“Things are going really well,” my client said.
He was talking softly, as if he was afraid someone would overhear him.
It seemed as if he was muted – not just his voice, but his body energy was quiet.
“What’s going on? “ I wondered out loud. “You could be celebrating this.”
He shook his head. “If I start to feel good, it will only be a disappointment when it doesn’t last. It ‘s better just to let it be.”
Ah yes, the old “someone will strike me for enjoying my life” syndrome.
There are cultures where, in olden times, a mother would spit and deny your words if you admired her baby for fear of the evil eye.
We may not consciously believe in evil eyes, but we have a hard time enjoying what is good, savoring the surprise gift, the undeserved blessing. Too quickly we turn our gaze back to the difficult in our lives, what we treat as the Real stuff.
What gets lost in this movement away from the good is any chance to relax our hyper-vigilant worry and allow some comfort, some good times, some ease into our daily living.
This is even more crucial if you live with an unpredictable illness and an unpredictable body. It may seem more rational to stay on the side of watching for what can go wrong, and noticing the downsides to daily life. It is a reliable truth that we will feel badly.
But when we create that mental habit, it becomes harder to notice and savor what is going right. The hours without pain. The doctor who gets it. The sweet night’s sleep. The ability to hold someone we love without wincing. The new pair of shoes that feels just right.
These small – and significant -events can be life altering. They can wake us up to a compassionate Reality that we may be missing or protecting ourselves from. But to experience them, we have to get over our habit of privileging the negative. We have to take a deep breath and trust the good moment – even if it won’t last.
Every time we focus on what is going well, we deepen our capacity to receive goodness and love and health. We open our hearts towards our own precious lives a little more, and there is space, and possibility.
Try it this week.
Notice where you may be pushing away hope, or feeling good, or allowing something to be working out. Take a breath, and let yourself take in some blessing for you and your life.
See what difference that can make.