It feels good to finally be writing blog posts again. I even had a few people ask me if I’d given up on my blog, I didn’t want to give it up, I just wasn’t feeling “it” because I felt like I’d failed my mission. My mission to set out into the world and start a new life never having to return to office life again.  Well here I am, back in Montreal and looking for office jobs again.

I guess I felt embarrassed that I hadn’t accomplished my goal of finding a means to continue my passion for travel.

Unfortunately getting a job as an English teacher in Thailand just wasn’t in the cards for me and at one point the money simply ran out. I felt defeated going back home to Montreal with only a couple grand left in the bank, no belongings and no prospects and a nagging knee injury that I picked up in Thailand.

I spent the first two months back in Montreal lying around on my cousin’s futon in a semi depressive state, wondering what I would do with life while applying for jobs whose bleak descriptions of tedious administrative work only served to further plummet my spirits into darkness.

I picked up a couple of books at Indigo Chapters (my happy place) just in time.  The first one was “The Untethered Soul” by  Michael A. Singer, the other one was “The Secret of Letting Go” by Guy Finley. Both excellent books on the practice of acknowledging that any emotion about ANYTHING is simply energy that can easily be let go of if we just learn how. Simple concept but not that easy.

The books taught me that my feelings of failure are not ME they are just feelings. All my feelings and thoughts on how things “should” be in my life are just my ego talking shit in my head and actually have no value on my worth as a person or reality.

The book taught me to disassociate with these feelings. And not in a fighting it sort of way, where I try to force myself to be positive, but rather in a passive and curious sort of way. All I had to do was notice.  Rather than indulge in the constant insane ramblings in my head as some sort of truth which would quickly turn into to some sort of emotion that determined my entire outlook for hours, days or weeks, instead the book told me to just notice the thoughts without actively trying to banish them. The simple act of noticing would separate me from the thoughts, allowing the thought to just run it’s course and move through and out of me. The more I practiced doing this the quicker the thoughts would just go away taking with it the chance to be in a bad mood.
I learned that one’s TRUE self, not to be confused with the ego and it’s endless complaints about what it wants and doesn’t want and how things “should” be, is contentment, light, happiness.  One’s true self is happy only to BE.  The fragile ego’s disposition however, is based entirely on situations and scenarios.

I loved the books because even though they were telling me I had to consciously “choose” happiness simply by staying present, it didn’t mean that I would never experience sadness, anger, or disappointment at times, rather, acknowledging the feelings I was experiencing would bring me into the present moment.

While the practice is simple it’s not always easy due to a lifetime of programming. A lifetime of labelling and compartmentalizing everything and everyone as either good or bad and acting accordingly. I am far from Dalai Lama status where no matter how awful the situation I’d be able to remain content, the core of me unchanged, I definitely still can become upset, but just A LOT less and I haven’t had a depressive state in a long time.  Possibly having to take a desk job again is not the end of the world and doesn’t determine my happiness.  Thanks to the books, I now see every bit of life as more of an adventure with obstacles and challenges to overcome with zero need or reason to get angry or sad over things. The more I practice the easier it gets.

Basically the practice is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger you become at being able to be present in a situation before you get consumed by the negative emotion or feeling and go spiralling into a bad mood or depression.  Meditating  and being grateful on a regular are great compliments to the practice.

Remember that it’s not only with the bad things that one should take the time to take stock of their feelings and bring themselves into the present moment, it should be done as much as possible even when you are feeling happy  if the happiness is brought on by something or someone. While you may want to allow yourself to dwell and revel in the feeling when it’s happiness because it just feels so damned good that’s fine but it’s still good to remember that it’s only a feeling based on thoughts, and that any happiness that is contingent upon circumstances is not TRUE happiness.  True happiness needs no reason.

All this to say I’m back to feeling content most of the time once again, but this time the contentment is not tied to my freewheeling life of being a beach bum in Thailand, or my ability to travel, or a job. I’m happy to just be on this path that I am on no matter where it leads.

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5 thoughts on “Letting Go of How I Think Things Should Be”

  1. Hi Nicki,
    Nice post. I knew about what you’re describing here from a few books I read myself, A Path With Heart notably and various guided meditations from Shinzen Young; they referred to it as “mindfulness”. Like you say, it is very much like a muscle. Even though I practiced it somewhat for some time, I kind of forgot about it and the peace of mind it can bring. Reading it here brought back the easiness with which it can be part of the day. Thanks for the reminder!

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