Many years working with my clients from all walks of life has taken me through a powerful process of observation. Not only to enable me to facilitate our time more affectively but to support me in my own life journey too! What I really love to do is observe patterns, they teach me so much and the light bulb moments individuals have had as a result of me observing and then sharing my observations of these patterns, I have been told has been invaluable.
What makes us break down, succeed, what makes us feel a whole host of emotions and create or be subjected to experiences, these all differ when it comes to the story, which for each one of us is remarkably different but the fundamentals are the same. We all have an intrinsic need to feel enough, to feel loved.
We are a mystery and we’ve become intrigued with ourselves in a way other generations have not. Our intrigue into how we get ill and what makes us healthy has completely changed since as recent a time as the second world war. As one individual we used to look for the infection and allow the physician to know the detail, whereas in present times that’s just not enough. We want to know where that infection came from…did it manifest from things we’ve subjected ourselves to such as a poor diet, lack of physical fitness or even our mental health. We are recognising more and more that our emotional wellness impacts our physical and emotional ailments. There has been a huge shift in our evolution and for me the single biggest cog in this wheel is our understanding of choice.
We are born with the wisdom of knowing choice is our greatest tool, and we’re more aware than ever before that it impacts our life greatly. This itself comes with a caveat of not wanting to make decisions of grandeur for fear of the consequence that may follow. The thing is we’re always making choices, even if that is to hand it over to someone else - The consequences that then follow are an illusion that they were the making of another.
The paradox here is that we have no idea what our bigger or smaller choices are. We have an inherent belief that our biggest choices in life are ones such as getting married, buying a house, getting that car on finance. The ones that matter to our health and success are often the ones we perceive to be the most insignificant. Here’s an example…buy a car or spend 30 minutes with an individual who has faced real adversity and has chosen to turn this into wisdom, their fuel. See which one impacts not only your day but your life more. Buying a car will have a lesser impact on your biology, decisions you make next, sense of identity, ultimately your authenticity – your whole life map.
Our mind gets the day shift and our heart gets the night shift. Which is why when we spend our day letting our minds decide, we lay awake at night feeling incongruent…this is often what happens when the heart gets involved. Keeping our heart and mind separate is a sure way to add turmoil to our lives – having them work together is much more productive. We need to have the courage to allow this to happen more than we do, we would save ourselves and others a lot of heartache!
Of course, in our lives we strive to feel comfort and safety, we love to experience nice things. The key though is for us to recognise the ultimate feeling comes from the ‘whole’ experience, an experience that can last three seconds, five minutes or ten years. Sometimes the experience itself can be filled with the feeling of comfort but often the experience is risk, adrenalin, nerves or fear, with the consequence being that of a more fulfilling feeling, if we look at what it can bring in its entirety.
A prolonged experience of comfort or safety often doesn’t lend itself well to authenticity. A safe path will take you to a safe place - a path of truth will take you to a place of truth; the path you pave will take you to a place in keeping with that path. If we were to take an objective seat to view our lives, we would more easily recognise that our suffering always has the potential to translate into wisdom, being less critical and witnessing our uniqueness born of every experience we’ve ever had, which is rich and fulfilling. Life is not about being fair but life always has the potential to be rich. We can’t take back the less fortunate things that we have been subjected to or perhaps put upon ourselves – what’s happened has happened, we can never change that.
The healing doesn’t come in the thought that it never should have happened, it comes in the form of knowing it has happened and turning it into fuel, this is the healing itself. You don’t need to understand it, it’s not often possible to understand the negatives in our lives, especially those that may have happened as a child for example. We instead need to understand how to recognise how it could have possibly added to who we are; I’m more courageous, determined, loyal, compassionate. This is the start of our healing and can in-fact be a catapult to attracting and adding riches to our identity and our increasing catalogue of wisdom.
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me” – Viktor E. Frankl
So, remembering that I’m still talking about choice, the event itself isn’t always the choice, it’s how we perceive it and what we choose to do with it, that’s often the only choice we really have, as a plan of action or undertaking an experience is reliant on so many external factors. Bearing this in mind, so much of what we’ve experienced, good and bad, has included many factors outside of our own free will. All these experiences have involved great risk, possibly someone else’s but everything bar none, has involved risk to a greater or lesser degree. Therefore, being risk adverse is yet another one of our human illusions. Remember there isn’t anything that we do that doesn’t have a consequence, no risk and doesn’t add to who we are.
What if we took a conscious risk instead of waiting for proof?
We would ask ourselves lots of fear questions such as What if it doesn’t work, what if I’m humiliated, what if it costs too much money, what if I can’t face the consequences. The irony is risk is happening all over the place and few of us manage to escape the experiences I’ve mentioned above anyway. A line I repeat in my world regularly is ‘Fear – thank you for letting me know I’m onto something’; when I experience fear, I like to remind myself that whatever it is I’m feeling fear around is important to me – the more fear I feel, the greater the importance, the more it means to me. Those are the very things I should pay attention to as they are clearly what matter to me. I have no fear over buying a coffee as it has very little value to my world. However, travelling across Asia on my own sparks all kinds of fears and what ifs!
And remember, never will this day come again. The cloud formation in the sky, the glance you exchange with a loved one or stranger. Neither will you ever experience the exact feeling you are having right now. Even if you read this entire article again, you will not get exactly what you have the second time around.
This day is precious! Challenge yourself, allow others to challenge you, love yourself, be gentle on yourself. And know that every single second is adding to whom you are by default…you don’t have to make it count, it already is, just know it counts!
Jenn Wright – The Art of Living