Switch on the Bliss
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Switch on the BlissQuieting the inner critic.
Twenty-plus years ago, in a moment of frustrated resignation at the prospect of yet another sleepless night, I yearned aloud: “I wish I could turn off my mind and get the incessant chatter to stop!” I was struggling. I had been on long-term disability and was unable to resume my teaching career because I wasn’t getting better. I wanted an off switch. My mind raced as the clock slowly ticked away the hours.
Everyone has inner conversations, more commonly called thoughts. When we are healthy and happy, those inner conversations are supportive, and a peaceful silence prevails. When we are unhealthy or stressed—whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually—calming the ongoing negative inner soundtrack seems impossible. I had read and studied enough about the mind-body connection and the importance of positive thinking to know that this negative inner dialogue was getting in my way: Why don’t you . . . ? What you should do is . . . ! You’ll never . . . ! and You can’t, you can’t, you can’t. I needed sleep to regain my health. My mind was working overtime, and the mean and judgmental barrage wouldn’t stop. I felt that there was no way out unless I could discover an off switch.
My then-husband’s response to my plea was, “You don’t really want to shut your mind off. How will you remember to turn it back on?”
I recognized his logic but replied in frustration, “If I could turn it off, I would never want to turn it back on.”
He gently countered, “Yes, you would. Your mind is pretty useful!” His calm, caring voice gave me a new perspective.
But the next morning, the negative thoughts were stronger than ever. I looked in the mirror and wondered, What is the point? I had a decision to make. I had been a high achiever, full of energy and upbeat. Now I was housebound and bedridden. I was at a crossroads: get well and truly live, or stay sick and merely exist. I was physically and emotionally spent—at the bottom of a pit.
There are moments in life when you know you are turning a corner, taking a decisive step in a new direction: the switch second. This was one of those pivotal moments. I looked deep into my eyes in the mirror and recognized that I had been living out of fear. I needed a more positive perspective. I decided to step over the line. I shifted my focus from my own reflection to that of the window behind me. Outside, the leafless branches of our backyard tree were clearly silhouetted against a bright, blue winter sky. As I turned to look outside, a declaration formed deep within me, erupting into the empty silence: “Get me well, and I’ll teach others to get well. I am a really good teacher!” This was a new voice emerging: a voice of strength, compassion, and clear intention, a voice that completely silenced the negative chatter.
What was surfacing was my truth, and I made a monumental decision: to live and to live well. I wanted to contribute the best of me to the world. I turned back to the mirror and witnessed the “spark” in my eyes. I looked different! My perspective had changed. My thoughts had shifted. I had flipped the switch—on my own! I decided life had to be easier, and the craziness had to stop—not only for me in my life, but also for anyone who was willing to let go of the struggle and experience all of the goodness of life. I decided to get well and be well, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
The supportive voice that emerged from deep within me was a lifeline. In that moment, I became the observer instead of the victim. I moved from fear to the desire to live well. I realized that I, a teacher, now had the most challenging student of my entire career: me! To learn, students need to believe that they are able to learn. I needed to believe that I could learn to be well. I had to stop seeing myself as sick and broken, and begin to see my potential for wellness. In my declaration I had enlisted the support of my higher power to co-create wellness with me, and the creative thoughts began to flow.