31 Aug A New Season
The air is cooler at night. The breeze is stronger, yet soothing, refreshing. The season is changing.
Looking at my calendar for the week, I pause, reflect and consciously choose my mindset as the flood of conflicting thoughts race through my head.
In a few weeks I’ll close my pool for winter (pipes freeze here in Minnesota), deflating the floaties and covering it up, along with the joy of submersion and floating. I like to swim but flipping off the diving board and floating are more joyful.
It’s September! It’s the “end.”
Ending feels so negative – the end of summer, the end of holiday season, light-hearted activities and a more casual work atmosphere. September is “back-at-it” month, gear up and end the 3rd quarter – push to a strong year end. “Business” will rev up. Pressure. Time pressure, result pressure, invoking negativity-battling superhero time.
Not reality, but I can let my head spin with those thoughts. Can I get myself into the thought of beginning a new season, not ending? Look forward, not back?
How many times in a day, a week, a month do I make this decision to begin-forward, or end-past?
I can always check myself and course correct.
What am I doing today? Am I the head shaker? Silently twisting my noggin “no” as I navigate traffic; judge my coffee as too hot, bland or cold; see the cashier fumble as they handle my change? Did I wag my head “no” to the irritating radio ad, sport commentary non-sense, some sensational news story?
The first conversation in the office, was it hearing someone else’s head-wagging tale?
One definite, firm head-shake “no” was a story I read this week after my daughter shared the sad conditions on her visit to the Florida gulf coast. There’s this crazy phenomenon called red-tide. I’ve witnessed it before, where a cough-inducing gas is emitted from algae in the water. It chokes out and kills marine life. It happens occasionally, usually briefly. This year it has been harsh and long. Businesses along the beach and communities have taken an economic hit as tourism dried up, and a devastating amount of marine life continues to wash ashore up and down the coast.
The article that made me shake my head was a loud clan professing it was the Governor’s fault (he is a human, to keep it factual, not “mother-nature”). I have no interest in the Governor’s politics, I just believe as a human, he’s like me – if I had any control or influence on natural occurring ‘force majeures’ (hurricanes, earthquakes, marine-life-devastation, respiratory affecting toxic gas produced from algae), I would tilt it favorably.
With the unconscious bombardment of negativity, we’ve lost our collective minds. We tilt.
It reminded me that I need to stop shaking my head no. I deserve better. You deserve better. I want better for us all.
How are you starting this day, this new month, the post-Labor Day season? You have the choice.
Over the years I’ve learned to be conscious of this choice and discuss this simple, yet profound power with friends and colleagues. The intent of these discussions was to help someone out of a “stuck” pattern. Occasionally, the circumstances of my surroundings, actions of others, all the outside noises become the focal point and I lose the power of choice, my choice of self, my thoughts.
Here is an exercise – like a fitbit for negative thoughts:
Pick a friend.
For one week (make it next week, a short, 4-day week), every time you find yourself with even a little side-to-side head shake (usually accompanied by forcing your lips together and slightly closing your eyes), take note and text the number to the friend. Got cut off in traffic, the irritating person on the subway, the news story on the radio, a story at the office, a kid forgetting their school books, the slow-loading video… 1,2,3,4,5,6… Simply text the number to your friend.
You can do this. Just one short week. How many times have you sworn off donuts at the weekly meeting? Between now and the next time you swear-off donuts, amuse yourself with this simple game.
Message me (firstname.lastname@example.org) after the game, whenever it ends* and I will share the equally simple antidote. It will change your life. You’re going to learn about choice and mindset. You’ll laugh with amazement.
You’re now awake.
Enjoy the NEW season!
*(hint: just like swearing off donuts, chocolate or dessert, it won’t last a week)