I have spent a lot of my life upside down – from hanging on my mom’s clothesline, to doing endless cartwheels, to standing on my head, to walking on my hands, to doing keg stands, in a dress, at my daughter’s wedding (not my proudest moment). I feel as comfortable upside down as I do right side up – and it’s a lot more fun!
As a curious person, I couldn’t help but wonder…why do I feel so good upside down? It turns out there are some scientific reasons why being upside can be good for us. An obvious answer is that being upside down is challenging and requires focus, which allows the brain to clear mental clutter and concentrate on the present moment. But in addition to that, elevating the heart above the head can create an emotional shift, leaving you feeling lighter and happier and allowing your mind to view things, literally and figuratively, from a different perspective.
When my son was 2 two years old he was riding on the shoulders of one of our very tall friends. I looked up and asked, “What does everything look like from up there, Matthew?” Without missing a beat he looked at me and replied, “Upside down!” I must say that I was such a proud Momma right then as I felt his answer was absolutely brilliant! He was looking down and seeing the tops of everything – of course it looked upside down. It truly is all about perspective, isn’t it?
Growing up I often heard the phrase, “well she sure turned that one on its head.” I will not confirm nor deny that I may have been the subject of these conversations, but when you grow up in the south, you learn the “context” of a lot of colloquialisms without needing to know the exact meaning. After leaving the south I was confronted by this quite often when I would easily slide into phrases that were commonplace to me but not to the person in front of me. Often this would result in someone giving me a puzzled look and asking, “What does that even mean?” to which I would stutter and stammer and resort to giving examples such as, “You know, like when…” but never really providing a definition.
In the case of turning something on its head, I always thought it simply meant that I had gone against someone else’s grain; which by the way is exactly what it means – to do something a different way or to reverse the principles or interpretation of an idea or argument. I was not a follower and I didn’t like being told to believe or behave in a certain way. I pretty much marched to the beat of my own drum. Luckily, I was fearful enough of my daddy’s belt that I stayed out of trouble, even if my heart and mind were rebelling with all the determination I could muster. I remember thinking to myself, “Just wait until I’m a grown-up!”
As an adult, I love it when people tell me I’ve turned something on its head. I believe it means that I can see different perspectives and that I’m not arrogant enough to think one person’s perspective is the only valid one to consider. It also means I can think outside the box. Rarely have any real solutions been found inside the box.
What about you? Are you comfortable being upside down? Can you look at situations from different angles? Can you hold space for people around you who believe differently than you? Can you climb out of that box you’ve been in your whole life and listen to another way? The state of our country suggests that most of us are not at all comfortable turning ideas or arguments on their heads. It appears that we would rather annihilate someone on social media for stating an opinion or destroy the hard-earned property of someone just to make a point. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of this. And you know what? I’m not even talking about our country’s leaders! I’m talking about each of us – we the people! It is shameful to me to see the way the citizens of this great country are behaving. We are acting like idiots. And don’t be sitting there thinking, “Preach sister! The _____ side need to hear this.” You need to hear this too. I need to hear this. We all need to hear this. Look at us! We have become barbarians. Can anyone else see this? Can anyone else see that BOTH sides are equally WRONG??? It is madness – pure madness – and it must stop! Until we can all stop stomping our feet and throwing juvenile temper tantrums, we will never make any progress. We are being led by fear, anger, and/or pride. Stop! Listen! Love!
When you feel yourself getting angry, fearful, or prideful start reciting things for which you are grateful. The vibrational frequency of gratitude is so high that these low frequency emotions can’t exist at the same time. Research indicates that “gratitude biases the brain’s reward system toward rewards for others versus oneself.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770643/)
Let me repeat that…Gratitude biases the brain’s reward system toward rewards for OTHERS versus ONESELF. Now, I know what some of you are thinking right now. “I AM thinking of others.” Let me be blunt, “NO YOU ARE NOT!” Stop fooling yourself. If you are supporting destructive behaviors from anyone, you are not thinking of what is best for them. When you are grateful for someone and have altruistic love for someone, you will want to see them living their best life and their best life is most definitely not a life of destruction in any way, shape, or form. Hostility, antagonism, pride, hate, resentment, anxiety, fear, despair, terror, propitiation, and shame are some of the lowest frequency emotions and are directly associated with depression, disease, and death. What emotions are driving our country right now? In what direction are we headed? Depression, disease, and death? We see it every day.
We need to increase the vibrational frequency of this country. The emotions that will accomplish that are gratitude, peace, joy, love, serenity, reason, acceptance, neutrality, courage and cheerfulness. So next time you want to high five your friend who just destroyed something that didn’t belong to them or who is bragging about giving someone the what for, encourage them to be grateful. Encourage them to step into love and peace. Encourage them to be the best version of themselves. That’s how we care for others, by encouraging them to greatness, not celebrating their destruction.
Turn the current thinking on its head. Be brave enough to live an upside-down life – embracing different perspectives with grace. Take intelligent action instead of blasting ignorant rants. “United we stand, divided we fall” is a phrase that can be traced back to the 6th Century B.C. We’re divided and not only are we falling, we are crashing. Every single viewpoint from every single person has two components – truth and lie. None of us are right about everything and none of us are wrong about everything. Lift your heart above your head and be grateful. Take time every day to lift your vibrational frequency and to encourage those around you to do the same. Refuse to encourage low vibrational actions from others. Exchange your fear, anger, and pride for gratitude, peace, and neutrality.
Dr. Martin Luther King gave his life promoting his dream of a better world. One of my favorite quotes by him is, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” My dear fellow citizens, we’ve allowed the darkness and hate to divide us for far too long, isn’t it time we pursue light and love?