Friday, March 7, 2014

When Things F@$%ing Suck

Sometimes things just really f@$%ing suck. It's just an inevitable part of life. The problem is not the way things are; the problem is that when things suck,  we try to get away from it any way that we can.
In truth, although we would call it something different, we avoid life. We might do this by sinking into our addictions (or escapes), or by adamantly trying to control others and the external world. We have methods of pushing the shit down. 
My personal favorite method for drowning out these emotions, was to deny that I wanted anything at all. I labeled it "non-attachment"to sound more sophisticatedly spiritual. I beat myself up for having these feelings of desire and disappointment for not having what I desire. 
There's this one thing that I don't have that I yearn for with hrying to force yourself not to want what you truly want is much more painful than experiencing the uncomfortable emotions that come when you notice that you don't yet have what you want. You end up not only feeling bad that you have this problem, but then you feel bad for feeling bad that you have any problem in the first place.
All human beings have desire, just as all humans have the experience of discomfort when they don't have those desires. No one can tell you that you don't have a right to feel whatever it is that you're feeling or that you shouldn't want what you are wanting. You need no justification or validation. It's only a problem when you pretend that you don't want something that you want or when you stuff discomfort down and paste on a smile to please others. It's only an issue when you pour sugar on shit and call it ice cream.
You can only deny uncomfortable feelings and desires for so long. "What you resist, persists", and "What you embrace, you erase". This makes perfect sense to me right after the calmness of a long, peaceful meditation or bath, but when I'm pissed and I actually need to remember it, it makes me want to scream. I certainly don't want to embrace anything when I'm upset. Screw going with the flow, I want to paddle upstream like a madwoman.  
But, I've noticed this crazy phenomenon. These sayings are true. Who would've thunk that some wise saying said by some dude or dudette a billion years ago actually had any value? Amazingly, embracing what it is that you are wanting to resist is exactly what to do when things f@$%ing suck.
The definition of embrace is: to accept and support willingly and enthusiastically. In order to embrace something fully, you have to move toward it with love. So freaking frustrating, how is anyone supposed to do that? Ya'll know I love lists and step-by-steps, so here's my to-do list for "embracing to erase":

Step 1: Know that "This too shall pass", probably very quickly. 
Sometimes life gives you a doozy, someone special in your life dies, you lose everything in a fire or you are diagnosed with a terminal disease. However, most things in life are not really all that important. A traffic jam, an unruly child, or an unresponsive spouse all seem like they are big deal important in the moment, but give it a day or even an hour and you won't even remember what it is that you were upset about. All things, good and bad, pass away with time.  

Step 2: Know that challenges are your greatest gifts. 
EVERY invention ever made, EVERY animal that has ever evolved, EVERY sport, EVERY product you own and EVERY job/career exists because it solves a problem or overcomes a challenge. Challenges are incredibly useful in training you to be resourceful. 
In your lifetime, your spiritual and emotional muscles have grown through "resistance training". You have grown into who you are because you have learned to handle turmoil calmly, turn within and soothe yourself, give love and extend kindness even when the other was "misbehaving". If you live to be 100 years old and you had a new challenge everyday, you would be infinitely emotionally stronger, wiser, more patient, loving and in short: much more resourceful than the pampered, spoiled 1000 year old (if people could live that long of course). Ask yourself: what is the opportunity here? What am I learning? Do I need to shift my thinking? How can I use this? 

Step 3:  Find the fear. 
At the core of all resistance/uncomfortable feelings is fear. You can uncover this very simply by asking yourself, "What am I afraid of?" Let's say the situation is that your coworker just got a raise and you didn't. You are feeling a cocktail of uncomfortable feelings we could label "jealousy, rejection and resentment".
Let's say the answer that came was: "Getting let go". You can dig even further and ask yourself: "Why am I afraid of getting let go?" Answer: "I will have no money and I will become homeless". 

Step 4:  Use the contrast to get clear.
Pinpointing what it is that you are afraid of can be called "the contrast that gives clarity". If you know that you are afraid of having no money and becoming homeless, then you gain insight into what you do want: money and a place to live. There are no guarantees in life and of course you can never be 100% certain of anything, but knowing that you want "enough money to live comfortably" will point you in a totally different direction than "don't get fired and avoid homelessness". When you find out what you fear, you'll know what you don't want and from there you can get clear about what you do want and you can take action to get there. You can look for a better paying job, open up a savings account or find a more affordable place to live.

Step 5: Accept. 
This is counter intuitive, but think of what you fear. What would really happen if it became a reality? Would it truly be that bad? What we fear seems big and scary, then, if it comes, once it passes, it's never as bad as we thought it would be. 
Look at it honestly and find thoughts that truly comfort you until you get comfortable with this fear. Would it be that bad if you became homeless? I've actually been homeless and I can tell you that for me, it was an experience that I am most grateful for because that is what I decided. It was not fun while it was was going on, but once I allowed it to be a learning experience, I learned and was truly transformed. I wouldn't trade that experience for all the money in the world, and it was something that I greatly feared before it happened. 

Step 6: Give and act in ways that willingly and enthusiastically accept, appreciate and support that which you are tempted to resist. 
This is by far the most difficult and most important step. It is where transformation and enlightenment will occur. After completing steps 1-4, chances are great that you'll be in a much better state than when you first encountered the challenge. Then you can put it all into action by offering support in some way to whatever it is you want to resist. Ask yourself: how can I give and act in ways that willingly and enthusiastically accept, appreciate and support (fill in the blank)? Your brain is an incredible problem solving machine and it will search for the answer to any question that you give it. You will get an answer, whether it is a knowing, or something that you suddenly feel inspired to do or some other form. Whatever it is, act on it immediately. Don't hesitate, change only occurs in the present moment.  

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