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Welcoming the Unexpected
As I walked my dogs recently on what "should" have been a beautiful and balmy spring morning here in Las Vegas, I was bundled up, head ducked into the wind wishing spring would hurry up and get here. It was a day that reminded me more of mid-December than early May. It also reminded me of how programmed we are to expect things to be predictable (meaning: to be as we want them to be), whether that is in matters of weather or anything else. Life is, by its very nature, unpredictable. And there is no end to the misery we generate expecting it to be otherwise.
Think about it: from the moment we enter the world until the moment of our passing from this life, we try to harness everything, to predict, control and bend circumstances to our will. We listen to weather reports in an effort to help us predict, plan and understand the weather. We attempt to schedule everything in life, hoping against hope that our supreme planning efforts will enable us to eliminate risk and unpredictability. The thinking goes that by controlling every circumstance and situation, or at least most of them, we can eventually relax and be at peace.
Don't get me wrong. There is tremendous value in organizing and prioritizing our lives. It's a necessity. Traffic and weather reports have their place. I wouldn't think of not having adequate insurance. And I also have my scheduling devices--Palm Pilot and Franklin Planner.
But somewhere along the way, we've forgotten that despite our greatest efforts to control, life is simply fraught with a certain amount of chaos and unpredictability. We find ourselves fighting what is because "it" hasn't measured up to what we, in our "infinite wisdom" have decided it should be. But stop to think about it: Has any amount of wishing the weather would change ever changed the weather? Does wanting to be out of traffic get us there any sooner?
The weather is the weather. The traffic is the traffic. The more we embrace and allow the "unexpected" to be the norm, the less we're thrown off when things don't meet our expectations. Of course weather and traffic are simply two of the minor irritations and unpredictabilities we face in a given day. But if you're going to shift your attitude to embrace the unexpected, they're just as good as anything to help you do that.
Try an experiment this week. When you find yourself fighting a situation (start small with things like the weather and traffic), simply allow yourself to welcome the unexpected. Find a way to be at peace in the situation, whether the wind is blowing in May, you're stuck in traffic or you're in the slow lane at the bank or grocery store. Take a deep breath, open your eyes, and give up expecting the situation to be as you think it should be. Instead, allow it to be as it is.
Done consistently, this welcoming of the unexpected, allowing things to be as they are, transforms the relationship between you and the present moment. Coming from this more relaxed and peaceful perspective, you suddenly begin to enjoy the late spring wind storm. Being stuck in traffic and not fighting it, you're now present enough to notice the beauty of the mountains or the flowers blooming in someone's yard. And amazingly the "emotional plaque" that builds up from angsting over things that are out of your control begins to melt away.
Don't take my word for it. This week, make it your mission to welcome the unexpected...and see what new joys and pleasures the unexpected present has in store for you!
"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift; that's why it's called 'the present.'" ~~Ziggy
Betty Mahalik has been coaching small business owners, independent professionals and leaders who want to achieve more but stress less, since 1996. Her background includes several years in the broadcasting and public relations fields prior to starting her own firm in 1987. She is an accomplished public speaker and corporate trainer specializing in communications, goal-setting and leveraging your strengths. Since 2001, she has written a weekly motivational message, free to subscribers, titled Monday Morning Coach. To subscribe or learn more about Betty's coaching and training services, visit http://www.dynamic-coaching.com
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