by Mikel Bruce
We ALL experience ups and downs. When we’re up, we tend to forget what it’s like to be down – and when we’re down, we typically just want it to end as soon as possible.
The degree of the rise and fall, and the period of time that we spend in a particular phase is usually unpredictable, though certain individuals tend to lean towards being more “positive” or “negative.”
If we pay close attention, we can often times sense a shift in the momentum from an “up” to a “down” or visa versa.
When watching sporting events, it’s pretty obvious when the momentum is shifting – especially if one team or individual is really down and they start to turn things around.
That shift in momentum is usually initiated by an attitudinal or energetic shift before it manifests on the physical plane – and in many cases there are things that we can do to help create that shift.
Here are a few ideas of ways to consciously create a shift in momentum:
AVOID BLAME: Sometimes it’s pretty obvious that something or someone has triggered or directly caused the negative situation that you are experiencing. It can be very helpful to ascertain your role in creating the situation in order to avoid falling into victimhood. It’s also very important to take responsibility for the situation and how to resolve it. Based on shamanic philosophy, life is a dream and we create and dream our own realities.
DON’T COMPLAIN: It can be extremely beneficial to share with others when you are struggling or having a difficult time – and in many cases that in itself can create a shift in momentum. Conversely, complaining tends to perpetuate the problem. There is a very fine line between sharing and complaining, and when we are honest with ourselves, we can usually tell the difference.
DON’T OVER ANALYZE: It can be helpful to spend time in contemplating one’s challenging situation. However, it can perpetuate the issue if we over think or over analyze. Over thinking almost always takes us out of the power of the moment and pushes us backwards towards doubt or forward into worry.
DON’T WORRY: This is definitely easier said than done. Worrying sometimes just happens to us, but we do have a choice once we consciously notice the worrying thoughts. At that moment, we can choose to minimize our contribution to the thoughts that feed the stream of worry. The best way to do this is to shift the attention to something that is grounded in the moment, such as our breath or how we are feeling on a physical level.
BE GRATEFUL. Even in the most difficult times there are things to be grateful for. Focusing on these things can quickly change one’s attitude and sometimes shift the energy altogether. The key to easily moving into a grateful space when things are difficult is to practice gratitude when things are going well or when you are not feeling the pressure of stress. A good way to start practicing gratitude is to list 3 things that you are grateful for in the morning before you start your day, or in the evening as you end your day (or both). Most people find that this practice quickly evolves into a longer list and a more profound attitude of gratitude. There is a saying that the more one practices gratitude the more one has to be grateful for.
ACCEPT REALITY AS IT IS. This is a core element of Buddhist philosophy. Again, this is often times easier said than done. One of the best ways to make this concept more practical is to track your tendency to judge yourself. If we can’t accept ourselves, it is very difficult to accept the circumstances of our lives, accept others, and to expect others to accept us. The practice of tracking our tendency to judge typically leads to the awareness of when, how and why we plant the seeds of judgement. This is the power point in which we can choose to scrutinize – or accept.
ASK FOR HELP. Asking for help can be extremely difficult for some people. Many of us have a tendency to be stoic, and consider asking for help as a sign of weakness. We all have blind spots as well, and in many cases those blind spots are extremely obvious to everyone else. Sometimes simply asking for assistance or advice can give us the information that we need to shift our situation. In addition, the practice of asking for help allows us to tap into the limitless resources that the universe has available for us. Asking for help is a practice similar to gratitude and for some of us we may need to force ourselves to do it before it becomes habitual.
PRAYER. Prayer is similar to asking for help, but prayer extends beyond ourselves and our own needs. When we pray, we are essentially tapping into the universal power that is available to all of us, and connects all of us. When we pray, we are tapping into our ability to bless ourselves, all beings, and everything that exists in the universe. This ability is one of the most powerful tools that we posses as humans. It is a pretty amazing gift, and when we utilize it we are directly benefiting those that we intend to help because we are all connected on such an essential level.
Next time you are in a down phase, or are shifting momentum in that direction, try using one of these tools. They can be powerfully supportive, and whether or not you’re able to shift the energy as significantly as you hope for right away, these tools can at the least minimize the suffering while you’re down.