Previously in I Just Wanna Feel Better, we talked about habits and the tenacious steps that we have to implement in order to disrupt and alter them. We talked about how we feel in our bodies and how …
Previously in I Just Wanna Feel Better, we talked about habits and the tenacious steps that we have to implement in order to disrupt and alter them. We talked about how we feel in our bodies and how we can, depending on the attitude that we take, improve the quality of our lives—“quality” meaning that we feel better and are more able to take on the challenges that face us.
Feeling better is a slow process, at least for me. First, it does not feel like a month has passed since I wrote to you and time is moving incredibly fast. I feel that I am moving incredibly slow. Last week, when managing editor Annemarie Schuetz reminded me of my column deadline, I told her that I would write about a slump month.
“LOL. Good topic! Everyone feels slumpy,” she replied.
Everyone feels slumpy. Sounds right to me.
In my mind, a slump—“a sudden severe or prolonged fall in the price, value or amount of something,” according to Webster—is uniquely intertwined with my nagging thoughts that I will never be able to change whatever it is that I want to change. It’s a mental attitude that takes over my body and free will.
I came across Chris Winfield’s Inc. Magazine article titled “13 Ways to Break Out of Any Slump and Get Motivated.” He starts with the story of baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who, in 1965, was in a 0-24 slump. “Twenty-four consecutive times he got up and got out,” Winfield wrote. He goes on to give 13 tips on how to get out of a slump. (See sidebar.)
And wouldn’t you know it, most of the tips have to do with our habits and our attitudes.
In my own quest for feeling better, I signed up for a year-long Course in Miracles program. Each day, Marianne Williamson, via recorded video, reads a workbook lesson from the 1976 book by Helen Schucman. The primary premise is that the greatest “miracle” is the act of simply gaining a full “awareness of love’s presence” in a person’s life. The lessons help move one’s thinking from based on fear to based on love.
I am seeing the advantage of these daily lessons, in which I contemplate a simple concept that changes each day. Some of my favorites have been “I could see peace instead of this,” and “I have no neutral thoughts.”
Now I notice that how I think about something really affects how I experience it. I am beginning to pull apart some of my habits of fear-based thinking. I am beginning to let go of some of the grievances that are a natural part of life.
Back to my slump. In dealing with a slump, there are steps that we can take to alter how we think about it. What responates with me the most is acknowledging that we are in a slump and that it has something to teach us.
It has something to teach us about ourselves. About how we speak to ourselves. And how we act in the world, how we respond with our own particular agency.
Ironically delicious, it is in that space of inquiry that we can be grateful.
Using the slump as a teacher helps us feel better. It helps us become more resilient. It helps us call on our strengths, not our weaknesses. It gets us to a place of generative gratitude, a chosen mindset and energy level. It gets to a sense of gratitude that is not conditional.
This non-conditional gratitude was the topic of Rabbi Lawrence Zierler’s April 7 essay about Dayainu, the Passover thought that means “It would have been enough.”
Dayainu asks us to be thankful for what we have.
Thankful for a day in a slump.
Can we use these opportunities, as trying as they are, to actually get ourselves to generative gratitude—gratitude that has no conditions?
Magically, it is enough when we really take the attitude that it is enough. Moreover, in that space, we have the opportunity to be grateful for what is. This transforms it.
It’s a way to move ourselves out of a slump.
And as for Willie Mays: How did he do during that horrible season in which he went 0-for-24?
He wound up breaking the National League record for home runs and being named MVP. Not a bad way to recover from a slump.
May it be so for us all.
“I Just Wanna Feel Better” is a monthly health-reflection column by Rev. Laurie Stuart. The goal of the column is to connect readers who want to explore and create community and change around their own well-being. To read more in this series, check out Laurie's Publisher’s Log.
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