This is Life

I was confused because I’ve heard—and I 100% believe this—that we create our own reality. I’ve gotten loads better at focusing on what I want and not paying as much attention to the things I don’t want. I’m way more aware of the power of appreciation…and do it frequently.  Each day, I make a deliberate effort to do activities that are enjoyable to me. But yet, stuff continues to come into my life that I don’t particularly want. Some of it I fiercely don’t want. And I wasn’t getting the outcomes and manifestations that I did want. I felt like I was failing at this creating my reality thing. What am I missing, God? What am I doing wrong? Why are these things happening to me?

After a few days of asking those questions, some insights came to me. The first via my sister. She simply said, This is life. Yea, I already knew that but this day it sunk in on a deeper level. Not that I now expect or want bad stuff. But I realized that I had gotten to a point where I was almost desperate for the good things to happen. I had felt like I put in my dues and deserved only good from here on out. That’s not life. Life is comprised of ups and downs, good and crap. Just because I have a down day or some awful circumstance crops up, doesn’t mean I’m flunking at creating the life that I want.

This is life concept helped me to see that—and this is so key—I can’t not live my life in the meantime while waiting for the good stuff. I’ve got to deliberately focus on happiness, find fun, and be light-hearted even when I’m in the midst of dealing with difficulties or struggling through a rough day.

After realizing and accepting this, I felt lighter, more at ease, and less pressured to “get what I want”.

A day soon following, I found myself exceptionally happy while working at my office job on a very detailed project (one that I, unsuccessfully, tried to ditch). I caught myself in mid-happiness and gasped, This is not my dream job! I shouldn’t be so happy doing this task!

That’s when the next insight came through: Maybe we are creating our reality, in general. Sure, we can create our reality in specific, delicious detail when we get really, really good at it. But in the meantime, we’re creating an overall theme. In general, I wanted to be happy. And I was happy. Period.

Sure, specifically I wanted to be happy doing work that is more meaningful to me. But I had gotten the overall emotion that I wanted…happy while working. I wasn’t failing at creating my reality; I was succeeding, in general.

And I realized that just because my life wasn’t the exact picture that I was envisioning, didn’t mean that my bigger, more specific dreams weren’t coming to fruition. In other words, I shouldn’t give up on my dreams. But in the interim, I carried on doing things that made me happy, like arts & crafts. When life gives you lemons, make a lemon wreath!

lemonwreath2

Advertisements

How to Eliminate Your Problems

I had a problem. It was big, huge, major. I was very grumpy about it. Fortunately, I was aware enough to notice so I was able to take a minute to ask myself why. I had been working on making a new style of bracelet and it wasn’t coming out as I wanted. I just couldn’t get the hang of how to create this piece of jewelry. Wow, that’s it? That’s my problem? I realized that I had lost perspective and turned something that wasn’t that big of a deal into something seemingly critical.

With the relief of this realization, it wasn’t much later when it dawned on me that if I dropped my need to learn how to make the bracelet, then my problem would no longer exist. Amazing—I had the power to eliminate this “problem” just by changing my mind about what I thought I needed.

Some problems are bigger than this, of course. But most seem bigger than they are because we make mountains out of molehills.

But, what about situations when we can’t simply alter our needs to make the problem vanish? For instance, what about when a flight gets delayed or changed and it messes up vacation plans at the last minute? Or your partner in a relationship breaks up with you? Or a loved one gets a scary health diagnosis?

If I change my expectation, then the problem is gone. Like with the flight, if I’m ok with arriving later in the day, then there is no problem with it being delayed. Or if I’m ok with being on my own, then there’s no problem with a break-up.

But, that last example is the one that truly opened my eyes to acceptance of what is. When you really can’t change things; when you may get an outcome you really do not want, the only options are to be hopelessly sad, angry at the world or to accept what is. The good ol’ Serenity Prayer – Accept the things I cannot change.

I don’t know exactly how to be okay with receiving something I don’t want (or not getting a thing I do want). But I do know that when I tell myself I don’t need the outcome to be exactly as I pictured it, then a feeling of relief washes over me. I stop working so hard to control the situation to make it as I want it to be. Because really what controlling it is about is believing that I’m not capable of handling what may come. In other words, fear of the future. In other other words, not living in the moment.

I tell myself that I can handle whatever happens, that I trust the Universe (who knows far better and more than me!) to deliver the best outcome to all concerned, and I remind myself I am ok in the now (I may have to repeatedly tell myself these statements). Then I can take a deep breath and transcend the profoundly distressing feeling of disliking and fearing life on Earth.

Now, to be clear, acceptance doesn’t mean I enjoy the outcome; it doesn’t mean I changed my desires and now want what I didn’t want. Accepting what is frees me up from the struggle of “efforting” to make things happen my way. It makes me not have to be upset. It enables me to feel better in the moment. And, really, that’s the whole goal—to feel good in the moment and that moment and that moment and that one and so on. And then you see that every moment put together adds up to your life.

What things in your life that you don’t want and can’t change, can you accept “as is”? Do you feel the relief of not struggling to control the outcome? What insights does acceptance bring to the surface for you?

Postscript 1: After I no longer needed to learn how to make the new type of bracelet, I tried it again days later just for the heck of it, you know, for fun. Interestingly, I was able to easily make it and it came out beautifully.

sliderbracelet

Postscript 2: I accepted my loved one’s (Don, of course!) serious health scare and he is doing well physically.

DonMeElla

Interesting how acceptance works. 😊

Vacation Bonus: Hearing Your True Self

When Don—my husband—and I got home from the Grand Canyon, I began writing my book, Trail to My True Self. We had a day or two to just veg before going back to our regular job lives. I remember sitting on the blue couch in our dining room-turned-den with a spiral bound notebook busily jotting down the insights I had on that first hike down into the Grand Canyon.

But something was different. I wasn’t just journaling, as I did on a pretty regular basis. I was writing a story. I hadn’t planned to write a story. It just sort of flowed out of me onto the paper. I was taken aback because I didn’t write stories…ever. I was a practical writer. Writing was my tool to help me solve my problems or a method to vent frustrations. I didn’t even like writing. In college, I had a semsester of required Creative Writing 101. Ugh, I hated every minute of it. So what was up with this story that was flowing out of me? Even though I had just lived what was coming out onto the page, I found myself curious and eager to read what would happen next, as if I was the reader rather than the writer. When I read it afterwards I thought, Wow, that sounds really neat, like part of a book. And so, the beginning—or what I thought at the time was the beginning, but turned out to be Chapter Two—of my book was in ink.

I’ve never written again quite in that fashion, wondering what words would come out next. I didn’t know on that day I would be starting a book that I would publish almost ten years later. I just sat on the blue couch in a relaxed, post-vacation mode and wrote what I had learned about myself on vacation.

You never know what could come from vacation or relaxation time. Really, the point is to make it a priority to care for and listen to yourself. To have some down time—even a few minutes with no errands, schedules, or must-do’s—when you can hear the cool story your true self is communicating to you. It may not be a book, but no doubt it’s some very valuable information.

If interested, you can read my story from the Grand Canyon here.  🙂