Health · motivation · Personal Success

What’s Good About This?

darkroomsg-157708.jpg

Sometimes, life seems pretty awful. We dread the tragedies, the upsets, and the disappointments. We try to cling to the successes, the celebrations, and the joy. But life keeps bringing us both. There is no need to fear the “bad” and then dwell on it when it (ultimately) happens.

What you can do is change your thinking.

You can see life differently, and thus, experience it differently. Everything can be good.

It starts with falling in love with reality, warts and all. Accept what is. Don’t judge it.

The other way to change your thinking it to ask the right questions.

One of the most important ones to ask yourself – in the face of adversities and hardship – is:

What is good about this?”

This question really is not that hard to ask. It seems difficult (if not impossible) because we’re programmed to react a certain way to certain events.

There is no changing reality. Your loved one died. You lost your job. You lost your home. You receive a cancer diagnosis. This is reality and no amount of crying or complaining will change it. 

Should you suffer for an extended period of time? Forever? If you suffer, does that do justice to your loved one who passed away? Does it prove you loved them enough?

No. You’re just suffering. And you might be causing those around you who love you to suffer, too.

This is a radical concept in our society. We seem to enjoy drama. But drama is draining.

When you seek the positive, your entire body changes for the better. So does your mind. And when you are light in body and mind, then you can act with clarity and energy. After all, that is what we are, energy. We live and we die, but the energy remains.

Keep asking the question. There is an answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

relationships

Non-Reaction

harli-marten-140106.jpg
Photo by Harli Marten

Engaging in an argument is futile.

Reacting to offensive remarks and actions is also unproductive.

When faced with distasteful feelings and thoughts (yours or someone else’s), imagine your insides to be transparent. Allow these episodes to go right through you.

Nothing is that serious.

This is why Buddha smiles.

 

 

 

Personal Success

Reverence is the Answer

vittorio-zamboni-247131.jpg
By Vittorio Zamboni

“Let’s think of reverence as awe, as presence in and openness to the world.”

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

 

If you wake up grateful for the day – the sunshine, your comfy bed, your loved ones – and you continue this state of gratitude and presence, imagine how happy you would be.

Have you ever been sick with flu or had a broken bone and then realized you’ve recovered completely? Remember how happy you were just to be “back to normal?” This is gratitude and reverence and you can live in this light all the time, if you choose.

 

 

 

Personal Success

Fresh as a Flower

annie-spratt-301015.jpg
photo by Annie Sprat

“Don’t go to bed angry.”

This is an ancient sentiment and lives on to this day, for good reason.

Numerous studies suggest that avoiding anger at bedtime is the most common advice given by couples married for life.

Buddhists and other spiritual teachers advocate the sentiment behind “flower fresh” (Thich Nhat Hanh) (YouTube video) not only for relationships with others, but for our own happiness. Approach each day, each moment, with the freshness of a flower. You do not harbor anger, sadness or worry, which is suffering that you bring upon yourself.

It takes 90 seconds for your body to process the anger both mentally and physically. And then it can be released completely. If your anger lasts longer than that, it’s because you’re holding on to it.

Choose happiness and let it go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

relationships

On Marriage

petr-ovralov-239624.jpg
photo by Petr Ovralov

“Your partner is your mirror…to think your partner is anything but a mirror of you is painful. When you see him flawed in any way, you can be sure that that’s where your own flaw is. The flaw has to be in your thinking, because you’re the one projecting it.”

Byron Katie

Katie tells a story in A Thousand Names for Joy about the time she came home, excited to eat her snack which she carefully placed “on the top shelf, to the right” in her fridge. But it was gone! Her reaction: she chuckled. “If I had believed stressful thoughts such as he’s so inconsiderate! He knew it was mine…he ruined it all, then I would have been annoyed, resentful and even angry with him.” Instead, Katie laughed at her plan gone awry. She chose to not believe those destructive thoughts. “…It turns out, I bought it for him.”

My marriage is a very good one.  My husband and I share plenty of laughs, but I can get into ruts where I am bothered by something he is doing (or not doing). We have four cars right now with only two drivers in the house (him and me). He can’t let go of his Alfa Romeo, which is beyond repair. I tried to think of what I could say to get him to get rid of it. I started to feel a bit resentful as I imagined an argument and then I stopped.

Just let it go.  Do not fall for these thoughts! He’ll release it when he’s ready.

The thought continues to intrude…we have a car outside in the 114⁰F heat, because we have a three car garage and FOUR cars!

So what?  

I decide to chuckle.

My husband is sentimental. He appreciates that car. He loves that car.

And I love him. I love this life.

Katie’s assertion that marriage is really your relationship with yourself is spot on.

 

 

relationships

True Suffering

colton-brown-19410.jpg
photo by Colton Brown

Until I started studying spiritual philosophy, I had a narrow definition of suffering which encompassed mostly physical pain: headaches, cancer, childbirth, broken bones, etc.

But I have realized that suffering is really what we do to ourselves with our (negative) thinking. Anxiety is suffering. Depression is suffering. Guilt and regret are suffering. Worrying is suffering!

In the path to non-suffering, one essential practice (according to the Tao, Buddhists and other spiritual practitioners, such as Eckhart Tolle) is to refrain from resisting reality. For example, if you are planning an outdoor party and it rains as your guests arrive, you do not resist reality (the rain). Instead, you simply move the party indoors and continue your celebration. If you complain and cry out against the rain, will it stop? No. But you pollute the environment for those around you (family and friends) with your resistance.

I propose a concerted effort to watch one’s language in this pursuit: eliminate the words “I wish.”

“I wish it wasn’t so hot in Phoenix!” [forecast: 110°F today]

“I wish my children were better at (fill in the blank)”

“I wish my spouse/co-workers would…”

Wishing for something that is counter to reality is inviting misery, disappointment and anguish.