how to move forward

Anger in the face of injustice is normal. Fear in the face of chaos is normal. Grief in the face of suffering is normal. But how do we prevent these reasonable, human emotions from turning into toxic patterns? Anger can become hatred. Fear can become endless worry. Grief can become despair. Toxic thoughts and toxic emotions do not help us change the spheres of influence where we are—or, at least, not positively.

Monday and Tuesday were rough. I grieved for the wrongful killing of so many (of all races) at the hands of poorly trained police. I grieved the misinformation and hatred circulating social media. I grieved for kids everywhere, growing up through all this. I posted, shared, and did what I thought was right. And I woke up on Wednesday with almost no motivation to act in my own life. I was listless, and just wanted to watch Netflix, and maybe crush a pint of Talenti. The Talenti was, thankfully, unavailable.

If you are feeling the same, but want to regain mastery over your momentum, here are three tools that helped me wake up joyful this morning!

#1: Bible reading and journaling!

Obviously, if you’re not a Christian, this won’t connect with you. But going back to the source of my faith and spirituality was huge in regaining centeredness. I didn’t do anything fancy, just read the Proverb that matched the date, and the next Psalm in the rotation. I prayed and listened quietly. I journaled about the last few days, not just for myself, but also for history’s sake. We are living in spectacularly bizarre times.

#2: Ho’oponopono and forgiveness!

Whenever I think of forgiveness, I always think in terms of the other person. I tell myself things like “they did their best,” or “they didn’t know what they were doing.” But that doesn’t take care of the pain! This healing set of phrases has nothing to do with the other person at all—you speak them aloud to yourself, with the other person in mind. The phrases are: I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.

My aunt introduced this to me and, at first, I was extremely skeptical because it sounds like you are taking responsibility for someone else’s wrongdoing. But I was so desperate to feel less bitter and confused and angry yesterday, that I tried it. And it completely opened up my heart and I smiled genuinely for the first time in a while.

I can honestly say it revived my soul. Try it.

#3: The 21 Day Brain Detox Program!

I finally finished Caroline Leaf’s book, and am implementing it for the next 21 days! Seriously, everything happens just when it should. There are five steps, which you can research, but they essentially are:

  1. Gather toxic thoughts. 2 minutes.
  2. Identify replacement thoughts. 2 minutes.
  3. Write or draw replacement thoughts. 2 minutes.
  4. Make ritual for replacement thoughts. 2 minutes.
  5. Perform ritual every 2 hours. 7 times.

I highly recommend reading her book, as she explains the science and reasoning behind this process, and shares many incredible success stories. But if you just take 10 minutes to identify the toxic thoughts eating away at your mind (things are never going to get better, my life will never improve, etc.) and intentionally replace them with truth and hope (things are changing, my life is getting better, etc.) you will see marked improvement in your state of mind and heart. And that’s where everything comes from, right? Your heart and mind.

I hope this helps you! If you are feeling lost and helpless and like you’re getting sucked into a vortex of negative thoughts, please know that I understand. But you still have everything you need—a powerful mind, an iron will, and the heart of a lion. Let’s put them to work. 🙂

Much love,

a.i.a.l.

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