Doorways of Support and Inspiration: Facing Obstacles
Becoming the Artist of Your Day; a Reframing Process
by Nancy Bloom, © 2001
A lot of us make lists about what we’re going to do every day. Most of these lists include work and chore-related things like: take the car to the repair shop, call the people on my committee, finalize the report, etc, etc-generally not the kinds of things that inspire you to leap out of bed in the morning.
I’m proposing that you create a different kind of list-one that can shift the whole experience of your day-regardless of the challenges you face. On this list, you consider: “Given the kind of day that it is and given that I have certain things I need to do, how do I want my day to be?” In essence, creating this list lets you become the artist of your day.
For example, when my son was still in diapers, I lived in an isolated spot an hour’s drive from the nearest Laundromat. Before I knew about becoming an artist of my day, I would think, “I don’t like to drive and now I have to drive a whole hour to the Laundromat to do my laundry, an experience I also don’t enjoy.” After I had the listing process, I would write: “I will meet at least one wonderful person at the Laundromat and have a marvelous connection with him or her. I will totally enjoy my drive to town.” This was during the time when there were gas lines at the gas station, which I used to resist as well, so I would also write: “I will really enjoy waiting in the gas line.” Having written this, I was inspired to think of things to enhance that waiting experience, like bringing a poetry book I had been wanting to read.
Doing the list worked. Instead of moving through the day with dread, I enjoyed myself. I appreciated the beautiful countryside on my drive. I met some wonderful people at the Laundromat, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading my book while waiting in the gas line.
Now, when I’m being the artist of my day, I’ll include things on my list like: “All my interactions today are heartwarming and fulfilling and really bless everyone concerned.” Or, “The presentation I am doing today goes really well and is transformative for all concerned. My preparation for it flows easily and well.” Today, I was aware of having low energy, so I wrote: “Everything I do today is done by grace through me. I don’t really have to effort.”
How To Paint Your Day
When creating your own list, think of it as making a painting of your day. As the artist, decide:
- What are the pieces I want or need to include in the picture?
- Where do I need to put some bright spots? Maybe you’re continually busy and over-worked and only have 20 minutes for lunch. What can you do to add some brightness and nourish yourself in that time. Perhaps you can go outside and get some sun or really stop to look at and appreciate the flowers.
- What attitude do I want to convey and carry through this painting, through this day? For example, “Today, I move through my entire day with an attitude of gratitude.” “Today I’m fully present in everything I do.” “Today, if I have a tendency to condemn myself, I quickly move to self-forgiveness.”
Creating this list doesn’t require much time. You can do it in two minutes in the morning while sitting down to have tea or coffee, or in the evening before you go to bed. If your day starts going haywire from the first moment you awaken, get out a piece of paper at 2 p.m. and paint a picture of the rest of your day. I once read an example from Unity Church, which suggested that if you’re in the middle of a difficult meeting at work, take out your list and write down something like: “This meeting with resolve harmoniously, and we will agree on two points about which we will all feel good by the end of the afternoon.” Don’t worry about anyone at the meeting wondering what you’re writing. While you’re choreographing how you want the meeting to go, others will simply think you are taking notes. One of my clients successfully uses this process at meetings all the time.
Reframing Major Challenges
Becoming an artist of your day can help you reframe major challenges, such as health concerns, as well. While you may not be able to choreograph the circumstance that has occurred, you can influence your response to it. One of my clients was a woman in her sixties with lung cancer. One lung had already been removed and, once a week, she was driving a great distance, a couple hours each way, over twisty roads to get radiation. The amazing thing was that she continued to have the energy to make the drive and experienced no side effects to the radiation whatsoever. The doctor was mystified and asked her, “Why is it that you, amongst all my patients, are having no side effects?” She said, “Because every time you put that machine over me, I say, “Thank you lord for your healing, thank you lord for your healing.”
If you have a major health challenge, think of how you want the events of your own day to unfold. Your own list of the day might include items such as: “I experience this medical intervention as truly healing.” “The doctors and nurses today are divinely inspired as my healers.” “I feel supported and cared for in all my interactions with doctors, nurses, technicians and other medical professionals.”
Regardless of the kind of list you create, remember-your thoughts have power. Your words have power. There’s power in the kinesthetic action of writing. And, above all, your intention has power. In combination, they help you become the artist of your day.
Copyright © 1999 Life Challenge