“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved…for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”- Victor Hugo
I love accomplishing things, but I wish I could live with more restful acceptance.
Restful acceptance is that place where the majority of your to-do list remains to be done, and all you really have to show for the day are 3 awesome new Hello Kitty pens and a complete lack of progress on your 5 year plan and that’s OK anyway?
I have the pens now, but I'm not currently OK with the fact that shopping was all I did that day.
At any given time, I have literally hundreds of things I could be doing. I know, because I use GTD like any lifehacker worth her weight in self-help books, so everything I could possibly be doing at any given moment, at all times of the day, is very well documented. That don’t mean I gotta always be doing something tho!
Some people call restful acceptance “zen”. Others call it “mind like water”. I like to think of it as “my 5 year plan will still be there tomorrow, and the world will most likely not have ended by then so I can totally pick up where I left off in the morning”.
Or better yet, “I will most likely be happy in 5 years whether I have a 5 year plan to get me there or not, because happiness is a state of mind, not privilege given through external validation”.
Don’t get me wrong. Work ethic is a habit and mindset that needs to be deliberately cultivated within us leader-type people. For you and me, we need, more so than others, to be ballers of accomplishment. (I just coined that phrase by the way. If you don’t know what a baller is, I can’t help you there. Listen to more rap.) We need to look at a task at hand and use our magic to make it happen. But we’re just as human as the people we seek to influence. And sometimes, when you’re having a little trouble finding it in you to get to work, or you just plain don’t feel like it, it’s OK to log onto YouTube and watch kittens and puppies eat watermelon slices for an hours if that’s what you need in order to rejuvenate your passion for self-actualisation.
Say it with me now: “My to-do list will still be there tomorrow. The world will not end if I’m not constantly working. I can still dominate the world even if I have the occasional day off.” Hell, you can still dominate the world if you take weeks at a time off. So long as you recognise that whatever you don’t do today will still need to be done tomorrow.
It’s about allowing yourself to be entirely present with your emotions and be truly self-aware enough to be able to love yourself in the morning, no matter how the night turns out. My best friend, he’s an actor and a photographer, and he has this incredible perspective on life: “If you need to walk through a room, you walk through that room!” In other words, if you need to do something, be it climb a mountain, or just let yourself feel the sadness or fatigue your body is trying to feel, don’t fight it. “Be present with your emotions,” he’d say to me during our midnight couch confessionals. Be present.
I feel almost like a baby learning to walk at this point in my life. Babies see other people walk everywhere all the time. But actually putting one foot in front of the other is a whole new balancing act that requires a bit of crawling around and falling until your fully get the hang of it.
It’s the same thing when I work with my mentor and she’s got a frown of focus on her face while I’m fighting the temptation to go on Facebook. I see her in her concentration. I read her blog religiously and I ask her for advice, and I watch her closely to see how she handles things and what I can learn from her. Sometimes, I feel frustrated that I can’t work as quickly as she does, even when I’m focusing at my best and I get angry with myself for not trying harder.
But in the space between learning and doing, there is a time lag that requires the utmost patience if you are to work through it without going crazy or developing poor self-esteem. Your body takes time to process the food you eat and extract nutrients from it. When the input to output process happens too fast, well, it’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s considered a state of illness when it happens too fast. Your heart, it too has a pace. Restful acceptance is keeping your expectations high, but your goals realistic. You will get there. You will. But it will happen one day at a time, in 24 hour increments through which there will always be another opportunity the very next day to do better. You will get there.
Yeah, to be the one at the top, you’re gonna have to climb higher than everyone else, and that includes working longer hours than everyone else and sacrificing a little more than everyone else. You have to be willing to do what other people aren’t doing to get what other people aren’t getting. But even more than just comparing yourself to others, you have to be willing to go where you’ve never gone and do what you’ve never done, to get what you’ve never had and be who you’ve never been. (The Universe told me that a few days ago.) That includes working really, really hard, even when you don’t want to. But working to the point of exhaustion, or continuing to run when your knees are telling you to stop, that’s what needs to be avoided. The work will be difficult, but be gentle with yourself. Work hard, but be gentle with yourself. You’re still learning, you always will be.
So take a break. But don’t just take a break. Enjoy your break. Eat that KitKat and fully centre yourself in the moment and let yourself be. Walk through whatever room you need to walk through, be it spending an evening in bed or going for a swim. Try this breathing exercise that I invented a little while ago for a friend who needed it:
1) Close your eyes.
2) Breathe in.
3) While doing so, visualise yourself breathing in not air, but the pure unconditional love that the universe spins around in a bottomless supply, just for you.
4) Breathe out.
5) While doing do, visualise yourself breathing out all of your fears and insecurities and releasing them to the universe to carry away and help bring you to a state of acceptance and gratitude about your life, knowing that the love you’re about to breathe in is all you need.
The world will still be here tomorrow. You’re allowed to get a full night’s sleep on occasion.
Your heard it from me,