The secret to getting through anything in life.

English: It's all mud and water This mudbank i...

Ebbs and flows.

Ebbs and flows.

What is happening to me in this very moment?

The problem is not that which is outside of me. That is not a problem at all.  The problem is my own relationship to the problem at hand. How am I choosing to relate to the problem at hand in this moment?

Don’t chase the happiness, don’t run from the unhappiness. These are ebbs and flows and are transitory. Strive instead for seeking the freedom to choose to perceive contentment with everything that comes through changing your relationship with these things in every given moment that passes.

This is the secret to managing things that come in life. There is no more.

Live this.

So what does this gobbledygook mean?

Ebbs and flows.

In life, we have ebbs and flows in everything. We have them happening simultaneously at different levels of ebbs and flows, depending on whatever the issue is. On some things we could be doing very well, while simultaneously, we may not be doing well with another thing. One day you feel close to our spouse, the other day you feel very distant, almost like housemates. The problem is not the actual distance we feel with our spouse, or how happy or sad we are at the situation, it is our overall choice of how we decide to personally relate to these people and situations at hand. It is not the distance between us and our spouse, it is how we feel about the distance between us is that is the true problem. That’s a problem that is actually within our control, and it is a problem that is fixable.

When we realize that it comes and goes, and that what makes it come and go is how we choose to see our relationship with it, then we have choice and the power to be able to see it as something that is variable.

The tide comes in and out despite how we feel about it.  We can choose to go with it or not.

What is happening to me in this very moment?

We can’t change the past, we don’t know the future.  However, we are aware of what is happening RIGHT NOW.  Not 5 seconds ago or 5 seconds in the future, but in the space it takes to take a breath and just be here right now.  THAT is what is actually happening, not our old thoughts, not our future fears, but what is going on RIGHT NOW.  Instead of worrying about an old argument or worrying about future bills, you can observe what you are choosing to think about in this moment.  And that is all you absolutely HAVE to choose to think about.  The other stuff can be given up to God or the Universe or Fate or what have you.

To swim in water affected by the tide, we choose our moments to go in and out of it, and where we go in it and how deep.

Don’t chase, but acknowledge contentment.

The act of striving to feel something else than what you are feeling right now is merely a distraction from what is happening right now in this moment.  Instead, be aware of whatever is content in this moment for you.  You can worry about physical pain you have when you wake up with sore muscles, or you can choose to think about how grateful you do feel for being able to get up in the morning at all.  Whatever makes you feel content, neither excited nor deprived, that is something to focus on to bring you inner peace and a place of equanimity from which to look at your life issues.  Equanimity is the ability to regard all things from a place of contented detachment and curiosity, openmindedness, and compassion towards all involved.

While swimming in the ocean, we can choose to fear it or to respect it and explore how we feel about it.

The secret to managing life is to manage it from a place of content equanimity.

When one is able to look at most things from a place where one is aware that they are choosing to actively engage curiosity, openmindedness, and compassion towards others, then they are not tossed about by the winds of fear, anxiety, and anger, but they are following their own path given to them.

Seek to swim at your own pace, in your own direction, and with peace.

Live this.

To get to this place in your life, you must live it.  Day in, moment in, Day out, moment out.  Only then, will the necessary transformation come that will bring you peace and contentment.

About Nate Prentice, MSW, LCSW, CAS-PC

Nate Prentice, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Pastoral Counselor who maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Drexel Hill, PA.
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