The Clicker and the Importance of Getting Unplugged

Sometimes you just need to get unplugged.

This is opposed to unhinged, which is what I have felt the last several weeks.

I hit my limit after a compendium of stress, work and more stress a couple of weeks ago. I woke up feeling…not depressed…but burned out and in dire need of a reboot after my family’s onslaught of medical and financial trials this year.

I attended Time Out For Women a couple of weekends ago and it was a much-needed spiritual boost. One of my favorite speakers (and inspiring musical artist) Hilary Weeks spoke about a statistic she had heard: that the average person has 300 negative thoughts a day. Thinking this was a staggering number, she decided to put it to the test. She bought herself a clicker and every time she had a negative thought, she counted it.

The final number wasn’t important but what resonated with me was how she felt after almost a week of doing it. For no reason at all, she woke up feeling depressed and absolutely hopeless about her life.

Recognizing the source, she turned the experiment around and documented every positive thought she had. The number of clicks skyrocketed as it became a practice in gratitude–from her family to God’s creations to the many little miracles that surrounded her. (Read her blog posts about it here).

Lesson learned: When you focus on the negatives, all your energy and psyche will give way to that energy. Conversely, thinking positive thoughts makes you happy.

I’ve never been a negative person but when you’re drowning in negative influences and aren’t filling it with as much positivity as possible, something’s gotta give and that’s exactly how I felt. So last week, I refused to let the uncertainty and stress take hold of me. I stepped away from my computer and filled my life with positive energy. I recommitted myself spiritually and spent every spare second in the outdoors marveling at the fall colors.

We picked crab apples and made applesauce.

We climbed trees.
I hiked.

And hiked some more.
And biked almost daily.
There is something so special about fall–life in all its summer pastels becomes golden. And somehow through imersing myself in it, each day I grew stronger, more at peace and connected. While our future may be uncertain, for these past weeks we’ve been living in the brevity of the moment and it has been magic.

One of my favorite passages of scripture in Mosiah 24: 13-15 has resonated with me. Alma and his people are doing what’s right and are living their lives when they are faced with a huge trial: wicked Amulon is sent to rule over them and places horrible burdens on their back. They even try to pray and risk the treat of being put to death.

Human instinct is to pray all the bad things away. I know I have and continue to do so. But the answer they received is so much more inspired.

13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

Another lesson learned: Don’t pray for a lighter burden, pray for a stronger back.

Our situation has not changed but my capacity to handle it has. And for that, I am grateful.

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