What’s true today is that your life will never be any better than it is right now, in this exact moment.
This sounds terrible at first (unless you happen to be having a really, really good day). But consider for a moment: if you knew for certain that your life would never get any “better”, how would you respond?
At first, you’d probably be thrown for a loop. You might cry in despair, or kick a box, or lay in bed and eat ice cream, or numb the fear with fifty episodes of the X-Files. And then, after awhile … you’d probably just get bored. You’d start to think, “Ok, life’s not going to get any better? Fine. Fuck it. I’ll just do what I want.”
And then magically, oh so magically, you might actually start to enjoy it more.
Now, you may be thinking something like: “Don’t you tell me that my life can’t get better! Isn’t that negative thinking? Are you saying I’m stuck here and it’s hopeless? Why would you doooooo that?! It’s not true!” No no no. Absolutely not.
Friend, think of a time when you experienced your life getting better. Did something magical happen outside of you that suddenly made daisies grow and people stop cutting you off in traffic? Or did something shift inside of you? Did you start making different choices – find new friendships, eat different foods, think crazy thoughts, spend your time differently, create something you’d always wanted to, or make a move? My bet is on the latter, because no matter what kind of awesome powers or fairy godmothers we have, there will always be something in life that throws big thorny balls at us. But sometimes we care, and sometimes we don’t. What’s up with that?
You see, it’s not the outside of our lives that determines whether or not they are good. It’s how we feel about them. And when we decide, as we all do, that where we are is wrong, it hurts. We may not be where we want to be – ok, that’s fair enough, we all have goals and dreams, and it’s glorious to want to move toward them – but know this: where we are is never, ever wrong. When you can really wrap your head – and your heart – around that one, you will be way ahead in life. Level 78, at least.
Most of us feel that something is “wrong” when we have a problem in a relationship, or don’t enjoy our jobs, or have lost someone we love. It’s true that these events can trigger all kinds of legitimate feelings: anger, despair, sadness, frustration, terror, loathing, cynicism, ire. And that’s fine. But what makes it “wrong”?
This may be hard to hear for many, but the answer is: you do.
Consider an commonplace occurrence in your life, and then remember how you react to it differently depending on the state of mind you are in at the time.
For example, if I am in a good place (getting good sleep, eating well, spending time outdoors and exercising, being honest with people about how I feel and what I want), then when my boyfriend asks me to do the dishes, my initial response is, “Oh, cool, he wants support! And I can give it to him! Opportunity for love! Hooray!”
And if I’m in a not so great place – haven’t been sleeping well, have been eating lots of sugar, or – heaven forbid – haven’t been honoring my own feelings – then my initial reaction to being asked to do the dishes is this: “Dammit. He hates me. I’m worthless. This is stupid. Why do I even try? Lame. I fail. I quit. I quit life. Forever.” And on and on my woeful lamenting goes.
Yes. Those two very different reactions to the same exact scenario. Why did I react in either of those ways? Because he asked me to do the dishes? Nope. I react how I react because of how I feel and because of the thoughts I have been thinking.
(Side note: This can be a good thing to remember the next time you think someone you’re close to is being a little wacky – their attitude / action / reaction has nothing to do with you, but rather with how they are feeling about life on this particular day – this is true even when they don’t realize this themselves! So don’t let them tell you they’re mad because of something you did – accept that they’re mad, but know it’s not about you.)
Another example: when people die, we tend to have one (or both) of two reactions: “This is WRONG! Terribly, terribly wrong!” or “This is sad, but it’s also a celebration of life and moving on. [Tiny empathetic] hooray.” The death is the same – so what’s different? The mindset.
We can do this with any event, any experience, any relationship. Events themselves are neutral. It makes no difference to the physical world whether the water runs out of the hose into the garden, or out of the pipe into the basement onto your pile of family photos and old journals. It’s just water on stuff. What makes a difference is the meaning we attach to it.
If you want to like your life more, start to get rid of the idea that it (“it” being the outside events, people and situations that happen to you) will somehow change or get better (this is a BIG cosmic joke, by the way – when you really, truly, authentically let go of caring about what the details of your life look like, they improve drastically. Every. Single. Time. But you have to decide to let go on the realest of real levels, and trust that even if your worst fear happens, it will somehow be a good thing. There is no faking this decision (believe me. because I try all the time), but magic happens when you make it).
If you want to like your life more, slowly but surely begin to detach yourself from the notion that anything about your life can be wrong. Gently allow yourself to come to the realization that, regardless of what is happening around you, how people are treating you, or where you are at, you have the power to choose how to view your circumstances.
Changing this level of thinking is a process. It takes time. You will forget, again and again and again, that life is actually just life, and that it really is your own thinking that colors everything “good” or “bad”.
Don’t give up. Even when you feel terrible, and most of you is lamenting the miserable awful suckiness of life, allow that tiny corner of your mind, or that tiny spark in your belly, to remember: life is neutral. I attach the good or the bad.
And slowly, you will begin to notice: the “bad” never goes away. You will always experience uncomfortable, intense feelings. They’re a part of life. But you will also begin to embrace them, because they’re not “wrong”. Then you will start to let them go more easily. You will regain your equilibrium more quickly. When you start to go down that dark road of “wrong”, you will halt swiftly and gracefully, and begin to see the truth more clearly.
That means allowing yourself to feel your feelings – all of them. Everything’s game. It means not attaching value to the choices you make, but rather to the truth of the moment, whatever it brings.
Refusing to label things “wrong” begins to open doors you have never seen before – how many choices have you made based on what you thought you were supposed to do, or was good to do, or was right to do? However those choices turned out, how did you feel while you were making them?
Ask yourself: what would I do if I knew my life wouldn’t get any better?
And know this: it doesn’t get any worse either. Not a drop. The value is in your head, and in your heart. Might as well learn to cultivate one you’ll enjoy, eh?
Until next week – Namaste, A-ho, Blessed be, Whoop whoop.
P.S. Please check out a morning chant to Saraswati by my friend and yoga teacher extraordinaire Jennifer Andrews McCarron. Simple, inspiring, uplifting, and full of fuel for creativity. Remember what I wrote in What’s True #4: Shut Up and Sing? Sing along in the morning (or anytime!), and let the chant bring you gently back to a state of neutrality and wonder.
By Amanda Schuster
Amanda Schuster lives, breathes, eats and drinks energy, and loves to explore how to see it and use it with anyone who’s interested. She enjoys hosting individual and group sessions and workshops throughout the Denver area on the topics of writing, energy healing and nutrition. Visit Amanda Schuster’s website or view her poetry at Words for the Journey for more!
READ WHAT’S TRUE #5