What’s your time loop lesson?

I prefer to view my life as some sort of a show or film in perpetual development rather than some irksome idea of reality that’s so emphatically forced on us at every turn. Carrie Fisher summed it up: “I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to BE art.” Yes. What she said. Me too. And naturally I haven’t forgotten about the rest of you. Same thing goes. I believe we’ve all got our own shows going on. And we’re the stars! But the best part? It IS art! And art provides messages. To those who choose to see it that way, of course. I do so choose.

The loop movie concept has been thrown in my lap so much lately that I couldn’t help but pay attention. From Groundhog Day to The 12 Dates of Christmas, to Before I Fall, I love a good time loop theme. Though I ordinarily stay away from “slasher” films, the lure of the time loop enticed me into succumbing to not only Happy Death Day, but also it’s sequel, Happy Death Day 2U at my daughter’s insistence that, given it was PG-13 and not R, I would be able to handle it. No spoilers– I can safely assure you she was right.

The one consistent in every loop movie, as I see it. is that the universe is giving the main character an opportunity to right something in their life that has caused them to become stuck. The character generally is slow in not only realizing that they are, indeed, stuck in any sense of their life, but also that they are in any way responsible for their inability to move forward. So the universe gives them the gift of hitting the rewind button on a crucial day of their life and allowing them to relive it over and over and over again until they finally get it. This takes a substantial amount of time as we watch the main character’s emotions shift from puzzlement, to denial, to anger, to acceptance, and finally resolution as they eventually come to realize that THEY are their own way out. Yes Dorothy- you always had the power!

There was a time when it would amaze me that the main character couldn’t “see” in themselves what was almost always excruciatingly obvious to the viewer. I was humbled- painfully so, I might add– when I reached a point in my life when my true soul training began and I realized that I was that ignorant main character, wandering around in a clueless fog, blaming my situation on the circumstances, other people, bad luck, or whatever my rationalization of the day happened to be, for the state I’d gotten myself “stuck” in. This is the type of awakening that you don’t become aware of one day and master the next. Just like in the movies, you’ve got to keep waking yourself up day after day and choosing to live a little bit more effectively than you did the day before, focusing on the process instead of the outcome, moving in faith that you’ll eventually reach the next level on your journey.

You may be wondering what any of this has to do with you, since you’re probably fairly certain that Groundhog’s Day will only come once each year for you. If so, I urge you to look again and pay attention to ALL that is shown to you repeatedly. The co-worker who ruffles your feathers on a daily basis. The number on the scale that continues to go up. The house in a constant state of chaos that leaves you stressed and anxious. The spouse who you’ve been having the same tired arguments over the same tired things for a multitude of tired years. The anger that results regularly from other drivers, shoppers, family members, co-workers, etc… The nightly glass of wine that has turned into 2, then 3, then a bigger glass… THIS is your Groundhog Day. SEE what it is attempting to show you! Or you can continue to sleepwalk through your life, making it about somebody/something else, while you continue to do what you’ve always done, consistently winding up in the same place, waking up the next day to do it all again. This is YOUR show. How you choose to spin it is up to you.

A magic space- Part 2

So you’ve read Part 1 and in your effort to lose weight, stop drinking, eat healthfully, stop smoking, etc… (fill in your own blank of ANYTHING you want to change) have decided that you’re ready to sit in the Space of Want. But how do you start? What will you need? You start with an open-minded willingness to become uncomfortable, understanding that enduring discomfort is necessary for growth and change and will not destroy you. You need to want something. That’s the easy one; we want a variety of things, pretty much continuously. Pinpointing what you want most by delaying or eliminating momentary gratification is the one that will sting. But you can handle it. Each sting you sit through makes the next more tolerable.

The only thing that I can tell you here that you’re not already certain of is your ability to do without anything non-essential to your livelihood. So I’ll say it up front: you have this ability. It’s inherent. Don’t call it willpower and tell yourself that you have none. Call it an ability that’s essentially a weak muscle that needs to be strengthened and work on strengthening it. The only way to do that is to use it. And that is what you’re doing when you’re sitting in the SOW. You are training yourself to work a muscle that has been neglected. Consider it a workout and be diligent in training by doing the work. This means pushing past what’s comfortable in order to begin a process of breakdown and repair in order to bring about strength and growth. In this case, strength and growth appears in the form of your ever increasing ability to withstand denial of what you want now for what you want most.

As with every workout, your abilities will increase over time. Start small by allowing yourself to feel discomfort. Use routine situations as opportunities to train. By this I mean don’t put that sweater on the instant you get chilly. Turn the water to cold during the last minute of your shower. Skip a meal here and there and allow yourself to experience hunger. Get uncomfortable so that you will understand that you are bigger than the discomfort! As this becomes easier, add the “weight” of working on the more difficult habits/behaviors you want to eradicate. This will put you in a position to more readily adapt to not having what you want the very second you want it, thus enabling you to dig deeper and uncover what you want most.

We are each individuals, which is why there is never one precise “cookie cutter” method for anything in life that will work for everyone. I’d be wary of those who try to convince you otherwise. That is why it is essential that you sift through what you read here or anywhere else and dig deep within in order to seek, then utilize, that which speaks to you in a way that sheds light where you were having difficulty finding any. In my own experience with every soul training exercise I’m working on, this has meant slowing down. The most difficult part of sitting in the SOW for me was sitting through what I wanted to rush past or escape completely through methods, substances, or people outside of myself that would “take the edge off”. It still crosses my mind to do the same thing and in that moment I’ll believe I WANT to do that thing-that-I used-to-do-to-make-it-all-“better”. But the muscle has been strengthened and the mind has been trained to slow down. Which gives me time to choose. And that time increases my odds of choosing wisely.