Stop Trying To Fix Your Life
We've all experienced moments of restlessness.
We've all had those times when this just isn't working and it feels as though something needs to change or you will go out of your mind.
I'm willing to bet that you, (like me and millions of others), experience more moments like this than you're willing to admit. (Or perhaps it feels more appropriate to try to find the times when you AREN'T feeling like that.)
The trouble is that we, in our creative but perfection-focused minds, are always looking for something to fix.
This restlessness arises in part because we are always searching for that next fix.
Oddly, it is difficult for most people to just sit - even for 60 seconds - without trying to change or fix something around or within themselves.
Our mind is constantly buzzing, and this, of course, eventually feels tiring. We turn to something - anything - to quiet it down, numb it out, to give it a break if only for a few hours. (Netflix, Facebook, a glass of wine, ...)
When we are in times where we can’t numb it out, many of us actually do a rather funny thing to try to make this restlessness better: we try to FIX IT.
Remember what I mentioned before? The trouble arises because we are trying to fix things.
When we try to fix fixing things, things become very complicated indeed.
* Full breath *
What if there was another way?
FIXING vs CREATIVELY ENGAGING
Now, I know someone is saying “whoa, so what am I supposed to do - just sit back and twiddle my thumbs and hope everything goes my way?” (I know because that is what I would have said if reading this.)
Nope - not at all.
There is a different between trying to fix something and creatively engaging with it.
The former assumes that the “thing” is broken, that there is a proper or right way for it to be, and that there is a path that can be taken between the two.
The latter requires active involvement with the “thing” (i.e. not twiddling thumbs), but does not assume that the thing (situation, person, belief, etc) is wrong and that there is a path to take to make it right. Instead, creative engagement involves moving into interaction with that “thing” with curiosity, wonder, and a sense of play.
Creative engagement can be light and fun (i.e. I wonder what happens if I take this street to work instead, what happens if I bring donuts to work, what happens if I wear that feisty outfit today) and / or fiery and serious (i.e. I wonder what happens if I engage in conversation with the person spewing racist beliefs, what happens if I wear a bikini that shows my stretch marks and fat rolls, what happens if I finally say No when I mean to and Hell Yes when I want to).
The point is that when you let go of trying to fix something or someone, you see that situation or person through multiple perspectives….they way it (s/he) actually is. Nothing is just black and white (even black and white).
Unless you are a surgeon fixing a heart valve, a mechanic fixing an engine, or an engineer fixing a part on a plane (in which case, thank you and please keep fixing), chances are, you are WAY over-working on fixing your daily life.
Let me share a quick story:
I had gone outside the other evening to just sit on my porch and look up at the blue, darkening sky. The clouds were still white against the soft blue, the birds were chirping softly in the tree to my left, and the wind was embracing my body like a warm bath. And my thoughts…
My thoughts were focused on the dent in my car that I need to get fixed.
When I remembered I was there to look at the clouds, I glanced up, happy for about 3 seconds, and then felt my neck get tired and remembered I needed to have a small bump on that neck checked out at the doctor. Lowering my gaze to save my neck, I noticed the hose that needed to be put away. I caught myself, took a breath, focused my attention on the birds...and then wanted nothing more than to stop the barking dog and yelling of the woman at said dog a few streets down.
I kept wanting to make the moment into something it wasn’t...to fix things.
Eventually, I found my breath and a more lasting peace with the clouds, the birds, my neck, the hose, and the barking dog.
It took being AWARE of where my thoughts were going (and how I kept insisting on fixing what wasn’t broken), BREATHING in order to ground myself again and again, and then CREATIVELY ENGAGING with my own senses and thoughts to find a peace with that moment.
The car will be fixed, the hose put away, and the dog will eventually eat and sleep and bark again.
But that exact moment - and my opportunity to experience it, as it was - will never present itself again.
I might not have been happy with the pain in my neck, the thoughts of expensive repairs, or the “disturbance” of noise. But in that moment, I chose to not see them as wrong. They were things to be felt, to be experienced - not fixed.
With that awareness, I found my breath, and with that breath, the ability to create the moment(s) I wanted to be experiencing.
Try it today: stop trying to fix this moment. Keep engaging, but do so with a curiosity and a desire to experience what arises.
Here’s to the practice….
p.s. For those following along with the Beginning with the Bikini adventure, check out this video for a quick (3 minute) update: https://youtu.be/-QvWTGDjsEA