Have you ever had those days when EVERYTHING feels like an enormous struggle? Of course you have. We all have. Sometimes, almost from the moment you get out of bed things seem to go wrong. You burn the toast, stub your toe, get shampoo in your eye and spill coffee on your tax return. All before you even get out the door! I used to call these dork days, because I would just feel like an enormous dork who couldn’t do anything right. I would even wonder, “Who is this bumbling idiot that is temporarily inhabiting my body?”
This came up last night in a call I was leading for my Being Enough 5-week tele-class. One of the participants described the day when she forgot her umbrella, it was sleeting and she missed the bus. She mentioned that those kinds of days used to happen more often than they do now that she has learned to take responsibility for how her life goes. Responsibility was the theme of week 3 of the tele-class, so I definitely believe in the power of taking 100% responsibility for your life. Does that mean when you do it will be all sunshine and roses and rainbows sans rain? Nope.
My frustrating moments seem to be frequently connected to technology of some sort. I love all my devices when they are working perfectly, which, most of the time, they are. However, I will put up with a LOT to not have to do any trouble-shooting with one of them because I just feel like a moron when I can’t figure it out. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but email signatures have been the bane of my existence for years. Now, lots of other people also struggle with getting their signatures right on this particular email program, however, I have allowed this one item to cost me hours of my time over the years in two ways:
1. Trying repeatedly to figure it out, reading online advice, setting it up again, asking for help (when all else fails, read the directions – yep, I’ve even resorted to that!)
2. Literally typing my signature line over and over again because I can’t get it to work automatically. What a colossal waste of time! And yet, there it is.
I recently hired someone to help me with three dozen or so annoying technology issues that had been plaguing me for . . . again, I’m embarrassed to admit how long. He was amazing and patient and didn’t make me feel stupid. And he handled all my issues efficiently and effectively, and I got way more value than what I paid for. (His name is Joe, and you can find him here if you need similar help. He specializes in Google and finding the right app for your business needs.) That is also why I’m such a loyal Apple user – tech support. I love the Genius Bar so much, and I have rarely paid for the magnitude of help I’ve received over the years both in person and over the phone. But I digress.
When you are smack in the middle of a day in which NOTHING seems to be working out, what do you do? Do you push through, as I have in the past, repeatedly hitting your head against the same brick wall and becoming more and more frustrated by the minute? Do you get more frantic with the feeling that this has to be done today, now, this second? Do you scream and yell and curse the existence of (fill in the blank) that is making your life miserable? Been there. Done that. I may have even bought the t-shirt, but I don’t wear it anymore because I have realized it doesn’t suit me.
So what do I do instead?
Well, even after having this discussion last night as part of a class I am leading, it still took me about four frustrations this morning to recognize what was going on. When I did, I stopped doing what I was doing. Just stopped. That’s it. If you can’t stop completely - I went to take a shower since I needed to do that anyway - then at least slow down. Most of our mistakes come from being frantic, moving too quickly, not paying enough attention to the present moment.
I was in an email correspondence with someone this week – someone who is normally very centered and powerful. We were trying to schedule an appointment, and I confirmed for a certain day and time. Her next email gave me three options for a date and time to get together. I reminded her to slow down, pay attention and put our already scheduled date on her calendar. We all do it.
Oh, it’s simple all right, but it’s not always easy. Especially when someone else is waiting for something from you or a deadline is looming or it feels as if you have more on your plate than will ever get done. Guess what? You do! You will die having things on your to do list. Yes you will. When you can accept that, you will be able to be much more peaceful about it. I was talking to a friend on the phone one day and bemoaning the fact that I had crossed nothing off my to do list that day. She cavalierly suggested that it would still be there tomorrow. And she was right. No one died as a result of my items not getting done, and even if they were still there three months from now, that would still be the case. (And maybe if they stayed on my list three months I could just forget about them, because clearly, they weren’t THAT important.)
Have you seen the movie, The Adjustment Bureau? If not, do that later today. I may have mentioned it before because it is one of my favorites. The premise of the film is that there is a grand plan for life and the adjustment bureau (men in hats) exist to be sure we stay on plan. When we stray from our path, they “adjust” us. I love this line from one of the adjusters: “Sometimes when you’re trying to make a call and it won’t go through, it’s just a technology glitch, and sometimes, it’s us.”
I think about that every time I hit a wall now. It happened last week. I was trying to return a call from someone I had been playing phone tag with for a week or so. She had just called and I dialed her number three times and the call just wasn’t connecting. Dead silence on my end, and even though I could see the time counting on my phone, there was no ring. Weird. This just isn’t the right time, I thought, and I stopped. We talked another day and it was great.
Have you heard the phrase, “what you resist, persists?” Yep. Stop resisting. It doesn’t have to be a struggle. Oh, and stop blaming yourself and thinking you’re an idiot too. You’re not. And I’m not a dork or a moron either. Life should be easy. It should flow. It can even be fun and enjoyable (gasp!), even the trying moments, yes, even those. So when it’s not, when something isn’t working, when you are beginning to get frustrated, just STOP! Or if you can’t come to a screeching halt, do something else for a while and come back to it, or take a few deep breaths and get grounded, be present and then try again. Struggle doesn’t ever have to be your state of being.