Let’s play a little game together. Right now, where ever you are, I want you to take a moment and look around the room you’re in, and find everything you can see that is the color green. No matter how big or small it is, look for and notice as many green things as you possibly can. I’ll wait.
Did you do it?
Were you surprised by how many green things you hadn’t really seen before? Maybe little details started popping out at you, like a tiny leaf in a picture, or a pencil eraser, or a paperclip. Did you also notice how your mind started to draw your eye to things that were a shade of blue or grey or yellow, that were almost green?
Now, let me ask you, without taking a look around again: While you were looking for all of the green things, how many things did you see around you that are red? My guess is, not nearly as many as green things, right?
Now, take a look around for the red things. Oh, look! They’re all over! And how about the oranges and pinks and purples that are almost red? There they are!
This works anywhere. It’s the same thing that happens when you begin to drive a new car, and it suddenly seems that there are so many more of that same car on the roads than there were before you drove one. Or, when you first learn that you’re having a baby, and suddenly pregnant bellies are everywhere. So, why does this happen?
It’s really all a matter of where we allow our attention to go. As human beings, our brain is capable of taking in far more information than we can consciously process all at once. So, we take more notice of what we choose to pay attention to.
Where we choose to focus our attention determines what we notice more of. It’s like listening to music while sitting at home – we notice the lyrics and the sound of the notes far more than we notice the sounds of the floorboards creaking, and the wind blowing outside, and the fish tank bubbling in the corner, and the dishwasher running in the next room. All of these things exist, and we can hear all of them at once, but where we’re consciously choosing to place our attention is on the music we’re enjoying.
Now here’s another one: I invite you to remember a moment in the last six months when you felt truly content. It can be anything. It doesn’t have to be a major life event. It can be as small as getting a hug from a good friend, or taking the first bite of a truly enjoyable meal. Remember what it felt like to be in that moment. As you focus on that memory, recalling exactly how right and good you felt, I invite you to notice the response to the recalling of that moment that happens in your body.
Maybe you noticed that the tension in your shoulders released a bit, or your breathing became a little softer and deeper, or your heart rate slowed down and you sighed. Even though this particular moment may have happened weeks ago, you were probably able to feel a little more content, like you did then, just by thinking of it again.
Where we choose to place our attention determines what we see, or hear, or feel more of, right now. An interesting effect follows this – just like noticing the “almost greens” – where our attention goes, our intention follows. This means that when we’re making the choice to look for more positive experiences, we begin to actually experience more positives, simply because we began to notice them. It’s almost as if a magic switch inside of us gets flipped, and suddenly more and more good begins to come our way!
The possibilities for more peace, less stress, more joy, and more well-being exist around us all the time. When we notice happiness, we begin to live in more happiness. When we notice kindness, we experience more kindness. When we notice more peace, we invite more peace. We can choose this consciously, every day, at any time, by saying “in this moment, I choose now to feel more like I did when…”, and it works. In time, this becomes habit, and can be life changing.
We can intentionally nurture this way of living by simply beginning to notice the moments in which we are already feeling joy, comfort, love, safety, awe, and wonder. Catch yourself in moments of feeling good, and simply state, “More like this, please!” Notice what this good feeling is like in your body – your soft shoulders, your relaxed jaw, the open feeling in your chest.
Choose to consciously anchor this feeling as a clear memory, so that you now have it in your memory banks to call upon. It doesn’t really matter whether the moment you are choosing to anchor is a big, “Oh, WOW!” or is simply that moment of calm pleasure when you walk outside and notice that the air is warmer than it was yesterday, and the breeze feels nice. “More like this, please”. It’s a way of directing of your attention, and a focusing of your intention, and expressing a willingness to experience even more that is just like that.
For a positive and empowered birth (or parenting or relationship or business or life) experience, begin noticing the positives that surround you now, and claim them for yourself. Notice the things that are already like exactly what you hope for.
Begin with “I am at peace”, and notice the moments of peace, even in the stressful day. Affirm to yourself, “I choose joy”, and notice the happiness. Focus on “I am loved and appreciated”, and count all the colors and forms that love takes in this day. Declare “I am safe”, and notice the calm, and the trust that grows. They are already there, already within and surrounding you, and always available.
Embrace the power of making a conscious choice, and watch it begin to happen. It is up to you to see them, just like all the shades of green.
More like this, please!