Today, let’s talk about my FAVORITE list….my “Bird Feather” List.
Last post, I talked about your train of thought running off the tracks. I explained my “Brain Sweep List”. I also have a list I call my “Bird Feather” List. When I look at what I have written down during my brain sweep, if there is anything there that I cannot control or change, it goes on the Bird Feather List.
At the end of the day, I take the Bird Feather List, crumple it up, & burn it. OUTSIDE of course, with care!! You could just wad it up & throw it away or shred it as well.
This is YOU symbolically “LETTING GO” of the nastiness (things that you have NO control over)…..the Bird Feathers!! THAT, alone, can reduce your stress.
In my younger years, I stressed over trying to please my Mom. I kept thinking if I could just_________ then she would be pleased with me & not treat me so bad. NEVER happened!! See, I was thinking I could CHANGE how SHE felt about me. Something I had absolutely NO CONTROL over!!
YOU can NOT control how someone else reacts to you…..
BUT you CAN control how YOU react to them.
SOMETIMES, taking a deep breath & calming how we react to someone else can actually lessen the tension & therefore lessen the stress we experience. This is a POSITIVE change!! (Remember….you CAN’T change THEM…..BUT….you CAN change YOU & how you react!!)
Unfortunately, Mom did not want children because she was a career woman in the 1950’s – 60’s. So, she looked on me as an obligation. She resented me. When I would accomplish something, she would belittle me. ESPECIALLY if I bested her at whatever it was. She was jealous. People always say “she loves you in her own way.” WRONG!! She truly did not have a “Mother” bone in her body. She really wasn’t capable of loving anyone. As I grew older, I understood her better & felt sorry for her. She was never happy & was always “looking” for something. she thought that “material things” would show others how successful she was. She craved recognition. She even admitted that to me before her death. My husband used to joke that she & I were “like 2 tomcats in a gunny sack”. An old saying that we did NOT get along!! LOL!! However, on the outside…to others…she appeared to be the model mother.
Growing up in that environment had a detrimental effect on me.
I was extremely insecure. Consequently I made some bad decisions when presented with a choice. BUT, I learned from those mistakes & became a better decision maker & learned to appreciate change!!
Change is a constant in our lives today & we must learn to move through change with grace & ease or it will eat us up!!
We may not like it, appreciate it, nor control it, BUT we CAN control how we deal with & react to it!!
THAT is where my expertise comes into play. THIS is what I have become good at. That was my professional job for a while, until I retired. I have been in many tense, reluctant situations where people resented & tried to refuse the change,& it was my job to help them successfully navigate the change & accept it & often, appreciate it. Not always an easy task.
I was often called in when the Company’s “train had run off the tracks” & I had to realistically assess the situation, recommend changes to correct it, help the Company to agree to it, then get the employees to buy in to it as well. That was often a volatile & uncomfortable situation that needed defusing.
In one situation, I was helping to negotiate a union contract between the Illinois Department of Mental Health & the Illinois Nurses’ Association (the RN’s collective bargaining agent). The State side consisted of all men & the nursing side were all women. (Note: this was back in the early 1970’s, before women were accepted as Managers & people of Authority!! We are talking “Old School thinking!!)) The men did everything possible to make us uncomfortable so we would rush through things & agree to the contract THEY thought was acceptable. For instance, one day they all lit up cigars & smoked during our session (back in the day when you could smoke indoors). SO…..the next day I brought big bags of M&M’s, got clean ashtrays & filled them with the M&M”s before the men got there. It defused the situation & the nurses wound up with as good a contract as the Teamsters got & that was a first. On the day we signed the final contracts, the women all took out cigars & lit up!! We gave each of the men cigars too!! We all had a good laugh!!
Did we all get what we wanted…..NO!! Did we get our “non-negotiables”….YES!! Did we all agree…..FINALLY!! It was a give & take situation. You have to know what your “non-negotiables” are. It takes planning, looking at things from all sides, seeing from different perspectives & being honest. AND…being honest with what You are willing to give up!! It means facing “CHANGE” head-on!!
This little exercise of “letting go” can benefit you in SO many ways!! It lessens your stress, lowers your blood pressure, frees up brain cells for more important work & allows you to clear all the cobwebs out & to be able to see with more clarity & focus!!
NOW you can begin to focus on what is important & needs your attention. You have a more heightened awareness & will be able to better prioritize your list of “To Do’s”!! You will see things with more clarity
Doing the Brain Sweep & the Bird Feather List provides clarity & brings you to your most authentic self, THIS is the place from which you should be setting priorities & planning. Once you have sorted through the Brain Sweep List & burned your Bird Feather List, you are now ready to decide just WHAT is IMPORTANT to you & you will be slipping into your authentic self with an enhanced ability to prioritize & plan.
Sometimes the most dreaded change can turn out to be the BEST blessing!!