So many times in this world, we want to put things into neat and pretty little categories. So life is easier to understand, and so it’s easier to manage. We try to handle life’s ups and downs by mentally separating and labeling everything so that we don’t have to tolerate any surprises. It’s natural, I think we would all say, to try to have some semblance of psychological order and stability in our lives, and putting things into little mental boxes is one way that we do that.
So what do we do when something comes along that we can’t put in a little box? When something so unexpected and disorderly enters our lives that we just don’t know what to do with it? I call this “The God Factor.” Now I’m not here to talk about religion. There are plenty of people out there to talk to you about that if that’s what you’re looking for. I’m talking about God as that unseen force in your life that seems to make things happen that you didn’t anticipate, and that (you think) most definitely do not fit into your plan.
Initially, I know I feel really uncomfortable when something unexpected comes along. I feel a sense of dissonance with the world. I grieve for what I dreamed of that now seems lost. I feel as if I want to sit on my couch and hibernate for a while with a half-gallon of ice cream and a soup ladle. I ask over and over why this happened so that I can avoid this uncomfortable feeling in the future. But as uncomfortable as this time is, if I can find order in other things for a while and trust the growth process, I inevitably begin to see the light, and things in my life begin to shift in positive ways.
Here are a few things that live in my tool kit for making the most out of those unexpected situations:
–Prayer/Meditation: This technique is nothing new to many of us. But I will say that when I don’t feel great, this is ironically one of the first things to fall off my radar. And yet it is my connection to finding out the wisdom of The God Factor. Yes, self-sabotage is alive and well in my world. 😉
Exercise: The studies that show the benefits of exercise on the body are abundant. But the benefits of exercise on the mind and spirit are often overlooked. The act of breathing deeply alone is an amazing way to bring your mind to a place of peace where it can be open to inspiration. I have had lots of great ideas just “come to me” while I’m lying on the floor in the resting pose after completing a yoga session. Yes, that’s a God moment!
Journaling: I personally like to write my thoughts down when I can’t make sense of them. Even if my thoughts are as wild and unpredictable as an African Bush Elephant with a mouth full of scorpions, if I put my words on paper and come back to them later, I often find some kernel of wisdom. Single word lists are great. So are fleeting thoughts. Flights of consciousness. Write them all down. God can whisper to you regularly through these.
Taking inventory of my beliefs about why this is happening: I am blessed with the deep belief that everything that happens to me, whether it seems positive or negative at the time, is for my benefit in the long run. I truly belief that The God Factor and I are in a collaboration, and if I ask for good things in my life, then good things are going to come to me. If depression, grief, or other emotions are standing in the way of you having that deep belief in your own life, it can be debilitating. I have found that giving some thought to my beliefs about what is happening to me helps me to figure out what I can choose to do to move myself out of any negative, self-sabotaging beliefs and into positive, forward-thinking ones. That translates into getting “Unstuck”, which is always a good thing in my book. Some of the questions I ask myself are about my feelings of self-worth and value. Do I feel as if I’m good enough in this situation? Do I feel worthy of a life of abundance and joy? If not, what can I do to change that? Do I know of other people who might be able to help me change that?
Eating well: When life gets tough, my first instinct is to head for the kitchen. Sugar and baked goods, here I come! Many of us are emotional eaters. Eating sugar and wheat gives us that peaceful, heavy feeling in our stomachs that reminds us of hearty family dinners and good times with friends. But do our minds and spirits really function best on these foods? I try to think of food not only as a source of physical energy, but as a source of God Energy. Foods that come from the earth and that are fresh naturally nourish our bodies better than foods that are processed, overcooked and unnaturally preserved. But have you ever considered food as a source to nourish your soul’s energy? Seeing the food that I put into my body as a source of God Energy elevates the act of eating to a whole new level. If all matter is energy (Thank you, Mr. Einstein), an apple is a more pure form of God Energy than is a box of macaroni and cheese. And if I am what I eat, I want to be the most pure form of Energy that I can be.
Trying something new: So often when I’m “stuck” in life, I set up camp in my comfort zone. I do the same things, day in and day out, as a way to help me cope (albeit ineffectively) with the stress that I’m experiencing. Trying something new and shaking up the routine can open new doors. It simply moves me out of that place where I tell myself that I can’t handle this situation and I need to hide. It makes me think differently. Even something as simple as taking a new route to work or rearranging the placement of the items on my desk can break me out of my routine and shake up my world in small but significant ways.
Helping others: Have you ever noticed that helping others, when help is given with a pure heart and with loving intentions, often reaps benefits that you might not have expected? I am a helper by nature. Maybe helping others in the way that I help others is not your thing. But whatever your thing is, ask yourself if you’re doing it regularly for the benefit of other people. I believe that when I’m the highest version of myself, I help others to be higher versions of themselves. And along the way, The God Factor has a whole lot more love and positivity to work with.
So…what’s in YOUR tool box? Tell me about what you do to work with The God Factor to make the best out of life’s little lumps of coal to turn them into bright, shiny diamonds. You may just help some others along the way!