I had a remarkable experience a few days ago. It started as an ordinary moment when I began noticing a familiar feeling. It was a mixture of anxiety and dread. I’ve felt this before – many, many times. But it still caught me my surprise because I thought I’d moved on from my anxiety. And, yet, there it was churning around in my stomach. My mind started racing, “Again? I thought I was done feeling this way! Where is this feeling coming from?” It was in asking that last question that I suddenly experienced a clarity.
When I asked myself, “Where is this feeling coming from?” I instantly thought of the way manufacturers churn out the same products over and over. It felt like I was creating the same emotions over and over, not out of necessity but out of habit. Then, I asked: “Do I want to continue feeling this way?” Absolutely not! And with that, I suddenly had a choice over how I wanted to feel. I discovered that I didn’t have to passively follow my emotions wherever they wanted to go. There was a moment when I simply held the old, familiar feeling as if it were a strange artifact. I examined it, felt the strangeness of it, and then, deciding I didn’t want to keep it, let it go.
My emotions always showed up however they wanted. Most of the time, I wasn’t even aware of how I was feeling. They simply took over and I rode along without a word. With this new discovery, I became the driver.
Next, came the fun part. With this new clarity, I realized that I could feel whatever I wanted. Happiness, joy, success, self-assurance, confidence, love – I could call each of them up at will. When I asked myself to create a feeling of happiness, I was suddenly filled with wave of good feelings. It still amazes me how easily this is. Were they always available to me, waiting to be called on?
Since this experience, I’ve been much more present in each moment. Seeing my anxiety with detachment took away its power over me, and it no longer steers my mind into dark places. Whenever it does come up, I simply ask myself if I want to continue feeling this way. Then, I consciously choose how I want to feel. How we feel and think determines the quality of our lives. By focusing on happiness and success, we change how we interact with the world, and in turn how the world reacts to us.
It’s amazing how one moment turned my inner world into a playground with endless possibilities.