In my backyard, I have a giant hill. It takes up most of the yards and because of the hill, we never had enough room for a swimming pool, or a play space for the kids. I can’t tell you how much I hated our back yard. I had always felt that the hill took away a happy childhood and playfulness from my kids and family. That the hill was responsible for creating the kind of memories I wanted to create for my family. But over time my husband and I planted flowers and dwarf fruit trees in pots and even though we never had a lot of space, it became a cozy little oasis.
And then one Mother’s Day about 5 years ago we hosted brunch in our backyard. I remember this Mother’s Day because I learned something that day. It was windy. The wind was whipping the trees so violently, it wouldn’t have surprised me if they ripped from the earth and blew away, like in the Wizard of Oz. It was bad. But I noticed something as I was setting the table in the backyard. It wasn’t windy. I mean you could hear the wind and see the trees being shaken, like a snow globe in the hands of a four-year-old.
It wasn’t windy in the back yard because of the hill. The hill was high enough that it blocked the wind in our backyard. How did I not notice this before? This hill taught me something that I has been sitting with me almost every day since. I had believed once that this hill was depriving me of happiness. All those lost imaginary moments came flooding back to me and a whole new understanding landed for me.
The hill never changed.
We have these limiting beliefs that get in our way and we are so caught up thinking that the “thing” is what is making us miserable. If the “thing” would change somehow, then I would be happy. And, it’s not true. It’s not the “thing,” just like it wasn’t the hill. We all do this, but rarely are we in the space to challenge our limiting beliefs.
What’s your hill? And, can you challenge your belief system? Try these journal questions to discover and unravel your beliefs and bring yourself some peace.
Ask yourself the question, is it true?
How am I sure it’s true?
Who am I when I believe this is true?
Who would I be if it isn’t true?
All of these questions are part of a process from Byron Katie’s book, “A Mind at Home with Itself.” I love this simple approach to challenging my own belief systems and taking a good hard look at the ways I hold on to things that are just not true. The things that I’ve made up about a situation that when I get stuck, I can make myself miserable.
Think about your hill, challenge it, and let me know how it goes.