We are in an age of over-analyzing, over-thinking, and constant rumination.
You know those days when we insist on holding the diamond in our hand, rolling it over and over again to see every facet? THEN when we do, what are we seeing?
Are the sleepless nights and the anxiety regarding the outcome worth obsessing about? Can we liberate our minds, teach them to put the wheels in motion, and THEN allow the outcome to unfold?
I’m sure you’ve heard a million times, “the past is the past.” We can’t change it. We can revisit it, but it’s still the past.
We’ve heard that projecting ourselves into the future is squandering what short time we have. We can, however, plan for the future; and by that, I mean financial planning, vacation planning, family planning, and planning day-to-day events.
BUT we drive ourselves nuts, musing, “If I do this, then MAYBE that will happen.”
AND the big Kahuna of all our speculating is the exhausting, “What if?”
It’s a waste of energy. It’s a waste of our brainpower. It’s a waste of our time. “What if” doesn’t elicit any answers, it just asks more questions.
Let’s address the present with the present in the present.
My take is that everything is revealed when it needs to be revealed. Everything turns out one way or another, like it or not. We cannot force a square peg in a round hole, no matter how great a carpenter we may be. We can ONLY control ourselves, our behaviors, and our reactions. Trying to control anyone else is like herding fish or subway rats.
All of our planning and attempts to control outcomes or people are for naught, to use an old English word. It’s actually a really good word: Naught. Nothing. Nada. Nichts. Rien. Zero. Zilch.
We spend so much of our time planning, postulating, and deciding EXACTLY how something is supposed to turn out—only to be disappointed when life throws us a curveball. OR gives us another result—yes, GIVES! How do we know that the result we got isn’t better than the one we were married to in our heads?
Take, for example, our idea of our perfect person or mate. He, she, or they have to have a certain look, drive a particular car, be this, do that, have this… an entire laundry list of “must-haves,” or it’s a deal-breaker. How many really wonderful people have we passed by because we were only open to someone “this tall, with this color hair, of this age, with this career and this much money”?
That is only ONE example of “figuring it out.” What’s to figure out? You can figure out a mathematical equation, but can you “figure out” your life?
What if we replace “figure out” with DISCOVER… REVEAL… or REALIZE?
Our minds are exploding trying to examine our lives in both the minutiae and in the grand scheme of things.
My work in Qigong has made it glaringly obvious that “go with the flow” is the best course of “action.” That being said, who wants disappointment? Everyone is disappointed at one time or another. Actually, disappointment can be a good thing. It can make us work harder, be more motivated, more disciplined, and more committed to achieving a goal. It also makes us more grateful when we acquire a different result we hadn’t contemplated and find it is better than we ever imagined.
Flexibility may be the key. Can we be more flexible? Imagine yourself as bamboo, strong and bendable in the wind and with the elements.
Life is messy and unpredictable. Anyone who says it isn’t is living in another dimension. Good for them. I’ll have some of what they’re having, thank you. If we don’t make adjustments on the small and the large scale, we get into serious trouble. We then find ourselves doing a ridiculous amount of troubleshooting. We are paddling upstream with one oar most of the time.
Anxiety is based on “what if” and depression is based on “what happened?”
It’s exhausting to be continually living in a state of figuring out our next move, the best strategy, or how to navigate the changes of the tides. Go WITH the tides instead of against them. Granted, some things are more easily navigable, especially when we’re going with the flow of the stream, river, or ocean.
Difficult circumstances, like working for a cause or fighting injustice, seem to be an uphill battle. Keeping your wits about you is an important tactic. Water effortlessly flows over and around rocks. Sometimes it makes a big splash, sometimes a tiny ripple.
Flow like water.
Do whatever you need to do, then let things evolve.
Watch the answers present themselves without the need for you to push and pull your life. When you give the answers time to reveal themselves, imagine how much freer you will feel.
“BUT I’ve GOT TO figure it out!’
Really? What if you don’t?
Pro-aging allows us to take stock of our lives in a positive way. It allows us to acknowledge our successes and our failures and learn from them. To truly embrace pro-aging, we need to accept ourselves and our voyage through life. If this sounds scary, I get it. Rewiring our brains, thoughts, reactions, and emotions is scary. We have gotten to a certain place of comfort even with the uncomfortable. It’s familiar. It’s dependable.
Confucius said: “Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
I think it comes down to knowing ourselves—really taking a good, hard look at ourselves and loving all of our parts.
I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes:
Aristotle: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
Chinese philosopher Lao Tze: “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
And here is one that pretty much encompasses all of them, by a more modern-day philosopher, rapper and music producer RZA: “If you don’t know yourself, you don’t know your nature. If you don’t know your nature, you don’t know where to exist. By knowing your nature, knowing yourself, you know what to be and how to live. And that only comes from knowledge of self… knowing yourself.”
And THAT’S PRO-aging.