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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Appreciate EVERY Moment NOT Just the GOOD ONES

I will begin with a poem by Rumi called "The Guest House":

This being human is a guesthouse
every morning a new arrival
a joy, a depression, a meanness
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
Still treat each guest honorably
he may be cleaning you out
for some new delight!

The dark thought, the shame, the malice
Meet them at the door laughing
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

This is one of my favorite poems and is posted in front of me between my computer monitor and my vision board. These are words that keep me sane through what might seem like "the end of my little world" at the time. It is so easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment, dramatize, and be so involved in your own despair, worry or anger that it spirals you downward. We have been taught that "bad things happen" and we react accordingly, often before we even have time to process the experience as a whole. Sometimes when we have gone over the same negative pattern of thinking so many times the initial problem becomes twenty times worse than it originally was.

You Can Learn from EVERY Emotion

EVERY moment and every emotion that you ever experience should not be judged harshly. If you judge and say things for example like:

"But I KNOW this should not have happened",
"They are so wrong -- how could they have done that to me?" or
"But they were PERFECT for me -- how could this relationship end?!"....

you are missing out on an important opportunity. Every experience can be learned from. Every strong emotion examined for cause and effect. Be grateful for the times that might seem the toughest because within you can find your greatest strength and learning experience. You stand to learn a lot about yourself and why your life is where it is at that moment when you are aware. Then you can fully experience life around you instead of letting it flow thoughtlessly on autopilot from moment to moment.

I have touched on this many times in "Do I Have to Be Positive ALL the Time for the Law of Attraction to work?" and in my several posts on consciousness. I was one to berate myself for feeling badly -- "But Jen, you study all this positive stuff -- how can you allow yourself to feel badly?" Now when I feel badly about a situation I ask myself different questions:

How AM I feeling? (What specific emotion)
What caused this? (Is it just this situation at hand or is there more baggage attached to it?)
What can I learn from this?
What can happen next that this turns out to be OK? (Just imagining the possibilities can bring a new calmness)

I then try and set a limit for the emotion if it is sadness, frustration, worry.... It is wonderful to process and feel fully a "negative" emotion but is not healthy if you just sit there and dwell in it indefinitely. There are techniques to "let go" if you find yourself hanging onto the negative emotion for too long.

There is also the issue that if you do not honor or process these emotions you will be creating blockages as well as not learning from the situation. When you do not learn from the experience -- history will repeat itself and you will be tested again until you learn the lesson. Even after you think you have learned that lesson it is possible that you will be presented with a similar situation again that will ensure you have mastered and know how to handle it. I recently encountered this and talk about it in my post, "5 Steps for 'Letting Go' and Moving Forward".

How Do You KNOW it Was Bad?

Tim Brownson is a fellow blogger that makes me laugh out loud he is so funny. I just got done reading Tim Brownson's book, "Don't Ask Stupid Questions? (There are no Stupid Questions)" and found a very relevant chapter "Had a Bad Day -- How do you KNOW?" Tim is also a life coach and I highly recommend checking out more on his blog, "A Daring Adventure " and his books. Tim has very wonderful, funny, genuine and insightful writing.

I am a BIG believer in "everything happens for a reason". KNOWING that can get you through just about anything. Even the most in tune intuitive does not know what will happen moment to moment and what it all means in the big scheme of things. How do you know your last relationship wasn't meant to end so someone better for you could come along? How do you know that job you "wanted so badly" wouldn't have made you miserable in 6 weeks? The truth is NO ONE can know why everything happens at the time it happens. I have seen first hand how looking at things this way produces new results and leaves you open to all the possibilities.

There are times when the reasons are easy to find when you examine the situation. When my husband took a job 5 hours away from the family it was easy to find SOME of the good in it; more money, more opportunity to sharpen skills, time to work on his websites and martial arts journal.... and some of the reasons are being revealed to us now.... he is making great contacts, he is able to reconnect with friends, I am getting my first alone quiet time (at night when the kids go to sleep) in 10 years..... Sure, I miss him and there are some times I get pretty sad about it and feel his absence greatly. What helps is allowing myself to be sad for that little while and also KNOWING we will be stronger for it as individuals and as a couple and appreciating all the things we are learning about ourselves and life in general through this process. I know there are lessons in this and welcome the experience instead of concentrating on how much I miss him which would make me miserable and accomplish nothing!

It is so important to "Listen to Your self-talk" when you are going through what might seem like a "trying" time. Are you in your old habits of telling yourself how bad things are and worrying or are you opening up to the possibility that you just MIGHT NOT KNOW EVERYTHING and maybe things are going this way for a reason?

When I was ill I was constantly telling myself how sick I was. I was worried about how tests would come out, I was busily making my next doctor appointments, I WAS my illness and therefore gave my body no time to be healthy. The way you talk to yourself, your reactionary habits, how you process emotions are all so important to your well being. Being "conscious" of your emotions and self-talk takes some time and you will have relapses (believe me I know). But as Mr. Tolle pointed out in the Oprah/Tolle Webinar on Eckhart Tolle's, "A New Earth", the lapses become more and more infrequent and farther apart. I am no Tolle but it is amazing how far I have come in the last 18 months. Once you are aware that YOU are the only one responsible for the "voice in your head" and start listening rather than letting the corresponding emotions or bodily reactions rule you... You will learn to appreciate ALL your emotions, know that they do in fact serve a purpose and celebrate every gorgeous (and not so gorgeous) moment this life has to offer you.


Tim Brownson said...

I'd only ever heard of Rumi though Wayne Dyer books, that was until I just went back to the UK. I took two books with me, one by Deepak Chopra and one by Thich Nhat Hanh, both of which quoted him extensively.

We only have the moment we're in and we have the choice to either enjoy it or not. Why does it sometimes seems such a tough call?

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Tim, You are right, it does SEEM difficult for us to grasp but really there is nothing simpler... The good thing is there are lots of people trying to spread this simple message and once you do start to "get it" there really is no turning back! Thanks for your inspiring book, blog and for commenting. Gratefully, Jenny

Bruno LoGreco said...

It is so important for us to take a moment to ask ourselves the tough questions - The toughest part is wanting and spending time with yourself to ask the important questions.

Even the ones that have been enlightened could have a bad moment, or a bad day - we are all humans and we should be able to feel sadness - The trick is to learn from the experience, not dwell over it.

Being alone isn't that bad - like you say Jen - its an opportunity for someone to reconnect with self - Everything always happens for a reason - the reason may not be obvious on the onset, but in time the reason will surface.

Excellent post Jen!

Lyman Reed said...

Jenny... this is a great post and point. We spend so much time running away from what we call "negative" emotions, that we miss much of what life has to offer. Thanks so much for writing this.

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Bruno, Yes, time alone is not the worst thing... especially since it has been so long since I have had ANY! I am using the time to set goals in things I would not have worked on if Ray was around. (Lucid dreaming for ex. -- I would not be writing down dreams if I had to turn on the light at 2AM and he was here)! There are good sides to everything and once we realize that life becomes a lot more enjoyable AND exciting! When we are open to the possibility of something being a "blessing in disguise" it becomes much easier to find that blessing! Always great to have comments from you! Thank you! Gratefully,

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Lyman, Thank you so much for your nice words. I really appreciate you visiting and taking the time to comment. Some of what gets misinterpreted when people study positive thinking is that we have to remain positive all the time -- but that is not who we are as a species. We have emotions for a reason and I believe they are to learn and grow from as well as to use as guidelines to shape our lives. Thanks again Lyman -- you're very welcome -- I am happy you enjoyed my post. Gratefully, Jenny

Leena said...

Hi Jenny,

I am so much older than you are that I can say from experience that you are right. If nothing else, all bad experiences make you stronger.
I have had very tight times financially in my life and those times were very hard, but they gave back something that is very valuable. My kids learned that if they wanted something, they had to earn it themselves. Now that over 10 years have passed and both are grown-up's, they have a much healthier relationship with working and money than most of their friends have. It has also reflected to education. Both of them have taken studying seriously and done very well.
Staying positive all the time is in my opinion sort of denying things. Negative emotions should be handled but in suitable portions so that they don't get too overwhelming.

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Leena, Thank you for your personal comments.... and I am happy that your children did benefit from the situation. Handling and dealing with negative emotions is definitely the way to do it. So glad things turned out good for you Leena! Thanks again for coming by and commenting. Love, Jenny

Irene said...

Hi Jenny, I "stumbled" my way here ... great blog you've got there! I am reading "The Breakthrough Experience" by Dr. John Demartini now which subscribes to the same belief system, so this post really resonates with me. We really need to embrace all our experiences - good and bad - and find our equilibrium. It's not easy, but the rewards are worth the effort. :)

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Irene, So glad you found your way here and enjoy my blog. The rewards are definitely worth it and all being said and done it really does not take a crazy amount of effort. People will take courses to learn software, new businesses but somehow don't believe it as important to work on their own person.... my hope is that there is a fundamental change in this and we all start to realize just how important it is. Thanks Irene for commenting! Gratefully, Jenny

cindacrawford said...

Hi, Jenny,

I'm Cinda. I admire what you're doing and respect the wisdom that you're learning. It's amazing in hindsight how the "tragedy" of chronic illness can turn into a "blessing."

Rumi is a favorite of mine, too. Your comments on the value of gratitude and appreciation cannot be underestimated. Check out what I'm doing when you have time and let me know your thoughts.

Thanks, Cinda Crawford
Host of the Health Matters Show at

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Cinda, Yes, I am very thankful for my illness as it brought me to the space I am in now. I will check out your site and am happy to meet someone else addressing healing. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Gratefully, Jenny

bart said...

thanks for this thoughtful post jenny, it's given me a lot to think about at a moment in my life in which i'm reevaluating a good deal of my own life situation, and i'll probably be reading it a couple of more times to satisfy my own intuitive nature :-)

i too believe in "everything happens for a reason" although i would appreciate a little warning sometimes :P


Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Bart, I am so happy my post is helpful to you. Yes, life can take us by surprise and be unpredictable and part of it is learning to "roll with the punches" and KNOW a reason for something happening will show itself. I still offer free 1/2 hour counseling sessions is that is ever of any interest to you. Thanks for coming by and commenting! Gratefully, Jenny

Steve Mills said...

Nice post, love the Rumi poem and also the way that you approach these different aspects of the spirit

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Steve, Thank you for your nice words and for coming by and commenting. I read the Rumi poem every day -- it is a wonderful reminder to me especially for those "trying" times. Gratefully, Jenny

Patricia Singleton said...

Jenny, what a wonderful poem and post. Without the bad, we wouldn't know to appreciate the good. This is a lesson that I have been working on in regard to feelings.

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Patricia, Yes it is an ongoing lesson in my life as well. I'm getting better at stopping myself when I do seem to be letting my emotions get the better of me and zoning in on WHAT is going on and taking the steps I highlighted in this post. It's baby steps and practice and if you are too hard on yourself in the process -- that is just another thing to take note of, assess and move on.... Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! Love, Jenny

cory said...

Jenny – Great Rumi poem! It was hard for me to be appreciative of pain and health challenges. It felt like my world was imploding. Having experienced health challenges has definitely helped me to be grateful for what I labeled as either good or bad. Determined to focus on feeling good, I made a list of 100 things why this health experience was good. The first 15 were difficult, but then everything shifted. It became easy to get to 100. Thanks for the great reminder to be appreciative of both the bad and the good.

May comfort be yours, Cory

Jenny Mannion said...

Hey Cory, As you said the first 15 were "difficult" but I am happy you pushed through that to come up with the other 85! Once you begin to shift your thought process it does become easier and easier to come up with more to be grateful for. So happy you gained strength and awareness through your illness as I did - that is something I will always be grateful for! Thanks for commenting. Love, Jenny

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