Today a coaching client came to me and mentioned they’d been ill and had given up alcohol and poor eating choices as a result (in order to get well). This was after a bout of depression and I’m sure you know of course that alcohol is a depressive — so this was, in a way, really good news.
So often I see this. So often I’m reminded that at times we unconsciously create dramatic detours when our predictable path won’t lead us where we want to go.
In my own life I have seen that I manifest illness or some other wake-up call at the perfect times to assist me towards my deepest goals.
It may seem odd to say it like that — manifesting illness — but there’s great benefit in seeing it this way, as a continuation of the thought that we want the best for ourselves and sometimes need a personal challenge to force us to reconsider our current habits and trajectory.
For example, I had ditched alcohol for 10 years but then started drinking again (and eating lots of cheap pizza!) when my wife and I separated. I knew it was contributing to my growing feelings of depression but didn’t care too much at the time. Then, just like my coaching client, I developed a serious health issue and that was enough of a wake-up call to get back to healthy living.
The Danger of Heartfelt Wishes
Someone once said “be careful what you wish for!” … and I think this is particularly appropriate in this context.
- We deeply yearn for more time to ourselves, and then complain when our friends don’t call for a week.
- We wish for gut health and then bemoan the sickness that forces us to stop eating pizza and ice-cream for a while.
- We desperately hope for a change of scenery and then freak out when we lose our job and have to move to another town for work.
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point!
Moving Away From the Suffering of Resistance
“This shouldn’t be happening” is a phrase I have eradicated from my internal and external vocabulary.
Anything that pushes against what is (anything that is presenting itself in this moment) will bring you suffering, so if you want to live a life free from suffering, it’s crucial to develop a mindset and belief system that causes you to fall in love with the entirety of what is — or at the very least feel totally neutral about it.
For me, I see that life is intrinsically good. Life doesn’t judge illness or that car crash or that lost job or any event in life as “bad”, so if that’s a fast-track to getting you to a better place — a place you’ve deeply wished for — then so be it!
An alternate way of looking at it is that perhaps life is simply random. In that case, it’s just up to us — we can ask “how could this be helping me?” or “what good could come of this?” and then choose to make some awesome lemonade with our random delivery of lemons.
Either way, we win.
So perhaps consider this for a moment. What thoughts/reactions do you have to the idea: “life is perfect — it’s exactly what I need in this moment to move me towards my deepest goals”?
If your reaction is negative, how do you think that might be playing out in your life? Do you think that your suffering is helpful somehow? … As Byron Katie so bluntly put it: “Some of us would rather be right than free.”
Would you rather be laughing or crying? It really is your choice.
“Since everything is but an illusion,
Perfect in being what it is,
Having nothing to do with good or bad,
Acceptance or rejection,
One might as well burst out laughing!”
Today is another good example for me…
I’ve really wanted to get fit for a while and haven’t been doing anything about it, but today I was asked to trim some large hedges and hand-saw a bunch of big branches from a dying tree, and my first thought was “I’m way to busy for this”, my second thought was “I hate gardening” and my third thought (after I got half of it done) was “this is perfect — exactly what I asked for … and no gym fees!”
(Feel free to drop me a line or message me on Facebook if you’re struggling with this, or life in general — I’d love to chat! And, of course, it’s totally ok if you think that this idea is BS, but try to have an open mind and consider it at least).