7 Simple Steps to Change Your State of Mind
"In an instant he took me from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, simply by helping me change my state of mind with a smile, a hug, and a beat of the drums."
All afternoon, I'd been sitting at my dining room table struggling through the re-creation and design of my website. Granted there couldn't have been a better place to do it, for my table sits in a room perched high on a hill overlooking the beautiful Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. From my chair, I see and languish in the breathtaking glorious expansive view from the Glasshouse Mountains to the Sea, often to the point of distraction from my working task at hand. Nevertheless, there is no place I'd rather be when allowing the creative in me to burst forth with limitless expression.
After four hours of cutting and pasting, moving and cropping, writing and editing, creating links and adding content, I'd felt an immense sense of accomplishment. Though I wasn't finished, I now had a clear vision for the look and feel of the new site and was extremely proud of my efforts. With one last point and click, I logged off the site, sat back in my chair with a self-congratulatory salutation, and smiled with satisfaction at a job well done.
Lo and behold, however, I remembered one last item I quickly wanted to adjust, and logged back in. Much to my dismay, I was horrified by the realisation that nothing I had done had been saved, and staring back at me from the screen of my laptop was the old version of the site I started with four hours earlier! What had I done? Or perhaps a better question was, what had I NOT done? I was sure it was on auto-save, and I distinctly remembered saving along the way. Still, something was amiss, and all the work I'd done no longer existed. I was shattered and worn, and quite beside myself.
With my head in my hands, and my eyes welling with tears, I was in that moment when everything seemed wrong in the world. I know, you're thinking, well, it was only just a few hours, only just a website, not really a big deal, right? But it was so much more than that... it was me starting again, making a commitment, setting my mind to the task, taking massive action, doing it now rather than procrastinating, making the decision to change, taking a leap of faith, grasping hold and running with the baton down the newly blazed path along my journey! It was all that and more, not simply editing a website.
As I sat in heartbreaking silence, like a chime from an angel, came that "ding" from my phone, indicating a text message had arrived.
Have you ever had those moments when you ask yourself, "who is that calling me now?" and "how did they know I needed help?"
For it was exactly at that moment, the right moment, the necessary moment, my friend asked,
"How was your day?"
There were several different ways I could have responded to that question:
"Miserable! I'm such an idiot!"
"Horrible. The worst thing just happened!"
"Disastrous! I can't believe what I just did!"
And so on, and so on. The one I chose:
"OMG! It didn't save! Very sad now :-( "
And his response to me,
"I'm going to sleep early-ish, but not for awhile. Doing a park run tomorrow. Come on over, I'm just eating."
So that's exactly what I did. I closed my laptop, grabbed my keys and phone, hair a mess, mascara lines down my cheeks, got in the car and took the 5 minute drive down the hill to his sacred place. Sacred you ask? Well, for me, it always is. In my friend's minimalistic space, scented with candles and enveloped in the sounds of relaxation music, I always felt this sense of peace, calm, and security. A space where I feel I am safe, immersed in simply being in the now as my authentic self.
Just as I tapped three times on the door, there stood his tall, lean elegant frame, still clothed in his uniform from work. With sunshine in his eyes, a smile on his face, and arms outstretched wide, he embraced my soul with an all enveloping hug that immediately let me know, everything was okay and just as it should be. Being a bit of a techie whizz himself, he casually, and matter-of-factly humorously empathised and acknowledged he'd had the exact same thing happen to him before once or twice. I was not alone.
"Yeah. That's a bugger," was all that he said.
As I sat on his sofa and let the emotion of the past 10 minutes subside, he appeared with a guitar and placed it in my hands. For me, I think he knew, music is my emotion, and powerfully impacts my thoughts and decisions. Even the root word for music, muse, means "to be absorbed in thought; a source of creative inspiration." He sat quietly beside me, and let my fingers and voice find their way through the lyrics of a Lauren Daigle song I'd only learned days before:
"You say I am loved, when I can't feel a thing. You say I am strong, when I think I'm weak.
You say I am held, when I'm falling short, and when I don't belong, you say I am yours.
And I believe, I believe, what you say of me. I believe."
As the acoustics of the room allowed these words to reverberate in that beautiful silent space for moments after my last strum, he then leaped up from his reclined position beside me, with a burst of ebullience and energy and said,
"Let's teach you how to play the drums!"
Up the stairs we ascended with leaps and bounds, into his music studio filled with guitars, a keyboard, strobe lights, recording equipment, and an electric drum kit complete with bass kick, snare, high hat, cymbals, tom toms, and more! Within minutes, he had the sticks in my hands, my right foot on the bass kick pedal, my left foot on the high hat pedal, my right hand tapping on the cymbal, and my left hand pounding the snare! Accelerating rapidly through a progression from simple to increasingly complicated rhythms, he had my mind and body intensely and immediately focused, engaged, challenged, concentrating, feeling, absorbing, emoting, moving, persisting, repeating, pounding, beating, beating, beating, and beating the drums!!!!! As if the spirit of a warrior princess had seized my soul, I felt alive, invincible, and truly elated and overcome with immense joy! For the next hour, we alternated seats, drumming and drumming til the sweat covered our brows...it was pure ecstasy.
When I left his space, later that evening, as if any of what had happened earlier in the day simply didn't matter anymore, I was just fine. In fact, more than fine. With his help, and through connection with the innate gifts and strengths he reminded me I already had within me, the world was brighter again. There was a renewed sense of clarity and purpose, and a belief in myself and my ability to do and achieve whatever it is I set my mind to with persistence, passion, and commitment. In less than an hour I'd gone from knowing nothing and never having played a drum kit before, to massively attacking, executing, progressing through and completing 20 lessons of drumming!
Praise him with piano and guitar! Praise him with drums and dancing! Praise him with the loud, resounding clash of cymbals! Praise him with every instrument you can find! (Ps 150:3-5 TPT)
I am so blessed to have him as a friend. In an instant, he took me from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, simply by helping me change the state of my mind. And despite all that I know, all that I've learned, all that I've read and achieved, each and every day, I still learn more. More about people, more about life, more about giving, caring, sharing, generosity of time and space, more about love, more about me...I was given a place to breathe and be still, to accept that the website didn't save, to get out of my feelings of incompetence and stupidity, to let go, to receive his love, support, and encouragement, to realise again how insanely capable I am of achieving anything I set my mind to with belief, massive action, and passion, and of course, to share my deep gratitude and thanks for all that transpired that day. I would not have had it any other way.
When the walls around you seem to be tumbling down, when you are feeling overwhelmed and overburdened, YOU have the ability to change your state of mind. In this particular case, a friend helped me through the process. With a few simple reminders, we can do this for ourselves:
1. BE STILL - It may seem that your world has just been shattered, and indeed, me losing hours of work on my website, at that moment, felt like doomsday had arrived. Stop for a minute. Collect yourself. Take a few deep breaths. Put things in perspective. Be still. Be quiet. Most likely, it is not the end of the world, and with time, all will be well again.
"Peace! Be Still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39 ESV)
2. ACCEPT - If it happened, it happened. What's done is done. The past cannot be changed. Allow yourself to acknowledge and accept what happened, because it did. Refrain from placing blame, criticising yourself or the events and circumstances that led to the event. Instead, give yourself a moment to simply sit with the fact that it is what it is.
3. FORGIVE - Yes, it may have been something silly and stupid that you did that caused the event to occur. Perhaps you believe someone or something else initiated and caused this life shattering moment. Or it could have been completely out of your control. Whichever it is, and whatever the reason, a little forgiveness goes a long way in moving through the moment. Forgive whatever or whomever, but most importantly, forgive yourself.
4. LET IT GO - If there is nothing to be done, and the past is the past, then why spend your time dwelling on it? No need to worry, stress, or waste time and emotional energy on things you cannot change. Until you let go of past transgressions, your ability to move forward towards potentially greater opportunities, or in my case, a better website, will be impeded! Let it go and move on.
I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead.(Phil 3:13 TPT)
5. RECEIVE HELP - I don't know about you, but I believe I am capable of anything. This strong confidence and self-assuredness, however, often has me thinking I'm completely self-sufficient and alone, often in time of need, when really, if I simply accepted an outstretched hand, a little love, support and guidance from another human being or, as is often the case, my Higher Power, I'd be up and away onto the next great opportunity in no time at all! Without fear of what others may think, without concern of judgement, or some mythical belief that if you accept help you are not competent or capable, graciously accept the help of others. They may not have all the answers, but perhaps with their help, you'll find the wisdom within yourself to make the right decision on what steps to take next.
6. TAKE ACTION - Moving out of your state of being into a state of doing, with massive effort, focus, drive, passion, and determination is paramount to getting out of our heads and into our hearts. In this instance, that little "ding" indicating a text message was the alarm bell that went off that incited me to make a move! I could have sat in that chair for the rest of the evening dwelling in remorse, feeling sorry for myself, and berating myself for my error. Yet, if we can find the strength to simply get out of that moment - get a glass of water, go for a walk, call a friend, put on some music, read a book, play with your kids, take a shower, do something different and finish it, tick a box on your "easy to achieve" to-do list - ANYTHING that gets you moving and focused on another task, coming back to this one with freshly rejuvenated eyes and an optimistic outlook with assuredly propel you forward! Music stirs my heart! Music brings me into a place of utter bliss, joy, and love. Combined with the new task of actually diving into learning a new instrument - drums at that- was everything and all that I needed to remind me of how amazing and capable I truly am! Each of us has natural gifts and talents - we just need to remind ourselves that we do, and use them.
7. BE GRATEFUL - Once I arrived home later that night, I lay in my bed, unable to sleep. My heart was pounding with the beat of the drums, my feet were tapping, and my mind was singing! There was so much happiness and energy coursing through my blood, in my heart, it was swelling with gratitude. I realised there was one more text message that needed to be sent to my friend before my soul could rest in peaceful slumber for the night:
"It seems that each day there is another surprise blessing from you that lights up my soul, when at so many other times in my life and environment, things seem dark. From day one, your friendship has been a gift. There is so much gratitude in my heart right now..."
Not only was I thankful for the time we had shared that evening, I was thankful for all the blessings in my life... grateful for my friends, the music, my ability to overcome, my strength and perseverance in challenging times, my children, my home, the comforting cuddles from my kitty cats as they snuggled beside me, the view from my apartment, the daily hardships and struggles, my body and the fact that it allows me to exercise everyday, my health, the food I eat, my creative abilities to write songs, the beautiful place in which I live, the freedom "to be" in a world where everyone is trying to be something or like someone else, this blessed life I've been given, new opportunities, even the devastating moments when everything seems to have crashed and burned (when, really, they haven't)... for it all, I am grateful.
...and in the midst of everything, be always giving thanks, for this is God's perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes 5:18 TPT)