How Not to Have a New Year
Copyright ©2021 Catherine Lenard.
Photo ©2020 Catherine Lenard
What’s your anxiety or fear level related to coronavirus on a scale of 1–10 with one being Eh,-This-Too-Shall-Pass and ten being The-Sky-Is-Falling-and-Everyone-With-It?
With the increasing onslaught of scary stuff in the media, I admit I started drifting toward 8 or 9, once in a while spiking to 10.
Do you remember the TV show Fear Factor where contestants had to do a series of challenges from being covered with hissing Madagascar cockroaches to a spaghetti clump of writhing snakes? Or chugging a freshly blended worm smoothie without it (ewww) backing up? Although there are different ramifications, today’s Fear Factor is kinda like going out in public without a bottle of hand sanitizer or (depending where you are) face mask.
Understanding very well that taking common sense precautions to protect your body is important, I realized that I also had to get a grip on what I could control — my thoughts about it all.
Are You Choosing Fear or Love?
Remembering a book purchased years ago called Love is Letting Go of Fear by Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, M.D., I pulled it off my lower bookshelf. In it, Dr. Jampolsky recalls that in med school a high percentage of his fellow classmates would start developing symptoms of whatever illness they were studying — no matter if it was chicken pox, schizophrenia, or an STD.
He said his fear factor at the time was a highly contagious lung disease, tuberculosis, transmitted through the air by talk, coughing, or sneezing. As an intern he had to do a one-month stint in the TB ward. He was terrified he would die. His fantasy plan was to take one deep breath and have it last for a month. At the end of his first day, he was an emotional wreck.
Just before midnight he received an emergency call that a woman was admitted to the ward with not only TB, but alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. She’d just vomited blood. When all lifesaving measures failed including an oxygen machine, he resorted to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
When it was over, he noticed in a mirror that he was covered with blood. Yet at no time during the event was he fearful. Through the necessity of the moment, he had forgotten about himself and went into action to save the woman’s life. After that, he had no fear of TB.
The point he made at the end of the chapter is when you take your mind off yourself and your fears and bring love into action by helping someone else [whether through direct help, a kind deed, a positive thought or prayer], you shift your own focus from destructive and negative to constructive and positive. This also has an effect on your body.
The Mysteries of the Mind
Years ago, I’d attended a business conference in Florida. One of the presenters was a hypnotist who was on the level of having his own Las Vegas show. When he asked for volunteers from the audience, I raised my hand. A bunch of us went onstage and he did his initial hypnosis thing to screen people who would continue on as part of his demonstration.
Some of the people responded to his suggestions and “went under,” some didn’t. I was determined not to allow myself to do so and was excused to return to my seat in the audience along with a few others.
It was a great show. About ten people were sitting in a row onstage and conversing in everything from martian to (bawk-bawk) chicken-speak. It was seriously funny stuff.
But here was the kicker.
One of the ten people, a woman, was later positioned between two conference chairs. You know, the stacking kind you see in restaurants and hotels with a solid metal frame. The chairs were positioned back to back with about 4.5 — 5 feet in between them. While she was in a trance, her body was positioned with her neck on one chair and her ankles on the other. Her body was suspended between two chairs, stiff as a board. Then someone stood on her torso! Are you kidding me?
After that, she woke up, stood up, and returned to her seat in the audience as if nothing happened.
Had I not seen that for myself, I would have had a hard time believing it. The thing is, your mind is incredibly powerful. With self-awareness about what you’re thinking and discipline to catch yourself when you’re heading into a downward fear spiral, you can choose to change that thought into something positive and life-affirming. For yourself and others.
The Miracle Man
A friend of mine was left to die in a humble nursing home after suffering a stroke at an early age that left him paralyzed. He said he had nothing to do but lie in his bed and stare at the ceiling. He put his creative mind to work and envisioned himself alive, happy, and healthy.
Today, he’s a golf instructor at a PGA-designed golf course and belts out a repertoire of Frank Sinatra classics at a wide variety of entertainment venues. You can do this, too. Enough said about the power of the mind?
It’s a known fact that mindset affects the immune system and physical health. Emotions of fear tear it down. Feelings of love and creativity bring life.
In that respect, the coronavirus can be a potent personal growth teacher — discovering how not to allow ourselves to get swept away in fear. Because if not this, in some way or another, it’ll typically always be something.
Along with precautions you’re taking to protect your body, watch your thoughts. Become aware of what you’re thinking. Your state of mind is your responsibility and can be an oasis of calm and positive creativity, despite what outer appearances may seem to be.
You can bite fear in the butt by focusing on having vibrant health and inner peace. Forgiveness of yourself and others — love for yourself and one another. And whatever makes you happy or brings you joy.
Remember, “Eh, this too shall pass.”
You Tube (vlog) version of this post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hClTsS33Gz0
Need help managing your fears?
Copyright ©2020 Catherine Lenard. All rights reserved.
Apart from some obvious questions [Since when did holiday advertising start before Halloween? Is the spiritual meaning of the season on its last gasp?], the reminder — if only to myself — in the words of some infamous Twitter posts is, it’s Fake News!
When you think for yourself apart from outside influence, you empower yourself.
Fake News in this sense. You may have heard it, and maybe even know it, but it merits repeating because media tech is getting more and more sophisticated about getting under your skin. Not only literally (voluntary chip implants–yep they’re here), but regarding how you think.
So here’s a little pull-back of the curtain:
• Advertising is designed to affect your thoughts and emotions
• Steering you into doing what the advertiser wants you to do
• In the case of the well-rehearsed friendly singing and dancing man, he’s the mouthpiece for a giant corporate conglomerate
• That hires an expert creative agency who engages lots of folks to further their desired message
• We’re talking decades and decades of highly professional experience from account and research people who are skilled at mining emotional pain points (the underlying reasons that affect your decision to buy) to creative directors, writers, production crew, and talent (dancing man and his merry minions)
• Who pull out all the stops to figure out how to get you to do what they want you to do
• Which is to buy their stuff
• Because they have plans, they have bills, and they want to get their paycheck, too
• In media it’s about ratings, numbers, and the bottom line
If this puts a damper on your ho-ho-ho, remember this:
• You have the power to say no
• You don’t have to allow your mind to be manipulated and stressed through frenzied media reminders to buy-buy-buy now during the holiday season
• Or ever
• Unless you want to
• Remember, these ads are ultimately about translating into numbers for the corporate advertiser
• You have the power to affect their bottom line by consciously choosing where you do or don’t spend your money
• Because without their collective “you,” they got nothin’
When you think for yourself
apart from outside influence, you empower yourself.
Because becoming more self-aware about why you’re doing what you’re doing helps you flex your muscles to live more on-point. By choice. Yours, not theirs or anyone else’s.
Because long after dancing man has been paid for his efforts and Buy turns into Bye (ad campaign over), come January when those credit card bills come rolling in, you may be wondering what you were thinking.
When dancing man took you into his oh-so-inviting advertising arms and very effectively swept you off your feet.
Walking the Talk
"Expanding your perspective can help you reframe your life."
One of the ways you can empower yourself toward life change is by expanding (changing) your viewpoint.
I recently had the opportunity to expand my viewpoint (photo). Some simple ways we can all do this are through:
• Reading a book or watching a YouTube video on a subject that's new for you
• Taking a different route when doing your errands
• Asking someone you don't know how their day's going and really listen
When you work at s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g your boundaries, it not only helps you look at yourself from a different perspective, but makes room for all kinds of wonderful new possibilities to emerge.
What's your stretch today?
Go for it!
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