I cannot tell you how many clients I have worked with that come to me describing a life in shambles - nothing is working, everything and everyone sucks. In one case in particular, despite all my years of training, I distinctly remember thinking, ’Wow, I don’t think I can help this person’. Some of you may have people in your life like this that make you feel literally helpless (in truth you are feeling their helplessness) to some you may be this person - not to worry.
The key is to recognize when you or someone else is in the toilet and to resist the temptation to jump into the toilet with them or demand they jump in with you. No one is helped by having two people mired in shit.
So here is a life hack. When you are feeling down, anxious or depressed DO NOT TAKE STOCK OF YOUR LIFE. You are in the toilet and any solution you conjure or relationship you ponder will invariably be dragged into the toilet with you.
It should not be a stretch to understand that when we are in the toilet everything we think about or imagine stinks. There are no fresh rosy answers in there. Trust me, I know this from experience. I have spent a lot of time trying to use my brain to think my way out of the toilet and no can do.
Being caught in the toilet swirl is like being in a rip tide. You can’t swim against it even though that is the impulse the brain keeps cuing up i.e. try harder, do better, be better, change this, if… when.. just…
Fighting the swirl is useless, exhausting and drags us deeper into the vortex. So as not to flush ourselves completely, the best thing to do, as counter intuitive (read that counter brain) as it is, is to back- float.
Now, while you are floating and looking straight up at the sky begin to mentally cleave the way you are feeling from your external circumstances. Imagine that what is going on around you is not related to the way you are feeling. They have no relationship whatsoever. (Brain rejects this, who cares, keep going.) One does not cause the other. Two independent experiences. Blasphemous, I know, but brain breaking…
The brain is dominated by cause and effect thinking. You feel a certain way, you ask your brain what caused this feeling. The brain looks around outside for answers and comes up with a likely suspect - it does not know but when asked it obliges. When we act to correct the problem the brain has identified and we get no relief, we ask again. And again the brain dutifully finds another suspect.
This strategy of repeatedly asking our brain the same question over and over again is insane and our repeated failed attempts to remedy what ails us based on the brains recommendations makes us appear to ourselves ‘sicker’ or worse off than we are. And the toilet keeps flushing…
The analogy I use often is that we are looking in the bedroom for the earring we lost in the kitchen. This will never work, the answers simply can’t be found there. But in the absence of knowing another way, we keep going to the same empty well. This idea that I am proposing you try is revolutionary and completely counter to anything the brain has done previously - and I love this space. It is magical, masterful and beyond our wildest imagination - this one little concept…You can feel shitty and your life circumstances can be shit and the two have nothing to do with each other. No matter how uncomfortable it feels, do not fall into the brain trap of believing that one causes the other. And let the games begin…
The brain only resists this train of thought because you do but when you take the bold step to bypass the brain loop of cause and effect, you are actually liberated, FREE, probably for the very first time.
With the interruption of normal brain programming things will feel new. Most of us do not know what ‘new’ feels like. It is so subtle and so breathtaking. Feel into the freedom that comes from not having to change your job, your relationship, your zip code. It may feel like a soft, warm fluffy blanket on a brisk fall day.
As you know lean into the possibility that none of these things is your problem, none of these things is a problem, never were, you may sense you breather deeper. When you no longer send your brain to look for what or who is wrong in your life, you no longer feel the need to judge, compare, covet or feel less than. When you no longer become overwhelmed thinking about what needs to change so you can feel better, don't feel limited by or victim to your circumstances.
In the absence of all this old programming, you are now back online. You have joined the land of the living. Honestly, nothing more needs to be said. This is when you understand the meaning of ‘you don’t need answers, you are the answer.’
Don’t overthink this. Don’t try to liken it to something else. Just feel how new this space is and enjoy it….