Today’s Daily Sunshine message is all about those situations, conflicts, tasks and even thoughts that we would do anything to avoid. We all have them. Some are brushed under the metaphorical carpet; others are hidden in cupboards or locked out of site. But what they all have in common is the effort and required to keep resisting them and the low-level (or sometimes high level) stress they cause.
“If you run from that thing that makes you feel uncomfortable, it will still catch up with you. But if you take a deep breath, then turn and face it, you’ll find it is much smaller than you thought it was.”
To help illustrate this, I’d like to share a personal experience with you.
I remember, years ago, when my middle son was just nine months old, feeling utterly exhausted by the fact he had such a high need for being held. I couldn’t get anything done on my own. Even cooking or washing up, I had to learn to do with him on one hip. Everywhere I went, he crawled behind me, crying, until I picked him up. It might sound silly to those who haven’t been there, but I was near breaking point.
Then, one day, a very wise friend said something that nearly earned her a wet kipper in the face:
“He’s going to keep shouting more loudly until you stop running away from him.”
“But I’m there for him, 24 hours a day! I give constantly! I have nothing left to give!”
Then I realised the truth. I was resisting, fighting and wishing the situation could be different. I was giving the stresses of having a baby who needed lots of extra cuddles free rent in my head space, thinking about it most of the time and making the situation feel so much worse than it actually was. My Monkey Mind’s stories were making things feel terrible.
Then, one day, I stopped fighting it.
I went back to my old mantra, courtesy of the Dalai Lama – “This too will pass.”
I stopped running away from the situation and turned to face it, admittedly with a sense of not-very-gracious acceptance, but with acceptance, nonetheless.
And – you guessed it – things improved – fast.
Not only did the Monkey Mind’s stories lose their power, nearly instantly, but my inner drama disappeared and, miraculously (and predictably!), as my responses changed, so too did my baby’s behaviour.
That which I had been running from turned out to be nowhere near as bad as I had been imagining.
It was such a relief.
When we run from the molehill, it becomes the size of a mountain. When we turn to face it, we regain perspective that cuts it back down to size.
Things are rarely as bad as the stories our Monkey Mind tells us.
Is there a situation for you at the moment where you might be running away from a molehill-sized mountain? Just imagine how you could set yourself free from all that old stress and fear, if you were to take a deep breath and decide, just for this moment, that you are going to stop running and deal with it?
If you’d like to share your thoughts on this, there’s a special discussion thread over at the Soul-Sized Living forum. We’d love to see you there.