It is a tranquil, late-winter evening; another stunning day is coming to a close. As I leave the peaceful realm of the wood-floored yoga studio, I notice two of my beautiful friends. As usual, I am drawn to them; their smiles, their gracious energy, and their radiance shine through. The three of us chatter as we move down the staircase. It’s been but a matter of days since we’ve seen each other, yet I always welcome the opportunity to simply feel their presence as we share the bits and pieces of our lives.
We pause in the tiled alcove at the base of the stairs. There is always so much to soak in from these two amazing women. Both incredibly accomplished in their own realms, their humility is truly moving. I gaze upon the countenance of my auburn-haired friend. Her eyes, a cerulean blue, draw me close; shining and bright, they are, indeed, a window to her soul. Although petite of body, her spirit is grand and subtly powerful. She is a sight to behold, for her radiance emanates from within. My eyes shift to my second blue-eyed friend. Her fair hair falls in soft curls about her lovely face. She exudes a joyful, inwardly tranquil quality. I am drawn to her loving spirit; she is glorious mixture of charming playfulness and deep-seated intelligence. The soulful incandescence of each woman is a rare and precious gift.
My fair-haired friend reflects on the challenges of her new job. Although incredibly skilled in her profession, the new setting is proving to be a stressful adjustment for her. The different procedures and protocols have boggled her mind, and she feels strangely out of sorts. As she continues to describe the work environment, and it is clear that she finds her coworkers a welcome source of support and friendship. Still, the rigors of the job’s novel and imposing elements seem foremost in her mind. A gentleman friend spies her and pauses for a quick chat on his way from the locker room. He asks about her work, and she confides, “I feel so overwhelmed!” as she offers details. I cannot help but quietly notice that my dear friend used this same phrase—“I feel so overwhelmed”–a few times in our earlier conversation about her new job. Having done training in neurolinguistic programming, my psychotherapist’s brain takes note of the message that words such as “overwhelm” send into the body, mind, and spirit. As her friend departs, I quietly ponder an internal dilemma. Do I share my insights or stay silent on my thoughts?
Ever careful of imposing my “therapist’s thoughts” on my friends, I break my brief silence to ask, “Do you mind if I offer a few words on something I noticed?” “Of course not,” she responds, her engaging blue eyes bright with kind attention. “Well,” I hesitate. She offers her sweet, warm-hearted smile. Feeling quietly reassured that my comment is welcome, I continue, “I noticed that a few of your words—in fact, one in particular—might be working against you.” “What do you mean?” she softly queries. “Well, whatever we say to ourselves has a way of reinforcing itself. Whether it is a word that holds a positive or negative charge, it will take root within the psyche. I noticed that you used the word “overwhelm” spattered throughout the conversation about your new job. In choosing that word—in speaking it and feeling it within—you cannot help but unconsciously feel more overpowered and overcome.” Two sets of stunningly beautiful blue eyes are gazing at me in rapt attention. I stop and smile, an image coming to mind. “It is as though a huge tidal wave comes over you each time you invoke the term ‘overwhelm,’ as you are unknowingly telling yourself that you are feeling besieged and powerless.”
My copper-haired pal smiles knowingly; the concept is not new to her. My sandy-haired girlfriend wants to know more. “Well,” I ponder, “it might be a good idea to find an image that works better for you. Try to find something positive to support your new efforts and accomplishments. For example, what about holding an image of learning a new craft such as knitting or crocheting? That way, you will be able to call forth the image of creating something wonderful and new as you weave and blend your new skills with your existing talents. Instead of invoking the heavy weight of “overwhelm,” the new words and images you choose will support and enliven you.” Smiling, almost mischievous, blue eyes stare into mine. “I get it. The only problem is that I don’t weave or crochet!” I laugh and quip, “Well, find something that inspires you!” We part, and I feel incredibly blessed to have such dear friends, dear spirits, within my life.
Another refreshing yoga class within my body, I prepare to leave class. Shoes on my feet and mat rolled tightly, I see my lovely friends and pause. The pair of blue-eyed lovelies approach me, and I cannot help but smile from the depths of my soul. A beaming grin on her lovely face, my sandy-haired friend prompts me, “Please ask me about my new job!” Having just talked about the subject only days prior, I am temporarily befuddled. I grin as I notice the lively dance of mirth in her eyes. “So,” I ask, “how is that new job of yours? Do you like it?” “Well,” she responds, “It is really great. It’s like mind aerobics! I learn something new every day, and the pace is, well, like aerobics for my brain!” My grin matches hers. I cannot help but feel the sweet energy of her delight. Oh, what one or two words can do to shift us into something lighter, something new.
Walking across the parking lot, I feel the warmth of the sun upon my shoulders. I am grateful for this day. I am blessed to have the opportunity to learn and to be. I am blessed to have friends that explore the wondrous journey with me, ever more delighted with each opportunity to unfold. As I tuck my yoga mat in behind the seat I softly tell myself, “Yes, life is grand. What a stunningly gorgeous day. I am, indeed, truly blessed and couldn’t want for more. What a wonderful, wonderful world.” I smile and, from somewhere in the world, feel blue eyes smiling back at me.