What is on Your Plate?
Im not talking about whats for dinner….
Imagine for a moment.....
that ALL of your personal, relational, work and family troubles have ceased to exist. As if you've been granted a thousand wishes, your “plate” of life has been cleared of all the negative aspects, now remaining is only the positive and some “blank” space…
What will you fill that blank space with? Now that your time, energy, care and concern is no longer tied to those negative situations, now what? Where will that freed up time and energy go?
A long time ago, I came to realize that the pursuit of “solving” our problems is one of our biggest problems. As much as dwelling on problems without attempting to solve them is a problem, so is the relentless pursuit of solving/curing everything. Why is that? Well, my answer is two-fold, one is that I have been taught that the greatest gift we can give the Creator is our problems. Creator just wants us to hand them over. To say, “Thanks for the experience and the opportunity to grow, I give over this problem to you to ‘handle’ at the level of spirit.” Just as parents do not wish for their children to spend their lives knee deep in their own shit, neither does Creator. Creator wants us to move towards becoming our highest self, how can that be done if we remain stuck in the muck?
The second answer is that many times the problem is not a “problem", but our perception (or mis-perception) of a reality that we don’t like. Say for example, someone you love dearly is suffering from a health issue. It hurts you to see them suffer, you want to do anything you can to help. Sometimes our efforts can and will effect change, but sometimes no matter how hard we try, no matter what we do, nothing will effect the change we hope to see. We can use our logical brains to think of alternative ways to look at the situation; such as, the illness is here to teach your loved one and your family something, which over time may be seen as a gift. Such “cognitive switches” in perception can help us let go of a heaping serving of negativity on our plates. At some point in any given situation, we must be ok with “what is” because fighting against the reality of a situation is a losing battle. Bottom line is, in life there are a billion things we can’t change and one thing we can—our own minds. Are we going to let ourselves suffer or are we going to shift our perceptions so that we can be at peace with reality? (please do not mistake this for mentally overriding or denying emotions around the issue, it is always important to feel what your are feeling when it comes up).
It is interesting to note that many people do not know how to function without a fair amount of negative in their lives, to such an extent that they may even unconsciously create or invite more of it back in. What is the difference between those who turn to fill their plate back up with more negative, and those who explore what fills them and what fuels their passions to pursue endeavours that make them feel inspired and strong? Psychologists might say this kind of self-defeating behaviour stems from our early experiences and the conditioning we had which shapes our beliefs about ourselves and the world. My answer is less complicated, which is that some are simply lacking imagination, lacking in vision for what life could be like and what their potential could be. Its a very human tendency to only wish for things that we believe are possible, and sometimes our life experiences have been so limited that we can’t even conceive of something outside of what we have seen or previously experienced. We are often notorious for setting the bar too low for ourselves. And truth be told, it's so much easier to fall back on what we know (even when its crap!) than to create or envision ourselves in a better, healthier, happier future.
To be clear I'm not talking about creating some kind of unrealistic utopia, where are all aspects of your life miraculously become perfection. The thing about moving towards a more fulfilled life that is truly inspired is that it does come with a fair amount of sacrifice—depending on how you look at it. You do have to take risks in order to let go of things that are no longer serving you, and that can be incredibly hard. Particularly for those who have a hard time letting go in order to move forward.
I had a vision for my family and my own life which was richer and more expansive than that of my husband’s. I have the desire to pursue experiences that challenge me and help me grow, and I wish the same for my children. And yet all around me, from my now ex-husband to my closest friends, who all advised that I should be happy with what I have, that my focus should remain on my children, that my pursuits/dreams/education should wait, that I should not let go of all that I had worked to build. I had to come to terms with the fact that the reality of their lives is very different than what I want for myself. As a person who has been driven towards increased self actualization, I could not simply sit back and rest on what I had already accomplished. And why, I questioned, would the people who are supposed to love and support me, believe that I should ‘wait’ on my path, when I was filled with so much inspiration and motivation to move forward? From my perspective, this attitude stemmed from a place within themselves where they are fearful of moving forward. They couldn't admit to themselves that me moving forward was a threat to their own self-concept. In order to progress, I had to be the one to let go. At times I experience loneliness and isolation, which for some would be a BIG problem, whereas I accepted this as a part of my commitment to my aspirations. I’ve used that ‘empty place on my plate’ to be filled up with even more inspiring activities, work projects, writing/blogging, and starting my own company. Rather than staying in that place of dissatisfaction with less than inspiring conversations and social situations that left me feeling disappointed, and staying put on my path—my plate got even more full, with even more positive. And what Ive come to realize is that I have a greater intolerance for any negative on my plate. I don’t have time to deal with “problems”, I am too busy working with inspiration and purpose. So you see, one persons problem is another person’s opportunity, it is all about perspective. All I ask is, is your perspective helping you grow?