Stop Struggling With Your Life

 In America

When we resist life–as we may do when difficulties suddenly pop up—we create pain for ourselves. When life is challenging, our tendency is to create a story about how hard it is, how things shouldn’t be going this way, or that we’re victims of bad luck. Our “survival” brain has the (misguided) belief that by generating these “protest” thoughts it can control what we don’t want to deal with. Fight or flight is our primitive brain’s go-to response. It is not helpful unless we are faced with a truly life-threatening situation.

Recently I’ve been resisting like hell all the work that goes along with being a single mom of two teenagers (and three cats), launching a business, keeping up a home, cooking, cleaning etc. At time significant chunks of my day are claimed by others’ needs; I succumb to feelings of frustration and resentment that my life gets “put on hold” and that the kids’ dad does so little compared to me. But looking at my life this way does not serve me at all. It only makes me weaker–not stronger–to think of circumstances as burdens. 

When I catch myself thinking thoughts like “I can’t wait for my kids to go to college”, “This so hard,” “I don’t have time for myself” I stop and recognize how they only generate feelings of anxiety (and maybe even panic), and I become stressed-out and irritable. The result of the thought “I don’t have time for myself” is that I’m miserable and use the time I do have “comforting” myself in unhealthy ways like eating crap or escaping in TV. I’m not generating a state of mind that energizes me and keeps my creative juices flowing.

What an awakening when I read the following passage from Eckhart Tolle’s ground-breaking “Power of Now”:

Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to something that already is? Say “yes” to life—and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you. 
Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. 

When I say “yes” to spending hours on the road driving my kids, “yes” to cleaning the litter box, “yes” to whatever is in front of me, it changes everything. Imagine wanting to be in a traffic jam or scooping poop? Or, “yes” to having your schedule upended, disrupted plans? By saying “yes” it returns our sense of control over our life, and we work with life instead of against it. We come from a place of abundance: there’s no wasted time, and there is time for everything. Solutions appear, insights arrive, mastery develops. 

 We may say “yes” with tears running down our face, with a sigh of surrender or with a smile: the effect is still the same. We stop fighting life and start working with it. Start saying “yes” to every aspect of your life and watch struggles, problems and even minor annoyances dissolve into something wholly unexpected.

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