I had an epiphany [a life-changing idea] a while back.
I was sitting in my lounge room, feeling a little stressed, thinking I should be doing housework. It occurred to me to wonder WHY I was thinking that – what did I hope to get out of it? Hmm. Perhaps to avoid shame? So that other people (and ME) wouldn’t think badly of me? (And, a tidy and clear space would be nice … but that wasn’t the aspect that was leaving me paralysed and unable to actually do it.)
As you probably know, I teach that needs underlie everything we do (aka nonviolent communication) … so what was my need? Aha … safety! I’m wanting people to like and approve of me, because then I’ll be safe.
And then it dawns on me … I’m sitting in my lounge room, the sun is shining, there is not a single threat to my well being right now. I’m 100% safe, in this moment. So what I’m doing is creating stress, NOW, about the idea that I might not be safe in the future, with the intention of figuring out what that will look like, and how to avoid it happening.
Oh, ha ha ha ha ha! I know full well, from many many years of trying it, that I have a zero percent success rate at predicting my future. AND, that even if I COULD predict that, then the chances are that my predictions of what will CHANGE it are equally slim.
So where does that leave me? I’m 100% safe right now. Bad things WILL happen – that’s life on life’s terms (and again, my success rate at making that not true is zero). AND I have zero ability to predict and/or change that. And yet – despite all that – I spend 99% of my time (I don’t think that’s an exaggeration) trying to fix the problems I am afraid are coming.
What if I just found a way to ACCEPT that pain will come, and that’s nothing I can do about it? I suspect that that would mean I could actually be at peace in the other 99.99% of my life.
When I manage to remember this … I’m at peace. And of course I don’t remember it all the time – I’m human, and have some very well practised neural pathways that lead down the rabbit hole of all my old thinking.
But I’m getting there. One surprising and joyful epiphany at a time.
May your day be filled with peace.