“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” - Eckhart Tolle
If you've ever felt pain in your life you'll benefit from this post. I had a timely reminder this week of how holding fiercely to my expectations increased the pain I felt when things didn't work out the way I had expected.
The last time I returned England was in September 2016, so to say I was excited about going home this week was an understatement. I couldn't wait to see my family and friends, particularly for the chance to hug my mum, it had been too long since I felt her warm embrace and I was ready for a huge hug!
So when I missed my connecting flight to London from Singapore earlier this week I found myself in a real spin. I'd never missed a flight before so this came as a huge shock, I sobbed as I pleaded with the airline representative to let me on - her cool composure as she politely told me there was nothing she could do was in complete contrast to my frenzied emotional state and I felt utterly helpless.
Long story short, I managed to get on another flight the next morning and survived the eight hour wait at Changi Airport but I didn't make it easy for myself.
For five hours of the waiting time I was in complete resistance to what was happening, I felt overwhelmed with sadness, I judged myself harshly for not reading the departures board properly, I grieved for the lost time with my family, I was in disbelief that I was stuck and I kept circling the thoughts of a further eight hours being added to a 24 hr journey which served only to have me feeling even more overwhelmed.
Finally after five hours with three hours left to wait, I let go.
I stopped circling the painful thoughts and I told myself a different story. One where I reminded myself how quickly the three hours usually go when I arrive at the airport and how I only had three hours to enjoy internet connection and getting a few things ticked off my to do list that I didn't have the chance to complete before leaving Sydney.
It was interesting to see the shift in energy and the peace I felt once I accepted my situation and let go of the resistance. The more I held on to the sadness and the grief for the lost time the worse I felt, yet the moment I let go and just allowed myself to be, the pain I was feeling dissipated.
How many times have each of us held on to things - whether it's the words of others that have hurt us; or the memories of chances we didn't take; the ideas or stories we tell ourselves about the life we thought we'd be living; the people we have lost or the desire for certainty in every situation.
By holding on we resist change, we resist opportunities that come our way, we resist the freedom that comes with letting go, we resist life unfolding as it does and in turn we increase the pain we feel and magnify the hurt.
How do you knowing you are resisting?
- You feel strong emotions of anger and frustration
- You have a physical reaction/tension in your body - perhaps tightness of chest, shallow breathing, tears
- You have overwhelming thoughts that things must be different, perhaps telling yourself 'it's not supposed to be like this'
- You constantly replay scenarios over and over in your mind
Observe what else you experience when you are resisting and make note. The more we can observe and understand ourselves and our reactions, the easier it is to recognise when we are in a state of resistance and increasing pain in our lives.
How do you let go of resistance?
- Ask yourself what is this teaching me right now?
- Be compassionate to yourself - no judgement just love
- Breathe deeply and connect to your physical body - start to notice your reactions
- Allow yourself to feel grateful for all that is good in your life
- Let go and accept
I was going to finish with saying it's not easy and that it takes practice but actually that's not true at all - that's just another resistance story.
It really is that easy - so allow yourself to truly surrender and see how quickly your pain melts away.
To letting go