We’re 100% responsible for our experience

Win or lose, we choose the value of our days, weeks and months. We ascribe value to these pieces of our lives, and too often we value them poorly.

We forget that today is a piece of our actual life and treat it like something cheap and disposable.

But it’s not.

It’s a discreet, unique, non-refundable and non-negotiable slice of existence which is ticking away and never coming back.

And if it seems hectic, boring, wet, sore, painful, expensive, rude or otherwise shit – that’s on us.

Because we’re 100% responsible for our experience.

Attitude is a hammer

hammer-and-chisel-by-david-j

It’s a force multiplier.

You can use it to make all of your other actions and tools more effective.

In any circumstance, the best thing you can do is have the right attitude and be willing to apply it to the situation at hand.

Hammer at the ready

Experience is a chisel.

Without the hammer, its utility is limited.

But when you put them together – they’re a powerful combination.

If you have to choose, always go for the hammer first.

The chains of expectation

Chains_by_Chapendra

Expectations are a limiting force.

I expect the sun to rise in the morning.

I expect to still have a job when I get to work.

I expect others to drive on the correct side of the road.

But we also harbour expectations about circumstances, events and people about which there is much less certainty.

I expect that I’ll feel like X tomorrow.

I expect that she’ll feel like Y if I say this.

I expect that this will turn our well/poorly/insert-judgement-of-choice-here.

But these expectations limit our curiosity, our ability to experience what’s here & now and our capacity to respond skilfully to our experience.

They limit our curiosity because expectation says “it will be like this”.

They limit our experience of the here & now because we’re constantly flicking back and forth between our expectations for comparison instead paying full attention to what is actually happening.

They limit our ability to respond skilfully, because the gap we perceive between our expectations and reality biases our future behaviour.

Expectations are simple, static, stakes in the ground which can never compare favourably with a fluid and complex reality.

If we want more harmony with reality, more understanding and acceptance of what’s actually going on and more skilful responses to it all, then we have to loosen our grip on our expectations.

We can stop filtering our experience and fuelling our resistance to the way things actually are. We can reignite our curiosity. We can stop expecting everything to be a certain way.

The magic of right now

Now_by_Zaprittsky

Our experience of life, only exists in a very narrow slice of time.

All that exists is now. Right now.

We have no access to the past, and the future is a cheque we can’t cash.

And given that we only live now, you’d think that we would pay greater attention to what’s going on here.

But we don’t.

We abstract ourselves from our experience of now. Without even noticing, we let life happen “to us”, while we’re caught up reliving the past or plotting for the future.

There is so much that we miss, because we’re living in the parts of our life which don’t exist. We miss the little signs – in our bodies, in our environment, in our interactions with other people. These signs all tell us about what is actually happening, but we don’t see them because we’re distracted by what has happened, or what might happen.

Put your phone down. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and listen to what’s actually happening. Experience a few moments of the present.

The past will wait for you, and the future will or won’t come anyway.

I promise.