Monday, August 4, 2008

talking to my self ...

Randy Pausch's body could no longer sustain life and so he left it and crossed over this week. Thank you, Randy, for showing and sharing so generously what you've learned on your journey.

Last year, I first learned of and watched his "Last Lecture", as so many others have; like others, I've watched it many times since. I've read several articles and watched Diane Sawyer's special with Randy and his wife, Jai. Although his body was being killed by pancreatic cancer, he was one of the healthiest of people, with wisdom, grace, dreams, spirit, acceptance, understanding and love to sustain him.

He had an incredibly graceful acceptance of the situation and was even able to find the humor and irony in this life transition. We all go through many trials in our lifetimes. We get sick, experience great loss, have our dreams shattered. Some people become destroyed by their sorrows; others become stronger, learning the lessons and moving forward with greater knowledge and awareness and new skills for coping with the vagaries of life.

How do we cope with such things? I remember on the Diane Sawyer interview, being impressed at how Randy's wife, Jai, told of sometimes drifting down into the sorrow of the situation and then stopping herself with a quick and effective "Not helpful."

"Not helpful." Two short words, but with so much meaning. Jai would use those two words almost as an automatic reflex, drawing herself back from the edge of despair because there was nothing helpful or positive or encouraging in that darkness. Self-talk often helps us get through trying circumstances. Helpful words to encourage our selves or to prevent us from negativity.

"Not helpful." I think many of us have phrases, self-talk, mantras, prayers, sayings that we repeat to ourselves, sometimes reflexively.

Mine include:
  • Receive what you have been given (to rremind me to accept and embrace my circumstances)
  • I have everything I need (a good reminder to have a grateful heart)
  • Everything's temporary (things pass us quickly, both the good and the bad)
  • Everything always works out (one of my personal favorites because it's absolutely true. It may not work out the way I want it, but it always works out nonetheless)
  • I am perfect just the way I am (a phrase given to me by a friend)
  • Five years from now, no one will really care about this (a reminder when I'm tempted to work much too late)
  • Do only positive things (this one got me through the first few months after my husband left)
  • Not helpful (I find Jai's phrase incredibly useful in many situations)
  • And one of my favorite meditations when I'm forgetting to connect with the Divine within:

    Be still and know that I am God
    Be still and know that I am
    Be still and know
    Be still

    What phrases, self-talk or thoughts help you connect to the center of your self and get you through the tough times?


    Cecile said...

    What a moving post, Rose! I don't have any words or phrases, but i do believe as you said that things will work out one way or another. I hope I can remember more of these words of wisdom next time I need them. I've been so lucky not to have had to suffer terrible losses in my life.



    Amber said...

    Rose, what a great post. When I'm going through a stressful time, or a period of change, I tell myself, "This is temporary. I am strong. I am brave. This is the lesson I need right now." It does help a lot.

    Kat said...

    Hi Rose!
    This is a wonderful post. My self talk is usually pretty simple.
    I can do this....
    Just breath...
    Everything always works out...funny that you and I the same one. lol!
    and Knock it off.

    Anonymous said...

    Great post Salsa,I watched him for the first time days before he passed. He is/was so powerful, so moving, so thought provoking and so strong. I believe he full filled the final part of his reason for being...he taught us all.
    I thought his desire to "make a net" to catch his children was unforgettable, just as he was.
    I live by the prayer of Serenity.
    I also try to "live in the moment." We are all so rushed anymore we forget to enjoy what IS.
    Appreciate is one I use often & my last.


    Rose said...

    Namaste, Ceci. I pray you never suffer great losses in your life. You are a kind and giving spirit.

    Amber - I'm definitely going to appropriate "This is the lesson I need now." Namaste

    Kat - How great that we share one! With all your great DIY, "I can do this" must be very handy!

    Karen - I, too, love the visual of "making a net" for his children. How fortunate his kids are to have had him, even for so short a time. "Appreciate" and "Believe" - oh, yes, I think we're both on the same page. :-)

    Kat said...

    Rose....I can do this came about when Amy caught the chicken pox. The only place she didnt have them was her eyes. After repeated attempts to get her hospitalized and being turned down. The Dr. assured me I could handle it. Hense...I can do this...
    Just breathe is my version of count to ten
    Knock it off is my version of not helpful. lol!

    paintergal said...

    My mom often reminds me in times of trial, this too shall pass. So true, although sometimes not what I want to hear in the moment!

    Brenda Susan said...

    Beautiful post! My main self-talk is usually about not letting "fear" win because most hard momments have to do with some fear of some kind don't they?
    Thanks for this thought provoking post! I'll be back!

    Erin, maker of chimes said...

    I'd seen his lecture on Oprah a while back. I randomly found your blog tonight, and I'm glad that I did b/c I think that I need to hear it again. Lots to think about!