….but we are all fabulous.
I am due to have a colonoscopy in just over a week and it has been playing on my mind somewhat. I have worried about the pain and the risks, researched the pain relief options, imagined the worst outcomes, experiencing them as likelihoods rather than risks and generally got bogged down in some negative thinking around the whole subject.
This process is not entirely unknown to me. Although I ruminate less than I used to, thanks to in part to counselling, higher self-esteem and some fledgling mindfulness practice, I can sometimes get into a bollocks loop about a topic and fail to step back and try to see it another way.
A lovely woman at my art class last week was telling me about a friend of hers, who was faced with a big writing project years after she’d last done anything like it at school. This friend was feeling overwhelmed and daunted by the project and kept putting it off. Then she decided to change her perspective and started saying to herself that she was looking forward to working on the project, that this was an exciting new challenge and that she could do it. Sure enough, she was then able to sit down to it and once she did this the ideas came and she is now progressing well.
Something similar happened with my own writing project – after weeks of dreading tackling the 1st 18,000 word chapter of 4 that I have to write, my OH reminded me that I have wanted to write a book since I was an undergraduate and this was my opportunity. Once this was my focus rather than the fear of failing, I started writing, ideas started coming and I am now working on the revisions to chapter 1 following feedback from the publisher.
So, I have started to try and feel more positively about the colonoscopy – this is an opportunity to get to the bottom (forgive the pun) of ongoing stomach issues once and for all. I am fortunate to be able to access diagnostic medical procedures and what is 30 minutes of discomfort for peace of mind and getting any treatment that might be needed in a (hopefully) timely fashion?
Focussing on the positive aspects of life rather than the negatives leads to a happier state of mind – how much better does it feel to say something nice about someone than something bitchy? How much better is it to focus on ‘we still have half our holiday left’ rather than ‘it’s half gone and will soon be over’?
It’s the old glass half full vs. glass half empty debate. But the truth is that every situation has both good and bad in it – we choose which aspects to focus on.
According to Buddhist teachings we should avoid attaching to either good or bad interpretations of events. There is a story told in Zen Buddhism which illustrates the point:
Once upon a time there was an old farmer worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbours came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbours exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the farmer.
The following day, the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbours again offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the sun’s leg was broken, they passed them by. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.
Achieving a state whereby one is able to simply observe and not attach emotion to events is beyond me at the moment. So for now, as sung here by Peggy Lee (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnErt_ff8-w), I’m going to try to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.