Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Chicken or the Egg?

Chickens cg

For years, a man feared having a heart attack. He worried often about it in his daily life. When he did eventually have one, was he foretelling his future? Or did all the energy he spent on the worry about it lean his life more strongly in that direction?

When a teenage girl got an image of her friend falling down the stairs, she emailed me. She'd had a fight with her friend and was so angry she feared she may have caused her friend to fall. She asked me if she made her friend fall, or if this was her natural intuition showing her an upcoming event?

Anyone who has worked with awareness knows our mental landscape and the beliefs we carry affect how our lives unfold. When we dwell on the negative, it makes our outlook more cloudy. When we take time for the joys in life, our outlook becomes more sunny. In a study with children who had tummy aches, researchers had the kids use imagery and imagination to help them feel better and it worked.

Yet, as we work with awareness, we also discover how life tends to nudge us in the best directions for our well-being. Our ability to be open to life's messages and go with that flow can give us a heads-up when we need it. Our intuition opens up. We see stuff we would have otherwise dismissed.

So, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did the man's concern about his heart bring about the heart attack, or was it a prediction of events to come? Did the teenager's vision predict her friend's fall or did she cause it?

I don't know.

First published September 2017 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Expectations and Assumptions


(With apologies to Tom)

Expectation kicks us in the backside every time.

If I expect Tom to take out the garbage in time for the truck and he doesn't, my expectation isn't met and I get annoyed and then mind kicks in to try to manipulate the circumstances and find a solution to the "Tom not getting the garbage out on time" problem.

It's what many of us automatically do. If something is wrong in our outer world, we try to fix the problem so that outer world matches our expectations. But the real problem isn't whether or not Tom puts out the garbage on time, it's the fact that I don't want to accept that he may not. The real problem is, "I don't want this."

Seeking a solution to the "taking out the garbage" problem rather than the "I don't want this" problem is easier and more comfortable for me. Seeking by itself is a pleasurable activity. Finding resolution feels good. I can let my mind take up the whole thing and make it into an intellectual exercise, see if I can get all my ducks in a row.

But it doesn't solve the real problem, the "I don't want this" problem. That's real world stuff. Emotions. Discomfort. The stuff that's really going on, not the stuff in my head.

The real world stuff is the fact that I may not be able to rely on Tom to put the garbage out on time – regardless of his good intentions, regardless of my good intentions, regardless of my efforts to make it happen.

In the real world, when I have expectations, they are often not met. Life isn’t perfect. Neither are we, we’re just human.

So, then I have to decide if I am willing to live with that less than perfect garbage thing/Tom thing. It’s a tougher choice because it challenges my worldview. It takes a bit more work.

But life doesn’t go more smoothly because it meets our expectations, it goes more smoothly when we drop those expectations.

For me, choosing to turn “I don’t like this,” into “That’s life,” is a much happier choice.

First published August 2013 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.