You know how it is. Things are going along fine and then it starts.
You’re running late and there’s no gas in the car.
The project that you thought was such a great idea flopped.
Even after that great talk the other day, things with your partner (or kids or boss) went right back to the way they were.
You’re trying to stay positive, to keep just moving forward, but this SUCKS. And it feels really, really hard.
There are 3 typical responses to this.
#1 – You lash out.
You get frustrated with your child or partner, client or boss. You get really angry with the people (or the machinery or whatever) causing your problems and resent the people who have it so much easier than you do.
If it weren’t for THEM, then your life would be just fine.
#2 – You lash in.
You know that if you were more organized, more assertive, more creative, more confident, more productive – more like someone else and less like YOU – then everything would work out.
You’ve probably heard that you’re the source of your life, that everything in your life stems from you, so that means you’re to blame for this mess. A truly advanced person wouldn’t be experiencing any of this.
If it weren’t for YOU, then your life would be fine.
#3 – You suppress.
You know that it’s wrong to lash out at someone else and that it’s wrong to blame yourself. Your other option is to stuff it all down.
And you try to make everyone in your life happy, healthy and peaceful. Then YOUR life will be happy, healthy and peaceful. YOU will be happy, healthy and peaceful.
If everyone else were fine, then your life would be fine.
All three of these responses come down to one thought:
Something’s wrong and it has to be fixed.
Either they have to fix themselves, you have to fix yourself, or you have to fix them.
And all of that is really about control. This isn’t how it should be, so it has to be turned into what it should be.
So how should it be?
That’s the real key here.
Underlying all of this judgment and desire for control is the belief that life should be peaceful and smooth. When we get smart enough, “enlightened” enough, “fixed” enough, life will be EASY. Life will just flow.
And that’s our goal – to have an always happy, easy, unruffled life.
But here’s the thing – life is already flowing.
Picture a river going down a mountain. There’s lots of flow there.
The movement of the water keeps it oxygenated and healthy. There’s lots of life in it. It’s vital and energetic.
But it’s not always smooth. There are ripples and eddies. Sometimes there are rocks and rapids. Sometimes there are deep pools. Sometimes there are waterfalls.
A constantly smooth, easy life just doesn’t happen. Not if you stay engaged with life, with your family and friends. With you.
Sometimes life gets messy. Partners and children get cranky. Deadlines come up. Traffic happens. Computers go on the fritz.
That’s just how it is.
The only thing you can change is how you meet it.
Are you judging your life and the people in it, or are you accepting them?
Are you paddling against the current or with it?
Are you contracting and protecting or expanding and opening?
The way to make life easier is to stop fighting against it. Stop trying to make it smooth and unruffled and looking good.
Instead, meet it full on. Embrace it. Engage with it and with the people in your life.
Is your child or partner or co-worker doing something you don’t like? Then instead of trying to change them or yourself, engage with them. Talk with them. What’s going of for them? Share what’s going on for you. Keep working to leave the judgment, blame and controlling out of it.
When something feels hard or scary, our initial reaction is to pull away from it, paddle in the other direction. Go against the flow.
Instead, take a deep breath and go toward it.
Open up. Engage.
Is it always that easy? Yes and no. It can be that easy. When it’s not, it’s because you’re caught in your story, your fears and the way you see yourself (your identifications).
That’s what I help clients with and what my groups are about.
If you’re having trouble, remember that this is easier with help. It can be really hard to see your own stuff. There are things you just know are true, real and how-it-is. Until someone points out a different way of seeing it. Another possibility.
And the good news is that the more you do, the easier it gets – and the more fun.
Do you want to continue to struggle and fight and try to control, or would you rather let go and swim with the current?
How vibrant and alive do you want to be?