Black coffee tastes so so good sometimes, actually all of the time.
Perspective shapes our reality, this I know. I have learned to look at my pain, my suffering and change the lenses of my glasses to interpret sorrow as beauty, gray as indigo and a cold dewy morning as a warm vibrant sunset.
And yet sometimes I struggle. Fear arises. When things seem to be too good to be true, when things seem to be going "too well," the mind creates elaborate stories of potential realities using the set, director and cast from past traumatic experiences.
And with this faulty perspective, we succumb to fear, feeding into the viscous cycle of fantasizing our story playing out in the 3D. Maybe how we will react, maybe even how we will overcome it and move on.
This, of course, is dangerous. Sure, over time we can change our perceptions with neurolinguistic programming or meditation. Through those activities we can actually re-wire the neuroplasticity of our brains to create new neural pathways of thoughts, and since our thoughts shape our reality, we can then change our 3D reality to be more "positive," thus becoming not only a new avenue but a new arena for growth.
Now, while we work on the long-term task of altering our perception, we can change our perspective immediately. We have control over our minds, believe it or not.
Patanjali defines yoga as "quieting the mind-stuff." Choosing to quiet the mind-stuff is a decision we can actively choose every second of every minute of every day. When we see or experience something unpleasant, we can choose to pause and analyze it from a new perspective before allowing a memory or sensory experience to store in our brain, creating a negative neuropathway which would lead to more suffering, only creating a new trigger for our negative emotions.
We see this most with children who experience trauma. Obviously, most children aren't raised with an awareness that their thoughts or perspectives alter their reality.
Growing up my mother was going through a rough time and would sometimes have explosive episodes. One time she had decided the house was haunted and hired a medium to come over and sage the home.
At the time I was around 12 or so and my room was my oasis, my personal space and my safe space. I expressed to her that I didn't want her to come into my room with the sage. My reaction triggered her and she exploded with rage, asking me what I had been hiding, suggesting I was possessed by a devil and hitting me with a broom.
I'm sharing this story with you to show you how we can change our perspectives to disallow traumatic memories to store in our minds and reveal themselves later in life.
Looking back on that memory, if had the knowledge and tools I do now, I would've seen how that series of events was all trauma-based.
My mother frequently consumed alcohol, so she may have been intoxicated. She did have a genuine fear that bad energy was in the home.
Finances were rough, we didn't know if or when we'd lose our home. And my parents' marriage was unstable and unpredictable.
She believed that by cleansing the negative energy, maybe she could have control over her life again and provide a better home and environment for her husband and children whom she ultimately loved.
Being afraid, she saw me as defiant without a cause. She did not ask why I felt how I did. Fearful of what she could not control, she was nervous and probably realizing that as I was developing into the woman I am today, she could not control me anymore.
So she reacted in the way she had always known, in the way her body decided to — with a fight or flight response.
My mother's alcohol consumption was not something I realized I carried with me as traumatic until about a year ago, when I realized I had been abusing alcohol and chose to stop consuming it.
Something I'm working on is noticing my triggers.
The other evening I was at my boyfriend's house and noticed he had a few drinks.
My stomach fell, my palms began sweating. My inner-child had stored memories of experiences like the one I just described and the scene triggered a physical response from me.
Clearly he could tell something was wrong and at first when he asked I froze. I decided to stop and analyze where it was coming from,
I determined that I too had fears of the unknown. I felt out of control. But I chose to stop those fears and change my perspective of the situation. i realized and rationalized that having a couple of drinks was normal, and that he would not react in the same way my mother had.
I expressed this all to him and he met me with understanding and comfort, something I'm grateful for.
Look, yes we can change our perception over time with a lot of work, and I think we should definitely aim to do so.
But something we can do RIGHT NOW is change our perspective. Through svadhyaya or self-study, we can identify our triggers from moments where we didn't know this, and alchemize them into more tools for growth, expansion and connection.