Will you allow your life to take shape as it unfolds in front of you? Making choices as new situations, new opportunities, new obstacles arise? Or will you spend your energy making the things you want happen? Envisioning your life as it should be, striving for perfection? Trick question, isn’t it? Be honest with yourself, which did you choose?
So many of us were raised to force our way through life. If we wanted “it” we were taught to go out and get “it”, no matter what. Pull yourself up by the boot straps and make it happen. That way worked well at one time in our very recent history. Fledgling nations like America were built on this type of determination and perseverance. It isn’t a bad thing, it just doesn’t seem to work as well as it used to anymore. Why?
Everything changes with time. At some point, a significant shift seems to have occurred. Our world sped up. We became so busy and overloaded with stimulation and information coming at us from all directions at every moment, that now, if we get caught up in a struggle with everything that comes our way, we will live our life in struggle…and we will suffer for it. We will get stressed, we will get unhappy, our relationships will come apart, our bodies will get sick and our culture will erode. The make-it-happen approach was for a slower paced time in our history. In this high octane world of ours, we now need to make every moment count. How do we do that? We get smarter, we become aware, we focus on the present moment where we have control over our choices, and we go with the flow. With eyes wide open we allow life to happen and we make purposeful choices about how we want to engage with it. Instead of struggling and forcing, we surf, we dance, we ride the waves, we move with the pace of our lives without resistance. Sometimes easier said than done, for sure, but with practice, the rewards are great. A life of less upset, greater ease, improved health, happy relationship, and culture that flourishes and ultimately more accomplishment. If we aren’t wasting our time on the struggle, we have more time to enjoy, connect and grow.
Practice. It will get easier and easier. Take time to meditate. Take a yoga or a tai chi class. Concentrate on the sky and the trees and the rocks as you take your morning walk. Breathe and pay attention to that simplest of life sustaining activities. When life happens to you, choose your path wisely. Think about who you want to be… and how that choice fits into the vision of who you are moving towards becoming and where you are going. I’m not saying it will be easy. Some of the choices in front of you may be hard ones. But if they are the right ones for you, they will lead you away from struggle and into growth.
For some, this will be a hard pill to swallow. Struggle has become the norm for many of us. But does it have to remain so? What do you gain from it? Can you still feel proud of the choices you make if direct struggle was not involved? I think you can…because it still takes effort, doesn’t it? I am not talking about taking the easy way out. Going with the flow of life and making choices as the come to us, still takes hard work, perseverance, and bravery…all things we can be proud of when the day is done and the choice is made.
Look, life is gonna come at us no matter what. Our choice is how we will engage. Will we struggle and force our way through it, or will we have the grace to sit back, observe, follow our intuition and enjoy the ride it takes us on?
What do you think?
Be happy and well,
Sari Roth-Roemer, Ph.D.