I had coffee with a fellow stand-up comic-turned-inspirational speaker the other day and at one point in our conversation I said to her that lightening up about the inevitable changes and challenges that come our way has very little to do with having a sense of humour or being funny. She looked at me with a perplexed look on her face and asked me to explain what the heck I was talking about. I told her that my programs are centred around seeing changes and challenges from a higher perspective which I believe can help all of us see stressors in a different “light”. When we take several steps back to see the bigger picture…what’s really going on, we can’t help but lighten up about stuff that can so easily cause us suffering. Suffering occurs when we see our earthly dramas as being nothing more than what is going on right in front of us.
The higher perspective that I am referring to comes from believing I am a spiritual being having a human experience. By being mindful that my soul is down here on earth living out a life experience that it signed up for well before it arrived, allows light to shine in during even the darkest of times.
I’m an expert on the topic of lightening up, but it has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve been blessed with a sense of humour – razor sharp wit, some might say – not many, but some. No, I’m an expert on this topic because living and working with lightness has never come naturally to me. If I’m not on my game 24/7, I can easily walk around looking and sounding like I’m some kind of head of state. I’ve had to work my rear end off to even get to the point where I am at now which is to say that I mostly see things from a higher perspective – I usually live and work with lightness.
My passion for the topic of lightening up comes by me honestly. In my last blog post, I talked about how me and Mr. Depression go way back and that it wasn’t until I changed my perception and thoughts about challenges that my mental health improved. So, as a follow-up to my previous post about how changing our thoughts can truly change our experience here on earth, I offer 3 ways I view and think about stuff that can so easily lead Mr. Depression to come a knockin’….
1. All changes and challenges will end up contributing to my evolution in some way. Maybe i’ll learn a skill, make a connection, hear a message I need to hear, see something about myself I need to see. I stay curious by staying mindful of the fact that any time the $#%@ has hit the fan in my life, it’s ended up happening FOR me – it served some kind of purpose. With all that great “past data” of hardships being a some kind of a gift, why oh why would that magic not be hard at work right now???? I am a chess piece being placed in a certain spot at a certain time with some kind of great strategic thinking in mind.
2. I am here to evolve and grow through experience. If I’m a spiritual being having a human EXPERIENCE, the expectation that all my evolving and growing is only going to happen through pleasant experiences is a one-way ticket to stressville. Ebbs an flows, highs and lows, the good, the bad, and the ugly, baby. It’s all coming our way so you and I can get done whatever it is that we are here to do. Acceptance of the ebbs as part of the human experience is a one-way ticket on the peace train. As one of my favourite authors, Neale Donald Walsch, taught me in his wonderful book, When Everything Changes, Change Everything, the shift that is ours to make is from wondering IF change will happen to wondering WHEN change will happen. Amen, brother Neil, amen.
3. The truth is always lighter than the story. Next time you’re ranting on about the past or the future, take a moment to see how much of your rant is actually TRUE. When I’m not living mindfully of the fact that everything is perfect even when it isn’t, my negative perception of a challenge can easily create a story that would freak anyone out. When I left stand-up comedy and started working in a Human Resources branch in the Ontario government, I told myself a couple stories day after day. The first story that I told myself was that I was lost – even though the truth was that I found myself to work and home each and every day. The other story was that I didn’t belong there – even though the truth was that they let me in the door each and every day and do my things. I believed those stories even though the truth was that I merely left stand-up comedy and was beginning a new job in a Human Resources branch in the Ontario government – the truth was that I was beginning a new chapter in my life. This world does not contain anything but neutral events, situations, and people – anything beyond the facts are created by the lenses we see it through. Focusing more on the truth really just requires a new set of lenses – ones that help us see things for what they truly are. So often we aren’t having a crisis, we’re experiencing a challenge. As my therapist once said to me as I was going on and on about one of my earthly dramas, “a crisis is when you pick up the phone and call 9-1-1…Susan, watch your words”.
I hope these 3 shifts help you view challenges from a higher perspective because that’s when we can see them in their proper “light”.