I noticed a recent compulsion of mine to read blogs offering post after post after post of self-development strategies in the form of lists. My noticing led to wondering.
What is the draw? Why the need to find answers that are neatly tied up in formulas and acrostics? And what place do strategies have in a life lived consciously?
When my noticing and questioning didn’t lead to any answers, I decided to join in the fray and make my own list.
How to Stop Looking for Easy Steps to Ease in 3 Easy Steps
1. Remind myself that life is not ‘easy’ nor is it ‘difficult’. Those are simply the words from the filter of my experience that I choose as labels for situations I encounter.
2. Choose to see that my desire to follow well-marketed promised shortcuts to ease are a result of forgetting Step 1 and to mollify some perceived discomfort.
3. Laugh, dance and step lightly and lively through and around the current societal addiction to strategizing towards some perceived level of betterment or contentment.
Phew, I feel better already.
I can create such incredible fiction when things go sideways.
I can’t do anything
Presumed powerlessness is occasionally still my small and misguided reaction to the prevailing winds of life. When I perceive that I’m trapped in a moment or in a life choice, I’m not. That is just a story. I can choose to take a deep breath and respond instead of choosing to simply react. I can choose to take responsibility for my response. And I can accept the outcome of the situation, no matter what.
I have to do something
Jigsaw puzzles, lateral thinking tests and crime dramas are simple ways for me to engage my imagined problem-solving superpowers. Even working away at solving a particular problem feels empowering as if I’m in control of something. But sometimes life is not a problem to be solved and is just what it is. How about noticing the puzzle? Then doing absolutely nothing in response?
It is my/ their fault
That weaves nicely into the sub-plot of my story that says someone must be held accountable. How convenient to reduce the interaction to that black and white conclusion. But is it true or useful? Not even a little. Instead of clarity, it creates the fog of deflection while trying to avoid genuine communication. What if it was more like ‘no matter what has happened, it is my choice how I will respond and I will take full responsibility for my response’?
Convenient half-truths. Inconvenient confusion. Choose clarity instead.