I have spent the last couple weeks taking care of sick kids. And I now find myself also sick … and there are STILL sick kids here. I sound like a frog. *ribbit!* Maybe it’s the fact that the 2 year old sneezed in my mouth the other day? (it was terrible.) We have 9 people here, it’s inevitable that things will get passed around. In fact, it’s just the way it goes. I expect that we’ll share stuff like germs, food, clothes, etc.
One of the things I really notice is that we also pass around energy.
Have you ever noticed that when someone’s in a good mood and they come near you and say something, or just look happy … their lightness makes your day a little brighter? Like a magnet … if someone is smiling, or has a pep in their step, or cheerfully says “hello! How is your day?!” it always feeds the lightness in the energy of that space.
I have especially noticed in our family that that principle holds true. If one of us is happy and joyful, in a light bright mood, joking and laughing … generally that spreads to the rest of us. And the opposite is also true. When someone is a dark cloud, their negativity spreads if we let it.
I want to suggest an experiment. Tell yourself that for one week you will be very aware of your “emotional” atmosphere. You will watch how it shifts and changes. You will look at what causes you to feel happier and what causes you to feel more negative. Write it down if that’s helpful … sort of like those “food journals” … make this a “mood journal.”
Write down, or just pay attention to, the moments when you feel a shift in your mood.
If it’s a good shift try to see what caused it and note that. I will call this the “good mood food.” The things that FEED your joy. Did you go outside and see the sunshine? Did you receive a kind word or a smile from a friend? Did you eat lunch and have a really nice conversation? Did you do something for someone else that filled you with love? Pay attention to the “good mood” when it is there and try to see if you can determine what brought that good, happy, joyful light feeling.
If it’s a negative shift … look at what you’re doing, or what you WERE doing when it occurred (frequently we don’t notice things as they’re happening … it can sometimes be an “after the fact” “in retrospect” thing) and then write it down. Did you get in an argument with your spouse? Did you stub your toe? Did someone cut you off on the freeway? Did you forget your lunch? Did someone not smile at you and say thank you when you held the door for them? Whatever it is … in the moment, or looking at it after the fact … pay attention to it. See what it is that caused your downturn in energy atmosphere.
If you do this, if you begin to focus on your thoughts, feelings, mood, energy atmosphere, you will begin to see a pattern. You will begin to notice the kinds of things that are light and joy expanding for you and the kinds of things that are negative black holes. (I used to describe to my children how a bad mood can turn into a negative “black hole” and just suck all the energy in the room into it … I’m sure you parents know what that’s like. Especially with teenagers. 🙂 )
Something magical happens when you begin to take responsibility for your atmosphere. You start to understand that you can choose how you feel! You can choose, when you’re aware of what brings negativity, to not do those things, to not be around those things, to not focus on those things … and if they do happen, like someone cutting you off when you’re driving and in a hurry … you can choose to take some deep breaths, knowing it’s a trigger for a negative mood, and try to not allow it to take hold in you. You can choose, in that moment, to shift your focus to one of the things that brings lightness to your mind and consciously make the shift.
It will take practice. It will take some effort. But it is a so essential to realize you have this ability and it is in your power to choose how you respond to all things.
Moods and energy are magnetic. Good ones and bad ones. If you are around a group of people, a family, an office work situation, a friend group, whatever … you know this, you’ve seen it. Isn’t it better to know what triggers happy joy and then to try to expand that? Isn’t it nicer to take responsibility for your energy and atmosphere and to be able to shift out of the negativity when it comes, knowing what triggers it because you’ve been consciously aware enough to see?
I used to get sucked into a bad mood for days. And now it’s more like an evening or a few hours. And as it is happening, because I know what it feels like, I know what triggers it for me, and I’ve been aware and watching long enough … I see it happening, and I can “ride the wave” of the emotion for a little bit, knowing it’s ok … but consciously choosing to shift out of it as quickly as I’m able … not because being in a bad mood is wrong. It’s not right or wrong. But I FEEL better when I’m not in that spot. I LIKE being in a good light happy place. I PREFER consciously shifting out of negativity and spreading love instead. It is just better for me. It feels healthier, it feels happier, it feels lighter, and it feels more like freedom and peace than the other way.
When you begin to watch for triggers (positive and negative) in your experience you will just be more aware and conscious in general. And that’s when the magic happens … that is “being present” … that is focusing on now. In being present life takes on a beautiful hue. I become the maker of my world … I get to choose if it’s lovely and peace or if it’s not. And I do that by my focus. I do that by being conscious and aware of my thoughts.
I really truly love life and taking responsibility for my energy and atmosphere has been tremendously life altering. It’s pretty amazing to watch as life unfolds, and to realize that I have the ability to choose and THAT is my power. THAT is what we all came here with.
And it IS a gift.