What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.
-Jeremy Binns, shared by Amy in Utah
Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.
-Wayne Dyer, shared by Brian in Los Angeles, CA
For a few months now, I’ve been wanting to unleash this pair of quotes and explore how spending too much energy grumbling about what we don’t like about our current situation can keep us from noticing the things we like about the situation. And while this grumbling can seem like a useful precursor to taking action to improve things, it sometimes has the opposite affect: trapping us in a victim mindset and needlessly robbing us of the energy required to implement desired changes.
But every time I went to write about it, I worried it could come off as a condescending, “Oh stop your bellyaching and just enjoy your day,” or even worse it might seem dismissive of legitimate suffering that people experience: “Step into the sunshine and ignore that pesky oppression you’ve been experiencing.” What’s a Ripples Guy to do?
Well, I’ll tell you what he does: he went on a mini-vacay! Last week I spent a few days hiking and reading and generally chillaxing…and two important things happened:
1. I felt rejuvenated after a few days of NOT trying to figure out all the answers to all the things.
2. I found myself noticing quite a few times that I was *almost* delighting in the experience of the moment, but not quite:
“If only it was a few degrees warmer!”
“Gosh the traffic is just a little too much right now.”
“Oh I wish that schoolbus hadn’t arrived just as I was about to enjoy some solitude at this museum.”
And then I thought of these two quotes and realized it might be worthwhile to try and experience the actual trip I was on instead of the imaginary one I was dreaming about. And get this: there wasn’t any need to punish myself for having or expressing my preferences…I just NOTICED them, smiled and did a quick pivot: a momentary pause to grieve the moment I was expecting/wanting, and then more fully embracing the moment I was actually in.
I think this has some useful applications on a larger scale about some of the bigger stuff in our lives too…but for this week how about we stick to the small stuff and see if we can practice embracing life as it is.
Are you in..even a wee bit?
P.S. And remember, you’re definitely allowed to have preferences. None of this means you shouldn’t grab an umbrella if it’s raining on your parade…just maybe splash around in the puddles and see if it might be a moment worth living?