Whether it’s replacing the memory in your computer, swapping out vacuum cleaner attachments, or improving your state of mind, forcing things never works. The key to finding grace, resilience, endurance, or whatever we really need in a given situation is to be with what is happening, not to fight against it.
We’ve often been told to look within for answers, but sometimes the way we look obscures what we are looking for. When we clutter our minds with expectations, pressure, worry, and preconceptions about the answers we think we need, we lose contact with the wisdom that will always deliver exactly what we truly need. The key is to settle down enough to perceive and follow the guidance that is there.
I received this comment on YouTube In response to last week’s video, Settling Down Comes Naturally.
This feels so true, Molly. It’s so hard to do when you have important decisions to make with a time limit, when you feel your options are limited and you’re not liking any of them. Wish there was a button I could press to settle myself down!
This week’s video acknowledges how it can feel hard to settle down in urgent situations, but in fact, urgency does not need to ramp us up. When we see that being ramped up is a function of our thinking about the situation, not the situation itself, we recover the capacity to see clearly and act from a settled down place even when there are only seconds in which to make a life or death decision.
A key to effective action is to be settled down rather than reactive. The great things is that settling down happens naturally. It begins as soon as we recognize that we have gotten ramped up. When we notice that and stay out of the way, we naturally begin to settle. Just as children forget about their tantrums within minutes, we can allow our moods to pass.
There’s a huge difference between being activated/reactive and being awake and effective. You don’t need to fan the flames of righteous indignation or fear in order to stay awake. Becoming over reactive, winging yourself up, may create a temporary feeling of power, but it reduces your effectiveness. This is as true in civil discourse and political action as it is across the breakfast table.
You can use your awareness of the difference between being activated and being grounded to help you stay the course over the long term rather than riling yourself up, spinning out, and burning out.
Too often we try to improve our human experience by managing it. We celebrate our highs and try to maximize them. We critique our lows and try to root them out. Though we do it in all innocence, all that managing and editorializing actually interferes with our inborn ability to learn, grown, and adapt. In this video I share a story about the time I tried to sail a boat with my buns by way of illustrating the futility of managing our experience with our thinking.