We try to control everything around us because we believe that it will allow us to feel stress free, safe and happy, but the very act of trying to control the uncontrollable is a trap we set for ourselves, that makes us feel stressed, unsafe and unhappy.
I am so please to brag about my first appearance on the Real Heath show on DSTV
Check it out Starting
Monday: 23:30 ( First time episode plays out)
Tuesday 10:30 (Episode repeats)
Wednesday 14:30 (Episode repeats)
Friday 18:30 (Episode repeats)
Saturday 10:30 (Episode repeats)
Sunday 07:30 (Episode repeats)
New years resolutions – ha! Someone asked me what mine were for this year, I suppose they were expecting the usual – more work, more money, more success, more exercise, quit this, do that.
If I am perfectly honest with myself, I would have to say that if I really wanted those things, I would be sufficiently motivated to be doing them already, and not waiting for the new year. It is a strange phenomena that we expect our future self to be more motivated, more energized, more willing to do the “right thing”, the “hard work” than our current selves are. Then surprise, surprise, our future self turns out to be just as “slack” about getting those things as our current selves.
For myself, I have not set a New Years resolution for at least 10 years. I find that honesty is the best policy, and I do try to be as honest as possible with myself. Following the “know thyself” principal, I pretty much know what I want to do, and what I really don’t, what I will be willing to do and what I won’t, and I don’t try to con myself.
Ironically, my honesty doesn’t make me a lazy slacker. While I am working on being a human being – I am, by my very nature a human doing. I still have dreams, goals, plans, and I have every intention of perusing them, with energy and enthusiasm, but here is the plan…….
Instead of creating a list of everything I “should” or “must” do, I think about what I want to create for the year, and see if it makes my heart sing. How do I know if it makes my heart sing? My whole body says “YES” when I think about it. I feel energized, motivated and alive, sometimes with a frisson of fear, or peaceful, calm and content,
If I feel like I am losing energy, my body gets heavy, my chest feels a weight on it, my breathing becomes restricted, it is not for me.
So when I think about doing 10 hours of training every week for badminton – grooving new shots, playing games, drenched with sweat in the heat of Feb and going out in the cold in winter, losing, wining, putting myself out there in competition, socializing with the badminton crowd, my toes start wiggling my knees start bouncing and I am ready to go.
When I think of the new course I am taking about postural structural alignment, I can’t wait to get going.
MY RECIPE FOR A HAPPY LIFE:
Make a list of the things that make your heart sing, and a list of the things that you are currently doing every day – adjust accordingly
PS. If you want to have great self esteem, and feel successful, do the things you are good at – the things you love, are very likely going to be the things you are good at. I am going to be so much better at studying postural alignment then I was at studying accounts at Varsity. And because I am fascinated and intrigued, I will be fabulous, and think my self awesome!
Consider this…How do you measure success or failure? What do you measure your success or failure by? In recent years I have discovered that how you measure success or failure is directly related to whether you tend to be happy, motivated and satisfied or frustrated, angst or irritated with your day. If you are finding yourself more irritated and fearful than happy and satisfied, this might be worth considering.
After a good 20 years of doing battle with my day to day, it finally occurred to me that the goals that I set as essentially sucked out of my thumb. I decide that I want them, what they will look like and when I should have them by. I imagine them up and the proceed to attempt to bring them to life by applying myself diligently, day by day towards achieving them. That is all great, no problem there, I am all over that dreaming big thing.
Here is the snafu. I like most people I know, I very quickly forgot that I had made up my goals pretty much arbitrarily – really, they seemed like a good idea at the time and behold the goal was born. Forgetting that fact, I allowed myself to attach pretty strongly to the goal, and to use it as a measure of my own self worth. Behold, the goal that I have arbitrarily created now becomes the whip on my back, the measure of my good enough-ness, my ability, who I am as a person, my very identity. Bye bye the exiting, positive, creative joy of working towards my dream, bye bye the jumping out of bed, can’t wait to get started, hello stress, pressure, fear, unhappiness, self judgement. WTF!
I myself have decided to measure my everyday success at work not by what I achieve in that day – despite my best efforts, I often achieve much less than I set out to – nor by whether I can get things or others, or the world to “go my way” – alas, I have discovered that I lack control in that arena too, but instead, did I turn up, dedicate myself, get involved and engaged, enjoy what I was doing as much as possible, work on loving my day, myself and my life. After all, I am only alive in this moment, right now in this place, doing this thing, I am not yet alive in the undefined future when I finally have the outcome. If I don’t decide to love the process of my day to day life, no amount of money, fame or other success in ?? years will replace a life lost to fear, frustration, and a lack of joy.
And what about the long term dream? I now choose to be in acceptance around that. I want it, I am willing to do the work, despite that, I may or may not achieve it. I no longer allow the achieving it to define me. It is just a dream that I dream because it pleases me and inspires me today. If I can’t manage to make it work, as I had hoped, I am quite sure I can find another.
I spent my life being a fighter – as a kid literally fighting – kick, punch, bite, yank, you need to toughen up with 2 older brothers. As an adult it meant, defend, protect, push, drive, strive, control, cling. It took me almost 40 years before I finally learned how to engage in the power of surrender, acceptance, and flow.
I always imagined that surrender, and acceptance would be the death of ambition and forward momentum. That losing that striving, always pushing need to prove myself better, stronger, more successful (mostly than myself ) would leave me a couch potatoes with a with dozen donuts and an remote control obsession.
Instead, I find that this peaceful, curious, joyful approach to engaging in those things I am passionate about, means I not longer spend my time battling fear of failure (and success), and more time finding a way to engage in and create what my heart desires. Perhaps I will succeed in whatever new project I have on the boil at any one time, perhaps I will not, I surrender to those 2 possibilities, and as a result, and am able to work today with a gentle, focused joy in this moment, rather than a fearful angst about whether it is going to be the right thing to get me there. As a result, I have truly experienced this moment – and since it is a variety or this moments that make up my life, I have experienced my life, and it is good.
I have learned to measure my success in a new way. I no longer wait for the outcome of my project to as the single measure of my success, a methodology that was sure to up my daily adrenaline output, instead count myself successful, everyday, in a variety of life affirming ways. I show up, I do my best, I live in my best possible joy, I do scary, challenging things and relish them, I practice, I feel my joy, I experience pleasure in the moment, I do the work, I connect, I treat myself kindly, I take care of myself, I give myself time for other things, I live.
My Favorite story
So, today I was reminded of the following story. I absolutely love this story, it reminds me that we judge things are normally good or bad, because they do or don’t fit into our plan – it is not the situation itself but the judgment on them that makes them feel “good” or “bad’ to us, and our emotional response follows.
I didn’t, unfortunately make the story up, and sadly don’t know who to credit it to. It goes like this:
There was an old man living in a small village in a small country. He owned a beautiful white stallion which was the envy of every one who saw it. It came to the attention of the emperor, who sent an agent to buy the stallion. But the man loved the horse and refused the generous offer. His fellow villagers thought him mad – “that kind of money is not easy to come by.” They remonstrated.
Some time later the stallion broke out of it’s corral and ran off. “you see’, cried the villagers, it was a bad thing that you did not sell the horse for now you have no horse and no money.” The old man replied “It is neither good nor bad, it simply is what it is, for we can never know the whole story”.
Some time later the stallion returned to the village trailing behind him a brood of wild mares that he had picked up in the mountains. “You were right’ cried the villagers “good thing that the horse ran off, now you have a whole herd.” The old man replied “It is neither good nor bad, it simply is what it is, for we can never know the whole story”.
Some time later the old man’s son was breaking one of the wild mares for the saddle, and he was thrown and broke both his legs, becoming lame. “Oh ho,” the villages pronounced “it was a bad thing that the horse came back with this herd, now your son is lame. Better to have no horses then a lame son.” The old man replied “It is neither good nor bad, it simply is what it is, for we can never know the whole story”.
Some time later the small country went to war with it’s neighbor, and the emperor started a conscription campaign, conscripting all the young men in the villages of the land. The villages knew that their sons were unlikely to make it home alive. “Who would have thought, it is a good thing your son is lame, at least he will survive this terrible war, when our sons will most likely die” they declared to the old man “It is neither good nor bad, it simply is what it is, for we can never know the whole story”.