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I have a friend whose son just left for college. As she pored over his baby pictures, College Guy packed and told me about school. “This is going to be so much harder than high school AP classes.” “I already need more money for textbooks.” “I’m sure I’m going to be pulling all-nighters.”
Sound exhausting? Don’t worry – there’s still plenty of time to turn it around.
The August series, Easy Fixes, has focused on quick ways to address everyday problems. Here’s your parting gift – the technique of the opposite day.
It’s a process by author Peggy Rometo. It didn’t start on a mountain top. It was borne out of frustration.
When block after block appears, Peggy will ask herself, “What’s the exact opposite of what I would normally do? If I could start today all over again, how could I have the opposite day?”
Hold up – this isn’t a license to let your inner Darth Vader cut loose from the dark side. Simply flip your thinking past the tried and true to whatever pops into your head. Ideas first, decisions later.
College Guy has a golden opportunity to have the opposite day. His subconscious attitude is “the only quality work is hard work, so I’m preparing myself for life to be hard.” Instead, he could change his mind to, “College is going to be challenging, but I’m excited about pursuing my passion.” This outlook applies the Soul Boss principle to amp up the joy and turn down the struggle.
This series has demonstrated how people can choose the opposite day.
- “Get the Easy Stuff Right” showed how to give up right fighting. Restrictive words like “always” and “never” were replaced with “I’m willing”. Above, College Guy was projecting how overwhelmed he was going to be, and he hadn’t even stepped on campus. He could have said, “I’m willing to be surprised.”
- “Avoid the Fight” focused on heading off touchy situations before they spin out of control. You can use steps like: (1) remembering your original intention; (2) asking discerning questions like “Am I seeing this clearly?” and “Is this mine to do?”; and (3) using mindfulness to reign in and transform emotions that are flying fast and furious.
- “Just Like Me” revealed how keeping an open mind is essential to staying in the flow. We’re drifting when we look for the “one size fits all” remedy, the moment everyone is just like us. Changes begin when we recognize that complexity and ambiguity are a problem for the ego’s shadow side, not Spirit.
- In “Plan Be“, we learned how to rise above upsetting moments. Taking random actions just to feel like we’re doing something rarely works out. When we’re feeling anxious and unhappy, we have an invitation to Plan Be.
This is the week to surprise yourself with creative solutions. Find one thing to get moving, one small shift. When you’re slipping back to those cliché, knee-jerk reactions, stop and ask yourself, “How can I have the opposite day?”