You know how you wake up some mornings feeling pretty good, still halfway in sweet dreamland while you stretch a little and let your consciousness slowly emerge from the background?
Then, just as a peaceful smile begins to break like the dawn of a glorious day, it hits you!
“Holy sh*t! I just remembered who I am! Where’s the damn Ambien? Get me back to sleep!”
There are some mornings I wake up and don’t want to be me. I know I’ve got to handle the hard stuff. The stuff I don’t want to do. The stuff that turns the inside of my belly into a taffy pull, without the benefit of taffy.
Maybe it’s the scary doctor’s appointment, a work project or having “the talk” with someone. Maybe it’s just my chaotic life.
I spend a few moments in heated discussion with the inner voices. I do a little arguing about whether I really have to do it. I mean, I don’t have to do squat if I don’t want to, right? I’m an adult and I call the shots. Nobody’s going to tell me what to do—except maybe my dog or my boss…possibly my family…probably Uncle Sam.
So there I am, awake and pissed, full of anxiety. I grab my phone and it reminds me to be grateful. Why the hell did I think it was a good idea to buy an app that turns my phone into a gratitude nag?
I toss it to the dog and head for the coffee, because coffee is a gift from God. Coffee can make anything feel better when I’ve got its precious caffeinated wonderfulness cradled in my hands like a blow up doll on a lonely Tuesday.
Now it’s time to face the day. What do I do? Put it off for as long as possible? Meditate in a cold sweat?
I’ll tell you what I do.
I practice a little thing called non-resistance. That means resistance with a no in front of it, and apparently another n. It’s all the rage and it saves me from putting my energy into battling the things that are happening even though I don’t want them to.
So I say to myself: “This is no big deal. I can do this with my hands tied behind my back. I’m practically fine,” and then I almost throw up in the shower.
No! That’s my bullsh*t self-talk again that tries unsuccessfully to get me to calm down and stop being such a little pansy. It doesn’t work.
I can’t pretend the task at hand is no big deal. I can’t have an intervention with my feelings. I can’t preach positivity in my head like Joel Osteen after a triple shot of espresso.
Real non-resistance is letting it all hang out while I step back and take a gander. No suppressing, no wrestling it to the ground, no stirring internal TED Talks. Just lettin’ it show itself.
There’s no playing games with my feelings. They don’t care if I think I’m a big shot and can stuff them in a locker. They’re loud and are going to make some noise, and guess what? That hard thing I’ve got to do doesn’t give a rip that I’m feeling all dismayed and pissy about having to do it. It’s like “Hey, I’m just a ‘to do,’ wimp face, and I can do this all day. Why are you so pasty faced about it?”
Trying to control it, tuck it in, zip it up and keep it under wraps when the flood is already on its way is like trying to put my “I watched The Secret” finger in the hole of the dam. Good luck when the water hits because my finger’s going to hurt! It’s too late to plug it up or visualize my way out of it. The real secret is, I better get my effing finger out of the hole and get on high ground before I go under!
When I’m faced with situations and emotions that are causing me angst, pushing against them only causes them to push back. I have to stay present and attentive while I decide how to proceed. I can’t give myself over to the feelings and get swept away. I can’t be driven to mindless action.
Those feelings aren’t me. They’re old alarms going off and I have to pause and anchor myself in an aware, flexible, flowing presence of mind. That’s fancy talk for: “Shut up and take a chill pill.”
It’s not easy, but that’s why there’s a thing called practice and I have to be vigilant about doing it.
See it for what it is, without the drama.
It may not be pretty but I can handle it if I keep a composed and compassionate mind.
Life’s a parade of feelings and beliefs marching by in dazzling duds and fancy floats trying to get our attention. We can go ahead and watch the commotion, but we have to remember we’re not the parade.
Wave the flags and blow the kisses but stay on the curb!
When we wake up tomorrow morning, let’s try not to “Holy Sh*t!” all over ourselves. We’re not how we feel or what we have to do. We’re aware and resilient souls who can handle anything—with a strong cup of coffee and maybe a phone that bugs the gratitude out of us.
Author: Tancie Leroux
Apprentice Editor: Jaimee Guenther/Editor: Travis May