“Breathe. You’re going to be okay. Breathe and remember that you’ve been in this place before. You’ve been this uncomfortable and anxious and scared, and you’ve survived. Breathe and know that you can survive this too. These feelings can’t break you. They’re painful and debilitating, but you can sit with them and eventually, they will pass. Maybe not immediately, but sometime soon, they are going to fade and when they do, you’ll look back at this moment and laugh for having doubted your resilience. I know it feels unbearable right now, but keep breathing, again and again. This will pass. I promise it will pass.”
~ Daniell Koepke
(Daniell Koepke, Internal Acceptance Movement)
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
You know those times when you set goals with good intentions but life suddenly gets in the way? Toward the end of last year I made a commitment to focus on wellbeing. I was doing well until about a month ago when work hit a really busy patch. Out the window went good intentions and in a flash old habits moved back in! Like so many others, I tend to be hard on myself when this happens. Philip Moffits’s words capture this not unusual experience so well, while shining a light on how to start over.
“So just how do you practice starting over? Think of it as shifting your attention away from controlling the outcome and abandoning your usual reactions – criticizing, judging, complaining, and lamenting – to getting off track. You don’t deny your thoughts and feelings, and you don’t try to make them go away. Instead, you acknowledge them without making any judgments about them and with compassion for how difficult this moment is. You then follow the acknowledgment with what I call “and” practice, in which you say to yourself, “Yes, I just got lost, and now I’ll just start over.”
You develop the strength to start over because you’re committed to moving toward your goal, not to being there. This is why I call it an attitudinal shift. Your goals matter because they give direction to your life, but your actual life happens in the endless stream of moments that occur between now and when, if ever, you reach your goal.
Ironically, the practice of starting over is a more effective way to achieve your goal then constantly fixating on it. That’s because most of us are not very good at simply delivering results. For instance, if you are trying to lose weight, curb your temper, or cease being a workaholic, you already know what to do to stop the undesirable behavior, but you don’t. Discouragement from your past and imaginings about how bad the future will be drain your energy and cause you to fail. When you embrace starting over as a practice, you focus instead on what you are doing right now and what you need to do or are failing to do. Thus, if you have agreed to take on yet another work project, you reverse yourself as soon as it dawns on you that it is too much. If you sense that you’re losing your temper, you just stop. No drama; you just get right back on your path and start over.”
~ Philip Moffitt
(Philip Moffitt, Emotional Chaos to Clarity)
(Photo by Nick de Partee on Unsplash)
Sitting With The World – my favourite practice …
As you sit, just sit with the world, with whatever is there, all of the arisings and passings away in your mind, body, and environment. As you notice sights and sounds, thoughts and feelings, memories and anticipations, relax into them. Relax your mind and body. Actively do nothing. Make no efforts. Just sit, just be, at least for now.
Let go of all of the things that frantically direct your day-to-day existence: me, him, her, past, future, plans, desires, aversions, hopes, goals, concerns, anticipations, fears, everything. Don’t grasp at any of these things, don’t resist any of them. Just sit with whatever is there. Things naturally settle this way, and the mind comes to peace.
The mentality is this. There is nowhere that you need to go, nothing that you need to achieve, no one that you need to be. Those ideas are illusions, fabrications of the mind. You are complete and whole where you are, just sitting with the world.
Unfortunately, I can’t find an attribution for this piece of writing, if you can show it is your work, let me know and the post will be updated to reflect that.
(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)