“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” -Roy T. Bennett

Is anybody experiencing something in their life that they cannot control? In the early stages of my recovery work, I struggled intensely with this. Sometimes it seemed the only solution was for someone else to change. I couldn’t figure out how me changing myself would do anything to fix certain situations— unless the other person changed.

We learn quickly in recovery work that the only one we can change is ourselves. When we realize we can’t change others, we can gather some of that energy that we spent on wishing someone else would change and use it to help ourselves. The questions then become: “What can we do? What does empowerment look like in this situation?”

In my recovery, I couldn’t do that alone. I had to get support to learn what that meant, and it came in many different forms. I had much to unlearn, much to learn anew, and I also needed to quiet my mind. Over time and using recovery tools, I’m able to do a lot of this work alone and when I “get stuck” I reach out for support.

Just this morning, I felt heartbroken over something in my life that I can’t control. I gave myself a little bit of time to really feel it, acknowledge it, and do some work around self-compassion and acceptance. Each were things I could do, and each contributed to changing me and empowering me—one day at a time. My overall situation remained the same, but I was not the same. It released some space inside me and shifted me, which empowered me to give energy to something else.

Recently, I had been gifted with some paints and an introduction to watercolor art. So, with the extra space inside me that day, I decided I would give a little bit of time to painting. I found it very meditative. Peace and calm took over. The pain in my heart subsided. There was no worrying about what I couldn’t control in my life while I was painting.

Where can you shift your energy? What creates those experiences for you? Maybe you don’t know yet, so get curious and try something new. My paintings are quite awful overall, so don’t worry if your creations aren’t great, because what the process of creating does inside you will be truly spectacular!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.