In last week’s blog post I talked about reframing our lives as creations we are helping to make. What does that look like? The practice of reframing can be very powerful. When you change the way you perceive your life, or even just a specific situation, it can drastically change your experience of it. We all tell ourselves a story in our heads about who we are and what we’re doing and what (if anything) we think it means. Frequently, the story we tell ourselves is depressing and destructive. We tell ourselves we aren’t good enough, smart enough, young enough… whatever enough. We tell ourselves that the daily annoyances of life are just that: annoyances, preventing us from doing or being what we really want. That irritating coworker is making my day bad. That screaming toddler is preventing me from being with my friends. And if the cat pukes just one more time, she may find herself air-born.
But, when these situations are reframed as a part of something larger and more meaningful to us, they can take on a whole new aspect. If I believe that relationships are the most important things in life, then learning how to function with difficult coworkers is really just a spiritual discipline and exercise helping me improve and grow towards what I was put here to do. Suddenly, that coworker doesn’t seem so annoying…well, they are still annoying, but my capacity for annoyance just grew a lot. If I love cheesy martial arts movies where there is always the wise old master who is never flustered or impatient and imparts skill and wisdom on the young and rash student, I can imagine my day with the toddler where I am the wise and patient master who can do the same damn boring thing over, and over, and over, and still remain serene.
The story we have in our heads about what we are doing and what it means determines how we will experience it. In a TED talk given by game maker Jane McGonigal , she talks about how she got herself through the depression and suicidal thoughts she was having after a brain injury that left her in bed for several months, by re-framing her experience as a video game.
What is it that is meaningful for you? Into what larger and inspiring framework could you situate your daily experiences? What better story can you tell yourself? Is there are story of creativity? Perhaps you can reframe your situation as a performance of living art…how could your performance make that live art scene more beautiful?
But, if the cat pukes just one more time…well, I got nothin’.
(Photo of old book bindings at the Merton College library came from Tom Murphy VII via Wikimedia Commons. )