Tag Archives: fear

Why or How, Which Is The Question?

A number of clients lately have been asking me the same question: “Why is this happening (to me)” The implication or follow up questions suggest the assumption that if one can figure out why something is happening, one can then stop it or turn it in a different direction.

A more valuable question is often, “How do I best handle this?”

It’s easy to get tangled up in psychobabble and left-brain analyzing when hunting for a “why.” It’s possible to create more difficulties and confusion than one started with due to the tendency to pick oneself apart, criticize, judge and doubt.

Sometimes when I dig for a “why,” I end up sinking myself in the past, in events or interactions or relationships, hunting a solution. But they’re past. They require no solution, or letting go may be the solution, or the solution lies in a new choice of action or reaction now.

When I say to myself, “It is what it is; how do I best handle this?” I’m offering myself a choice: do I act or react in the way I might usually act or react, or is there another choice. There may be a choice that leaves me feeling better about myself, or an option that feels right even if it seems to run counter to logic. If I sit with the question for awhile, I may find that I’d like to do X but fear the outcome. This gives me a chance to practice following my inner knowing, letting go of the outcome, allowing myself to trust myself. Trust myself to experiment, learn through experience, even to fuck up … the experience will still be valuable even if it turns out not to have been the best choice. I’d have tried. Or not – maybe I go ahead and do the not-scary thing this time while I begin to let go of that particular fear by practicing on decisions and choices that seem small and less scary for awhile, building my confidence and honing my skill with this new way of expression or interaction.

If a “best” choice isn’t clear, why worry? Make a choice and let go of the outcome. Consider it an experiment. Pay attention to what happens inside and out, then next time you’ll have a little more information to go on. Because there is no end, it’s all good even if it doesn’t look so from this physical world point of view. Pat yourself on the back for living, exploring, experimenting consciously and with attention.

Often the “why” is answered in experiencing the “how.”

That’s my reminder to myself today.

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Filed under Explorations, Musing

Look What I Made

I’m thinking about ways that we create experiences in our lives and then fear or misinterpret what we’ve created.

A few years ago a friend of mine was saying over and over that he wanted a year off work. As the office went through changes and became unbearable, he talked about quitting before he got laid off … no, he’d let them lay him off so he’d get severance pay and unemployment.

He was laid off, a week or two before he had expected it, and it was done in what he considered to be a scene lacking in respect and integrity. He felt angry, hurt and humiliated …

It took him just over a year to find another job in his field. During that time, he wasn’t able to fully relax and enjoy his time off. He was worried all the time, scared that he wouldn’t find another job and would lose his house, et cetera.

This man’s perspective – that he was not in control of what happened to him – made him feel worried and scared.

With a different perspective, he might have felt excited, amazed and empowered by seeing that what he had talked about and imagined had in fact worked – it had manifested. Perhaps not in every detail, but the big goals were all met.

He had created time off with severance pay and unemployment … if he had noticed that and thought about its implications, perhaps that time off would have been perceived as a miracle, a validation, a chance to really relax and have fun, and an opportunity do a leisurely creation of the new job about one year later.

I’ve done the same sort of thinking many times, missing my own power within a situation that I’ve created. I suspect that we’ve all done it, since we’re within a culture or cultures that maintain a mistaken concept of who we are, what we’re capable of, and what reality is. Constant exposure to this thinking Is like a slow, relentless pollutant.

Sometimes I like to look back on my past and re-shape my perceptions of events in light of what I know now. It’s an exercise that has the power to change the past and present. A shift in perspective changes emotions, releasing old fear … which can free me from that internal nagging as well as solidifying the new perspective in this present moment – practicing in this way helps my busy little conscious mind understand that this perspective is in fact true and real.

I think that when we begin to re-imagine our experiences in a new perspective that acknowledges our own responsibility and validates our own humble power, everything within us has a chance of shifting toward curiosity, amazement, amusement, and even joy.

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How to Live Our Lives (or You’re Asking Me?!)

I’ve had a few emails from readers of Application of Impossible Things, asking me if I have advice for “how to live our lives.”

This is, at first glance, an alarming question to me. Why are they asking me?! Everyone’s life is their own, and I sincerely believe that each individual knows or can know best how to live their own life.

My first knee jerk thoughts are of religions that are loaded with advice about how to live our lives. “Act this way; do this and never do that” – dogmas that too often are based on the politics of power and engender fear. I think too about all the self help books out there professing that they have a perfect ten step secret to a perfect life.

In my experience, those rules and steps are like a costume. You can put them on, but then all you’ve got is you in a costume, eventually feeling frightened and defensive from trying so hard to be “good.” If you mess up on one of them, will you go to hell? If you do something “bad” will bad things happen to you seven times? Fear is no way to live a life – I am pretty sure about that.

Shudder.

But that’s not to say that sometimes we don’t each need a little help, or that there’s not reason to give each other a little lift if possible, right? I’ve been helped along in my life by many people showing up at just the right time: something someone says, or a book someone gives me or an idea that I’d never thought of before.

In thinking about this question,  then, I came to the conclusion that my book could hold some self help assistance, but I hope it requires the reader to think a little for themselves, to ponder, and to come to whatever help they’re looking for by means of re-imagining who they are, what it means to be conscious, and what reality might be. By changing the perspective from which we view ourselves and our actions or experiences,  we shift and change.  Maybe my book offers that to some of those who are looking for it.

I think that if we move toward the question “Who am I?” and look for the paths that allow us to experience the answer to that question, then the “way to live our lives” becomes a natural by-product. We don’t have to “try” to be “good” – we don’t have to put on a costume. We eventually come to realize we are fundamentally good, and we come to know how to be and how to live our lives – even when it might not conform to someone else’s ideas about what constitutes “good” or “perfect” or “holy” or any other measure of an idea or dogma outside ourselves.

Searching out others’ answers to my questions has been valuable in some instances, but even then, the internalization of their wisdom, the digestion of what they’ve told me, happens within myself. They don’t do it for me; I do for myself. When someone else answers my questions, then I have two questions: the original one, and “is this other person right?” Sometimes it helps to get someone else’s ideas, perspective, reading, insight … it lights up a bulb inside that might have been hard to see without their help. It can be invaluable. Even if I conclude that they were mistaken, that light might be triggered by something they told me. So it can be valuable, but it’s never the end of the story …

At some point it will always come down to looking within the self, choosing, sometimes making an effort to shift, making a personal decision and application of will – or of letting go. At least for me, at some point I know that I’ll have to stop asking others for ideas. I’ll have to pause and sit within my own silence, asking myself and waiting patiently for the answer.

I guess that might be my only advice. ?

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Filed under Book Reviews, Musing