No matter how enlightened or Zen I think I am, life has a habit of throwing curve balls that make me forget all the wisdom and teachings.
We have recently had some major building work carried out on our home. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances we have had to live onsite throughout most of the work. Living in our bedroom with all the plants, a make shift kitchen and much of the contents of the rest of the house was more than challenging for me.
I lost the plot totally and had several meltdowns. My wonderful husband, who was living through it all too, helped me to realise why I was a mess. Put simply, I was not in control. I had expectations and imagined outcomes that were unrealistic. Letting go of this was a challenge.
We have now reclaimed some of our space, although the work is far from finished and unpacking boxes I found a book by Susan Jeffers called ‘Embracing Uncertainty’. You may have heard me talk about Susan before, she is a guru of mine and wrote the very first Personal Development book I ever read, ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’.
The gist of ‘Embracing Uncertainty’ is that nothing in life is certain and most things that happen in life are out of our control, so there is no point in having expectations or imagined outcomes because that is unrealistic.
Instead embrace the unknown and welcome everything in to your life, whether it is perceived to be good or bad at the time.
I know this is a difficult thing to get your head around, but believe me it takes away the anxiety and worry and makes for a much more enjoyable, enriched life.
This little story, which I love illustrates perfectly the art of excepting and letting go of outcomes and expectations.
There lived a farmer in olden days who had a horse. One day his horse ran away. His neighbours’ said, “How terrible that your horse has run away.” The farmer replied, “Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.”
A few days later the farmer’s horse returned with another horse in tow. His neighbours’ said, “How wonderful, you now have two horses.” The farmer replied, “Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.”
A following week the farmer’s son broke his leg when he fell off the new horse. His neighbours said, “How awful that your son has broken his leg.” The farmer replied, “Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.”
A couple of days later the army came to the village to recruit all the young men in the village and because his son had a broken leg he was unable to be recruited. His neighbours said, “How lucky that your son has a broken leg and couldn’t be recruited.” The farmer replied, “Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.”
You get the picture. What could seem like the worst thing ever at the time, may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.