Was this frustrating?

Last week, my post could have caused within you disappointment.  If you missed this post, you can read it here.  Specifically, I am referring to any triggers set off by Sharon Salzberg’s comments at Wisdom 2.0: “Nothing in life is a straight shot.  We go forward, we fall down. We pick ourselves up. We let someone pick us up. We begin again…So we are always beginning again, and beginning again, and beginning again, and beginning again.”

If you were triggered and felt any of the above emotions, I get it.  As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, I had a Stanford GSB professor tell me this very directly and without cutting corners: “Judith, life is like one of those video games in the 80’s. Do you know what the reward was for winning in level one? You move on to level two, where things are just faster and harder.  Guess what the reward is for winning in level two?  You move on to level three, where things are just faster and harder. And on and on and on as you move from one level to the next.”

When I heard this advice from him, I became very disappointed and angry.  After all of the hard work I had done to improve and change the trajectory of my path, I was ready for things to be easy (yes, easy).  I wanted to take my tools and my experience and start living a stress free life.  The fact that successfully continuing to achieve accomplishments meant beginning again in harder, faster environments made me incredibly upset.

It took me 4 full months to get over my disappointment.  The fact was that I could either live fighting reality, refusing to accept it and experiencing an emotional roller coaster, or I could learn to live with reality in a peaceful way.  Though I am still very much a work in progress, below are my go-to steps!

What can YOU do TODAY?

  1. Identify any discomfort in your body you experience with the idea that life is not linear, that we move forward, fall down, get up, and begin again over and over and over again.  Where in your body do you feel it?  Close your eyes and think about this idea.  Is it shortness of breath? Is it a tightening in your chest? Is it a lump in your throat?
  2. Recognize the emotions behind these feelings.  Are you scared? Angry? Disappointed? Frustrated? Tired?
  3. Stay with the emotion.  Just feel the emotion throughout your body.  This is very uncomfortable to do.  You will have a lot of thoughts come up (e.g. “It’s not fair!”, “I’m not doing it!”, “When will it be over??”).  Just observe them.
  4. Stay with step #3 until the emotion transforms.  You might go from fear to frustration.  That’s a step up.  Then you might go from frustration to disappointment.  That’s another step up.  Whatever it is, I promise you that if you close your eyes and stay with the emotion long enough, it transforms and you will feel some relief. 
  5. Identify your resources.  So now you have accepted that this is life: it is about beginning again all the time.  Identify the resources that will help you be happier.  Find your friends that have wise ways of thinking.  Take time to research online.  Do the things that will help yourself out.
  6. Take one baby step.  Almost always, moving forward in life requires us to be in action.  You guys know that I believe in taking small baby steps every day.  Take a baby step today.

Let me know how it goes!  I would love to hear from you, so please leave comments below.  If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you share it with your friends, family, and community.

Lots of love,