Hi from New Mexico!!
Although we flew in, Mike and I have been driving a bit. As we go from here to there I’ve been noticing how there has been a major shift in me—a shift from needing things to be just so, and a practiced willingness to see things as they are.
Letting go of how things are supposed to be is a wonderful freedom to acquire. So, how do we do that? Well, for me it started with making a choice: Do I want to live my life completely—with all my emotions and needs and the connections they create? Or do I want to see life as I wish it to be: a place that will never quite meet my expectations? Dreamland or reality? I chose reality.
So when I learned that one of the steps in Compassionate Communication is observation I thought, “This is the right path for me.” When we make an observation we redirect our attention to what has happened or is happening—that’s all.
When I ask myself to make an observation I am also asking myself to accept reality as it is right now. In other words, I’m learning not to fight against it. This isn’t easy because in a “bad” moment I really want the “bad” experience to go away. At that moment acceptance does NOT seem like the path to take. Yet, it turns out that it is the most helpful path because it is a path based on facts, not on what should or shouldn’t be.
As some of you may know I’m not a big fan of driving long distances. To complicate matters the drivers here seem to have a different interpretation of running a red light than I do. Thankfully, Mike does the driving. And yet, being in the passenger’s seat in this situation can be stressful. I want safety! What to do? For me, it was observing and accepting. “This is how it is. Mike is handling it just fine.” That becomes my reality check. Rather than holding onto fear and using “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” (not to mention “what-iffing”) to create more fear, I am practicing accepting how things are. In the end, I’m far more relaxed and I find it lots easier to move on to other things.
I think observation and acceptance free up our wisdom and strength. With these, we can respond to uncertain or difficult situations with great skill and confidence because we’re bringing more to the table than our anger and fear. As I’m learning in New Mexico, even amid very difficult emotions it’s still possible to think, “I’m here.” This is what’s happening.