By Tara Crawford Roth
Yesterday, I rearranged the furniture in my favorite room. I wanted to open the space so I moved my couch to the other wall. Periodically I enjoy changing the look of a room as it shifts the energy and everything feels fresh.
Sitting on the couch with my coffee this morning and looking out the window I had a whole new view. Looking at the woods across the street I could feel the sun on my face as it began breaking through the branches of the trees. It felt so warm and inviting with the few remaining leaves hung amber and gold from the trees. My gaze was drawn to the tallest tree where there a hawk sat majestically perched.
In myth and ancient legends the hawk represents vision: the ability to soar above boundaries and see a bigger picture. They are messengers and visionaries. Hawk awakens our vision and inspires us to a creative life.
I gazed in wonder at this beautiful bird and sent a silent greeting as he spread his wings taking to the sky and flying towards me. His flight was breathtaking and I was struck by how the simple act of moving my couch created this moment.
It made me wonder what I might experience if I could shift my perspective as easily as I moved the furniture in my house. What if one minor course correction in my point of view could create a perception as inspiring as this? What if like the hawk, I could take on a broader view?
It is so easy to get caught in the details of your days. Here at ground level, it is easy to engage and focus on the battles at hand. Before you know it, you are feeling frustrated, angry or afraid and trapped in the drama of the moment. You can feel helpless or overwhelmed by your experiences and with no apparent way out, forgetting it is only one point of view.
But the truth is this: you are in charge of your thoughts. You can choose what you focus on; which thoughts to nurture and which thoughts to ignore. Your life is determined by how you see the world and what you focus on. That focus is the key to your perspective and your stress level.
Did you know it takes only ten seconds of holding a positive thought or memory in your mind for your body to shift, relax, and move out of the fight or flight mode? This is where the advice to count to ten comes from.
The truth is your body can't tell the difference between your mental stress and your physical stress. It takes in signals from your thoughts and feelings and converts them into what is needed. In the case of stress, it creates adrenaline. Blood rushes out of your head and limbs and into your torso to prepare you for battle. Your thinking becomes unclear and your vision is like that of a horse with blinders on; you can only see what is immediately in front of you.
Changing your point of view can reduce the intensity of your emotions and get you out of fight or flight mode. Part of that choice comes from changing negative tapes that run in your head such as, "this is terrible" or "I really screwed."
Instead, try telling yourself supportive and powerful things such as, "I can deal with this," "I deserve success," or "I know everything will work out." Why not pay more attention to what is working in your life than what is not?
How, exactly, do you shift your perspective? First of all, stop, breathe deeply and get calm. Now think of the good stuff. Thinking about how lucky you are to be alive or how grateful you are to be loved sends a chemical message to your body like an "all clear" and after ten seconds your body will relax.
This is a place where gratitude comes in really handy. The practice of being grateful creates serenity and brings you fully present. It brings an awareness of abundance into your thoughts and energy setting up a positive chain reaction.
Just like moving my couch, you can move your focus to what is working in your life. You can allow yourself to celebrate Thanksgivings all year by keeping your attention on gratitude and taking some time every day to focus on who and what you appreciate.
As you experience the tremendous power of this simple act it will become easier to remember to stop and ask, "what am I choosing in this moment?" and if you don't like the answer you can exercise your power to choose something else. It really is that simple.
I encourage you to be like the hawk: spread your wings and soar above your boundaries so you can see the miracles happening in your life every day.