The Art of Living Attuned

How to Have Fun With Your Problems

Bottom line: some of us are better at dealing with “problems” than others, and attitude is what makes the difference.

It is intriguing how we have this idea that one day we are actually going to be problem free, as if that’s the goal. Get everything dialed: more money, right partner, great health, everyone showing up exactly how we’d like them to – all the time – and then we can just coast on through without a care.

Built into this illusion is the notion that problems are wrong, should not be in our lives, and are the reason for our anxiety, anger, frustration, depression – whatever. But the truth is, life is an ongoing series of predicaments. It’s kind of the point.

 

Step Fully Into Your Life

We aren’t here to lie on the beach drinking margaritas 24-7. We’re here to seek, to stretch, to grow, to become more – and to share our acquired wisdom so that we all benefit. And problems are the number one way to achieve this end. Problems ask us to be creative, to look deeply, to ask meaningful questions that might not otherwise occur to us. to find our center, to get clear about what’s truly important. They push us toward our very best selves if we embrace and utilize them instead of freaking out and insisting they should not be happening.

So Why Not Have Fun With Them?

Having fun with your problems might seem illogical,  but is it really when you consider the alternative? However upset I might be, however hard I may be resisting ‘what is” (which, for the record, is futile) – when I imagine Jack Sparrow’s lilting voice offering up these words of wisdom, it is impossible not to smile. And that’s a great way in. As soon as I bring in humour, everything opens up, my resistance loosens its grip, and I feel spacious enough to consider more empowering perspectives.

Get Clear On Who’s in Charge

Here’s a way to play with your problems. For the next week, whenever you notice yourself caught up in resistance (you can tell by the fact that negative thoughts are running the show) – make a choice to shift your attitude. Repeat Jack’s words (out loud is most awesome), and notice how your thoughts and feelings are influenced when you stop resisting and just observe your resistance. Then ask yourself, “Hmmm, what’s another perspective?”

Start with the small stuff, you should find several things to work with in no time at all. The big, life changing, overwhelming problems require an even higher level of presence, but if you’re feeling bold, dive on in. Once you become skillful at this game, problems transform into opportunities to align with your most wise and authentic self.

Good to ponder:

“Life is full of ups and downs. Character is measured by the grace with which we handle the downs.” – Unknown

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How to Live in the Moment…

…and 3 questions to ask if you aren’t.

This little outing is as clear and true an example of how to live in the moment as I have ever come across:

Questions Worth Asking

When’s the last time you moved through the world this way?

What’s in the way?

Is that okay?

This kid is mindful in every moment. I just love the attention he brings to laying the leash down, and the backward glances to make sure the dog is still with him. Then he proceeds to pour his whole heart into the task at hand. Engaging in pure, simple joy. Awesome! (It’s worth noting that the pooch is totally rocking mindfulness too…)

Obstacles Worth Overcoming

We’re busy. We’re doing. We’ve got a lot going on.

We just keep buying into the madness.

Really? Spend time out walking through puddles with no agenda other than to let life live us? That isn’t what responsible, successful, productive adults do. Okay maybe on holiday, or the weekend, but definitely not in the middle of a busy work day. The world we adults inhabit is structured and time bound, it doesn’t honour the organic process of letting life unfold at it’s own pace, it demands the “important” things happen now.

Add to this our “grown up” propensity to worry about things that haven’t happened yet, argue in our heads with people who aren’t in the room with us, get things ticked off our to do lists as they continue to grow at the other end, try to respond to every email, phone call, and request for our presence that shows up on our doorstep – and who has time for splashing in puddles?

Unless we make it a priority, we never will.

Good to ponder:

“Allow extra time in your schedule for wandering.” – dylan

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Wanna Feel Inspired? 3 minutes REALLY well spent

Sorry guys, this one’s for the girlie girls (but you’re beautiful too!):

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Might As Well…

Found on FB – had to share. Let’s do it!

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A Powerful Alternative to “Predict and Control”

Have you ever noticed when you are in a situation that feels uncertain, your default response is to try to predict and control what’s going to happen next? Some examples might be times when you are:

  • being evaluated
  • preparing to address a conflict, or have a difficult conversation
  • engaged in an activity that requires a high degree of skill
  • pursuing a goal that you really, really want
  • in the spotlight, by choice or otherwise

In short, anytime you are attached to or invested in a specific experience or outcome, and not sure it will go well – the desire to predict and control seriously wants to run the show.

When We’re Rigid, We Don’t Flow

The problem with predict and control is twofold. First, when we get tight and stressed our focus narrows and we lose our capacity to sense what’s happening in the moment. And second, we lose our ability to respond in subtle ways. Our efforts to control can either shut us down, or lead to wild over correcting that lands us in the ditch.

The Wisdom in “Sense and Respond”

A much more intelligent approach to these situations is to sense and connect with the rhythm and energy of the experience as it is unfolding. If we are engaged and open, we will naturally know how to respond in the moment. This requires faith in flow, trust in yourself, and committed intention – all fabulous qualities to deepen in ourselves.

Start Small and Practice Lots

Of course, intending this and doing it in highly stressful situations are two different things. That’s why it’s important to practice. Start to notice the little moments in your life when you are trying to predict and control – good chance you’ll find several before you go to bed tonight. Whenever you catch one, take the opportunity to replace “predict and control” with “sense and respond”, and notice what happens to the flow of your life.

Good to ponder:

“When you believe you’ll be successful, you achieve a calmness that lets you see things more clearly.” – Tim Sanders


This post was inspired by a talk by Paul Scheele, a leading expert in transformational psychology.

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