I just love this Far Side Comic by Gary Larson, as it speaks volumes in such a brief glance. I think it highlights the absolute reality and challenging pain that exists in life at times, and ultimately, it emphasizes the power of attention and choice.
My daughter, Drew, says it also speaks to my warped sense of humor and I think she is pretty observant. What can I say? She is a “well adjusted” child. Ha!
OK, so why might I share this playful and mildly painful image?
Because, simply, we all experience the fact that things just sometimes seem to not line up for us. In other words, things just sometimes do not go our way.
So, the powerful question I ponder is: What exactly do we do when this transpires?
Surely, I acknowledge that I am not the final say on this topic, but I can share a few observations in Part #1 of this note, and I will share more soon in Part #2.
So, what do we do when today is simply not our day?
Sometimes it is helpful to simply acknowledge that at this very moment something is just not clicking. Throughout my career, I literally have felt thousands of people’s physiological patterns and there is a profound and interesting dynamic that manifests internally when one tries to override life’s clues. There is a tension present and a state of struggle that tends to overwhelm the nervous system.
By no means am I implying that it is beneficial to give up. Quite the contrary. But at times, it is powerful to take a step back and not force the issue or the interaction.
Simply acknowledging that, perhaps, it is time to re-evaluate can create a deep sense of relief.
Sometimes the answer is out there, but it takes massive effort to look outside of ourselves.
I have a profound mentor named Bill who once alluded to the peace of mind that unfolds when we have truly, absolutely, and undeniably done our best work and put forth our best efforts.
Bill spoke to the freedom and the surrendering peace that is experienced when we can rest at night knowing we have turned over every stone, read every possible article, consulted every possible expert and ultimately tapped every resource imaginable.
What if we can solve the problem but we can’t do it alone! The amazing synergy that occurs when two, three, four, or five or many more collaborate to solve an issue is like breathing pure oxygen. There is wind that lifts your wings when you realize that the concept of “rugged individualism” is, at times, exhausting, ego-driven and outdated. “One plus one equals three,” is what I always say to my coaching clients, as there is such a benefit to asking for and receiving help.
Sometimes just the opposite occurs. Sometimes, when things feel out of sync, we have to access the deepest state of quiet and truly get to a place of solitude to find an answer. With every buzz, beep, ting, tinge, signal and sound we are surrounded by, we simply can’t hear life’s answers. When we can get to our quiet place, the answer can often become illuminated. Don’t be surprised if you hear wisdom in a stranger’s voice, read a gem on a license plate, or see the solution on a billboard. Sometimes we have to fully engage in the possibility that the answer is out there and that this situation is truly solvable, especially when we access a state of “receiving and peace.”
What if you view the challenge or the impossibility as a gift? Sometimes, although it is un-desired or unpopular, failure can be crucial to finding success. Research expert, Claire McCarthy M.D., who writes for the Harvard Medical School Health Blog, has found that healthy functioning children who use baby walkers can experience delays in independent walking. Dr. McCarthy shares that walking isn’t only about learning to use one’s legs, but rather, it’s about learning to pull, stand, balance, and manage taking steps with equilibrium and support. The best outcomes, she adds, often occur from falling or almost falling and learning how to regulate one’s center of gravity, core, and cerebellar coordination.
In other words, the gift is found in “experiencing a repeated supposed lack of success.”
Sometimes, it is simply helpful to remember the baseball analogy that tomorrow is a new ballgame and new at-bats are coming. I always feel such compassion for gymnasts or figure skaters who lose by a fraction of a point or swimmers who miss out on an award by a thousandth of a second. Baseball, on the other hand, rewards challenges in that there are 162 games in a season, and someone who falters 70% of the time is considered almost hall of fame worthy. Knowing that tomorrow is another day can help hope spring eternal. I hope that this message sticks for you.
Change your state of being. Sometimes, the tension we hold and the mindset we are in needs a hard reboot. Getting outside, moving your body, laughing hysterically at a comedy show, sweating on a vigorous run, releasing tension in a soothing massage, or otherwise unwinding stress from your nervous system brings a needed reprieve. It’s hard to solve the problem from within the same state that created the challenge to begin with.
Other times, we may need to release: pop balloons, scream in the car or kick the tar out of an old bean bag. (Or even throw old light bulbs against a wall that is safe. Goggles might be needed for this one. I may or may not have some familiarity with this. Just saying.)
The moral of step #7 is release is key and it may not always look graceful. Obviously, safety is top priority and there are productive ways to shift.
There are easily 10 more steps I can share. Another step is simply to reach out to a friend or acquaintance and ask them about what they do when all they see are red lights ahead. Watch for more in Part #2, coming soon.
I care about you all deeply. And I hope, that in some way, this note, and past and future notes can help you connect to resiliency, hope, optimism and radiant health – for that is what you deserve as an amazing soul.
All my gratitude and from my heart and keyboard to yours.
Dr. Jason Kolber, WHEN® Colleague
Founder Living Inline
Founder Human Elements Refresh all-natural sleep aid