I’m not sure when I became one of those people who thinks about stuff like creating your own reality, choosing your perception, exploring your belief system and loving the moment. Sometimes I think I need to join an Over Thinkers Anonymous group! Every now and then it occurs to me that most people go about their daily lives without giving much thought to the nature of reality and the role our minds take in creating it.
For me, those deep paradoxical, spiritual, philosophical questions and pondering are a part of life. Although I will admit I do get caught up in everyday drama and forget all this stuff. I’m not always in a state of “remembering” the “ah ha” moments I’ve discovered along the way. I’m also aware I cycle in and out of revisiting the same topics. One advantage of blogging for the past two years is I can see that cycle more clearly now.
So, it shouldn’t have been surprising to discover I’ve already addressed the question of how to simultaneously love what is while making a choice for something different. What is unexpected is in the moment of revisiting an old topic, I’m not aware it’s something I’ve already explored. So, either I have an incredibly short memory or I never really understood what I was writing about the first time.
I’ll venture to guess it’s a little of both. Clearly, even when my writing sounds as if I’ve figured out something new, the issues I’m exploring can still completely baffle me. I’ll cut myself a break here since I’m often dealing with complicated and complex propositions. Each rotation through awareness unveils a deeper level to be explored.
In 2015 when I wrote an article for OmTimes, Accepting What Is and Making Choices, I was just beginning to explore loving what is. Re-reading what I wrote, it all sounds so esoteric and lofty. I can hardly remember writing it nor do I feel as if I’ve been able to completely live my advice regarding making choices: “The new choice doesn’t come from pushing against or trying to move away from something. It is a choice to move towards loving.”
Abraham-Hicks ironically brings wisdom to support this, which once again showed up in another of my daily quote emails:
“You’re always on your way somewhere. The key is: find a way to be happy wherever you now are on your way to where you really want to be. (We’re speaking of the state of being you want.) It does not matter where you are; where you are is shifting constantly — but you must turn your attention to where you want to go.”
Putting all this into a daily practice is something altogether different from writing or talking about it. If I’m happy with wherever I am now, why would I want to turn my attention to anything else? I’m still stuck on this … but I think I’m getting closer to comprehending how it all works.
What I realized is that we are constantly judging where we are and assigning a label to it. At first I thought getting rid of the judging was the key, but then I realized that on some level, judgement is necessary for survival. For example, we know better than to walk outside in sub zero degree weather without adequate protection. Part of the key here is to question our judgements and assumptions and recognize where they are coming from …
While judgement is necessary and an integral part of everyday life, it can also work against us. This perhaps is where I’m finally seeing some headway in my own life … (remember, I’m an expert on the inner critic! LoL.) A friend of mine once said to me “love your choices.” This sounded like sage advice, but I often find it isn’t always so easy to follow.
Recently, however, I had the gift of understanding what happens when I engage in doing something while thinking I should be doing something else. If I’m laying on the couch binge watching Netflix while thinking I should be cleaning the house, I’ve created an energetic wave similar to cognitive dissonance. And once I’ve done this I start a downward spiral.
Psychologist Leon Festinger defined cognitive dissonance as the tension or discomfort experienced “by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; when performing an action that contradicts one of those beliefs, ideas, or values; or when confronted with new information that contradicts one of the beliefs, ideas, and values.” Festinger suggests we are driven to keep our cognitions in a harmonious state and strive for internal consistency. The problem for me, however, is that I’m usually so busy trying to escape from the tension I’ve created, I end up doing more of the very thing that created it.
The downward spiral then is I’m even more likely to keep watching TV, feel miserable about myself, and then do whatever I can to escape feeling miserable. If, on the other hand, I am able to accept my decision to do whatever I’m doing in the moment, I eliminate the disharmony. This makes it easier at some point to turn off the TV and do my chores. Making choices I feel good about happens when I stop judging myself.
I’ve been experimenting with this theory lately and so far I have to say it’s actually working for me. This doesn’t mean I don’t still occasionally make choices I don’t feel good about, but rather I trust that loving whatever choice I make results in making it easier to choose something different. It sounds complicated but I’m finding the elimination of the dissonance is key.
One would think the dissonance could be eliminated by simply doing what we think we should in the first place, but the reality is life usually doesn’t work that way. I was addicted to nicotine and hated smoking, but that didn’t stop me from continuing or starting back up again. Yet when I simply accepted that I was choosing to smoke at the time and trust I would stop one day, it was easier to quit.
Perhaps this is what is meant by loving what is while making choices for something different; and then loving that too. It’s about not judging ourselves harshly or setting ourselves up to create this tension between what we are choosing to do and what we think we “should” do. It’s counter-intuitive in a way, but our feeling lousy about ourselves never works to enact change.
I remember once I was working through this dilemma of having read numerous self-help books on self-love that all encouraged me to fully love who I am now. I was questioning how I’d be able to change the things I didn’t like about myself if I didn’t have that sense of personal development and desire to change. It’s the same paradox: if I fully loved myself as I am now, what motivation would there be to work on self-improvement? I mentioned this to a young wise woman who responded “we choose change BECAUSE we love ourselves,” as if this was a no-brainer.
I think I’m getting it now. I choose to clean my house not because I HAVE to or because I SHOULD, but because I WANT to. I find I enjoy a house that is clean. I choose to make a healthier choice of what to eat not because I want to lose weight but because it feels good to eat healthy. And so forth …
The more I love my choices, the more I make choices to love. Loving what is doesn’t mean we stop making choices or roll over and accept whatever is happening without giving effort to creating something new. It means we let go of our attachment to outcomes and we accept that no matter what is happening, sooner or later … things will change. And they always do …
As always, thank you for being a part of my journey. I share freely so that I may assist those who can relate to what I’m saying. We are not alone — each connected to one another in our own unique and individual ways, a part of a greater cosmos beyond understanding. I am committed to this connection — to unity, to growth, and to love. This, I know.
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