In case you've been waiting in suspense, I failed my audition to be a kickboxing instructor. The specific feedback was, "technique was weak, no power, movement was not authentic to combat and timing was shaky." I've spent the last week feeling like a weak reject loser, but today I'm feeling better. All day every day I tell others, "Trust the process of life! When bad things happen, it's a solution!" Though I haven't really become a match to the solution yet, I'm trying to take my own advice. Everything happens for a reason, and life has bigger and better things in store for me. Here are some ideas that got me through the week.
1. Practice not doing.
I'm a striver. I set goals, I try, I make effort. I've found the harder I try, the more I push what I want away from me. This week, practice not trying. See if you can let what you want come to you. Take zero action, even when you think you should. Unless wild horses couldn't stop you, chill. See if it is any more satisfying than working your ass off for minimal results.
2. The things we love we have to learn to leave alone.
This idea comes from Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao. This book is so good we had to check it out from the library twice. I can BARELY comprehend how to put this advice into practice, because it is so natural to want to take action involving the things you love. But think of a plant: there is no amount of coaxing or effort you can take to make it grow faster. Sure, you can provide the right conditions, but worrying about a natural process is a waste of time. Think of your life and the things you love as flowers. Just leave them alone to blossom in peace.
3. Let go of any ideas you have about controlling anything or anyone, including yourself.
This is another idea from Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao. Give up trying to control myself?! What music to my ears! My whole life has been a losing battle with self control. Don't eat that! Don't text that person! Don't say that online! CONTROL YOURSELF, JESSICA! Fuck that. No one has any control. Let's embrace it.
4. Try this mantra: "I'm a winner!"
Once I identified that yes, I did actually feel like a loser, I knew I had to switch to the other side of the wave. Even though saying "I'm a winner" feels a little forced, as soon as I thought it, I was able to see evidence that I was successful. The day after I heard news of my epic audition fail, I won $300 in restaurant gift cards. See, I got first place in something!
5. Practice not caring.
Don't you hate it when you care about a specific outcome? You want someone to text you, or you want to get that job you interviewed for, or you want a project to go a certain way. The more attached to the outcome you are, the less likely you are to get it. Try releasing your attachment to the outcome. Attempt to truly not care if that person texts you--because you are your own reason for feeling good. The goal is to feel good regardless of your circumstances, so that no matter what happens, you still have your unshakeable sense of peace and well being.
6. Be conscious of every breath.
Keeping your attention on your breath in every moment keeps your attention on your connection to source. It keeps you from becoming over-identified with your thoughts and losing conscious awareness. When I had this realization as I was riding my bike to the gym, I got kind of pissed. It seems like SO MUCH WORK to be conscious all the time. But then I remembered it's like any good habit--once you get in the flow of it, it almost does itself. It's just starting that's hard. Whatever method you use to maintain presence (i.e., not lost in your thoughts), use it as often as you can--with the goal being always.
7. There's a time for everything, including what you're experiencing today.
One of the techniques Wayne Dyer suggests for freeing yourself from your demanding ego is to practice saying, "There's a time for this." When you hear bad news, think, "There's a time to hear bad news. There's also a time for good news." When you tell yourself there is a time for the bad, you open yourself up to the good. And when something good happens, and you say, "There is a time for this good thing to happen," it also helps you appreciate it more, because you bring awareness to the temporary nature of reality. That good thing will also go away. Celebrate that there is a time for anything at all, because that is the miracle of being human.
8. Be as still as possible.
One of my favorite ideas is, "Be still and know." When you are still, you can become aware of the present moment. Still your body, focus your eyes on a single point, quiet your mind. When you are still, you can know the meaning of life. You can know your source. You may not be able to comprehend it or talk about it, but you can know "it". Whenever life gets you down, be still. The same circumstances getting you down will reveal themselves to be your greatest solution.