Life can be intense, no? In addition to our “normal” lives, often filled with hectic schedules and stress, the “outer” world seems to go from one chaos to the next, with no break in between.
I mean, finally we get through the election season, which was unrelenting bombardment, and we think it’s over only to find that’s still all the news. Even when pledging to take a mental break from it, we’re faced with much more insanity. It’s still not safe to go in those waters.
We have a build up to Halloween, followed the next day by Christmas stuff in stores. Thanksgiving gets all the press for a precious few minutes, and then here come all the Christmas ads.
The buying season is in full swing.
So are plans for holidays, family, travel.
Yikes! When do we breathe?
Because so often all of those things are filled with problems to sort out, or even just plans that need piecing together, and often we’re focused on what to do about x, y, and z—so much so that what we actually want to have happen gets lost in the mix.
There is both a psychological and spiritual reason for this. In a nutshell, what we think about expands. So when we’re focused on problems, issues (whether personal or political), stress—all those negative things—what we get about is more of the same.
“But I have to work out x, y, or z now!” our monkey minds scream.
And boy, can that scream seem as unrelenting as politics these days.
Ideas, though, can’t bubble up when we’re in the frenzy.
As Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved with the same mindset that created them.”
To resolve an issue we need to give our brains a break. This is where mental diversions come in.
But how to do this? That’s the tricky part, and the key to, well, just about everything.
I’m a big proponent of the teachings of Abraham’s Law of Attraction. As Abraham explains, we run into problems when we think about what’s not working, more than what we want to happen. The longer the issue has been with you, the more you need to get out from under it—if only for a time—and focus on something entirely different.
This is not so different from what Jesus meant when he said to repent. We think of that word in its English meaning—to confess what miserable sinners we are. But in the original Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke), the idiom meant: to turn a different direction. To focus on another way.
Which is, after all, the true meaning of making amends. The words mean nothing. The behavior change, everything.
A study this year by Pine and Fletcher, published in White Paper Number 2, “Do Something Different,” found that changing behavior, by doing something different, brings about significant changes in levels of anxiety and depression.
I took up a major diversion around Labor Day of this year. The whole political thing was getting to me, and (unbeknownst to me), my subconscious decided it was time to take a different road. I didn’t really know why this materialized when it did, at least then. At the time, I just followed along. Because my gut said to, and I’m big on following its lead these days.
As I’ve mentioned before, I plunged headlong back in love with an old character from my past, in the Western TV series, Lancer. I watch an episode a night! Still. It takes me away, back into a former time, and all the troubles of this world disappear.
Perhaps it’s because (yes, I analyze everything to death :), it’s set in a simpler time. One without Twitter, to say the very least. Or maybe it’s because they lived by an honest code, and said what they meant, acted from the heart, and did the right thing.
Doesn’t that sound archaic. But, ah, heaven!
The thing is, however, it saved me through this political season. And from life’s daily stressors.
Now you might not have the luxury of watching an episode of Lancer every night (pity!), although it’s only 50 minutes J But you do have the luxury, nah, the necessity of getting out from under the stressors of the day.
You owe it to yourself, and to your world.
So, what do you do to turn a different direction?
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.