friends and family that I never seemed to have time to call before, and spend weekends on the lake. I got to just be.
So tell me, if you reflect and start to rewrite your 2020 story, what are your unexpected gifts?
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