Life keeps leading us on journeys we would never go on if it were up to us.  Don’t be afraid.  Have faith.  Find the lessons.  Trust the journey today.

We are all beautiful human beings, just trying to find our way.  Today and every day we seek to better understand the meaning of our lives.  We long to discover our gifts and release them fully into the world, and we hope to find happiness, peace, and strength along the way.  For some of us the key to these desires rings loud and clear, driving what we do and how we do it from moment to moment.  For others, these deep seeded needs are buried below the noise of daily life, below ego, below fear, below the pressures and norms that we face in society and thus, they are rarely addressed.

Along my own journey of self-actualization, I’ve witnessed dozens of amazing people friends, course students, live event attendees, discover their own paths to happiness and self-fulfillment, and I’ve noticed many common themes emerge.  In all cases, the happiness they discover and gradually develop internally is seeded by the realization of certain hard yet fundamental truths about the nature of their lives in the present day.

It seems we are all here to realize these truths in our own way, in our own time.  And once they resonate fully, not just intellectually, but emotionally and spiritually, we are then better able to find the happiness, peace, and strength we seek.

1.  Everything you love and everything you are comfortable with is changing today.

Over the past decade, as Marc and I have gradually worked with hundreds of our course students, coaching clients, and live event attendees, we’ve come to understand that the root cause of most human stress is simply our stubborn propensity to hold on to things. In a nutshell, we hold on tight to the hope that things will go exactly as we imagine, and then we complicate our lives to no end when they don’t.

So how can we stop holding on?

By realizing that there’s nothing to hold on to in the first place.

Most of the things we desperately try to hold on to, as if they’re real, solid, everlasting fixtures in our lives, aren’t really there.  Or if they are there in some form, they’re changing, fluid, impermanent, or simply imagined in our minds.

Life gets a lot easier to deal with when we understand this.

Imagine you’re blindfolded and treading water in the center of a large swimming pool, and you’re struggling desperately to grab the edge of the pool that you think is nearby, but really it’s not it’s far away.  Trying to grab that imaginary edge is stressing you out, and tiring you out, as you splash around aimlessly trying to hold on to something that isn’t there.

Now imagine you pause, take a deep breath, and realize that there’s nothing nearby to hold on to.  Just water around you.  You can continue to struggle with grabbing at something that doesn’t exist or you can accept that there’s only water around you, and relax, and float.

2.  98% of the pain you feel today is self-created by your emotional attachments to the past.

If somebody is working on themselves and changing for the better, it’s unnecessary to keep bringing up their past.  People can change and grow.  You know this is true.

But, have you given yourself a fair chance to change and grow, too?

Have you consciously loosened your grip on everything that’s behind you, so you can step forward again with grace?

If you’re shaking your head, you aren’t alone.  I know exactly how you feel.  I’ve been there myself, and I know dozens of others in the same boat.  At times, we all fall victim to our attachments.  And sometimes we don’t even realize we’re blocking our own present blessings by holding on to the past.  Do your best to realize this right now. Growth is painful.  Change is painful.  But in the end, nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere in the past.

3.  Many of the things you’d like to control today are better left uncontrolled.

Some things in life are worth changing and controlling.  Most things are not.

Let that sink in for a moment.

“If you want to control the animals, give them a larger pasture.”  That’s a quote Marc and I heard at a meditation retreat several years ago in a group discussion focused on the power of changing your attitude about the things you can’t change or don’t need to change.

I see “the animals” and their “larger pasture” as a form of letting go and allowing things to be the way they are.  Instead of trying to tightly control something, you’re loosening up, giving it more space a larger pasture.  The animals will be happier; they will roam around and do what they naturally do.  And your needs will be met too; you will have more space to be at peace with the way the animals are.

This same philosophy holds true for many aspects of life stepping back and allowing certain things to happen means these things will take care of themselves, and your needs will also be met.  You will have less stress (and less to do), and more time and energy to work on the things that truly matter, and the things you actually can control like your attitude about everything.

This form of letting go is not giving up.  It’s about surrendering any obsessive attachment to particular people, outcomes and situations.  It means showing up every day in your life with the intention to be your best self, and to do the best you know how, without expecting life to go a certain way.  It’s about focusing on what matters and let going of what does not.

The energy of someone aspiring to create something wonderful, teamed with this kind of surrender, is far more powerful and rewarding than someone determined to create outcomes with a desperate “must have” mentality.  Surrender brings inner peace and joy, and lest we forget that our outer lives are a reflection of our inner state of being. So, go ahead and put yourself back in control by letting most things be.

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