“The only way to find happiness to accept that the way things are is the way things are.”
– The Cow in the Movie Babe, as quoted in The Art of Possibility
First, The Art of Happiness is a fantastic book (by Zander). Every time I pick it up to read even a little bit, I am reminded of the princlples I have used during my journey to the Sweet Spot which have been most impactful. This week was no different. This post is inspired by their “7th Practice.”
There is much truth to what the cow says, above. The way things are is the way things are. Fighting it is futile. Yet being resigned to it doesn’t help either. With whatever is going on in our life, we must learn to accept what is, while also being aware of our feelings about what is. That is, if we want to be happy, peaceful, and joyful in life.
I frequently work with people using a tool called Energy Leadership – I actually did two assessment debriefs with clients today. The tool is all about increasing our awareness – awareness of our default tendencies, and what we believe to be true. And awareness of HOW WE FEEL ABOUT what is happening in our world. Until we become aware of, and present to (let it sink in) how we feel about a situation or circumstance, we can’t move to acceptance. If we pretend it isn’t happening, or ignore our feelings about what is happening, we are in denial and therefore will, likely subconsciously, be left with the feeling that life is happening to us (victim energy). Our feelings will still run us, by the way, even if we pretend they are not there. We’ll be irritable and not even know why.
On the flip side, if we RESIST what is happening, which might look like getting angry about it, fighting it (at least an internal battle), and our context or view of the situation is that it is WRONG and it SHOULDN’T BE this way, nothing will change. By the sheer force of our own resistance (that which we resist, persists), we will keep the struggle in place (conflict energy). It’s like a fly trying to get out a window that “should” be open by trying harder to fly through the glass – it won’t see the door which is open across the room. We do this all the time by fighting against the way things are.
So what is there to do?
As Zander says, we must be present without resistance. We must be aware of what is actually happening and our own internal reactions to it, which are an accurate compass, and then use our reactions to guide our actions without judging what has already occurred as bad or wrong. We must take a step back from the window, being aware of – but not upset about – the fact that it wasn’t working, and look for the open door.
From My World
I am traveling beginning early tomorrow morning. Knowing this, I created an opportunity for my clients to schedule coaching for today, booking myself almost non-stop for a 12 hour day of 1-on-1 sessions, in addition to all of what needed to happen in preparation for my trips. Even though coaching days are my favorite – that’s why I do it – I was not happy about the day I had created for myself. My automatic response was to resist it – to complain about it to myself, to dread it, to wish it wasn’t happening, and to look for ways to get out of it. (Call in sick? 🙂 ). The other response was to completely disconnect from all that I was responible for today and simply wander from session to session in survival mode. Resisting it would have created a tense and angry energy – angry at myself for planning the day primarily, though this energy would have undoubtedly seeped in to my client calls in the form of resentment. Disconnecting would have had me be disconnected in sessions, and getting nothing done in my little break between sessions, resulting in less than powerful calls and a lack of preparation for my trip tomorrow.
So I took a moment to accept how I was feeling without resisting it. I noticed that I was feeling overwhelmed and irritated with myself for planning a day like this. I was able to be present to those emotions without judging them, or me, or the situation. In being present, I could also recognize that the reason I was feeling that way was all because I was worried I would fail – fail to get it all done, fail to be 100% all day long, and ultimately fail in in my business and life. When I could get present to that fear and accept it, I could create something new. In the face of that fear, I created the intention to be free to be myself, all day long, trusting that I naturally have what it takes – that’s why I’m here doing this – and also being OK with the possibility that I might forget something, mess up, or somehow fail. In that instant I could accept that, I became free, and my energy became free to have a great client day!
I didn’t do everything perfectly, and I am still finishing up my preparation, but I am calm and happy. Just like the cow said.