Our Processing Lens

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful.
And then it’s amazing again.
And in between the amazing and awful,
it’s ordinary and routine.
Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful,
and relax and exhale during the ordinary.
That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing,
amazing, awful, ordinary life.
And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”  ~L. R. Knost

The truth is that this shift between amazing and awful and ordinary can all occur within the span of a day. Some days, we are amazed at how much good there is. Some days the awful outweighs the amazing. And some days the mundane seems endless and there is nothing to suggest it will ever change.

The biggest challenge is knowing how to process all the shifts that can come into a day. Celebrating, standing, and breathing are the three responses I have recently come to find most helpful.

1. I am learning to celebrate the good that comes in life. Often, it is a very small event that I just celebrate quietly in my heart. Other times they are events worth sharing with others.  And other times, well, let’s just have something sparkling with dinner. Because it was that good. When we look for things to celebrate, we just might have to look past things that want us to do otherwise.

2.  In the midst of a shift, standing still is gradually becoming my go-to. I used to be a mover and a doer, and my life was crowded with busy. If I had any down time, I filled it. And in between it all, fear and worry vied for my attention. Now, I try to determine if there is anything I need to do. If I have no part in the solution, I practice being still. Fear doesn’t have to overtake me. Worry and anxiety are not friends. And running faster only makes me tired. Being still may feel counterintuitive at times, but my body is beginning to heal and I am finding much peace there.

3.  Whenever something wants to bring a stress response, I am intentionally focusing on breathing. I catch myself revving up and can feel my heart begin to race. I can not handle that these days. So I stop, even if it’s just for a minute, and breathe deeply. I am signaling to my body that it is not in flight or fight mode, and it is ok to settle down. I am taking more time to breathe and meditate because a body in stress is a body in trouble. I need my body to heal from years of living that way. It is not a luxury; it is an essential.

Lens 2
Our perspective determines our attitude. How we see is more important than what we see. Our minds can trick us into thinking that things are not good, that we are not good, that our lives are not good. I am learning to fix my mind on the “breathtakingly beautiful” in this awfully ordinary world. It is the most helpful lens I own.

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