Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Learning to Love What Is!

by Karen Wright

Somewhere in our past - probably our long-ago past - we learned that if we resisted something it would go away. I envision a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. Kicking and screeching at that ear-shattering decibel that small children have mastered. Then a frustrated parent gives up whatever combative position they took. Just get a bit of peace. And the child learned the lesson - if I don't like what's happening, resist it with all my might and it will stop.

We may not be given to throwing temper tantrums as adults, but the operative belief still lingers - resist what you don't want and it will end. It matters not that we've lived a lifetime unable to replicate that early learned lesson. Somewhere deep inside, beyond any wisdom or reason, that two-year old's mind is confident of its logic.

Anger, jealousy, resentment, frustration, regret. No matter how it shows up on your face or in your voice, what you're feeling is the pain of resisting what is.

"I hate the rain!"
"She shouldn't be doing that."
"I shouldn't have been fired."
"Why can't they make up their minds?"

Resistance to what IS. So, what's wrong with that? Well, good question. After all, resistance is a pretty popular reaction to life's less-than-lovely situations. Besides the fact that resistance fails to undo what is, it succeeds at making you miserable. Nice masochistic two-for-one return!

The more you resist what is, the more pain you feel. It would seem that our conscious adult mind would catch on to this losing game. But, old beliefs die hard. Particularly beliefs that operate under the mind's radar. No awareness - no choice.

I think we resist what we don't want because we're not sure what else to do. Certainly accepting it can't be right! That makes no sense at all. If we accept it, that's the same thing as making it okay. And then it will never change. Or so the mind concludes.

But, perhaps we've been to quick to settle for this either/or polarity. (Either I resist or I accept) Like most things in life, this isn't an either/or choice - it's a process. Acceptance isn't the end of change, it's the beginning.

Accepting what is is the only sane choice in the moment. What is IS! You can't close your eyes and wish it away. Not on this planet! If we replace the word accept with acknowledge, it might give us a bit more wiggle room to play with this idea.

So, acknowledging that it's raining on my Hawaiian holiday isn't going to make the sun come out - but it's also not going to send me into depression. A good first step. Instead of fighting with my feelings and spoiling my entire vacation, I can say, "Okay, it's raining. I'd rather have sun, but since it is what it is, how can I still have a good time on this
vacation that I've spent the last year saving and planning for?"

Now, my actions can actually have some positive outcomes. I can free up my previously emotionally-hijacked mind to get creative about how to get the most from my holiday. Martyred depression can turn into a fun exploration of possibilities.

The process is clear:
1. Get real - what is IS! You can't wish it away.
2. Remember your real desire - to experience the feeling of joy.
3. Decide, given what is, how to still feel that joy.

A rained-out holiday might not seem like much of a disaster compared to the situation going on in your head right now. A husband who's leaving. A parent who's dying. A job search that's turned up exactly zero. But, no matter what the situation, the most effective way to deal with it doesn't change. You still have two choices. Resist and suffer. Or accept and choose again.

Learn to love what is so that you're never its victim again. Hanging onto resistance only disables you. When you accept what is, it frees up your creative energy to work toward real solutions.

Wright Minded Workshops teach how to shed self-imposed limitations and see the world through new eyes. Eyes of possibility, not pointlessness. Karen is author of The Sequoia Seed: Remembering the Truth of Who You Are, a great read for anyone who is seeking understanding or guidance, inspiration or clarity in their life. Waking Up the free bi-monthly ezine, was created to help you activate your natural motivation to move beyond mere existence and to LIVE your dreams.

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