2020 so far has been filled with some of the greatest challenges and breakthroughs I’ve experienced, both personally and professionally.
Here are some of the key ideas I keep coming back to on a daily basis to help me keep my shit together.
Hope they might be useful to you as well.
#1: Love Your Fate
“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it… but love it.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Your fate simply means your life and all the things that happen in it.
To love it simply means to allow what is, to be.
It means allowing all things to come… because here they come.
And it means allowing all things to go… because there they go, with or without your consent.
Anything else is just a story.
#2: Question Your Thinking
“She shouldn’t have done that.”
“He shouldn’t have left me.”
“It’s not fair.”
Is that true?
Reality says otherwise.
The moment you believe anything that’s happened isn’t what should have happened, you’ve lost yourself.
When we are telling ourselves a story about how things SHOULD be rather than the way things ARE… and reality doesn’t match the story?
That’s when we suffer.
Our stress, pain, and suffering are all created in our minds.
It’s not reality that hurts, it’s your unquestioned thinking.
When a stressful thought appears, understand that you don’t have to actually believe it.
A simple question like “is it true?” can allow you to look deeper, past your story, and help you see that reality is always much kinder than your thoughts.
Thoughts and feelings simply appear. They do not belong to you. You didn't create them. And they are not true.
Questioning our thinking is how we can dispel the illusions of our minds and learn to love our fate.
#3: Follow The Simple Directives
I believe that each of us, in every moment, always know what to do.
Even if you’re lost, confused and everything feels hopeless, that’s OK too.
Feeling this way is what you’re supposed to do in this moment. Anything that says you’re not is just another story.
Beyond the story, beyond all thoughts, pictures, words, and sounds, there’s a direct knowing.
A thought appears. “Hang the laundry.”
I hang the laundry.
How do I know it’s time to hang the laundry?
There I am, hanging the laundry.
When the thought “hang the laundry” appears, and I don’t, I create stress.
When I follow the simple directives, life becomes effortless.
For hard-charging, type-A go-getters with their 5-year plans for world domination, this way of living sounds completely bonkers.
For me, it’s the only way I’ve found to not drive myself absolutely mad.
By just staying present, and allowing the moment to tell me what to do, life has become a lot easier and more fun.
I also find that I get a lot more done, with much less effort.
If something needs to get done, there will come a time when I feel like doing it.
If that time doesn’t come, it doesn’t get done, and didn’t need doing.
After losing my main source of income earlier this year and having to rebuild my whole business from scratch, I now find myself in a better position than I have been in years.
That’s years of trying to plan things and make things happen according to plan. What a joke lol.
Now I feel much happier and more relaxed, doing work I’m proud of (and that I’m very good at) for clients who value us.
(Special shout out to Francesco Frenna, AKA Chico MacGyver, the greatest of all the business partners, without whom I would be completely hopeless.)
#4: From Fear To Gratitude
“Suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy.” - Rumi
Saw this quote in my feed the other day. It means that whatever causes us pain is really our road to freedom.
When you feel stress or suffering, our first instinct is to look at what outside of ourselves is causing it.
“I feel like this because this happened… she/she said this or that… etc”
In other words, we look for a story to explain our pain.
What Rumi is telling us is to instead look inside.
Your pain is directly pointing you toward yourself. It’s illuminating a part of yourself that needs to be healed. It shines a light on our unquestioned thoughts and stories.
And by then questioning those thoughts, we get to experience reality in all its magnificent glory.
This is when you start living your life from a place of gratitude rather than fear.
And if you’ve ever let go of a painful story, and then experienced the world go from dull, greyscale, 2D reality to vivid, colorful 3D… you know there’s no better feeling.
That’s the hidden mercy.
Our suffering calls on us to wake up to ourselves. To get to know ourselves.
And once we can see past the stories of our mind, we realize all things happen FOR us, not to us.
And once we can do that, we get a little bit closer to what we really are.
“He who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger.
He will not be wounded in battle.
For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn,
Tigers can find no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.
Why is this so? Because he has no
place for death to enter.“
~ Lao Tzu