Life is not a problem to be solved but an experience to have. ~ Jack Kornfield
Have you ever had one of those days where you are trying so hard to get things done, just to have none of it work? Then you feel frustrated and somewhat defeated? Usually when this happens this means you are trying to force your will on the situation. And your actions are not in line with what the universe has in store for you. I know when this happens, I tend to become a small child who cries. After I acknowledge my feelings, I tend to feel better and am able change my perception. This week I will be discussing how to use acceptance, tolerance, and patience to deal with challenging times and frustration.
1) When things are not working allow yourself to feel what you need to.
The worst thing that you can do is to deny, punish, or fault yourself for feeling a specific way. You have feelings for a reason. They are there to help us to process things and to release them from our bodies. It is important to feel your feelings. Make sure to externalize them, so that you are not storing them into your body which can lead to emotional numbness, headaches, and physical pain. Externalize it through: crying, journaling about it, talking about it, screaming in your car, making art about it, or creating a dance. Whatever you choose make sure you are safe and are releasing your pain.
2) Instead of focusing on what is not working, try to see what is working.
When you are having difficulty, it is very easy to go into a downward spiral where everything is terrible. When you start to feel yourself do this, try to counteract it with something that is going right. Practice being grateful for what you have instead of what you don’t. Write out a gratitude list. If it feels really bad right now, start with the basics: clean water, a place to live, food to eat, a job, a partner, a family, your pet. Start a list with the things that you may usually take for granted. See that you have everything that you need in this present moment. If you are a person who likes to catastrophize things, this practice can be very helpful to ground you back into the present moment.
3) See that if something is full of struggle, it may not be meant to happen.
If you are struggling to make something work, maybe it is not meant to be at this time. There is a time and a place for everything. Sometimes things are difficult. When they are consistently difficult, it maybe time to try something else or to do something completely different. Try connecting with your higher self. Take a two minutes to connect with your breath and just concentrate on your in and out breaths. Touch your GV24.5 point to help with this. After noticing your breath for a few minutes, try asking yourself if you are forcing something to happen because you are attached to the outcome. Then ask yourself, is it worth the struggle? Also ask yourself, is my ego afraid of being hurt? After taking this inventory, you may be able to change your perception of what is meant to happen. If you can begin to change your relationship with situation and stop being so attached to the outcome, then you can see it with clarity.
4) Try practicing patience.
Sometimes we get frustrated from things not happening in the time that we want them to, and we have difficulty accepting what is happening in the present moment. In these times we can practice patience. In our instantly gratifying world, patience is sometimes a challenge to practice, but it can help us with tolerance of difficult feelings, and challenging situations.
So how do you practice it? Try using the image of a plant growing. Think of your idea as a seed and that you are planting in into the ground. Make sure to water it; give it sunlight, oxygen, and love. Some seeds sprout, and some seeds do not have what it takes to make it to the light. Whatever your dream is, you must give it the love and support that it needs and then let go of what result occurs.
5) Use the example of the Lotus Flower as a way to accept difficulty as rebirth.
The Lotus flower in ancient Egypt was seen as a symbol of rebirth since in the night-time the lotus closed its flowers and sank into the water, and came up with a different bloom the next day. I love the symbolism of the Lotus because it grows from the depths of the dirt and primordial ooze of a pond and creates a beautiful flower. If you can see your struggles as a way for you to go through the dirt and break through the water, then you can see life as a process, instead of a a means to an end. Try this Lotus Flower exercise for health and grounding. The natural world help you with the practice of acceptance. You can download a larger image here.
Lotus Flower Exercise Sequence image by Paul Walker
Let me know how these practices go for you this week. May you have a blessed week. Take Care.