It Is What It Is

 

Copyright tonibernhard.com
Copyright tonibernhard.com

Welcome to the start of another week.  What kind of plans do you have in store?  Are you able to embrace the thought of dealing with whatever comes your way?  Raring to go, full of joy for being alive and in the moment?

Or are you anxious about the days ahead? Stressed? Fearful?

The spiritual teacher Byron Katie says “You can argue with the way things are.   You’ll lose but only 100% of the time”.

It can be hard to accept what is in front of us with equanimity and a peaceful mind.  It is a simple concept, but not an easy one.  Yet we can get there in a split second.  We control our thoughts, not the other way round.  We can decide what to think about any event or situation.  We can choose acceptance over resistance.

To use a relatively trivial-sounding example, I have a residual fear of engaging with e-mails, as a result of a devastating experience at work a few years ago.  These days, I lead a blessed and happy life.  But when it comes to thinking about my in-box, I am consumed with anxiety about what might lurk there.  So I put off opening my mailbox for as long as possible.

Eventually, given the way the world works these days, I have to draw on those famous words by Susan Jeffers and ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’.  Having taken a deep breath and opened my messages, what do I find?  A long list, not of horrors after all, but of stress-free items which I can handle perfectly well.  Once I can see the true content of my in-box, only then do I recognise that it is the muscle-memory of past times which has been controlling my thoughts and therefore my emotions, not the logic behind what is most likely to exist when I switch on the computer.

I am using the practice of acceptance to help me overcome this fear.  By taking a moment to recognise my present reality, and by relaxing into it, as Pema Chödrön puts it, I can engage with this aspect of my life with a calm, still presence, regardless of what shows up.

I hope this approach might also be useful for you, if and when you find yourself dealing with difficult or unexpected events.

There is no path to peace.  Peace is the path.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

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10 thoughts on “It Is What It Is

  1. An excellent message to read at the beginning of a fresh new week. Thank you, dear Liz for your insightful and meaningful thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Becky – sending love and hugs as ever 😀❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a timely post Liz! My younger daughter is very anxious at the moment and it is affecting her college work. She also has a fear of opening e-mails and often asks me to be with her while she looks through her mail. I will show her this post tomorrow xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Clare, I am so sorry to hear about the challenges your daughter is facing. I very much hope that something in my post can be of help to her – do let me know how you get on. 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank-you Liz. She has had chronic anxiety for some years now but it is especially bad at the moment. I will certainly let you know how we get on xx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a sensible, centered approach–and not at all easy to adopt! You make your points very well–I will try to keep it all in mind (especially when having to deal with phone calls, which are my bugaboo, instead of emails!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kerry – I can well understand the phone call point!

      Like

  4. And I have a fear of not opening my email. But here’s something I still find hard to accept and hard to learn; the world doesn’t fall apart if you ignore your inbox for weeks; the world doesn’t fall apart if you don’t pay a bill on time; the world doesn’t fall apart if your socks don’t match or your hair isn’t brushed. 🙂 🙂 Anxieties, however they come at us, are horrible, so I am glad to read of your practice of acceptance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh how right you are! It is so very easy to get caught up in the mistake of thinking that the majority of what we do or don’t do has any bearing on anything. It reminds of that lovely saying ‘angels can fly because they take themselves lightly’ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh that is a lovely saying! A new one to me.

        Liked by 1 person

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