Think of a circumstance you wish did not exist in your life right now. Something you cannot change in this moment. For most of us, this is easy. It's something heavy on our minds.
Perhaps life has thrown you a serious punch: the death of a loved one, an illness, injury or disability, the loss of a job or relationship, infertility, betrayal, bankruptcy.
Or perhaps you are riding the stressful waves of everyday life: a strained relationship, family drama, an unrelenting boss, a job that sucks the life out of you, unwanted weight or debt, aging.
Take your problem and try seeing it through this lens: as a natural disaster.
I tried this on my own problems after reading a post by Dr. Christine Carter in which she mentions accepting her divorce as more of a natural disaster than something she could stop from happening. Her thinking went like this: I am what I am and right now I am getting divorced. The best I can do right now is to be present in this situation, and deal with it as it comes.
This is powerful for a few reasons.
First, it takes the shame and blame out of the problem. A natural disaster just happens. It doesn't mean anything about the people involved. An earthquake that hits my home can result in great loss & pain, but it doesn't mean that I am a loser, deeply flawed, different from everyone else, or don't have my act together. There are no fingers to point (at ourselves or anyone else) or faults to find (I am sure there is a bad earthquake joke in there).
Without shame and blame, self-compassion and acceptance (essential steps in healing and problem-solving) come more easily.
When we offer ourselves a healthy dose of compassion (This is normal; I'm not the only one) and accept our situation instead of fighting and railing against it, we gain presence and take the most effective action.
We can ask ourselves:
"What do I want to stand for in the face of this?"
Sometimes taking action changes our circumstances. Other times, circumstances cannot be changed.
In either case, the moment we take action toward what matters, we fill our lives with purpose and meaning.
No blame. No shame. No ego. No resistance. No struggle. No waiting to live.
Just self-compassion, acceptance, presence, and meaningful action.
You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be. -Marianne Williamson
Image by Geoff Captain Studios