This afternoon I was sitting at my desk, trying to focus on getting some research and writing done. Little miss six was having a meltdown, because I had said that she needed to play, instead of watching YouTube. She was busy slamming doors, throwing toys, and making an effort to be noticed.
I was trying to turn my attention back to my work when my affirmation for today caught my eye:
I live with compassion, creativity and courage – a creative life of passion and purpose.Beth Gray
Who was I kidding?
Where was my compassion while little miss six had a meltdown?
So, I put down my pen, and went and sat down close by, and asked her if she wanted to talk. It took me some 20 minutes of just being there for her to calm down, talk to me, and express herself.
YouTube remained off-limits, but she went to play in a different state of mind.
I returned to my desk, with a weight lifted from my shoulders. I had found compassion – for myself and her.
Since then, I’ve spent the last two hours working away happily, while she has played, watched some episodes of The Land Before Time on the TV, and then went outside to play with the neighbour’s kids. But the energy in the whole house is one of calm and peace. I’m no longer holding tension in my shoulders.
Sometimes, all it takes is for me to embrace the moment, to accept this experience and this emotion.
For a few minutes, I wasted my time wishing that she would respond differently. That she would accept the rules. That she would stop having a tantrum.
I was busy focused on my expectation of how she should respond, rather than the reality of whatever was happening for her!
My denial and rejection of her anger and emotions escalated the reaction.
When I finally surrendered to “this is how this situation is playing out” and accepted the reality of her response, I got in touch with my emotions:
- How do I want to respond?
- What does compassion look and feel like in this situation?
The same happens in so many areas of life.
Just for now, stop & embrace the moment
It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about a corporate situation, life plans or simply a six-year-old throwing a tantrum. We make plans, we have goals and dreams, and things don’t work out as planned.
For a moment, we are faced with the emotions and the feelings, the thoughts and responses that we habitually have when things don’t go our way.
I don’t know about you – but I’m a little bit (okay — perhaps an understatement) of a control freak! And this need to control is rooted in fear.
There are moments when we simply have to accept the reality of what is.
- Stop creating more lists;
- You don’t need another comparison of pros and cons;
- Don’t update the schedule and planning;
- A SWOT analysis is not what is required right now.
For just this moment – breathe in the moment.
Notice the challenge before you. What do you feel about the challenge? How are you responding? What are the thoughts that are running through your head right now? Take a step back and look at yourself within the situation.
Relax into recognising that you have no control.
“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.”~Steve Maraboli
Not forever, just for now
Sometimes I have to remind myself that my future success is built in what I do now. My relationship with my daughter is built now, not later “when I have more time”. There are moments when I need to simply have patience – with myself, with my daughter, with success and with building my dreams.
When things are not going smoothly, it’s my choice how to experience it.
Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.Haruki Murakami
When I start to make a mountain out of a molehill: what are the thoughts that I am giving weight to? Many times, there is something in the present moment that I am resisting or trying to ignore. And it’s within that discomfort that I usually find my answers!
Sometimes, it means that I have to simply do a body check – where am I holding tension? What emotions or thoughts am I holding within those tense muscles?
It’s only when I surrender them, just for a moment, letting them go, that I can see what I’ve been truly holding onto.
Surrender and acceptance
Many will say that surrender is a spiritual practice:
Let go and let God.
And yet, how many time have I placed something on the altar, only to turn around and pick it back up again and continue suffering under the weight! But the reality is that so many times we try to “do it”, the same way that we “do” everything else.
Surrender is not failure, it’s not defeat or abandoning your dreams. Most certainly, it is not giving up and ignoring the problem. Surrender is when you stop trying to outmanoeuvre the situation and, instead, meet life exactly where it is at.
For a moment – just this moment – accept what is.
Accept that you don’t know what you don’t know, that you don’t have all the answers. Most importantly, you cannot control the situation and the outcome.
And open your heart and mind to the inner peace that flows when you let go of trying to control everything. When you finally give up expecting yourself to be able to handle it, change it or overcome it.
For just this moment – BE.
Stop trying to do.
Moving forward, while being present
One of my biggest obstacles to being present is overthinking. Catastrophising the situation, obsessing about all that is going wrong.
It’s not until I surrender that I get the opportunity to be present with the people, my emotions, my responses and living.
On one level, there is an acceptance that I am not in charge of the situation and circumstances, but I am in charge of my choices and actions at this moment. So, rather than focusing on the results (It has to work out this way), I start to focus on what I can do in this moment.
And I only do that.
This is not about being manically busy. It comes from a place of inner calm and deliberation. It’s about the choice to do what I can, and allow the chips to fall where they may. I choose to do my best, showing up with excellence, but without attachment to the outcome.
The result is that there is no drama, no escalation, no blame-game. Just inner peace and quiet action.
Take this moment of stepping back to notice what happens in your thoughts and emotions.
- What aspects of the situation are you overthinking?
- Where were you mindlessly busy, rather than intentional?
- In what conversations or relationships have you been anything less than completely present?
- Who are you being in this situation?
Surrender means that you choose inner peace. You allow things to happen, rather than trying to force them.
For me, this often means I rest, rather than exhausting myself swimming against the current!
Pursuing my dreams & goals
Even in the midst of surrender, I still continue to pursue my dreams and goals. But life has taught me the hard lesson of releasing the grasp and attachment to outcomes.
I carefully plan my work and choose what I will do – but I’m learning detachment.
What will be, will be.
I do my part by continuing to be a proactive participant, and I step back and allow the Universe space and time for everything to happen for my greatest good. It’s not my job to control every last detail, but rather my job to trust.
Along this path, there’s room for spending time with little miss six, rather than ignoring her cries for attention. There’s space for focusing on the type of relationship I want to have and how I want to respond.
And yet, there is calm planning and inspired action: connecting with my heart and the inner whispers of wisdom for my next step(s) forward. Executing those steps (and nothing more). Not filling up my schedule with busy-ness, because I need to force a certain result. But trusting that all is well in my world.
Finally, there is space in the surrender for acknowledging my hopes and fears. Getting to know myself – as I step back and look at my responses and reactions. Noticing the emotions and thoughts through mindfulness. Identifying my fears, and what lies below the fears.
There is a deep richness in surrendering to this moment. Just be present, take a step back, and observe yourself in the situation.
What do you need to surrender to find inner peace?