Wouldn’t it be easy if everything we needed to know about life we could learn in school. Or even pick up a book that explained from A-Z on how to navigate the ups and downs the highs and lows. There are plenty of books that try, don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a few in my time. But not one of them completely nails every single situation that we are faced with. Feeling in the depths of depression, gratitude ain’t going to cut it. Made to feel like an idiot at work and positive psychology may not be your silver bullet. Get cancer, and no amount of green smoothies may save you. And that is simply all the external stuff that goes on in our world, it doesn’t even begin to touch the surface on the stuff on the internal. You know the stuff I am talking about, the negative self talk, the complaining about others, the feeling of annoyance of frustration, of anger and resentment. The stuff that seemingly comes out of nowhere and takes you by surprise. Your emotions. We all have them, those little voices in our head that justify everything, some times good, some times not so good. They tell the stories, they explain the rage or the sadness or the frustration. They are brilliant story tellers.
All of the stuff we see today about the pursuit of happiness is all incredibly useful. There is a world of information on how to connect to your life purpose, to eat clean and feel amazing, to say “I am awesome” every morning and you will be….manifest your dreams, live your purpose, be the best version of yourself. They are all notions I buy into, I love all this stuff. But to be honest, a part of me has been feeling for some time that it is perhaps a little bit disingenuous. It feels like we are promised a world of health and well being and the all allusive happiness by following all the rules and miraculously it will come. And for some part I do agree, that eating well helps you feel better, not only physically but mentally. That doing something that is important to you, does make you feel like you are achieving something. We all want that right? To feel like we are achieving something, that we have meaning.
But what happens when it doesn’t go to plan. When you lose your job, or your dog dies, or your one true love leaves you for the younger version. No amount of life purpose or I am awesome or green smoothie will right those wrongs. I do find that being in a place of balance where I feel healthy I find I have more resilience to these situations, but to be honest they still suck. No matter how much work I think I have done I still find that if things don’t go as planned I somewhat freak out. Maybe not into full melt down mode, so there is hope, but I am still affected by the traits that are deep in my very being. It can feel a little fruitless at times, to be seemingly doing all the right things and then bammo, you are hit with something totally unforeseeable.
So from experience, all of the reading lovely books, eating healthy food and meditating all I like, the shit stuff still, and get this, will still happen. I will still get angry and frustrated and have attachment to things. Things don’t all of a sudden magically disappear. But what does happen, is you get to practice some more. If I have had one of those moments, where I perhaps lost my cool, said something dumb or done something I regret, I usually cut myself up, tell myself I am stupid and that all of this stuff about positivity and changing and growth is a load of shit. Or better still, I go into a story about how it was the dumb arse husband/boss/checkout chick that is the source of my frustration (so much easier to blame someone else). But at the end of the day, it is me that causes my own pain. I chose to get angry/frustrated/sad. May not feel like a choice in that moment, but we do have choice. Sure those choices are steered by our habitual thinking, our deep seeded patterns and conditioning, but there IS choice in there somewhere.
There in lies the beauty – I get another chance to practice. I get another chance to take a deep breath and practice loving kindness. Of seeing my so called aggressor as another human being, just like me, who wants to be happy. Of looking at my habitual way of thinking and realise that it may not be serving me. It’s not so complicated, but sure as hell aint easy. So the merry go round continues. What I have decided though is that health and happiness and well being are not a destination, at the risk of sounding cliched, they are a journey. A process that we continue to refine and redefine each and every step of the way. And like a waltz, we sometimes go forward and sometimes we go back, but ultimately we stay in the dance.