Here it is:
“The greatest difficulty is the mental resistance to things that arise, and the underlying assumption that they should not.”
Reading this quote right now, I understand why an assumption I had made was my biggest trip up.
Basically, I had had such a difficult time accepting the fact my husband had died. Even given that we knew it was going to happen, and that I was there with him when he died.
Even knowing that he would be better off dead (his body was riddled with cancer), for months afterwards I did the opposite of this quote – fell into a pothole in the road of life that said ‘No! It shouldn’t have happened! It’s not fair!’
And of course kept myself stuck in the hole for even longer.
Let’s just look at this phrase of Eckhart’s.
“Mental resistance to things that arise”
That’s these kind of thoughts:
I don’t believe it!
Surely not, that can’t be true?
No. I won’t accept that, I’m going to do something about it.
Why? That’s not okay
Or even just grumbling, muttering and feeling anything other than neutral about the situation.
We have mental resistance when we don’t like what it is that is happening. We don’t exactly resist things we like, do we? In fact, we welcome them with open arms.
So the real challenge is the judgments and assumptions we have made around whatever it is that is happening.
As an example, let’s look at what occurred when Philip died. I went in and out of the pothole called ‘it shouldn’t have happened. He should have looked after himself better. This wasn’t the plan for my life. It’s not fair. Why did it have to happen?’
All of which kept me stuck in the hole, because with something as final as death, I was never going to be doing anything other than go round and round in the bottom of the pothole forever. When someone has died, you cannot fix it or make it better.
Fortunately I did have some insight into what was really going on, and very quickly had moments when I would arise out of the depths of the hole, and see the world more clearly for a while.
But you don’t have to fall into a hole in the first place.
This was highlighted for me when I met someone whose husband had died and who hadn’t fallen into the hole, or at least hardly at all. Her choice of thoughts was ‘Game over. Bonus life’.
These 4 magical words allowed her to see any potholes there might be, skirt round them, averting her eyes from looking down, and instead looking ahead into the distance, to a different kind of life.
Focusing on the idea that this could be a bonus life, with hope, surprises, and possibility allowed her to honour the life she had had with her husband, and at the same time, move forward, step by step, into what she called a bonus life.
She did not wander towards the crumbling edge of the pothole, which assumes that the death should not have happened. She avoided that entirely, by not assuming it in the first place.
Which brings me to the work I do now.
When you are brushed by death (whether your own end of life, a family member or friend’s, or just by becoming older) it is a lot easier to notice the potholes if you have come to terms with death itself; if you have faced up to the fact that you will die one day. That your parents, your friends and your family members will all die sometime.
While the thought may feel challenging to think, looking at death in the face will mean you are much less likely to fall into a pothole of resistance when a death actually happens.
So I invite you to start having a conversation (with yourself initially) about how you feel about dying, death and grief. How you feel about loss in all it’s forms.
Here’s 3 questions to start you off:
- How do you react to the word death?
- What happens when you let in the idea that you will one day no longer be here?
- Complete this sentence: What the word ‘death’ means to me is…..
Post your answers in the comments box and I’ll contribute mine too.
And now, the pertinent question if you are self-employed or have a business:
What is arising in your work that you are resisting?
What one thing (let’s just start with one!) are you thinking ‘shouldn’t’ be happening?
Come face to face with that, just like with death, and see what gift it might have for you instead.
And feel free to post about this in the comments too 🙂
When you are working with one foot in a more conscious, spiritual, and aware world, and another in a project or business of some kind, it becomes really vital to your own health, energy and soul to make sure your actions are coming from a place of integrity.
It would be lovely if business in and of itself was conscious, spiritual and aware, but it’s only just beginning to change more towards this, and in the meantime it’s up to you and me to honour ourselves and our businesses or projects and do things differently!
I’ve compiled a list of some of the most common ways you may be blocking the natural energy of your own life and business. All of them are about releasing energy; it is quite amazing the extent to which human beings hold energy back, or at least try to. Go through the list, tick off the ones that apply to you and then read on to discover how you can begin to let them go.
- illness of all kinds, small or big
- not coping with potentially stressful situations
- being crabby
- being inappropriately angry
- going off in a huff
- sitting on top of something you know needs to be expressed
- blurting out what you think in inappropriate situations
- having a strop
- insisting on being right
- refusing to listen and hear another person’s point of view
- being stubborn
- being consistently disorganized
- Keeping on going to your own pity party
- Focusing on what you haven’t got
- Wishing things were different, without taking any action
And there are no doubt lots more – if you know one of yours that’s not on this list add it in the comments below!
So here’s 3 specifics to help you on a daily basis with these energy blocks:
Forget the reward mindset – do the thing you really want to do first.
When I recommended this at a networking meeting recently, there was horror on almost everyone’s faces. Comments such as
I couldn’t do that! I’d never get anything done, ever!
I’d just spend my time doing what I love and not get to the other things
Oh my goodness! I’d feel much too guilty for that
There was only one lady who had a thoughtful look on her face. ‘Mmm’, she said, ‘that means I’d have to trust that I would eventually do the thing that needed doing, whether I liked it or not.’
And that’s true. This pointer is all about how much you are willing to trust yourself. If you are heavily into the very common belief that says ‘you need to do what you dislike first, get it out the way, and then you can get onto what you love doing’, then you’re in the reward mindset. Which is not surprising as that’s the way most of us have been brought up, reinforced by the educational system in the West, and reiterated by the business culture.
But Wild Wisdom says do your work or business, and your life, differently.
In this case it means being willing to turn the reward system upside down, and give yourself the reward first, thereby releasing huge amounts of energy which you can bring to the thing you didn’t want to do.
Yes, it is risky! Yes, you will have to try it and see what happens! Yes, you might fall at the first fence – but I doubt it. It’s much more likely you will have a go and discover all sorts of things about yourself that you didn’t know.
I first discovered how much this way of living and working suited me when it was snowing one Monday morning, many years ago. I really wanted to go out and play in the snow, not be tied to my computer doing what needed to be done by lunchtime. My mind said – ‘get the work done first, and then reward yourself by going out in the snow.’ My heart said, like a small excited child, ‘Snow! Snow! I want to play out there now!’ – and this time I heard it. So by 9.30 am I was out in the garden playing, and I’d had enough after an hour. Returning to my desk, and the work that needed to get done, felt fine. What’s more, I completed it within plenty of time (even though I had started over an hour ‘late’). So you see – energy is released that often allows the completion of what needs to be done in a much shorter space of time!
Educate yourself about marketing and then throw much of it out the window.
Goodness, is this sacrilege? There are so many ‘gurus’ out there telling you exactly what to do to get your message across, to sell more, to be more successful, to make more money, to get more clients. They often have useful information to share. Plus they often have very tempting programmes or products to sell.
I’ve spent a lot on quite a few of these, studied with some of the biggest names in the online sacred marketing business, like Mark Silver, Bill Baren, Kendall Summerhawk to name but a few.
And I still come down to the bottom line – learn what you need to learn and then adapt it to your own market. But not until you have taken time out, checked in with your heart, and can make a decision that is not based on an emotional state. Because decisions based on emotions may be fine – but they’re often rooted in fear, which is likely to cause havoc further down the line.
So it is important to learn, but it is also important to value what you already know.
Not because you know better; not because what you are being taught doesn’t apply to your particular market; not even because everyone should value what they know.
But because if in the long run you don’t listen to your inherent wisdom, you will be out of integrity with yourself which can cause all kinds of problems.
And remember you can only listen to your wisdom to the extent that you do! You may even make decisions thinking you are being wise, only to discover years later that they weren’t that wise after all! You cannot know for sure – but you can give yourself every opportunity to listen to the still, small voice within, and then to act on its’ instructions.
I know about this, because I learnt a lot about buy to let property and how to invest in it; and then, in a rush to buy in case prices went even higher (this was at the height of the property boom) I got an attack of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and bought 2 properties. I thought I was doing exactly what I had learnt, but I missed a few crucial pieces of information, and the most important was taking the time to really quieten down, release the excitement, and discover what was wanting to be heard.
I’m now paying the price in the form of considerable negative equity and challenges in renting. A hard way to learn this lesson – and all because I obeyed the experts, and forgot that the only person who can be an expert in me, is me.
Move towards feelings you don’t like, rather than away from them.
I used to encourage people to feel their feelings, actively. And you may be someone who doesn’t easily connect to what you are feeling, in which case learning to feel is really important. But it can often be your feelings which get in the way of you creating a life and business of ease and grace. Why? Because the amount of time you spend resisting whatever you feel is directly proportional to the amount of time you spend suffering.
This means that the longer you ignore what is really going on, the more you keep your head in the sand, the further you push away a niggling feeling under the surface, the more likely you are to be having a bad time – simply because you are resisting.
Imagine that a feeling, say fear, comes knocking at your front door. You know it’s fear, you can feel the stirrings of anxiety, you desperately want to keep the door locked, the lid on, to tie the battens down. The very last thing you want to do is admit there is any fear there at all, let alone let it in.
And yet, this is exactly what needs to happen. An emotion is there because it has a message for you. You don’t need to open the door wide and invite it to stay for ever. It won’t anyway, as the one thing guaranteed about feelings is that once they are felt, they move and change.
However, my suggestion is that you open your front door wide, and open the back door at the same time. The feeling can then come in, be felt, and flow easily through your house and out the back door, having delivered whatever message it has.
I learnt this well in relation to anger, and I learnt it from my late husband, Philip. He was brilliant at approaching me when I was obviously angry. The anger would be coming out in irritation, being a bit spiteful, short-tempered maybe. Instead of retaliating in kind, or ignoring me, he would (literally) walk towards me, asking what was really going on underneath. For my part, I was willing to look under the anger to the message it had, and to admit that. In these moments, the anger would dissolve, the issue would come to the fore, and we would be walking in tandem once more.
Instead of retaliating in kind, or ignoring me, he would (literally) walk towards me, asking what was really going on underneath. For my part, I was willing to look under the anger to the message it had, and to admit that. In these moments, the anger would dissolve, the issue would come to the fore, and we would be walking in tandem once more.
Invitation: On the next Monday morning, if you’re feeling resistant to what needs to be done, do something you would really love to do first instead. Be kind, keep it small and simple, like me going out in the snow. I dare you!
A large part of Wild Wisdom is about being so connected with your soul that you feel no sense of separation at all.
But what about when you can’t find your soul? What about if you feel abandoned by it? Or what if you just want to deepen your connection, to the extent that you really feel no separation at all?
I’m one of the contributing authors in a new book out today: 365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul.
It contains one tip for each day of the year from over 200 authors, including Arielle Ford, Peggy McColl, Christy Whitman…and me! Buy it here:
When you are connected to your own soul, in whatever way you describe that, you are automatically connected to all that is. What’s more, it’s only then a hop away from knowing at a deep level that you ARE ‘all that is’. This is so nourishing, and is what I share towards the end of my book Gifted By Grief.
But it’s easy to feel as if you are disconnected, unplugged and lost. So in this book are hundreds of different inspirational ways for you to plug back in.
Here are the book’s chapters:
- Soulful Practices
- Gratitude, Love, & Prayer
- Nature & Animals
- Playing & Having Fun
- Wellness & Self-Care
- Creativity & Writing
- Angels, Spirit Guides, & the Ethereal
- Thoughts, Feelings, & Our Vibrations
In addition to helping others connect with their souls, this book will also help many animals since 5% of all profits from book sales will go to the Jane Goodall Institute.
Learn more about the book here [your Amazon affiliate link or our main shortened link: http://goo.gl/fC0FuT]
Transition is a time of change and there are ten steps that are really good to be aware of when you know change is happening, whether it is change you have chosen, or you feel it has been foisted upon you.
At home it can be children going to their first school, leaving home or getting married; one partner gets a new job; moving house; a new baby; divorce; moving countries; a change in health of any family member; death of a family member or friend; a change in diet.
Essentially, of course, we are going through changes continually. But they are often so small we only notice the big ones that have more of an impact.
Whatever change is happening for you right now, observing these 10 steps will help you negotiate the change more easily and smoothly.
- Take your time. Transitioning from one set of circumstances to another is a time of uncertainty. By definition you are no longer the person you were, and are not yet fully the person you are becoming. This is a process that takes time – so don’t push yourself, and let the process unfold all by itself.
- Arrange temporary structures
Temporary structures will support Step 1. If you can, don’t make hasty decisions regarding your living accommodation, your job, or even your relationships. Creating stability or permanency may be desirable as a way of calming any anxiety that is raising its head, but it’s inappropriate right now. Instead, focus on calming down and releasing the anxiety or other concerns using techniques such as yoga, mindfulness practices, meditation, or creative pastimes.
- Don’t act for the sake of action
When in transition, the mind (which is geared to your survival and safety at all costs) finds it very difficult not to take action. Nonetheless, action is likely to be inappropriate at this point. Take small steps rather than big ones if action is necessary; and discern whether you are acting because you are simply uncomfortable with your situation or whether it is really needed.
- Recognise and acknowledge why you are uncomfortable
Be brutally honest with yourself about what is really going on. Tell the truth (to another person if that makes it easier) about what has happened and why you are in transition. The acknowledgement in itself will help lessen the discomfort.
- Take care of yourself in little ways
Make a list of what little ways you like to take care of yourself. Print it out and pin up where you can easily see it. Make sure you do one of these ways each day. Examples of ‘little ways’ could be: candlelit baths, walking in the countryside, a nap during the day, going to bed earlier than usual, special foods, stopping work when you are tired, being creative, having your hair cut, a foot massage, meeting a friend for afternoon tea, listing what you have got in your life, rather than what you haven’t, choosing 5 things you are grateful for in your day at the end of each day, treating yourself to something you wouldn’t normally do.
- Explore the other side of change
Be willing to explore all aspects of change, and its outcomes. Be brave and enter into scenarios (both positive and negative) about what this change may mean for you. Remember that this particular transition (especially if you don’t like it) may turn out to have hidden benefits.
- Get someone to talk to
This means finding someone who will just listen. You don’t need their advice – you do need their non-judgmental, listening ears and heart. The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ has a lot of truth in it. Professional help is even better – it is deliberately one-sided (ie the professional is supposed to just listen to you, there is no two-way exchange going on) so you can relax into taking all the time you need without feeling guilty or that you ‘should’ be listening to them.
- Find out what’s waiting in the wings of your life
Explore gently what may be round the corner for you. Put on your big girl (or boy) pants and peep round the corner or into the wings of your life and imagine the best. Be open to opportunities. You could even decide to say ‘yes’ to whatever is proposed to you for a period of time, and see what happens. Try it for a day and see what happens.
- Use this transition as an impetus to a new kind of learning
Take a step back from your life by writing about what has happened for you in the 3rd person. If writing is not your thing, then create a video or MP3 recording about it. The crucial thing is to use the third person (as in ‘What happened to (your name)….’ as opposed to ‘What happened to me…’) Doing this will enable you to see more clearly what is going on, to discover any common threads in it, or links to similar past events, and to get a new perspective about your life. Embrace the new kind of intelligence that is available to you when in transition.
- Recognise and understand that transition has a characteristic shape
Jane Duncan Rogers helps individuals and groups manage changes better in their lives, so they can make the most of their situation. Visit her sites www.giftedbygrief.com and www.wildwisdom.co.uk for more inspiration, insight and wisdom.