change the channel

Imagine a room. This room has a comfy chair in the center, the kind with a floral print or soft velvety fabric that your grandma may have had. It’s cushy and broken in with down stuffed pillows and rocks a little, and sits in the middle of the room. In the far corner of the room is a TV. This is not a flatscreen, plasma, HD, modern style TV. It’s an old one. The kind of TV you see in old movies, that sits on a stand and looks like a box. It has a dial to change the channels, and maybe even some antennas sticking up from the top. It is beige and a bit dusty, but the picture is still clear and the sound surrounds you.

The room is your mind, and you are sitting in the comfy chair, watching the TV. And you think this is your life. The TV show may be all about stress and all of the things you have to do, how much further along everyone else is than you, all of the stuff you don’t have and never will, and every rejection and failure you ever experienced. Every once in a while a commercial comes on and you are granted a reprieve from the day to day, you see flashes of hope, mini vacations from your current reality.

What I am going to suggest is that you pull yourself out of that comfy chair, and change the channel. If you don’t like what you are seeing, change it. Get up and turn the dial and look for the good. Look for the opportunities, for the kindness, for the abundance. There are multiple channels broadcasting simultaneously, and the shows are hypnotic. So hypnotic that we get sucked into them and believe them to be the only reality we can see. It can be hard to grasp the idea that you can change the channel, that you can take control and shift your focus, but once you realize that not only is it possible, but also necessary to your well being, you can begin to be freed from the tyranny of being controlled by your surroundings.

I use the imagery of changing the channel as a tangible method to shifting my focus. I know that if I am feeling down, or overwhelmed, or out of time, sad, stressed, angry…The channel I am watching will continue showing more of the same. I take a deep breath, pull myself out of that chair, (though sometimes it wants to pull me back down) and change the channel. I change it first to gratitude. I begin saying thank you for the variations that life brings my way, because it shows me how blessed I am. Thank you for the many demands on my time, because it teaches me to focus on the important things. Thank you for the challenges, because they help me to grow.

I am not going to say that it is easy, but with practice it does get easier. It gets easier to catch yourself and remember to change the channel, though sometimes I need a nudge. The best part is that I know there is so much more than the small TV in the corner of my mind. I stand up from the chair, and I look around my mind, and I see a door. I have tried at times to open it, pushing against it, trying to force it to open, but it resists. The more I push the more shut it is. So I let go. I stopped searching for the key, pushing for the answer, asking everyone else what to do. I stood back, arms at my side, and let go. What happens next is that the door begins to open. As light begins to shine into the room, I can see a small plaque next to the door that says “door opens in”.

From here begins the journey into consciously getting to know myself by looking in and letting go.