How To Stay Positive When Life Isn’t Going According To Plan
Puppets in a Well-Orchestrated Drama
“Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes heading in a new direction can be scary until you realize you’re headed toward a new and exciting destination.” — Susan Gale
Reflect on a recent situation that did not turn out as planned. Imagine the details as best you can.
You might have expected a particular outcome or your well-laid plans did not come to pass as expected.
Though frustrating, life doesn’t always go according to plan and you can take comfort in not getting what you want at times.
Let me ask you:
Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?
Is it for your greatest good or merely a matter of life conspiring against you?
Your answers will indicate your perception of life and how you respond in those situations.
“Wanting life to be other than it is seems to be the most basic form of resistance,” states the American Zen teacher Ezra Bayda in: The Authentic Life: Zen Wisdom for Living Free from Complacency and Fear.
All human suffering is rooted in the need for control.
In his book The Five Things We Cannot Change, author and psychotherapist David Richo affirms: “We do not let go of control; we let go of the belief we have control.”
Determinists and fatalists maintain that a greater force works in the backdrop of our lives, beyond our limited perspective. We are mere puppets in a well-orchestrated drama acting upon us. Whilst we have free will, we have little control once the die is cast.
To take another view, author Dan Millman states in his book Way of The Peaceful Warrior, “…once aim is taken, and the arrow is loosed from the bow, we can only wait in anticipation to see where it may land.”
Control vs Faith
“The rain WILL stop, the night WILL end, and the hurt WILL fade. Hope is never so lost that it can’t be found.” — Mandy Hale
To believe you are in control in an ever-changing universe is illogical and like chasing a stubborn cat. The harder you try, the less likely it is you’ll catch it.
However, by yielding to external forces, you allow life to flow through you. Every experience, thought and emotion becomes an extension of universal intelligence.
Spiritual masters emphasise the difficulty faced by people connecting with their hearts. They believe we are too invested in our thoughts to identify with our core self.
You needn’t be spiritual to co-operate with universal forces, for everything in this world is spiritual. However, aligning with your heart invites you to become acquainted with the silent inner voice, instead of the egoic mind.
“Insights tend to arise as needed, and the next obvious step makes itself known. If not, we simply wait for further guidance. It is the ending of drama and the beginning of a deeper life,” affirms author John Prendergast PhD in In Touch: How to Tune in to the Inner Guidance of Your Body and Trust Yourself.
In the West, surrender is met with apathy and vulnerability. It is interpreted to mean inaction when it really means co-operation. It requires letting go how life should unfold and allowing infinite possibilities to emerge.
How could you know the limitless ways the universe can provide for your needs?
To co-operate with life requires faith and trust. Faith that your needs will be met. Trust that they will arrive at the right time.
Once more, how is it possible for a benevolent universe not to look after you? After all, if you’re reading this, you have made it this far given your past choices. You handled every problem, disappointment and dare I say tragedy, and will continue to do so.
Faith is akin to knowing your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to your organs each day. You needn’t worry it will fail its job or oversupply the arteries. It delivers more blood to your working muscles when you exercise and less when you’re asleep. How does it sense the variation in activity? What is it connected to or receiving instructions from to manage these resources?
I enjoy the passage from author Robert Maurer in One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way: “When life gets scary and difficult, we tend to look for solutions in places where it is easy or at least familiar to do so, and not in the dark, uncomfortable places where real solutions might lie.”
Change and Impermanence
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” — Jim Rohn
Life is replete with change given the law of impermanence. Nothing remains the same, even the cells in your body have a finite lifespan. With this in mind, rest assured that transformation is part of the human condition. Rather than oppose it, work with it. The more you resist what is taking place, the less control you have.
The essence of this principle is portrayed in the passage: “Life is like sand held in your hands. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers…”
Instead of holding on, yield to the forces of life. Go with the flow. This does not imply resignation nor indifference, but detachment.
Practice patience when things don’t go as planned. Do not mistake this for inactivity, but bide your time to allow the pieces of the puzzle to come together.
Universal order sweeps through your life, so trust in this force. A greater plan is unfolding in the backdrop of your life which requires your trust and patience.
Contrast is apparent in all of life and is the framework of the entire universe. Focus on what is going right, however small by allowing it to be the focus of your attention until something better emerges.
I enjoy the quote by author Matt Kahn in his book Whatever Arises, Love That: A Love Revolution That Begins with You: “While so many people know that life has a bigger role for each of us, the only way to demonstrate, anchor, embody, and trust in life’s supreme plan is to be totally honest.”
If you are struggling with an unpleasant situation, release the need for a particular outcome. Yield to the forces of life and allow it to take you where it needs to. Create a new path. Try something new, while moving forward towards your goals and plans.
I wish to leave you with a passage from author Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear: “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
Within that simple message is the realisation that your struggles, pain and disappointments are calling you to Awaken Your Authentic Self.
Sometimes, the wrong turn will bring you where you need to be, if you are willing to trust in the process of life.