But seriously, are all the inspiring words, all the claims that we can dramatically change our lives and our realities really all that relevant in an immediate, practical sense? It all sounds so good, and we feel good for a while. But ultimately, is any of this stuff realistic in the long-term? It seems we learn to describe how things should be, how we’d like them to be, only to continue coming across the same obstacles.
I’m sitting and watching the kids play in the pool, screaming like little monsters (or big ones), even though I’ve told them not a minute ago, for the 9th time (yes I counted), to please keep their voices down, because I still live in the hope that the neighbors haven’t yet cast the final votes to have us removed and exiled to some distant asylum.
And then there are the other times when I try my best to change something and I swear it stays the same. Only difference being I end up exhausted and discouraged, feeling like a complete idiot, blaming myself for not trying hard enough, for not being smart enough in my approach to solve a problem, for not being positive enough to create and attract that which I seek.
So yes, how is all the wisdom really working? Take Zen…it’s all about the moment and, well, Zen-like things, usually relating to birds and twigs and the color brown. Then the Tao…I am told to let go and act at the same time…do nothing and you do everything. Ok. Then other suggestions…be a fighter, but don’t push because you’ll find resistance; be in the moment, but focus on the future; don’t plan but plan; be flexible yet stick to your goals; sing like the birds, live like the dogs…do this…do that…don’t do anything and everything will flow naturally in its own time.
Meanwhile, right now I only want to stop my kids from screaming while they play in the pool. So I step outside and ask them for the 10th time to keep their voices down. They all ignore me. I’m doing the right thing…trying to make them stop…and it’s not working. I tried threats, I tried treats and all in vain.
Then one of them throws a large ball, and it lands on another one’s head. Meanwhile, defeated, I decide to water the garden and hose down the cement. Another scream. I point the hose to a child’s head. He jumps and screams even louder, and everyone breaks into uncontrollable laughter. We play some more, I spray each one in turn as ‘punishment’, and they love it. I am suddenly so delighted to see them having fun on a late summer afternoon.
After I’m back in the house, as I keep looking at the pool, I notice that voices are suddenly a LOT lower than they were a little while ago. How can that be? I didn’t ask for the 11th time. And then it occurs to me that instead of trying to control, I did something entirely unexpected…and yes, even absurd. I actually participated in the craziness that initially annoyed me (and might get us exiled to that asylum yet). And with that, the dynamic changed.
Was that Zen? Tao? What was it? I don’t know, but the kids are not screaming and as far as I’m concerned, pigs are flying.
Sometimes we try so hard and do all the right things only to end up nowhere. So how to approach what seems impossible? I’m thinking next time I get frustrated with someone, or someone’s being unresponsive or downright rude, I’ll go give them a hug and offer them some ice cream…or write them a love poem, or point the hose at them if they happen to be in the pool, screaming their hearts out. I’m thinking instead of criticizing, getting mad, trying to change and control (and for the most legitimate reasons, in the most logical ways), I will try surprising myself…and whoever happens to be around me.