Why is this question important to ask? Because it creates power in our ability to create our own happiness, decrease our suffering, and live a fully engaged life.
For me, the challenge with a “bad mood” often becomes maintaining mental and emotional space to allow for creativity and the expansion of possibilities in my life. When I live in beliefs and feelings that constrain, constrict, and limit what is possible, my mood becomes dark and my emotional space shrinks and binds me. Can you relate?
Staying in the Place of Possibilities Can Be a Real Challenge.
In fact, isn’t this the real challenge for any scenario we find ourselves in? Whether we are talking about relationships, careers, finances, a relocation, new learning, teaching, you name it, we are fundamentally walking, breathing, and living in what we believe is possible.
So How Can I, and How Can You, See What Is Truly Possible?
Emotions and Mood play a big role in the possibilities I can see. The duration of an emotion has an even greater impact because it lays down a foundation for the creation of a mood, and moods are what you and I live in.
They can last days, weeks, months, even a life time. They can be present for so long, one doesn’t even consciously see them anymore.
There are of course positive moods and negative moods. If my base mood is one of joy, peace, love, happiness, satisfaction, contentment (choose any positive, upbeat descriptor of a mood that resonates with you), then the possibilities that I can see for my situation, my circumstances, my life are many. My world grows.
If I take another set of moods like anger, fear, anxiousness, shame, bitterness (again pick any negative mood descriptor that works for you), then the possibilities I can see are few. My world is made small and I become limited in my ability to see all that is possible for me. Without possibilities, I have fewer options; without options, I become stuck, stagnant, and/or frozen.
Presence With Mood
Flowing with the realities of what I have and what I don’t have, what I am able to do and what I am unable to do, requires me to be able to see the possibilities that will allow my world to grow and to expand And that my friends requires the ability to shift myself out of moods that do not serve me.
How can I shift myself out of a crappy, anxious, fearful, depressed mood that limits the possibilities I can see? I ask myself some questions in three areas:
Facts are the things “that cannot change”. They are the past, and those things that cannot change in my present and immediate future. They are the landscape of “what is” that I do not control.
I can ask myself questions like these: What are the facts of my current situation? Are these actual facts or things I have come to believe from past experiences? Can I change these facts in my immediate future? If I cannot change the facts in my immediate situation, am I willing to accept them? Am I unwilling to accept them?
The answer to the last two questions is going to determine my level of suffering and my potential for possibilities moving forward. I do not control the universe, so I cannot control everything that happens in it…which when it happens becomes a fact. It doesn’t mean I have to like it, or even accept it as a long term prognosis of how things need to remain. I do need to be clear about it.
When I am clear with myself and whether I am accepting the facts of my situation…or not accepting facts (those things that cannot change in my immediate future), it helps me to see what I am actually choosing…a mood of suffering or a mood of potential possibilities.
Who wants to suffer needlessly? Not accepting fact creates suffering, and when I recognize I am choosing this, it becomes like a slap in my face and wakes me up to choose differently.
Possibilities are what create the mental and emotional landscape of wide open spaces from which to live. They are the things of “what is open to change”. And from there, what actions are then possible; what choices are then available.
Possibilities are the paths to positive mood shifts. It is the way out of moods that cause me suffering. Have you ever done this? I will admit that change is possible, and in the same breath I will deny the list of possibilities for me and my situation/circumstances. How messed up is that? I just said I have no future that is different from this moment I am in.
How is that even logical? Even if I acted like a toadstool in the dark and did nothing, the external world would act upon me in various ways and force me and my situation to change…maybe worse, maybe better, but definitely changed.
My point is by not accepting that I can change, that my circumstances can change, and that my mood can change, I am hamstringing myself and imposing limits on my possibilities.
Bringing this awareness to my consciousness allows me an opportunity to choose differently. I can accept possibilities for myself. When I do this I have just opened up a world that is bigger and more expansive. I’m no longer a toadstool in the dark; I live in the light of possibilities. And it is possibilities that create a story without a known ending…which brings me to point number three.
The world is an uncertain place. Do you accept that? I do…and I have to remind myself of this too. I prefer certainty. Who wouldn’t? I like knowing my favorite ice cream is going to be $1 for a single scoop, that my investments will keep going up in value, that my wife and I will love each other until our dying breath. Who doesn’t want certainty?
Life doesn’t run according to my plan. It has been, is, and will continue to be uncertain at various times and in various situations. If I choose not to accept this, I am inviting undue suffering, increased fear, and negative moods into my life. There is a worse outcome in my mind than even this however.
If I cling tightly to a belief of “I control” in order to avoid uncertainty in living, and then bad stuff happens anyway, I risk internalizing my inability to control all of my circumstances as a personal fault, an inadequacy of who I am. From there, moods of anxiety…fear…being a victim in an unpredictable world could permeate my being.
For me, choosing not to accept uncertainty only allows for a very small, cramped box to live in. Does that sound like a place you want to be?
When I accept uncertainty as part of my life’s landscape, I believe I can be much more effective at actually managing my life. When I ask myself questions of what I don’t know, or name what I don’t have answers to, I have at least identified something. For me these unknown things feel more tangible, and not so daunting.
When I can be clear about what it is I don’t have answers to, I can then orient myself in a direction to learn and gain knowledge to help me find the answers. I do not exist as a piece of styrofoam floating on the ocean being randomly tossed about. I can choose my direction to move forward and toward something.
So I can use facts, possibilities, and uncertainty to my advantage to create a mood that supports me in seeing the possibilities available to me. Possibilities allow my mental and emotional space to expand. Living an expansive life takes on a new depth and understanding of what I want and how to get it.
If you would like to shift your mood, increase your mental and emotional space, and explore the possibilities available to you in your situation, contact me. Together we can get you going in the direction you seek with tools to help you along the way.
Asking the question, allows us to tap into possibilities only found though our Observer.
The Observer we are sees those around us, sees ourselves, and sees the actions for our path ahead. What happens, then, when we aren’t getting the results we want? What can we do about it?
The Results We Get in Life are Due in a Large Part to the Actions We Take or Don’t Take.
What happens when I try to get the results I’m after, and after several different actions I still haven’t achieved the results I wanted? I’m out of options, right? No.
The situation requires a different view, a different perspective, or a different way of looking at it. We must change the Observer we are; change the filters we see our world through. We must change the Observer we are in that specific situation.
Think of it like this:
When I’m stuck on a problem, and someone else enters the room and gives me a suggestion and I say, “I didn’t SEE it that way”, a new possibility has just been created. Why? Because me, as an Observer, has been changed. I see something I didn’t see before, and now I can take an action I didn’t know I previously had available.
New Sight Creates New Possibilities.
The actions we take are in a large part based on the Observer we are. The way we SEE things comes before the actions we take. In other words, we first frame a situation on how we see it, and then second, create a particular set of actions to deal with it. Just because I have exhausted all my actions does NOT mean there are no possibilities left.
We must challenge our tendency to say, “I see things exactly as they are.” Seeing something “exactly as it is” comes from our traditions, judgments, and beliefs. Our Observer from this place creates a unique reality that may or may not be shared with someone else.
My reality, and yours, has more to do with us as an Observer and what we see, than what objectively exists in front of us. Albert Einstein said, “We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”
I’m Different From You and You From Me.
Think of it like this; where I stand (what I “see”) matters. If you are at the top of the Grand Canyon looking across it, and I am at the bottom of the Grand Canyon looking across it, what we each see is vastly different, yet it is one and the same canyon.
When I can recognize that what I am observing is happening from my unique set of concerns, my perspective, and my beliefs, I can choose to become conscious of how I am observing. This allows me to make profound shifts in the actions I can take and the results I can produce.
If we don’t produce the results we want, we have 3 options:
- Do nothing- this is a position of no power. It could be considered victim hood.
- Change our actions within the Observer we currently are. These actions are finite.
- Change the way we look at things, which involves questioning our Observer, putting our Observer into the equation of what we see, and challenging what our Observer is telling us he sees.
Do you believe you can actually change the Observer you are? Do you believe that making these changes creates new ways of seeing the world and seeing your situation? Will seeing your situation differently lead to new actions and results?
Well, let me ask you. Are you the same Observer now as you were at 18? What factors can you attribute to this? The world around you didn’t change as much as you changed within the world. What you see changed based on the Observer you became.
If you feel it is time to look at the Observer you are today, to find new ways to see your situation, to discover new actions to take to move forward, then contact me.
We all bring a unique set of concerns and beliefs to the table of our Observer. I can help you thoughtfully unpack, examine, and choose what serves you today and what doesn’t. In that process you will find the ability to create the Observer in you who discovers new possibilities and who takes new actions for whatever it is you face today.