Nicole Law offers a few tips on how to change your perspective on life … starting with Monday Mornings …
Recently, while recording a podcast episode with some friends, I was posed a question: “What is one thing we can do to retain our sense of wonder in the week ahead?” Without thinking, I blurted: “We can start with having a Magnificent Marvellous Monday!”
Alliteration aside, I was struck by the short phrase I had concocted when faced with the pressures of the microphone before me. I am one of those people who suffer from the Monday Blues, a common disorder that affects the majority of the population as Sunday draws to a close and the prospect of the workload and responsibilities of the coming week looms.
It’s Monday morning. Bleary eyed, I get ready for work, trudge to the nearest bus-stop and plop myself into my office chair – sometimes without noticing a single thing in the process. I usually wear a tired frown on my face and my patience is non-existent in the early hours of the morning.
I sigh as I get stuck behind someone on the escalator, tap my feet and strain my neck to check the bus arrival time on the electronic board. I am saddled with thoughts of impending deadlines, unresolved issues and text messages I have not responded to. My head usually feels heavy, thick with fog and the morning rush sounds like a muffled soundtrack to this movie, Life As We Know It.
I decided to take my own advice and sent a few friends a hastily crafted graphic with the caption – May you have a Magnificent Marvellous Monday – at 0615 hours.
The graphic, as you can see, includes my favourite lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, my heavenly mother. I’m a Catholic and I was sending it to Catholic friends, so they wouldn’t have been shocked. And the thought of bringing Mary into my week and getting some support from on high cheered me up. Strangely, simply sending the text added a spring to my usually deadening morning routine.
I started to examine the mug I most like more carefully as I sipped from it, instead of downing the scalding beverage in two seconds flat. Maybe it was the bright yellow background and bold black text I had used for the graphic – not intentionally of course, maybe I just craved a little sunshine in my life.
As I stepped out of the house, I glimpsed a white furry object along the corridor. To my surprise, it was a white cat wearing a red collar. It looked at me fearfully, cowering behind a pillar for safety. I inched toward the creature and it inched towards me, the fear replaced by curiosity, perhaps at my messy morning hair. I held its glance for a few seconds and waved goodbye, as my watch vibrated with my back up alarm. The cat followed me for a short distance before stopping – I had now crossed the road and was almost at the bus stop.
While at the bus stop, instead of reaching for my phone almost instinctively, I look around at the other people who are also waiting under the tiny roofed structure. A few school children are chatting in a corner, an elderly lady is playing old tunes on her first generation smart phone and I am grinning to myself. The moment I realise I’m smiling at this hour in the morning, the surroundings shrouded in darkness save for the delicate glow of the streetlights, it starts to click –
I am looking at the same things with a radically different perspective.
It sounds simple, but isn’t true wisdom found not shrouded in ambiguity but lying in plain sight? Often, we find ourselves in an endless loop – we experience the same challenges every day and nothing seems to change. The story repeats itself like clockwork and we lose our sense of meaning – we start to dissociate from the world we inhabit, it’s almost as if we are animatronics moving in a set path and performing a prescribed act.
Yet, a simple change in perspective and the resolve to participate more fully in the world around us can shift our gears into – fully engaged. We then realise the power of how we see the people and circumstances we encounter. Our perception influences our response.
Sure, we may be stuck in some difficult situations and find ourselves trapped, constrained and in a stalemate. But no one can take away our ability and, in fact, autonomy to decide how we perceive the situation at hand.
It’s more than donning a pair of rose-coloured glasses, the difference between being hopeful and blindly optimistic is crucial.
To recognise the struggle that is unavoidable in life, but to bear it with grace allows us to move beyond our own shallow depth of field to perceive the spaces that endure – those spaces of gratitude, compassion and love.
I didn’t know how a little challenge of Magnificent Marvellous Mondays would change my week – but given the excited replies I’ve received, this much-needed change in perspective has been welcomed with enthusiasm and was clearly well overdue!
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