Scenario 1: The rain outside is not the kind of rain that gently taps the window, but the kind of rain that chest bumps the pane from all sides. It’s loud and soft like heavy sighs separated by breath. It’s one of those quiet nights that feels unsettled …like something is about to happen.
It’s warm inside, cozy even, and her focus rests not on the rain, but on something else. Something that pulls at her, and just as quickly, pulls her in. She rests her forehead against the cool glass for a moment, and then a moment later, her breath makes the wet glass snowy. She rolls her head all the way around to lean back against the window pane, and then wills herself to move away.
As she walks through the room, she finds the corner chair where she sits for this kind of thought. The thought started as an inkling, a feeling, and has now developed into a race among many: Why did it have to happen at Christmas time? What did I do wrong? Why does this always happen to me? What was so wrong? I thought everything was going well. I have no one. I am alone on Christmas and I have no one. I have no one. I have no one. She curls up like a little ball, and quietly sobs. Pain does that. It makes you small, and this pain courses through her body as powerfully as the blood that pulses in her veins.
Her next thought brings to mind the Darius Rucker song, “Drinkin and Dialin” … She wants him back. She needs him back. She doesn’t want to be alone, especially when it’s Christmas. Only losers are alone on Christmas.
No answer. The tears fall harder. No answer, again. This time she leaves a message: She didn’t mean it… it was all her fault… come back, please come back. Yes, someone should have taken her cellphone away. The sadness now envelops her entire being, as if she is wrapped tightly in cellophane. The kind of cellophane used to wrap food to keep it fresh, to keep it from moving, to keep it the same. The way it was. She’s paralyzed and lonely, and she doesn’t want to be paralyzed and lonely. She stands there, in the middle of the room, motionless, speechless, unable to understand why she feels so bad, and why this has happened to her. How can God exist if there is so much pain? How can good exist if there are so many callous, mean, selfish, unkind people around her?
Dear reader, what can you imagine her next move to be? She won’t feel paralyzed for long, because that kind of stacked thought experience leads to some kind of action — the energy has to go somewhere. She already has made two calls. What do you think her next action will be? Does she sit and take it or does she do something…anything?
Scenario 2: …It’s warm inside, cozy even, and her focus rests not on the rain, but on something else. Something that pulls at her, and just as quickly, pulls her in. She rests her forehead against the cool glass for a moment, and then a moment later, her breath makes the wet glass snowy. She rolls her head all the way around to lean back against the pain (sic), and then wills herself to move away.
As she walks through the room, she finds a comfy chair in the corner reserved for this kind of thought. The one thought that started as an inkling has now developed into a race among many: Why did it have to happen at Christmas time? What did I do wrong? Why does this always happen to me? What was so wrong? I thought everything was going well. I have no one. I am alone on Christmas and I have no one. I have no one. I have no one. As she slumps her shoulders and shuffles her feet over to the chair, with the full intention of having a good, long cry, she stops mid-stride when she notices the lights of the Christmas tree. There are so many white lights just like stars, she thinks. Then it hits her. She remembered the game she played with a friend where they pretended that each white light was a happy, fun experience, accomplishment or loving memory.
She remembered how it was so fun to think back on it all as they played the game. They even had a good laugh about learning how to walk, talk and go to the bathroom all by themselves! In a way it was silly, and she laughed out loud. She couldn’t help but keep going as the tug of the game started to outweigh the tug of her loss. The more she counted the happy times, the accomplishments, the things she liked and was grateful for, the less she felt alone.
Her thoughts changed, almost in a heartbeat, and she started to think about the book she wanted to finish, the manuscript she wanted to paint, that yummy dessert she was going to make, and that she wanted to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” on TV. She always loved, loved, loved that movie. Then it happened, all the wonderful moments flooded back into her and the pain was gone. It had no place to stay. Her next thought:
This is way better than being in a relationship that breaks my heart, even if it is Christmas.
The chair was left empty, and the rest of the silent night, she did the things she loved, she remembered the people who loved her, and instead of being enveloped in sorrow, she was surrounded by stars.
Same circumstances, but different outcomes. In the first scenario, our heroine was overtaken by thoughts that made her feel powerless, unworthy and alone. In the second scenario, there was a different outcome not because she was smarter or more worthy of love or had better luck. The outcome was different, because she had learned how to use a powerful tool to control her state, and actually used it. That tool is called anchoring.
Our second heroine learned to anchor feelings of love, happiness, and accomplishment with the white lights of the Christmas tree. When she saw the tree, the thoughts of loss and sorrow didn’t stand a chance.
You can use that tool, as well. If sorrow and loss try to blind you from the God-given truth: you are whole. You are not broken, and you do not need to be fixed. You are loved and you are created from the same material as the stars, use it to fill yourself with love and light.
Play the game if you need to, and remember, you are so much more than who you believe yourself to be. Happy Holidays!!
Until next time,
Certified Life Coach and Founder
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org