Shift Out Of Bad News
Let's take a long deep breath.
And shift out of bad news.
I really like this idea.
It's so relevant for all of us at so many different moments of our lives.
Let's dig into it.
Beginning with listening for a little while.
Intending all of our attention into the present moment by looking, and feeling, and breathing deeply.
I'm gonna step outside.
Let's just listen to life.
Let's listen to waves together for a few seconds, before we dig into a deep shift out of bad news.
Hear the waves?
Now let's get to it.
If you're feeling like you just got some bad news you probably want to shift fully out of it right away — rather than just making a quick mini-shift.
But with shifting out of bad news, it can help to first think through how you're receiving this bad news and how you might prefer to receive it.
Before we continue though…
I want to acknowledge that the range of bad news is endless, so it is tricky to offer a single Shift for all ‘bad news.’
As you listen or read, please know that my heart is with you.
I never mean any disrespect or to minimize the intense pain, or the senselessness of some experiences.
And if you need to get more support to get through it, please reach out for support.
Please do that.
I'll leave some helpful resources at the end of this Shift so we all have easy access to it, whenever we might need it.
Let's get back to shifting out of bad news — as much as we can for now.
Hearing about bad news always reminds me of an old parable.
You might have heard about the farmer whose son fell off a horse and broke his leg.
The neighbors came over and said to the old man, “We're so sorry. Nobody can help you take care of the farm now. It's such bad news.”
And the old man responded by saying, “Maybe, maybe not. We'll see. Who knows.”
The next day, the son couldn't be conscripted to the war that had just broken out.
And again, the neighbors came to the father and said, “Wow, that was lucky. Breaking his leg wasn't bad news for you after all. It turned out to be good news.”
And again, the father said, “Maybe. We'll see. Who knows.”
The idea that's deeply embedded in the wisdom of the old man is that we don't ever know what tomorrow will bring.
We don't even know what the next moment will bring.
And we certainly don't have enough control over the events in our lives to always predict what is good news and what will turn out to be bad news.
In fact, if we want to use our powers of reason and deduction, and our strategies for controlling our experience — and if we look back into the history of our own lives, and certainly in the history of difficulties that have surrounded us over time — we’ll find that often times the most difficult periods, those periods that got categorized automatically as ‘bad news’ initially, were the catalysts for the greatest changes in our lives.
Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that your bad news isn't gonna sting — or hurt you deeply, possibly.
You have a certain momentum and a trajectory planned for your life.
You have expectations and attachments, (i.e., you love people, and animals, and many other things perhaps).
The story of your life is laid out in your mind and body in a certain way.
So when you hit an obstacle you feel it as ‘bad news.’
But the more quickly you can see that you don't really know the deep meaning of the event that you're framing as bad news, the better.
Time will flush that out.
Meanwhile, the way that you can support it being flushed out most quickly is to shift.
Shift your mind into a recognition that while this seems and feels right now like it's bad news, no matter how tragic it seems, and feels, it still has the potential to be a seed, a spark — of new life, new story, a new trajectory.
Maybe it has the potential to spark you to drop some old story completely for a while and listen to life.
So let’s listen for the lessons of this experience — this bad news.
Listen so deeply in presence that you can hear that next step along your path.
That next step can sometimes be a step back, a step into quiet, a step into silence — a step into listening and watching life for a while, to see what emerges next.
So let's do that together.
Come into full silence.
Let the bad news go for now, as much as you possibly can — whatever it is.
Know that tomorrow's another day.
And the sting of this bad news will transform with time.
If you're able to embrace the idea that you don't know definitively what bad news is, or what good news is, you may be able to cope with the sting by coming into presence for a while.
Drop into silence and feel towards stillness and peace.
You will emerge with a new perspective.
A shifted state of mind and body.
Try that with me now for a minute or two.
Just let it go.
And listen to life.
Relax into your space even deeper now.
Allow your whole body to fall towards the ground.
A deep breath in.
Feel the seat against yourself.
Connect to the world.
Feel gravity holding you on this earth.
You're a part of life — no matter what happens.
You're an aspect of the miracle.
Let go of any pain that may be emerging.
Let go of the bad news for now.
Accept life as it is right now.
The feelings associated with what you characterize as bad news may return.
They likely will.
That may be inevitable.
Even though I wish you peace always, sometimes the best we can offer each other during difficult times is a different perspective.
While also recognizing that you're allowed to have feelings that are negative as you move through the pain — it’s human.
The idea of a Shift though, is to shift yourself to the broader perspective — the perspective that's always true, even when the smaller perspective of good news and bad news shakes you up.
That broader perspective is the awareness that you are connected to life.
You are life.
You are on a completely unique journey that can only flow through your unique body and into your unique life.
And these moments — these hiccups, these obstacles, these losses, these pains that feel like bad news — they are each part of that journey.
And that journey is your gift — your opportunity to live the unfathomable miracle of uniqueness that is you.
If it helps, keep coming back and completing Shifts every day.
It's a hard time right now.
Come shift when you need to release pain, anytime.
You are always welcome here.
Let’s take another 20 seconds in silence together before I say goodbye for now.
Let go of everything.
Have a great day if you can.
Talk to you soon.
Get More Support
If you think you may need psychological help, please reach out to contact a therapist.
If your employer or school subscribes to OnePerfect for you, you can find links to connect with other support that is available through your employer or school on your OnePerfect app profile — OnePerfect iPhone | OnePerfect Android.
Everyone can reach SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.
SAMHSA is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use challenges.
Everyone can also explore and connect with a range of support at WannaTalkAboutIt.