Whatever Works

The Logical Heart Knows Best

How to stay connected with my soul’s deepest purpose and heart’s desires when met with life’s challenges and expectations of loved ones and society? With so much diversity, adversity, and stimulation from the outside world, how to discover what is most healthy and loving for me? I have found that being open to new ideas and being creative with my thinking has allowed me to grow and keep pace with the constant changes in life. To be responsible for me in making the healthiest choices that promote the most love & joy, I had to seek whatever works. I realized that doing the same things produces the same results. If I am frustrated, it’s up to me to work on a solution. To either learn to accept the situation, or to go with the flow and change or let go of what isn’t working anymore. Really common sense, except change, can be scary. Fear has held me back.

I have to get creative with my perspective when I am afraid. I have to reframe my experiences and expectations. Often, fear is associated with past experiences and can be triggered when something similar occurs. We have unconscious and subconscious beliefs associated with everything. Our human minds work in ways we can’t consciously pick apart. I read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and understood that we are all conditioned by our experiences/exposure/environment in ways I did not believe could be possible. How to circumvent this conditioning? For me, I chose whatever works. Choosing to keep what was working, discard what’s not, and recondition me with new, more effective ways of being.

I decided I needed to have more control of my thoughts, my emotions, my awareness, my fears, and my anxiety. It was my responsibility to live my life according to what was healthy for me, for I was the only one who could know this. Life was being lived through me.

First, I create space and time to get in touch with myself. My relationship with myself has to be a priority. I have to take care of myself and be loving. Proper nutrition, rest, exercise. Cut back on work hours if able. Spend time in solitude, in quiet just breathing. Make gradual changes. Simplify, declutter. Be brutally honest about what is weighing me down and what frees me up. This includes relationships. Is my time spent on joyful activities? How can I change my perspective about tasks I have to do but may not enjoy? Let some things slide, let go of perfection. The house can be untidy for a while. Delegate. Sometimes it’s okay to eat convenience food. Treat me, pamper myself, revere myself. Make space for me in my life, lol. Get clarity on what I really want. Journal. Address problematic issues in my relationships, being honest no matter the conflict which may erupt. And also restore my sense of wonder and appreciation, to play, lighten up, have fun! A splendid exercise for this is to play games you loved from childhood, or play with children. My favorite was to follow my kids and do everything they did when they were smaller. I looked a fool, but it was oh, so fun, especially at the playground. Blowing bubbles always makes me feel better 🙂

I shift my mood most drastically when I think of all the blessings in my life and see the love, miracles, and beauty abundantly available everywhere. Feeling grateful for the simple things, not take for granted everything that is working for me.

I get to choose. I can be angry and focus on the fear, the things I don’t like, judging and criticizing and competing as I go, comparing myself and seeing lack. Or I can be peaceful and focus on love, the things I do like, being grateful, rejoicing, sharing, complimenting and approving, seeing abundance. I can view differences as everyone is free and there is room in the world for everyone and everything, peacefully. Or I can view differences as an attack and a threat, something to resist and control.

What is really more productive? The more I shift my ways of being to focus on love & joy, the freer I am to share and I am more healthy, productive, and happy. It’s so sensible. Why is it so challenging then? Because of beliefs and habits, I have unwittingly practiced along the way.

Being in the present moment and focusing all awareness on what I am experiencing now is when I feel the most at peace. Yet my mind wanders. I have had to practice in order to control and change my habits of thought. The thoughts connect directly to my emotions and therefore my energy flow. Everything is energy and my energy is the locus of control in my experience of life. If I could have a measure of control over my energy, then my life experiences also will be more flowing and more of what I want.

I began by noticing the way I was feeling, especially when anxious. I would then notice the thought connected and realized I was creating this fear by something not even actually occurring, just a thought. I practiced stopping the thought and deep breathing and then thinking something that was related, but positive, or tried to clear my thoughts totally. An affirmation helps, like, “I am brilliant, beautiful, worthy and loved, safe and free.” Replacing fearful ruminations with affirmations. Also, thinking about loved ones and all the wonderful aspects of life helps. It has to be practiced until it becomes a habit. I like the perspective… I am going to spend this time anyway, why not choose healthier ways?

To address deep-seated hurts, traumas from the past, I had to reframe my experience until it felt better. After all, I could not see from every perspective. Maybe if I tried telling my story from different views I could somehow arrive at a more compassionate story, releasing and healing aspects of me as well, by humanizing those involved, rather than demonizing them. After all, we are all human and have our reasons for the ways we are being. Who’s to say that I would have behaved much differently given the circumstances if I were in their shoes. I choose to believe that everyone is doing the best they can. I let everyone off the hook because as an adult I am responsible for whom I keep in my life and how I handle adversities.

Me holding grudges and anger only harm me by reliving the pain every time I remember it. So I had to let go of the pain and forgive. This required deep examination of my pain, which I did not want to deal with, denying it felt easier. But it isn’t. Resisting, denying, running away only prolongs the hurt, it lies buried underneath. Though counterintuitive because it hurts, it is better to fully realize, bring to light the painful issue and call it like it is. To allow that, yes, this was hurtful, to admit it, feel it and release it. To fully grieve. Painful issues from childhood often aren’t dealt with until adulthood because as children in order to survive we deny and minimize and though our souls know the truth, we can’t consciously know because we are still learning about the physical world and believe what we are shown. As children, we think the environment we grow up in is how the world is. Our minds do not know, but our hearts/souls do.

It takes a lot of inner work in order for the outer world to sync up to the life we want. It is a constant process and I am deeply grateful I have been able to make loving changes. There are infinite amounts of resources on personal development, healing, and spirituality, philosophy, psychology, etc. A multitude of techniques to promote wellness and productivity are at our fingertips. All of us have areas in our lives that could be improved. I am taking advantage of these resources and am sharing because I get frustrated and want more of whatever works in my life. If I can do it certainly you can too. Why not?

Next, I want to explore how to prioritize and triage in order to cope better.

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Michelle Miyagi
Hi! I was an RN, BSN in mental/behavioral health for 27 years. Now I'm helping empower caring people like me to prioritize themselves by maintaining healthier boundaries for more freedom, peace, and joy. I am also active in Long Covid advocacy.

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