Finally- here is the healing part to the last few blogs. If you noticed what feeling(s) you had that were uncomfortable, and perhaps you even took a deep breath and became aware of a time in the past that you felt the same way, then you can go back to heal that old wound.
Close your eyes and see yourself when you first remember having that feeling. If you dig deep enough, you may discover it started sometime in your childhood. Now imagine a loving adult, (which could be you), a spiritual higher power or someone you admire and trust, coming in and comforting you or protecting and standing up for you in that time of pain. Perhaps it would be the words you might say to a friend if they were in that situation. It would be loving kind words of healing, hope, encouragement, understanding and love etc. Keep your eyes closed and soak in those words and the feeling of love being expressed to you. Feel it in your soul and heart and visualize it healing that wound inside of you.
It may take more than once to get a sense of healing, on the other hand, sometimes once is all it takes. This process is powerful and I probably didn’t give it the full explanation it needs, partially because it is within a blog setting, but perhaps it will be useful to you. Something to remember is- don’t turn your happiness over to anyone. You are in charge!
So how did it go? Did you play the ‘no one is going to mess with me today’ game, mentioned on the last blog? Whether you played the game for the entire day or just an hour, or whether you were able to not let anyone mess with you or not, doesn’t matter. You played the game! Congrats! That means you noticed, were aware of your emotions and how you allow or don’t allow events or others to get under your skin and ‘mess with you’.
Play the game again, but for a longer period of time. Again, notice if something or someone bothers you. Then take it one step further by asking yourself, “What is the feeling I have about this thing or person bothering me? Have I been bothered like this in the past? When? What was happening and how was I feeling?” See if you can notice a common thread or feeling in any of the memories you recalled. Great! Now you have something to work with. Watch for the next blog to move to the next step. Enjoy the game!
It always feels great to have a new start, a new beginning, a clean slate. To me, that is what the New Year offers. It’s an opportunity to let go of some old beliefs and recommit to new, more healthy ones, maybe like being happier. But wait, that’s pretty overwhelming and much too vague.
So begin with this- You will start with you, and I will start with me. Isn’t that really the only person we are totally in control of? Here is the game. Refuse to let anyone, anything, or any circumstance rob you of your happiness and well-being for 1 day.
What does that mean exactly? That means that when someone cuts you off on the freeway, or your child comes in past curfew, or you don’t have any clean underwear, you absolutely refuse to get upset or let that person or situation control you and steal your happiness. It doesn’t mean you have to like what happened, it just means you refuse to have it mess with you. If 1 day seems too long then start with 1 hour. Simply refuse to give your happiness up to anything or anyone. Be in charge of YOUR happiness and it will start to grow!
You know how we always want kids to experience the consequences of their ‘not-so-good’ choices, hoping they will ‘learn their lesson’? So, WWW & W is the flip side of the coin, so to speak. It’s the upside, or the positive consequences for things that Went Well.
EXAMPLE- Let’s say the WWW & W- is “I got to school on time without having to run down the hall to class.” Why? “Because I put my stuff in my backpack last night and then put it right by the door, so all I had to do was grab it this morning. No scrambling at the last minute for where I had put my homework or my backpack. It was all ready to go!”
Now as parents or educators we can point out that the child was accountable for creating his/her own ‘non-rushing, on time’ experience. Perhaps encouraging them to notice “How does that feel?” and “Was that empowering?” and “If I want to feel that way again, then how?” Yep, by repeating the same action of packing your backpack the night before. Now that’s POSITIVE accountability!
In yesterday’s blog I promised to explain the importance of ‘why’ in WWW & W. So, when looking at something that went well in your day ask yourself ‘Why did it go well?’ Sometimes you will find it is because YOU did something that made it go well and when you can identify what YOU did to make it go well, ta-da! YOU can give yourself a pat on the back and now YOU know how to do it again.
Example: What Went Well – ‘I made it to work on time.’ Why? ‘Because I got up when the alarm rang and had ample time to drive to work.’ So, your actions caused you to get to work on time.
Example: What Went Well – ‘My friend and I laughed at lunch.’ Why? ‘Because I took the time to call and invite him/her to lunch and we focused on positive, fun past memories.’ So, your planning and initiative to invite him/her to lunch brought about a good time for both of you.
Using WWW & W with your students and in your own life will increase everyone’s happiness. See if you can write down 3 WWW & W each day this week. ENJOY the results!
What Went Well & Why. How many times a day do you think about what went well and why? Did you know that just identifying WWW & W 3 times a day can reduce depression? The more you notice what is going well, the more your brain strengthens positive neural pathways to increase your happiness.
Nothing grand and glorious happening in your life? All the better! This activity is to find the simple everyday things that went well like “I cooked a great casserole,” or “I got to work on time”, or “my friend and I laughed at lunch.” Look for what works and what went well several times a day. I’ll talk about the ‘WHY’ part of it tomorrow.
Focusing on the good doesn’t mean you ignore feelings of sadness, disappointment or fear, but it does mean you can still find some good amongst horrific events like the shooting in Las Vegas, where strangers helped and protected other strangers. Amazing acts of courage, kindness and compassion are behaviors humans demonstrate in times of need, as we have seen in these last few weeks of hurricanes and other tragedies . My heart goes out to my family members who live in Las Vegas, and those affected by this heinous act.
A friend and I rallied together our neighbors and collected $3060 in cash and supplies to donate to the Utah Support For Puerto Rico organization. It was created by 3 Utahns who combined with Vivint Smart Home to gather and fly the supplies to Puerto Rico sometime in the next day or two.
I was overwhelmed and grateful for the donations, and it all came together within 36 hours! This gathering of money and supplies to help those in dire need created a lot of positivity for those who gave and for those Puerto Ricans who will receive! To Puerto Rico con amor! (with love.)
P.S. Zeke arrived safely in Roseville, California, having arrived with the clothes on his back and only an overnight bag. All his belongings are still in Puerto Rico, either blown away by Hurricane Maria or floating down a flooded neighborhood street. But he is safe and hoping to return to Puerto Rico to give humanitarian aid as soon as possible.
The devastation shown in photos of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit on September 20th, are heart wrenching. I can’t even comprehend how those people will carry on. My son, Zeke, will be flying out of Puerto Rico in the morning if all goes as planned. Rumor has it that he and the others he is with, have been living off canned tuna, beans and saltines for the past week. I am sure that may be more than what many others have eaten.
A part of me wants him to stay and spread his positive attitude and use his strong body to remove debris and help those in need. The practical mothering part of me worries about contaminated water etc. and wants him to find safety on the mainland. But most certainly, it has increased my gratitude for the very basic necessities of life, of which I have never had to go without. To the people of Puerto Rico, you are in my prayers!
It was an awesome Character Day! I loved the new motivational 10 minute film, 30,000 Days, blending character, passion and purpose.
And I am inspired by the interview with Jane Golden, the founder and executive director of Mural Arts in Philadelphia who creates ‘urban transformation through art’. Also Lea Waters and her new book The Strength Switch, which is about strength-based parenting- oh, if I had only known all this stuff when I was raising my own children! Mark your calendar for Sept. 26, 2018- next year’s Character Day!