When I woke up yesterday, I felt a lot of fear in my body. I said to myself, “it’s January 6 and we’re set to push off on February 1st and I have so much left to do and it’s going to be impossible to get all this done!”
In addition, I was up at 4:30am fretting (obsessing, really) about how to move the items we are planning to store to the storage facility. “Should I use our pickup truck and invest in some tie-downs? Should I rent a truck?” These questions were rattling incessantly inside my brain without answers.
This is uncomfortable.
This morning, as if unspoken prayers were being answered, I read a passage in my affirmation book that said,
“If you have tentative and half-hearted beliefs, you will have a tentative and half-hearted life.”
That made me think about my friend, Stan, and something he taught us years ago in a circle of men.
Stan said that most of us live our lives believing that there is a stimulus and then a reaction PERIOD. For example, we see a tiger and we run away. Or, in more modern times, we hear that there’s going to be snow and we worry that it will be too much for us to handle and we won’t be able to get out of our driveway. In both of those examples, we are caught in a STIMULUS – REACTION mode and – here’s the important part – we think it’s out of our control to react differently. We don’t see a way out of this paradigm.
The trick is to notice that there is actually a small space between the two poles called a BELIEF. In the case of the person seeing the tiger, there is an understandable belief that the tiger is dangerous and wants to hurt us. Makes sense. In the case of the upcoming snowstorm, there is a belief that the amount of snow is going to be too much to handle and it will hinder us from completing our plans for the day.
The final step is to acknowledge that we cannot do anything about the stimulus, but we do have some control over our beliefs. And when we change those beliefs, even slightly, the reaction becomes different. It becomes a response instead of a reaction.
In my case, I can get caught up in a stimulus-reaction mode when I look at the date, my house full of stuff, my unpacked camper and my all-too empty work calendar. Putting them all together, I react with fear, of course. Today, though, I affirm that there is a belief present that I can change. I can say, “Scott, you are capable, strong and smart. And things done methodically have always resulted in jobs completed. And you can do it easefully!”