If you drill it down, all obstacles in life begin with mindset. While it’s true that you can’t change your in-laws, your boss, or that the neighbor lets his dog shit on your front yard; you CAN change how you think about those circumstances; and that my friend, makes all the difference. Overcoming obstacles begins with small acts of defiance toward them.
There was a time in my life when I dealt with a bully that I felt completely powerless to escape from. The constant aggression, imperious demands, and mocking felt like a prison. Every interaction would leave me with thoughts like I‘m helpless, I can’t ever get away, and I’ll never be strong enough to defend myself. I was probably 8 or 10 years old.
Then one day I found myself alone with my bully’s toothbrush. In a moment of gleeful and covert rebellion, I grabbed it and gave the toilet a good swab with it. Shivers of giddiness rolled up and down my spine as I replaced the toothbrush and never spoke a word of it to anyone.
change your thoughts, change your circumstance
I tell you this story because from that moment of defiance I was no longer in a prison. It did nothing to stop the bullying, but what it did do was give me a feeling of authority over my circumstance; however juvenile and reckless.
I began meeting every encounter with my bully from that point forward with new defiant thoughts of ‘you brushed your teeth with toilet water,’ instead of the old helpless thoughts. This change of thought pattern made me feel free and happy despite my seemingly unchanged circumstances. Those changed feelings led me to begin to have some small hope that things would change. They slowly did, and she no longer had power over me.
don’t give up the rebellion
Life happens. Over time we face inevitable setbacks, obstacles, and disappointments that keep us from manifesting our best life. Over time, they start to feel insurmountable. We are, after all, older and tired.
Forget that shit.
access your superpower
I’m here to remind you that there’s an act of rebellion inside of you, too, even though you probably forgot that part of yourself. It doesn’t cost you time or energy to conjure it up again. Just reconnecting with your inner rebel can completely change how you feel about your ability to manifest the life you always wanted. Acting on this rebellion is actually accessing a superpower that has the ability to completely dissolve your obstacles.
Want to know what your rebellious superpower is?
observe your thoughts
Have the audacity to observe how you are thinking about everything, but especially observe how you are thinking about your perceived challenges. Can you notice that all your thoughts are optional, but they often disguise themselves as scripts that you have accepted as truth?
- I’m not that kind of person
- Everything is always hard for me
- I can’t
- I’m stuck in a bad situation
- I don’t believe that can ever happen for me
- I can’t take the time to…
- I don’t have the money to…
question your default thoughts
Have the audacity to defy your mind.
Ask yourself if your default thoughts about your challenges are 100% absolutely true. Remember that your thinking mind likes to feel right about everything it wants to think.
You can hijack this default mode, question the absolute truth of your assumptions or stories, and then decide to think differently. Have you ever noticed that the most lively old people do not think like old people? They deliberately practice acts of thought rebellion that challenge conventions about what being old means. They set themselves free. You can choose to think differently and access a peaceful dimension that you never knew was possible.
decide to never allow circumstance to dictate your thoughts without your consent
I’ve noticed that without exception, every exceptional life begins the with words, ‘I decided,’ which is the ultimate act of defiance. Despite any circumstance, the good news is that you get to decide on thoughts that make you feel like crap or you can decide to think thoughts that make you feel more accepting, peaceful, or free, or connected.
Which is why I love this Rumi poem.
Your mind is a guest house, how you receive the visitors of circumstance in your life is up to you.
When my father died suddenly of a heart attack years ago; my husband got the call first. He decided to wait to tell me until we had left the party, so he told me in the car. After the first wave of reactive shock and outpouring of grief, the strangest thing happened.
I paused for a moment and then I distinctly remember thinking, or hearing – I’m not sure which – you don’t have to do this. I instinctively knew this meant that I didn’t have to physically wreck myself with a violent grief response. and then I was like – how exactly am I supposed to react when I hear my father is dead – like in the movies? Clutch someone’s shirt in disbelief? Shake my fist at God? Collapse on the floor in a heaving puddle of tears? I thought might prefer the floor collapsing option, so I was annoyed that I was stuck in the goddamn car unable to do so.
And then I was like this is so weird and annoying. Aren’t I supposed to be just in pure reaction mode? Why do I have to think about how I want to react to my Dad’s death?
And that’s it right there.
It’s just so much easier to give your power over to unconscious reaction. But when you give up your power to choose a better thought, you give all of your power over to that circumstance. Interrupting default thought responses takes awareness; which must be cultivated.
the possibility of your big life lives in the space between circumstance and thought
In my case, I just carried on with the second wave of tears and sobbing. This continued for a long time. It sort of wrecked me and put incredible strain on my marriage for about a year. But-I never forgot that first instinctual idea that my thoughts and reactions were optional and that there is always a space in between them for conscious choice.
living your biggest life is possible if you think consciously
The good news is that despite the bills, or the layoff, the argument, or the apparent circumstance that holds you hostage from living your biggest life – every thought you choose to think about those circumstances is up to you. Practice acts of defiance toward your perceived obstacles to living your biggest life, because if you don’t then you will never feel as though living your biggest life is possible for you. Observe your thoughts around those obstacles and replace them with thoughts that empower and set you free from your circumstance.
Give it a whirl. Let me know what happens.