It’s a saying that we teach what we need to learn. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a teacher, but I can tell you this post covers topics that still really challenge me.
When you set out to accomplish a goal or walk a particular path, it’s a fact of life that you will encounter obstacles and take some missteps. When this occurs, it’s entirely unhelpful to panic or berate yourself. However, for a lot of us these reactions are solidly entrenched. Here are some practices that can help us break free of those habits and nagivate life with more peace.
- Self-Compassion – We all make mistakes. And then a good portion of us rehash our mistakes, berate ourselves for making them, crucify ourselves on the altars of If Only, Should Have, What If, and sometimes even I Suck. I know that I am harder on myself than I am on anyone else. In a recent ecourse, when Brene Brown proposed only talking to ourselves in the same way we would talk to someone we loved, it really hit home. My gremlins still speak up often when I make mistakes, and sometimes it just seems easier to give in, but I am able to come around faster and faster to the idea that I am human, and imperfect, and that’s ok. It doesn’t reflect one whit on my worth. (It also doesn’t mean I won’t try better next time.) Show yourself the compassion you would show your loved ones!
- Patience – We are a hurry up, I need it right now, why is this taking so long culture. But often times, whether it’s waiting on the weather or bureaucratic wheels to turn, some things just take time. You can’t push a river. While striving is definitely important, leave a little space in your plans for the Universe to meet you half-way. Watch how you are spending your time and energy; there will be a point of diminishing returns. That’s where you need to adjust your expectations and actions. Adapt to and embrace what is. Focus a bit less on the future and more on the now, and let your new patient attitude reward you with a bit of down-time. Patience is not one of my strong suits, but this sweet little book cracked me open and let a bit of patience in.
- Non-Attachment – I am a planner, born and raised. Family vacations growing up were more like field trips, probably because my parents were both school teachers. This means they were educational, which was fine, but also that they came with a strict itinerary. If something unexpected came up (and it always did), it didn’t just mean we had to deal with that event, it meant that we were off schedule (cue gasp of dismay). Now I’m an adult, but when I plan my own travel, there is still an itinerary. However, I consider it a sign of spiritual growth that I only break the days down into morning, afternoon and evening, and I leave chunks of unscheduled time. The most important thing I’ve learned about planning isn’t Microsoft Excel (although I use it for almost everything!), it’s to make the plan, but don’t get attached to it. Know what the expect, and also that the Universe is likely to throw you a curveball, and that’s ok too.
These aren’t so much lofty goals as they are practices. That means you practice, you mess up, you try again. Sure, I am still hard on myself, impatient, and tend to freak out when things don’t go the way I had hoped, but I’ve come a long way. If I can do it, anyone can. It just takes practice.