Your wellbeing is not controlled by your circumstances. Moment by moment, we live in the feeling of our thinking, not our circumstances. Our resilience, wellbeing, and creativity are innate, not circumstantial. It doesn’t always feel this way; we all get caught up in the illusion of our thinking from time to time. But the more you cultivate your awareness of your fundamental, innate okayness, the more you will come to see through the ups and downs of your thought-generated experience. Nelson Mandela comes to mind as exemplifying how a human being can access wisdom, resilience, and wellbeing even in the midst of horrific circumstances. He was not an exception. You have the same capacity.
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.
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.
Today in yoga class I was struck for a few moments by the miracle of the body: by what a marvelous, phenomenal, generous gift I had been given. That what Mary Oliver refers to as the “soft animal of your body” in her poem, “Wild Geese,” was given to me to inhabit so that I could have the experience of life. It is so easy to judge our bodies. To worry about them, resent them, struggle with them. For a few minutes I was blessed with the sweet simplicity of seeing the gift we have each been given.
I once heard in a 12 Step meeting, “I’ve been around these rooms for 35 years. The bad news is that every five years I got a new set of problems. The good news is that they were always higher quality problems.” There’s a lot of truth in this. We learn and grow, and our baseline awareness of our wellbeing, our capacity, our potential increases. Overall, we are doing better. At the same time, life continues to happen. We continue to experience ups and downs. If we focus on the ups and downs, we can overlook the fact that, overall, we really have made progress.