The way I teach people to handle their problems is to always start with the inner. Get that cleared out first, because the outer tends to follow the inner. I know this might sound weird, but that’s fine. Remember that I’m a really logical person who first tries things out to see if they work. And this works (although not always exactly how and/or when we expect… so don’t expect…). This concept also jives with the badass spiritual teachers who say that the mind is where it’s at. They say that the mind is the cause and everything else is an effect. This makes sense to me. And the mind is definitely “inner” and not “outer.”
Enough of this abstract talk – what does this look like in action? A great example happened for me this past Sunday. I rode my bike downtown, and when I got there, I realized that I didn’t have my phone. I was positive that I had had it when I left my house, because I remembered it in my pocket. In fact, I kind of had the thought that maybe it would be safer in a different pocket in these particular shorts. I say “kind of” because it just barely crossed my mind, and then I kept riding and didn’t think about it again until I noticed the phone wasn’t there.
So I’m standing next to my bike downtown, almost positive that my phone fell out of my pocket. I checked my immediate surroundings right away and didn’t see it. This is precisely when many people would start to freak out a bit (remember that I use “freak out” pretty loosely). I didn’t freak out, though. Instead, I went within. I closed my eyes then and there, took a breath, and noticed what I was carrying related to this (I was wearing sunglasses, too, so I didn’t even look weird). There was some stress, so I made sure I wasn’t holding it. I let go of it. Let is pass. No big deal. What happened in that moment? Some unpleasant feelings just got flushed out. The “feelings component” of this experience had been taken care of until I noticed more build up. Then repeat the same process. So simple.
Now that I was more cleared out, it was time to address the “thinking component” of this experience. The voice in the head was not allowed to run its negative mouth. Instead, I completely released the outcome of this. I told myself that this might be the time to upgrade my phone. I totally let go of wanting to upgrade it on my terms, when I wanted to. I released that completely and noted the facts – that I was not in control of this, and I really didn’t want to be! When I go with the flow, it seems there’s something else in charge that knows better than me. That’s been my experience, anyway. Let’s let that be in control. And speaking of experience, everything I say is not meant to be taken as truth but rather tried out for yourself.
So I made sure that I had totally let go of the outcome, and then I went over my options. I have a tablet at home that has an app on it that can locate the phone. So I had to go home. I might as well retrace my route and look for it, but without wasting too much time. I did that and no dice. I got home, opened that app, and there was my phone a couple blocks from where I had been! It was represented by a little green dot on the map. So it was time to get in the car and go find it. And don’t wreck while following it on the iPad…
Notice that the above “thinking component” of the situation didn’t involve anything but calmly going over my options. As I felt stress or frustration come in, I released it and let it pass just like that. It takes two seconds, and this way it can’t build up. So cool… And it just takes practice! Trust me, I have plenty of experience in the “loud voice in the head that makes you feel worse” department. That really is optional, though. It can take a good bit of persistence, but it’s well worth it. You’re going to be living anyway, so you might as well bust the voice in the head and turn its volume and power down over time.
As for the end of the story, it worked out as well as it could have. Some saint found my phone in the middle of the street, unscathed. He texted a friend who happened to be not too far away. Meanwhile, I was following the little green dot around and laughing my ass off at how fun this was, regardless of what I was getting myself into. And I was trying not to wreck or kill a pedestrian… And then I saw my friend right where the green dot on the screen was, and he saw me. And it was all good.
Here’s the catch, though – you can’t do this inner work with expectations of a certain outcome. Release it as much as you can! Totally release that. It doesn’t always work out perfectly, but my experience has been that the inner is definitely the place to start. I teach this to my clients, too, so I hear their feedback. It’s truly amazing, and I’m so grateful to be able to help people learn this simple 180 degree shift. Also note that the inner work took not even a minute. Is that so hard? It just takes practice to make this your habit instead of reacting. Try it out and see if it works for you. The other option is to be all knotted up and stressed out inside, so this new way is well worth a try. Good luck, and let me know if I can hep!