What If You Could Make All Your Problems Disappear in an Instant? (Wouldn’t That Make Life Easier!)
Here's the Problem...
If you were living across from a river and, one day, you noticed that the water had turned orange, with a strange smell, your first thought might be to investigate what had caused it.
You might even assume that it was spillage from the paint factory a little upstream. Perhaps your friends and neighbours confirm this for you. Some even begin to tell you about the risk to life and to your pets from the chemical fumes being given off by the paint residue.
You need to do something about it, right?
Or, at the very least, you might worry about what’s happening and ruminate over ways to solve it.
That’s such a problem! How can I stop that! They shouldn’t be doing that!
And then, if you’re anything like most people, you might start to think about ways to stop thinking about it all the time.
At some point you might realise that the constant worrying is wearing you down, causing even more pressure, and so you try to switch off, or change your thoughts. You hear yourself saying things like:
I know I shouldn’t think about it all the time, but I can’t help it. If only I didn’t take it so seriously, but I don’t know how to stop.
But how can we not take something like that seriously?
Who, in their right mind, would ignore something so dangerous?
That would be like trying to convince yourself of something that isn’t true. Or trying to block out thoughts that you don’t want to hear, simply because they are unpleasant. That would be irresponsible, and, no doubt, pretty ineffective.
When we live with problems like this, life gets more and more difficult; there’s a very real situation that’s causing the pain, and then the added stress and anxiety that comes from worrying about it.
And we continue to repeat the pattern day in day out.
This is Your Life
When clients come to me with whatever they’re coming with, they’re basically telling me about their equivalent of the toxic chemicals and the stress it’s been causing them and the people around them.
Sure, some people are more, or less bothered, some are more, or less in action; but pretty much everyone takes their problems seriously — as well you would if you thought you had a toxic waste dump outside your front door!
Rather than tackle the problem head on, I prefer to lead my client very gently to the source of these problems, so we can look together at where it’s coming from and what it’s made of,
Let’s go and have a look where that coloured water is coming from…
What we see when we go ‘upstream’ is that the source of the colour in the water downstream is coming from nothing more harmful than vegetable dye.
The dye might change colour over time, or become iridescent in the light, but it’s perfectly harmless; beautiful even, something to be marvelled at for the shapes and shades it creates.
Suddenly there is nothing to do, nothing to worry about, and no problem to solve.
We didn’t need any ninja techniques to re-frame the situation, or to ‘stop thinking about it’, we didn’t need to close down the paint factory, nor did we need to manage our stress.
It would never occur to us to worry about vegetable dye in the way it occurs to us to worry about poisonous chemicals. Everything problematic about the situation dissolved when we saw what was causing the river to change colour.
This is the difference between trying to manage an experience that looks real, versus knowing where our experience is coming from.
When we understand the latter, we have way more perspective on what to do (or, in most cases, we see that there is no need to do anything!)
Live Life Happy
What happens next is the fun part.
When we have less to worry about, we’re able to respond better to the innate love of life that we all have.
We have more fun, we’re more engaged at home, we have more commitment and joy at work because we’re excited about what we can create, versus exhausted from all the worry and problem-solving we’ve been doing in the past.
We have a lot more time and energy to spend on doing the things that excite us, that we think are important, or creating the new things that we want to see in the world.
And that’s a much better way to live, in my experience!