Shifting Your Defeated Paradigms with a Little Help from Alcatraz

Since Grandma only came to see the munchkins anyway, Tim and I recently got to run away for a weekend in San Francisco!

In addition to securing tickets for the Alcatraz tour, we decided to really ratchet our tourism quotient up a notch and walk through Fisherman’s Wharf (bleh!).  Our goal was to find the vintage arcade we’d heard good things about and sure enough, the Musée Méchanique was full of retro games from when we were kids but also wooden peep show movies and ridiculous test-your-strength booths from the early 1900’s (my pecs still hurt…).

But I was especially intrigued by this promising little gem…

Only to end up more confused than before I put my five cents in the stupid thing!

So what does every married woman need to “not avoid” in order to be happy??

Going to Alcatraz has been on our list for months and it didn’t disappoint!  I had to chuckle while walking through the gift shop on the way out. As it turns out, my parenting mantras are nothing new…

If you add "unconditional love" to that, it pretty much sums up my take on parenting.

Who knew the "Last Gangster" was full of parenting insight?!

The Alcatraz audio tour was extremely engaging and I found myself quite moved by the somber stories of the inmates.

I’m not sure if it has anything to do with the numerous inmates I considered my friend during years of volunteering in a medium security prison (that’s for another post!) but perhaps everyone comes away feeling as I did — appreciating life and all the common day-to-day luxuries that we so freely enjoy but rarely notice.

We are so quick to complain about the things that don’t go our way in life and yet if you really break down your biggest problems, are they really so bad? Or have you turned your own molehill into a mountain?

When I was 17 years old, I read Sean Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens.  Twelve years later, I only remember two things from that book:

1) set your alarm and don’t use the snooze button (still a great tip!)
2) the definition of a paradigm

Up to that point, I had never heard the word paradigm before. But Covey helped define the word by explaining that a paradigm is like wearing tinted glasses. When you wear them, everything in your world appears in a colored hue. The same can be said for the filters we wear through our thoughts and beliefs. For instance, if someone continues to think “I’m so ugly”, they will in turn truly believe that they are ugly.

In another example, if you keep thinking that your situation/problem/personality/etc is hindering you from succeeding, then yes, it will continue to hinder you and lo and behold, you eventually get to sit back in defeat and say, “See! I knew it was impossible. There was nothing I could do about it.”  And before you know it, you’ve turn another year older and are still chanting the same sorry excuses with the same defeated attitude.

But what happens when you shift your paradigm? When you take off the tinted glasses you’ve been wearing for who knows how long and switch them with a pair that won’t take no for an answer?  A pair that hears every excuse you throw at it and throws back a solution, no matter how crazy and outlandish.

Often times, the biggest thing interfering with our success is our own negative filter.  We get comfortable in our colored glasses and soon we don’t even realize that we’re seeing the world in an unnatural hue.  That excuse you’ve been telling yourself which keeps you from doing what you need to do — it’s a paradigm.  It can be shifted.  It’s all a matter of how bad you want to make it happen. It’s all a matter of how crazy and outlandish you’re willing to get.

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

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