Infectiously Happy

Grasping at Thorns

Yesterday was my fifth wedding anniversary. I had such an amazing time. My mom and dad kept Palmer overnight. Frenchie and I embarked on an awesome day of adventure at the US National Whitewater Center, here in Charlotte. We had so much fun together all day and just before I drifted off to sleep, I realized something… I almost ruined the whole thing. See usually we go on a trip during this time. We are travelers. Christian is my dream travel partner and every year for the past four years we celebrate our nuptials away from home. We planned the same thing this year and as the date got closer our chance to leave for an adventure became slim and once it was determined we weren’t going anywhere I was secretly (or not so secretly) really upset. There was no one to blame really. Leaving town just didn’t fit all that was going on at our house and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. For about a week I caused my own suffering because I was too attached to what I thought should be happening. Yesterday ended up being wonderful because I released my attachment to what our time together should look like. Attachments can be linked back to most of the suffering we do on a daily basis, so here’s a few thoughts on letting go…

Separate your needs from your wants.
Shortly after having Palmer I made a shift in my language/thoughts around wanting versus needing something.  I realized my needs are few. Being a childless person, I could work as much as I wanted. I often confused wants with actual needs. What I now seem to need has changed and my desire to be with my son makes me want to work less. Bottom line: I make less money. I could work more but I WANT to see my son and husband more than I want to be out of the house earning. And even with less money, all of our needs are met. We are being socialized to want so much that we think we NEED things that really take us away from what truly matters. Bigger houses, newer gadgets, each new trend, each costing you more money and energy. If one small thing goes wrong there is immediate panic because we are over extended. Focusing on needs and truly evaluating the full costs of your wants can free you up.

Leave your pity party.
When things aren’t going our way it becomes so easy to slip into the role of victim. They did this, or life did that. We start a whole story where we are being treated poorly and thus our day/week/life was ruined. It’s an ugly cycle of powerlessness that will not make any situation better. While we don’t control the actions of others or the events of the world, we each have infinite power over our own thoughts and actions. No other person can “steal your joy” or ruin your life unless you are allowing it. Own your power and change your perspective.

Be about solutions.
Got problems? Me too. I suggest instead of wallowing in your problems you shift your thinking to solution based thinking. Every step, change or decision you make regarding new events, missteps or unplanned occurrences gets you closer to where you want to be. When faced with new circumstances, acknowledge the change, acknowledge how that makes you feel and then ask your self: What’s next? How do I move forward? If you can’t see outside of the problem, ask for help. Friends, family, a trained professional or even a stranger may be able to see options that are escaping you.

Don’t Stop. Get it, Get it.
Literally. You must keep moving. I can guarantee you one thing: things will not go as planned. There will be days when it seems like you are barely treading water and you will want to give up. Deciding to be grateful for what is going right and continuing to press on, ebbing and flowing with life’s changes will make all the difference. Nonattachment doesn’t mean you are free from wants or needs, it means you work hard, put yourself out there and release attachments to the how, the when and the whys of your journey. Your energy is focused on your own actions and thoughts.

Holding on to what you think should have happened is like holding on to a bushel of thorny vines. The tighter you grasp the more suffering you inflict on yourself. You can’t move foward. You are constantly reminding yourself of something that is out of your control. To truly enjoy your own journey you will have to let it go…

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