People pleasing and reluctance to notice what I want and risk asking for it is a learned strategy for avoiding disappointment. When viewed this way I have to bow down to the little kid in me who must have figured this strategy out long ago. It worked brilliantly to avoid major disappointment. But now that I’m older – and have the ability to look at this more deeply – I’m thinking disappointment isn’t so scary anymore. I’m thinking the risk of disappointment is definitely worth the gain of living more fully by noticing and feeling free to express my preferences.
I want to feel good all the time. And when I don’t feel happy – in addition to the unhappy feeling – I’m unhappy about being unhappy! I want to as quickly as possible figure out the problem, change things up, find a solution and get back to happy. This is my habitual way of processing life events. But as I bring a more mindful approach to everyday life it becomes apparent that it’s the resistance to unhappy feelings that’s the real problem. Why so much fear around feeling anything other than happy contentment?
I’m on a kick of exploring the truth. What I’m looking at is my personal truth. I’m trying to be completely open to and honest about what I’m feeling. Does the thought of brutal honesty make you nervous? No worries. I’m not communicating to others exactly what I’m feeling! I’m simply trying to be honest with myself. Not “brutally honest”, but “lovingly honest.”
My daughter and I were having a fun conversation exploring ways to approach some challenges. She threw out the question, “What would it look like if that challenge were easy?” I can’t stop thinking about that question.
We hear all the time that aging comes with increasing discomfort. But is it possible that it could be just the opposite? What if, as we age, we get increasingly skilled at transforming discomfort into ease? What if each year brings more ease and contentment?
Find Your Wild I love backpacking. There is something immensely satisfying in traveling with all your belongings carried turtle-like on your back. Each footfall takes me further from civilization and deeper into the wild. Each step leads me back to myself. Worries, concerns, and my to-do list, all fall away; I am a snake shedding its skin, reborn into new life.
I’ve got to be honest. I resist autumn. I just never want summer to end. You’d think I’d realize that resistance does no good. Summer ends, every year, no matter what. So this year, when I started to feel that resistance bubble up – I thought – time to try a new approach. Let go. Release the tension. Relax into the present moment. Open my heart to exactly what’s happening right now.
The reality of life is that there are so many things to do, choices to make, problems to solve. Add to that the endless shiny objects that entertain and pull at my attention. It’s easy to forget about the refuge, the calm and the simple delights of the present moment. It comes down to how much control I decide to exert over where I put my attention.
My daughter calls and immediately lets me know she’s feeling overwhelmed. I hear her out, acknowledging she’s got a lot on her plate. I ask, “Can you handle this moment?”“Yes. Of course,” she says, and immediately I hear the difference in her voice. As she keeps focusing on this moment, and then the next, her emotions settle, her mind stops churning and she feels better, realizing how capable she is – right here, right now. She can do this moment.