Have you ever pushed against life hoping for an easier path, only to realize pushing and resisting is actually making life harder? I can relate to falling into this trap throughout my life journey. Most often this vicious cycle has been the result of attempting to prove myself, or to overcompensate for the parts of me I hadn't yet accepted.
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung is noted for saying: "What you resist, persists." Understanding the truth and wisdom in Jung's teachings has helped me see I always have a choice in how I receive life, and in how I dance my dance. We all have the power of choice in life. We can resist what we don't like in the hopes it will go away. Or we can accept things the way they are and make space for something new and different to transpire.
When we surrender to what is, we allow the magic and beauty of life to unfold. This magical space is where joy lives, where gratitude can be found, and where dreams are born.
These 11 hints have become my telltale signs it is time to surrender and take the path of least resistance. These cues help me remember I have a choice in how I experience life. They help me step into the practice of creating space and allowing the magic of my life to unfold. If these hints sound familiar and resonate with you, give the practices a try and see how they fit.
Hint #1: You spend your time wishing life was different, instead of embracing how it is.
Practice: Create a list on paper, or in your mind, of 3 things you love about your life right now. Allow your 3 truths to become your focus for the next week, day, hour or minute. Grow your new awareness from this place of love. Release your grip on the story that life is hard, and instead breathe into what is working well.
Hint #2: You have increasing expectations of others.
Practice: Whenever we expect others to fulfill our sense of happiness, peace or level of 'okayness', we are in for a bumpy ride. Of course the actions of others affect us, but they don't have to get in the way of our joy or how we dance with life. The more we let go of our expectations of other people, the easier it is to accept them however they may show up. When we detach from our expectations, we send the message we are okay with what is.
Hint #3: You find yourself judging others and yourself more and more.
Practice: When we focus on the traits we don't like about others, we are really mirroring what it is we don't accept or like about ourselves. When we accept and love ourselves, in all our darkness and light, we tend to give the same gift to others around us. What can you do right now to feel good about yourself? Ask yourself what you most need right now, and listen to the soft whisper that comes.
Hint #4: You feel like there is always too much to do and not enough time.
Practice: Every day we get to wake up is a blessing. Each morning we are gifted an entire day to experience the fullness of life. We write the story for how we spend the moments in our day and how we feel about such moments. I like to remind myself that time is merely an illusion, and not having enough of it is a story I can choose to buy into - or not. When we make a choice to be present and awake in the moments before us, time has a way of slowing down. When we stop pushing the story of having to be in a hurried pace, we open up time and space to savor what is before us.
Hint #5: You can't remember the last time you did something for yourself.
Practice: Each of us is in charge of our own personal happiness. When we nurture ourselves on a regular basis, we strengthen our spirit and become more connected to our truth. Nobody can do self-care for us. If we push others to fulfill our happiness, we inflict suffering on ourselves. The easiest path to feeling good about life is to love ourselves first.
Hint #6: You are overly worried about things out of your control.
Practice: The only control we ever truly have is in how we choose to dance and be in life. Everything else is like a coin toss, we don't really know what will come next or how things will turn out. There is a real feeling of freedom that comes when we let go of the need to micro-manage aspects of life that are not within our control. Breathe into your being and focus on enjoying the moments in your life the best way you know how. Remind yourself: all is well, and all I can do is all I can do, and all I can do is enough.
Hint #7: You are impatient and want results quicker.
Practice: When something isn't coming to fruition the way you planned, see what happens when you take a step back and let the chips fall where they may. This is often easier said than done, but try to remember there is a grace period before things to come to life. Put your best effort in and then let go. When we meddle with the grace period and start pushing for quicker results, we often change the original outcome. See what happens when you surrender to the process. Instead of obsessing and being impatient, go do something that is playful and fun. Fill your moments with laughter, and you may be surprised when your results come to life even better than you first imagined.
Hint #8: You rarely take a minute to breathe and check in with yourself.
Practice: We all have a built in guidance system that will lead us on our best path. The trick is to actually check in with ourselves and hear the wisdom that comes. The next step is important too, and that is to follow through with what our intuition tells us. I don't believe for a second our inner spirit wants us to take the hard path in life, create more suffering than necessary, or spend our moments resisting life. When we are disconnected from our truth, we often lead life from our ego. Our ego will misguide us every step of the way. If we want to lead life from peace, we need to regularly connect to ourselves so we learn to hear what our truth sounds like.
Hint #9: You are focused on everything that isn't working well.
Practice: This comes back to what we do have control over - our perspective. When we focus on everything that isn't working well in our lives, we lose our next steps and often get stuck in a cycle of suffering. When we shine a light on everything that is working well, we illuminate the path to loving life. When there is a light shining on everything we love about our life, it becomes easier to follow our higher path - this is the path of least resistance.
Hint #10: You have lost your faith in the magic of life.
Practice: Sometimes life serves up hardships and it becomes second nature to spiral downward into despair. When we stay there for too long, we can lose our sense of wonder and faith in the magic of life. This is where baby steps become our lifeline. Embarking on a one step at a time, one day at a time approach can be a peaceful way back to our light. This back to basics approach is all about surrendering to the process and releasing the need to control what comes next. There is something profound in rebuilding a foundation. The noise and push-pull of life that was once important, begins to fall away. The rebuilding phase and one step at a time approach can bring the most beautiful growth and life experiences.
Hint #11: You forget what it is like to dream.
Practice: In childhood, it feels natural to walk through life with a sense of awe and thirst for what is. This is a human trait we all can tap back into in order to feel hopeful and excited to be alive. When we choose to have a playful mindset and dare to dream big dreams, we move beyond our perceived limitations. When we let our guard down and play, we step outside the confines that keep us from fully seeing and experiencing the wonder and magic of life. See what happens when you give yourself permission to use your imagination to believe in what may be possible in your life. See what changes when you start looking for the magic and limitless possibilities around you. Use your creative power to get excited about life and to dream new dreams. Navigate your days with a childlike thirst for adventure and excitement about what might possibly come next.
Embrace your path of least resistance.
Emily Madill is the author of 11 books in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. Her newest title 'Fall in Love with Your Life, One Week at a Time' is now being offered as an E-Course.
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