It Takes Discipline

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ

“For those who have been trained by it/No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful … Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace …” Bobby McFerrin “Medicine Music”

I don’t know about you, but I was getting lazy before this crisis happened. Not so much lazy in doing things, but in my thought and emotional patterns. It seemed to me that the world was in such a big mess that I couldn’t do anything about it. I allowed myself to feel helpless, so I didn’t make much of an effort to effect change. I did personal work, but I wasn’t diligent about it. My life was pretty good. What more could I want? I was drifting, spiritually.

Then the big disruption hit and I took a big step back and said, “Whoa, I need to do some self-evaluation.”

You see, I believe what a friend of mine said long ago, “There are no victims, only volunteers.” We’re here now because we volunteered to live through these events. We’re experiencing, on a global level, what most of us have experienced on personal levels. Our lives fell apart and we were forced to do what I call “cosmic closet cleaning”. At those times we realized that we let life happen to us instead of choosing who we want to be and what we want to do. We listened to and followed other people’s ideas of who we should be and what we should do. At some point we hit a wall, we crashed and burned, and blessedly we got to reevaluate where we were going and who we wanted to be. If that hasn’t happened to you yet, maybe it’s happening now.

We’re taught to see the world from a negative point of view, that it’s futile to buck the system, that the world is a negative place full of traps, that life isn’t fair. But what happens to us is not negative or positive. Events become one or the other when WE put a value on them. So, what is happening now can be our downfall, if we choose that. Or it can be an opportunity to make the world a better place.

What I just wrote makes it sound like we can change fairly easy. “Oh, we just change our thinking and everything will be okay.” But I’ll tell you that when I first heard this idea, that our thoughts create reality, I did not believe it. I didn’t want to admit that I was to blame for this messed up world! I didn’t want to do the work necessary to change my thoughts and emotions.

Side note: Our thoughts creating our reality is not a woo woo, airy fairy, new age theory. It’s a scientifically proven fact by quantum physicists who were shocked to find that the outcome of their experiments were affected by their observations and expectations. They could never see how particles behaved in their natural state, because they couldn’t keep their expectations completely neutral. And eventually they concluded that all of us, with our thought patterns and emotional states, create the reality we’re living in.

Again, changing the way we think and feel is not easy. I know from experience. It’s difficult to take responsibility for the things that happen to us. When I did accept that fact, it meant that I had to take a good look at everything I believed. Taking responsibility was the first step in my evolution as a person.

The second step was to begin to pay attention to what I was thinking and feeling all the time. The two go hand-in-hand. It’s a process. I’ve been trying to turn away from negative reactions and thought patterns for more than forty years. It takes constant vigilance. Something will happen, most of the time it’s really trivial, and I’ll get all bent out of shape about it. And then Barry will say something, or I’ll catch myself and I say, “Wait a minute, I don’t have to see this as negative. It might be a good thing.” The barometer I always use for situations like that is something my Dad used to say, “Will this matter in a hundred years?” If it won’t matter, I let go of the negative feelings and let things play out.

But if what I’m facing will matter in a hundred years, then I know I’d better take a good hard look at what I’m thinking and feeling that prevents the situation from getting better.

This week I was listening to a spiritual teacher on YouTube, Amanda Ellis, and she suggested that we take a few moments every day to choose one troubled place in the world and re-envision it as peaceful, joy filled, with buildings and gardens rebuilt, and with people and businesses prospering. It will take discipline to do this, but if each person choses a different place each day and sees it as filled with whole and happy people, our collective efforts could change the world much faster than having disaster after disaster forcing us to make the changes we need to make.

I for one do not want to live with despair any longer. I want everyone to be happy, healthy, and honored for what they do no matter the size of that contribution. I’m willing to do this daily visualization. I’m willing to make a commitment to turn away from the negative and seek out acts of kindness and compassion. There are plenty of stories out there of people helping others if we look for them.

I don’t think our efforts have to be huge. I’m not one of those working in an essential field. But I can post encouraging things on my social media outlets, and on this blog. I can encourage my students, my family, and friends. I plan to push positivity like a drug, and that’s helpful even if only in little ways.

Sometimes the right message comes along at just the right time. I finished reading Marie Foleo’s book, Everything is Figureoutable last week and the three tenets of her book are: 1) No matter what the problem, we can figure out how to fix it, it’s figureoutable. 2) Start before you’re ready. You’ll figure out how to do it as you go along. And 3) refuse to be refused. There will always be naysayers when you comes up with innovative ideas. Don’t listen to them. If you’ve got a vision for how to be of service, go for it. Marie always finishes her MarieTV episodes by saying, “Remember, the world needs that special gift that only you have.”

If we accept that each one of us has a special gift that the world needs, that’s a much different perspective than to think we’re worthless and the world is against us. It also means that we need to support the people who can figure out how to cure this virus and not just them but everyone, because you never know how they will use their gifts to help us through this crisis and beyond.

I admit, I get discouraged and overwhelmed. There are so many people who need help. I want to give money, but which causes need it most? Sometimes my head feels like it’s spinning around like in some weird horror movie. But, I’m going to take Amanda’s advice and take just a few minutes every day to silence my mind and visualize a much more friendly world.

As we’re forced into isolation, it might be a good time for you to take stock of your life. I’m doing that. I’m asking what more work I need to do on myself. It’s not always a comfortable process. I’ve had to face dark places in myself that I’d much rather have ignored. But if I don’t face and accept them, they fester and that’s not good because my negative energy spills over onto those around me. The negativity acts like ripples in water. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of living in a scary world. I want to live in a friendly, compassionate, loving world.

What are you planning to do during this time of upheaval?

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you are safe and well.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.


Published by lucindasagemidgorden

I grew up in the West, the descendant of people traveling by wagon train to a new life. Some of their determination and wanderlust became a part of me. I imagine them sitting around the campfire telling stories, which is why I became first a theatre artist, then a teacher and now a writer. They are all ways of telling stories.

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