I think we’re all just hustlin’, trying to outrun discomfort.
If we just work hard enough, teach long enough, clean everything, and control the kids, then we won’t have to feel bad.
Also if we could just get rid of this virus and stop being homebound, then we could feel better.
It’s a lie.
What if no matter what you choose or what happens in your life, you’ll feel uncomfortable 50 percent of the time?
People who have “arrived” - they are millionaires, have a huge beautiful house, cleaners, cooks, and nannies, anything they could ever want they can buy - are not the happiest of people.
Don’t believe me? Look at celebrities. How many of them overdose on drugs or alcohol? They have everything, including fame, and they still need something to take the pain of life away.
Why is that?
Because there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
We don’t arrive at the moment of satisfaction, where all the problems are solved and we can finally be happy.
The person chasing the pot of gold is missing the RAINBOW in front of them. They miss the beauty and splendor of the moment, chasing the pot of gold that they can’t find.
If they can’t find it, they should stop chasing happiness and start being happy right now!
I can see this logically, but my brain still tries to convince me that my situation is unique. I really do have something that is wrong that I need to “fix” in order to be happy… and fast!
I know intellectually that I could choose to stop chasing happiness and start enjoying my life the way it is, but there is still part of me that thinks that I am the exception to that rule.
I can’t be happy yet because of all the things. The house, the kids, the list of stuff…
It’s because so and so isn’t reading yet. That needs to change for me to feel better.
It’s because of the stuff on the counters and floor.
It’s because we haven’t finished the history book yet.
It’s because my kids don’t like to go to sleep at a decent hour.
Right now it is FOR SURE because of the corona virus and self quarantining that I don’t feel good.
I could go on for DAYS my friend… (And I’m sure you could too!)
But what if it’s not because of all the things?
What if it’s a trick?
Last week on date night we went walking through the woods (WALKING not hiking - this is Nebraska, nothing resembles an incline of any kind here…) and I kept getting pebbles and twigs in my low cut boots. Every time something got in my shoe, all I could think about was that thing. I stopped being present for the sunset, the trees, the breeze, my husband’s hand, the conversation… Those things were still there, but muted. I wasn’t fully engaged in them, because my mind was focused on the thing in my shoe that was causing me discomfort.
The rest of my body felt great, but that tiny spot where the pebble was took all of my attention and focus. It didn’t matter how awesome everything else was - what I could see, feel, and hear. What mattered was that I get that pebble out immediately.
The pebble, in the grand scheme of my senses, was affecting approximately .01% of them, and yet it was getting almost 99% of my focus.
And I started to wonder, how often I do this in other areas?
The answer is: CONSTANTLY!
When I am super focused on how my dirty house is causing me to be so annoyed (it’s not, but my brain thinks that’s what is going on), I am doing the exact same thing as focusing on the pebble.
I only see the mess, instead of seeing how I have a beautiful home, running water, heat, soft beds, comfortable couches, no bugs or wild animals, clean air, appliances, and all the other amazing things.
I am blind to them when I become hyper focused on that mess.
I think if the mess were gone I would be satisfied, but I wouldn’t!
If the mess disappeared FOREVER and my house were never dirty again, I would focus on the projects that need done - the exposed drywall, the tile that has broken, the paint that is peeling.
And if those were fixed then I would find something else: decor that needs upgraded, landscaping, organizing, you name it!
It will never end.
Why is that?
My lower brain is programmed to find a problem and focus on it so that I will fix it. It does this by thinking a thought, which causes me to feel a negative emotion, which causes me to take action.
The problem is, this sequence of events works out well when a lion is chasing me, (I think “lions are dangerous”, I feel terror, I run like the dickens) but it doesn’t work so well when my brain identifies “items on spaces” (a dirty house) as the problem.
I am not actually in any danger.
Nothing really needs to change for me to feel good except my thoughts.
Now I’m not saying I should just live in a dirty house forever. What I am saying is that feeling terrible and storming around cleaning so that I can feel better in the future (when the house is finally clean) is a terrible idea.
What if I feel good right now and then clean my house if I want to?
Then I could enjoy the process.
(That’s all I’m saying.)
Having the dirty house is uncomfortable. But cleaning it is also uncomfortable.
Either way I am going to experience something that I wouldn’t choose if given the choice.
If I clean my house, I have to convince my kids to help me, and work! Not the funnest of things.
But if I don’t clean the house, the discomfort of the mess is hard too. Then I have thoughts about what it means that my house is so messy, and that people don’t put anything away.
But what if I’m done listening to my brain?
Do I have to be miserable until things change?
I don’t think so... I can choose to be happy now. But even when I choose intentional thoughts, I still experience discomfort as I move towards a goal because life is always going to have negative emotions.
Think about how negative everyone is being about the COVID-19 Virus.
People are fearful, worried, anxious, and panicked.
People are speculating about what will happen in the coming months and years, and then freaking out about it right now.
For some reason we think it is useful to panic because of what the future might bring.
We need to stop and ask ourselves - is it useful?
If I stop and look around, all of my true needs are met.
I am fine.
There is no emergency! We are just staying home and eating differently.
The future will bring what it will bring, but panicking today isn’t helping.
Just like me thinking that I need to freak out and then cleaning my house, what if we all stop freaking out as we deal with this virus?
Could we act in peace?
Do we have to panic?
I don't think it is helping!
What do I have control over right now?
What can I do to find happiness and create joy in my life, my home, and in my children?
Worry and panic are not helping me towards that end.
So I invite you to just say no to worry!
Here are some thoughts that can help:
We have enough. (Whatever you have right now, I promise, it is enough.)
We are ok. (You really are in this moment!)
This is a beautiful experience. (Redirects your brain to see the good.)
I invite you to stop focusing on everything going wrong and start seeing what is going right.
Then you might still take action to work towards an outcome, but you can enjoy the process more.
When I had the pebble in my shoe, I hyper focused on it, and took action to remove it, but with the virus, there is nothing I can do to take it out of my life and change the world at large. Instead of hyper focusing on it, what if I redirect my focus. Ignore that uncomfortable point and focus on the rest of my life.
There is always a silver lining to the raincloud and a rainbow in the rainstorm. We just have to open our eyes and look for them.
You got this.
If you’re struggling to feel at peace, I’d love to chat with you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or schedule a free mini session here. 20 minutes could set your entire week on a different trajectory towards peace. Let’s talk soon.
P.S. For more thoughts on the Corona Virus, read on here.
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