Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Letting Go, Ego, and Being Present

Simple words above in the heading: letting go, ego, being present. Yet they are some of the most powerful tools you can ever possess. They are also very hard to master. But learning to do so not only enriches your life, it clears the way for some wonderfully magical things to happen. It weaves positivity around you and those with whom you associate.

Letting Go: This mean exactly what it says -- let go. We all have experienced unpleasant things in our lives. We all have had to stand by and helplessly watch friends and loved ones suffer. At that point you may have turned to whatever Higher Power in which you believe, beseeching that Higher Power for help. Your Higher Power is your strength, the source of all wisdom and comfort. It's as natural as breathing for you to go there. Great! Now...let go.

Many people miss the letting-go step. For ease in explanation, I'm going to call this beseeching "prayer." So you've prayed to your Higher Power...and nothing happens in your time frame. So you pray again and again and again. Stop for a moment and think about what you're doing. How can you be helped if you are constantly on the "phone" asking for help? Even Higher Powers need to set the wheels in motion to render aid.

Ask for guidance and help. Then let it go. Each time you find yourself returning to (aka dwelling on) the problem, stop and tell yourself, "No. I've already asked for help. I'm going to let it go and trust help will be given."

Example 1: When we moved to our present location there was an occupied piece of vacant property next to us. We wanted to buy it, but the absentee owner never responded to our requests. Years went by and we watched with increasing dismay as questionable individuals doing questionable things took over the property (with the owner's consent). Eventually the property was semi-abandoned once more, leaving behind a rat-infested pile of... Well, it looked like a garbage dump and there was nothing we could do. I worried constantly about who might wind up living there, and about buying the place. Thirty years of worry. Finally, on one May day I consciously let it go. In August of that same year, the owner came knocking at our door to sell.

Example 2: A friend was in a constant state of stress. I talked to her about letting go. She didn't listen. Her life was falling into disarray. The turning point came when she was up for promotion. She filled out the paperwork, sent it in, then realized she'd forgotten something important. She freaked out! I sat her down and we had the letting-go talk again. She agreed to try, but she came back after the weekend and more upset than ever. "I've been letting go all weekend and it hasn't help!" I took her hands and replied, "You've asked for help. Now get off the phone and let help happen." And I gave her the advice I mentioned above. She agreed to do it. Two weeks later, she got her promotion.

Now here's the thing you need to understand... When you ask for help and guidance, you must also underscore that request with "for the greater good." Why? The simple answer is that your Higher Power knows what is best for you. It sees the whole picture. You are only seeing this point in time. The person who breaks your heart today could very well be leading you to the love of your life. The success you crave at one place might not be the right place for you. "For the greater good and help me accept that."

I had a dear friend in ill health. My request was to "please help her, for the greater good." The reply I got back deep in my mind was, "You do realize what must happen to help her." I quietly answered, "I do." She passed away shortly thereafter. Another time a friend asked me to "put something out there" to help her with a situation. So I agreed. The response I got back was, "Are you sure? Because she might not like the fix." My response was, "Never mind."

Ego: This is an even harder concept to grasp. It's new-to-me information learned over the last five years. Very hard to master. I do find myself slipping more times than I wish. Once you get the concept, happiness fills you from the inside out. Not only for yourself but also happiness for others and their achievements. Now to try to explain it.

Find yourself jealous of someone else's success? Ego. It's their life path, not yours. I admit it's hard not to feel jealous, but take a step back. You have no idea what that person is going through. Even Oscar winners have to deal with trauma and heartbreak. Are you and a friend up for the same award? Be proud and supportive of your friend's win.

Ego can be front and center in the workplace. If no one can do the job better than you... Whoa! That's ego talking -- unless it's someone else telling you that. You can take pride in your accomplishments, but when you start getting territorial keep on watch for ego to flare. Someone once told me, "If you are irreplaceable, you are unpromotable." I never forgot those words.Now I will say there are times to be territorial. If your own welfare is at stake, you have every right to guard yourself, because there are those who do try to sabotage you to make themselves look good. That's an example of their ego being in charge of them. I've discovered ego in a lot of volunteer organizations as well. Someone leaves a position and another person steps in, only to have the predecessor try to make the newcomer do everything his/her way. Worse yet, the predecessor sabotages the newcomer's efforts.

Other examples might be... You've always made the apple pie for the family holiday gathering. Now a newcomer is doing the same thing. You and someone else buy similar presents for a favored someone. Someone else brought a birthday cake to work when you always do it. In all these situations our ego rears up in outrage. Try to calm down. There's enough for everyone. Great minds and all that.

Ego will flare up when you least expect it. People who feel their every move and word is precious -- ego. Ego is filtered into every piece of gossip, every negative action. I know it's hard to watch someone else's star soar while you are still on the ground. Again, it's that person's life path. You have your own wonderful life path on which to walk. Chin up. Smile on. One step and then another.

Being Present: Simply put, this means being in the here and now with what you are doing at the time. Giving full attention to the person or activity you are presently engaged in. Be there. Listen. Store information. Learn. No distractions. If you are meeting a friend for lunch, give that person your time.
If you are at an event, put a smile on (or don your professional demeanor, if that is applicable). Engage people. I'm not saying you must be chatty. A genuine smile has a wealth of information in it.
Be aware of your surroundings. Feel the moment. (Be safety conscious as well.) Being present means setting aside the electronic devices that distract us. By being present you are recharging your soul.

I'd love to tell you that I'm a pro at all of this. I'm not. We all have our moments and our setbacks. Step at a time. Put the tools in place. You won't regret it.

:) Caitlyn Willows

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