(This is a step-by-step, progressive course; if you arrived at this page first, please back up and start at the beginning, HERE.)
As you let go of trying for a big, instant solve of your large problems and immerse yourself in the process of dealing with them… exactly how large have your problems become? Are they large enough that you might need to ‘shift your life’ over to them?
Maybe up until now you’ve been trying to keep your life on your usual path, the direction and lifestyle you’ve been wanting, or at least have been comfortable with… but has this problem been ‘taking over’? You keep trying to do the things you always do, but perhaps certain things have gotten out of control, gone past a line, and this difficulty has taken over, become a large intrusion, has become an unavoidable hindrance to maintaining the life you want.
Maybe it’s now become insistent enough that you must finally accept that it’s not changing, not going away, that things can’t keep continuing along as they are, that you can’t seem to make it go away. What do you do?
Instead of trying to make it go away, has it become necessary to shift your life over to give more attention to this problem? To accepting that it’s here, it’s real, it’s not going away, and to dealing with maybe altering things so your life must now include this problem? It’s like losing your legs from some accident or illness; you can keep trying to figure out a way to walk, go jogging like you used to, run your marathons, basically be in denial about the loss of your legs and try to find a way of doing the things you used to do… or you can let all that go, shift your life and acceptance over to knowing and accepting the loss, and begin to discover, even embrace, the things that a legless person can do. There is a great difference between ‘giving up’, and ‘adapting’.
It’s not enough to just give up, sulk about what you’ve lost, or keep trying delusionally to do what you used to do. Sometimes you must shift your life over, shift your mind over, to accepting that this is the new you, and the old you may be gone forever.
Many people have big hopes and dreams for your future lives, and many of you – or most of you – will have to make alterations to those dreams. Some alterations will be small, some large. And these don’t need to be ‘tragic’ alterations. Perhaps you’ve had a dream, something you wanted to do… and then you became pregnant and had children. Maybe you can’t afford daycare or babysitters, can’t follow your dreams while raising the kids too. Some people come to love and embrace having children and let go your other dreams easily, while others of you may resent, even hate, your children’s intrusion, interruption of your dreams and plans.
Some of you will keep on fighting for those dreams, put most of your energies there and your children unfortunately become these ‘annoyances’ that have to be put up with and dealt with along the way. Some of you simply want to continue life as it has been, maybe your ‘party life’ or your ‘career goals’, and keep doing that instead of shifting to a lifestyle that nurtures a family. At its worst, some people even take out all their frustrations and resentments of their unfulfilled lives on their children, through neglect or abuse. Some of you might cope better, give up your dreams for a few years, put aside plans for college, put aside writing the great novel, give up the travels and adventure and excitement, give up the career you’d planned… to face a new reality, deal with the basics of raising children, slogging away at any job you can get to pay the bills, feed the family.
Some of you adapt and change things gracefully, even gratefully, loving the new family, or circumstances, or lifestyle, and form a whole new set of healthy circumstances. Others grudgingly – or kicking and screaming – shift over to a new lifestyle you continue to not want, and this is the situation that germinates toxic families. When one or more of the parents really wants different things in life, but feels trapped in a lifestyle they don’t want, robbed of their dreams, forced by responsibility to repeat, day after day, year after year of the best young years of your lives, the necessity of working at jobs you don’t enjoy, to keep prolonging a life situation you don’t enjoy… this becomes absolutely toxic inside you, and spreads outward to all those around you.
This trap, this way of ‘seeing things’, can create an incredible buildup of resentment, bitterness, regret, even hatred and rage. It can lead to violent relationships, especially when a person thinks it is the spouse, or the children, or the lack of money, who are ‘to blame’ or ‘in the way’ or ‘keeping me from the life I want’. It can lead to one or both spouses having affairs, to alcohol and other addiction escapes, to running and abandoning the family, to control and violence and abuse to try ‘make’ the spouse and family into something else, something ‘better’. At its worst it can lead to suicide or murder. But if it’s more subtle, it can simply lead to a passive unhappiness of life, a quiet desperation, a shadowy detachment from feelings and love and affection, and even this can have serious, ongoing impact within you and spread to those close around you… and may in turn impact their entire lives, and be implanted by them into their children, to keep being ‘inherited’, passed forth to generation after unhappy generation.
Whatever your problem, whether it’s money or lost dreams or illness or injury or bullying or depression or crime or rage or whatever else… when you come to realize that this problem isn’t disappearing, isn’t going away, and you can’t seem to escape it, then for your health and for the health of all those around you, it is time for you to DEAL DIRECTLY WITH IT.
And that means not running from it, not trying to make it go away. It means shifting your life over to dealing with it. It means including it in your day, your thoughts, your conversations with others, your actions. It means accepting it’s there, making it a part of your daily existence, focusing your attention on learning more about it rather than avoiding and ignoring it.
Are you having money problems, and taking out your stress, fear, anger, on yourself and those around you? Accept that you’re having those money problems, and shift your life over to how you are being affected by it: look into your fear, your anger, your stress, and how you can help alleviate those reactions to your money problems in a healthier way. Having bullying problems, and living in hidden terror, quiet unhappiness, silent screaming, cutting yourself in hidden places, thinking of ending it all in order to escape? Shift your entire life over to dealing with the bullying, stop hiding your feelings about it and hoping it will go away, stop trying to think of a way out, and start making ‘dealing with bullying’ your new ‘job’.
Whatever your problem is, when it reaches the point of seriously impacting your life and mind (or preferably well before that point), it is time for you to consider shifting your life and mind over to that thing. Not treating it as an annoyance, something to keep escaping or pushing away from you, rather treating it as a definite part of you. I know this sounds like a paradox… thinking of taking something you hate, something you want to escape, and actually shifting your life so that it revolves around that thing… but this is one of the most important lessons and you must make it real, if you want a healthy, happy mind:
Continually trying to escape or avoid things that are inescapable and unavoidable, keeping them at ‘arm’s length’, keeping silent about them, keeping them out of your active life, means they will continue to keep gnawing away at you, being toxic to you and those around you, for as many years as it takes you to fully accept them into your life and try to find a more productive, healthy way of coping with them.
When you accept this, when you shift your life over to including and dealing with each part of your problems… you become more pliant with the universe and its happenings that are moving through you and around you. You become more accepting of this basic truth: that there isn’t just a narrow path leading to the things you thought you wanted in life, there is in fact an infinite variety of shapes your life can and will pour into, shapes and happenings that are both good and bad, foreseen and unforeseen, hoped for and not hoped for. I can promise you, without a doubt, you do not know the shape your life will take ten years from now, or twenty or thirty.
When you shift over to ‘accepting the bad’ in your life and dealing with it directly, you become open to a vast range of possible futures that had never even entered your mind while you were trying to keep the ‘life you want’ on track. If you stop fixating on the losses of things you wanted, and stop fixating on the frustration and despair of what seems presently unreachable, and stop fixating on expressing your unhappiness through doing things that harm yourself and others, and you shift your mind, your whole being, into the new and unknown possibilities of where life seems to be forcing you to go – good or bad – imagine how much time and energy you are freeing up.
As long as you feel you are in the ‘wrong life’, putting up with things you do not want to exist in your life, missing out on your dreams, you are suffering. You’re escaping, you’re using up your life energy, all day long, in feeling unhappy and letting it slowly corrode your mind and health in every way.
Each person who has been imprisoned, persecuted, tortured, broke, homeless, lost belongings or home, lost loved ones, lost dreams, lost health, lost body parts, been bullied, starved, been through any huge life trial, will tell you this: if it is serious enough, then there comes a time when, in order to survive and not let themselves become completely lost to the ‘dark side’, they had to shift over to to that problem. They had to stop trying to make it go away, stop trying to escape it… they shifted over to it, wrapped their life around it, gave it their new focus of attention, began to really look at it and deal with it in a whole new way. The way of not keeping it on the sidelines, not fighting that it’s happening, but rather opening to its being there, and learning to fight it from the inside. People with good life skills can do this long before things go down the toilet and become awful, but others only learn this lesson when things become so bad that they’re forced to learn it.
It’s natural to try solve or escape problems, and many of them are solvable and escapable; but some problems won’t go away, and those are the ones I’m talking about, and maybe one of those is why you’re here asking Help Me Please. Those ones, accept into your life; shift your life over to dealing with them directly, rather than keeping them at arm’s length. Yes, your life will take on a new shape. It may get worse. Then again, it may surprise you, living with it may be much better than you had previously imagined.
But even if you’re not after that huge change, if you’re not believing or caring that all this ‘shifting over’ will give you a different or better life, if you’re just wanting to cope better with your problem, you still cannot go against the law of cause and effect: if you are trying to escape something that is inescapable, you are failing at each moment, and each moment of failure is taking its toll on your life and your mind.
And if you stop trying to escape the inescapable, shift your mind over to enveloping it and to finding ways of dealing with every aspect of it… the ‘problem’ dissolves. It dissolves because it is no longer this concept you have of a separate problem, it is now simply another part of your life, another part of ‘you’, it is seamless with the rest of your life.
There is no major problem that cannot be made better, to some small or large degree, when you stop pushing it away and shift your life over to giving it a more open and direct attention.
If you are now facing your problems directly and learning everything you can about dealing with them and solving them, what NEXT?