In the firing line of life

I have a tendency to go with the flow, explore and see what life brings to me.  I used to be an over achiever. Now I might even be described as an under achiever and perhaps a bit more of an over be-er. What I mean by this is that despite all the well laid plans, strategies and structured decisions, life throws curve balls. Actually life doesn’t just throw curve balls, life shoots tennis balls out of an automatic machine until you surrender.

You know that experience, just when you had everything figured out then something happened. Well this is what I am talking about.  It is that feeling that you think (key operative word here) you know (another key operative word here), then you realize that you don’t really know.  In this context I am talking about over thinking, over analyzing, over doing a point to exhaustion - your own exhaustion.

Photo © Jenn Shallvey

Reflecting takes you in
I like to reflect.  When I talk about reflecting it is not really thinking.  What I mean by reflecting is that we let a question or a statement sit with us. We let the words work us.  We let the words be the key that unlocks the door from that thinking part of us into the feeling part of us.  Because we are trained from an early age to get better and better at thinking we can forget what it is to feel.  Feeling is where our true self connects with the deeper part of our being.  It is in feeling that we become authentic. It is in letting what resonates with us bubble up rather than squash it down in layers of conformity and societal should’s.

So I want to help you. I want to help you connect more into the part of you that knows more than what you brain tells you. I want to help you get to that place of knowing that is deep, guttural, unexplainable.  Do you know what that place feels like? Do you get it? It is not that hard actually. To get to this place simply takes paying attention, giving time to pay attention and then allowing what comes up to be honored, respected and integrated into our way of being.

Just stop and sit in it
So let’s go back to the firing tennis balls.  Stopped in your track you lie amongst the scattered collection of tennis balls of life.  Your brain will tell you - pick them up, start again, stand and take your punishment.  And yes you can do that. And yes you will get another beating until you are too tired to pick them up again.

Or you can stop. You can actually sit and reflect on what the tennis balls did. You can reflect on the way you handled the experience. You can reflect on what happened outside and inside your self.  You have at your disposal the greatest resource  of all - YOU.  Sitting in the tennis ball mess is a chance for you to see what you focus on.  You can also choose to change your perspective.  Without giving yourself the space to do so you will not allow such shifts to occur.

For example do you focus on all the missed shots and think “I can’t play tennis, what a waste of time”.  Or do you start to see the learning curve unfolding.  That by the time the 20th ball came at you it wasn’t that bad, a few went back over the net.

Well to me life is like that. Unless we stop and reflect on what life throws us we will stay stuck in patterns that keep us down.  Unless we stop and reflect on what life throws us we will miss out on  the adjustments, the repointing of direction, the opportunity to focus where we really want and can go.

Static or flowing?
Leaving tennis balls behind I am taken back to planning, strategy and goals.  For many many years while I worked within organizations I created formal documents with titles including these words. I then even went on to facilitate, teach and coach people how to follow these tasks.  What I realize now is that fixed points in time are illusions. They are great to send us in a direction but may not be the direction.

What I saw instead is the way people became almost enslaved to their plans and commitments. It was like the ego stepped in and said “I told people out loud I would do this”.  Then a crisis hit, the world threw some curve balls, and a bucket of tennis balls at you.  What happens to the plan, strategy or goal then?

Ok, so this sounds a bit harsh. In reality I think we all need to have direction.  Yet it is the quality and flexibility of this direction that determines our success.  Oh and that word success for me is however YOU define it.  For some it might be having a happy balanced life, others travelling the world first class and others both.  Whatever your definition, getting to success will be a lot easier if you stop along the way and reflect.  Consider the reflections a variation on the “Stop, Revive, Survive” theme seen so often seen on the Australian roadsides.

So when life bombards you with one thing after another, stop, reflect and let your authentic self speak more to you.  It is in this moment that you will discover the easier way to be, the more natural approach to coping and then ultimately the way forward in learning and attaining success in your life.