Mind Over Matter

Over the holidays my family was fortunate enough to take a trip to Mexico for just over a week. My daughter was adopted and is of Mexican descent. She recently turned 16 and we thought it would be a great time to take her to explore her culture. It was an amazing trip! I can’t say enough good things about it and can only say one negative, we all had head colds almost the whole time, (well and that we had to leave to come back to the cold north). I was well prepared for Montezuma’s revenge. I had Tums and Kaopectate but never thought we would have a need for cold medicine, lozenges and tissues. Boy did we go through the tissues…we each had our own box and took them with us as we explored the country. I realized as I was sitting at the base of the ruins in Coba, the day I felt the worst, how exceptional it is that as people we can rally when we really need to. Even though I felt horrible, I was there, making the most of this adventure and opportunity to be with my family and share this experience with them. It’s impressive the power our mind and will-power have over us physically.
We see it all the time with athletes. They push through their physical pain to finish the race or make the goal or win the game. It’s also evident with those who have some physical limitation or disability. Stories that inspire us and challenge us to keep going, rise above, and to give it all we have. It definitely puts a head cold in perspective (albeit I was in a foreign country where I spoke VERY little Spanish, and ended up taking some sort of Mexican lozenge, I got from a pharmacist, that tasted like poison, although it did help!)
This “mind over matter” ability isn’t for just when we don’t feel well physically. It can be used for occasions when we aren’t feeling well mentally or emotionally. I can think of many times in life where there were things I had to do that I just didn’t feel like doing or that brought me some level of anguish or distress. It could be a difficult decision or uncomfortable conversation with someone or an obligation at work or could even be something as simple as household responsibilities. I remember recently I had a meeting I was scheduled to attend and I was just dreading it. I had attended a couple of meetings for this particular project before to only leave feel frustrated and disappointed with the outcome of the meeting. I was eagerly looking for a way to get out of going, but as the universe would have it, I was “forced” to go, (it’s part of my contract on this project). On my drive there, knowing I had a bad attitude about it and also knowing that it would be evident when I arrived, I decided I needed to reframe my thinking and feelings about this meeting. So while in transit I tried to think about positive things that could come from my time spent there. I thought about some of the people that would be there that I like. I thought about the larger picture and the intention of this meeting. I decided I was going to make the most of it. (Almost like “If you can’t beat em, join em”). So of course, that meeting was the BEST meeting I’d ever had with this group of educators. It was a real turning point for them. I left feeling so invigorated and excited about the progress that had been made in just a couple hours. I can’t say that my change in attitude influenced the outcomes of that meeting per se, (although I do believe people can sense how you feel about them) but it definitely changed things for me. That day felt like a win win, by using a little mind over matter reframing.
Are there times throughout your week where you could use a little mind over matter technique? What about when you’ve been asked the same question about an assignment for the 100th time by the 100th student? Or before heading into a staff meeting or professional development session when you’d much rather be grading papers (or having a glass of wine at home even more)? Or what about when that alarm goes off in the morning to signal it’s time for your workout or day to begin? Life gives us plenty of opportunities to practice changing our perspective, focusing on the good in sometimes undesirable situations, which can often make them more desirable. Try using mind over matter yourself this week and see how it goes. I hope you experience more positivity then you think you will.

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